DeltaQueen's 2021 Challenge - Reading Is Like a Box of Chocolates - Part 2

Converses2021 Category Challenge

Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.

DeltaQueen's 2021 Challenge - Reading Is Like a Box of Chocolates - Part 2

1DeltaQueen50
gen. 18, 5:29pm

__

Welcome to the second thread of my 2021 Category Challenge thread. My name is Judy and I live in the suburbs of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I live quietly with my husband and our two grown daughters live fairly close by. Of course, our two grandchildren are the apples of our eyes, a girl, aged sixteen and a boy, aged 21. I have been a member of the Category Challenge for a good number of years and enjoy the preparation and planning that goes into building our categories. I don’t always follow my plans, but they are fun to make. Please feel free to join in on any conversation here, bookish or otherwise. All opinions are respected as long as we are polite and friendly to each other.

I have found that reading is very much like a box of chocolates as you never know what you are going to get, so this year I am taking my cue from Forrest Gump and have decided to match my reading categories to delectable chocolates. I chose to use chocolates from a Canadian chocolatier called Purdys. There is a Purdys in just about every large shopping mall in Canada and Canadians are very familiar with their goodies. For those who don’t know this store, I have put together a Purdys List of Personal Favourites – 15 chocolates to match my 15 categories. Some of these matches may make no sense to anyone, but I had a reason for each choice which I will explain as we go along. I apologize to anyone who is allergic to nuts as many of my favourites do have nuts in them. As we are entering the second half of January and February is just around the corner, I turned to Purdy’s for some Valentine treats to decorate my new thread.

My reading goals during 2021 are pretty much the same as they have been in previous years:

1. Reduce the number of books on my shelves, kindles and audio account.

2. Read a good number of books from the 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die List.

And this year -

3. Series, series, series – try to gain some control over my series reading.

I am trying not to put too much pressure on myself as I tend to feel obligated to read one book from each category every month, leaving me little room for those fun surprises that come along. So no category targets this year but I usually read over 200 books a year so I expect each category will have a good amount of books added.

Please pull up a comfy chair, grab a book, help yourself to a chocolate (or two) along with a beverage – 2021 looks to be a promising year for reading, and let’s hope it is a better year all around than 2020 proved to be.

2DeltaQueen50
Editat: gen. 18, 5:37pm

2021 Categories

1. Sweet Georgia Browns – Mystery & Police Series: In other places this candy goes by the copyrighted name of Turtles. I could both eat this candy again and again and read mysteries over and over so this is where I place some of my police procedurals and mystery series reading.

2. Cherry Cordials – Vintage Crime: I picture little old ladies (I think of Sylvester and Tweety’s Granny) munching on these while they also devour classic whodunits.

3. Chocolate Creams – Crime/Mysteries: Dark, rich and mysterious these chocolates match perfectly to the rest of my crime reading.

4. Himalayan Pink Salt Caramels – Fantasy: These chocolate covered beauties are one of my favourites and I can easily “fantasize” that I am working my way through a box of them!

5. Almond Crunch – Science Fiction: Filled with a creamy chocolate filling and bits of almonds, these are “out of this world” delicious and hence my match with science fiction.

6. Passionfruit Hearts – Romance: The shape, the flavour, and the name of these chocolates bring on the feeling of romance. So books that deal with love and romance will be placed here.

7. Peanut Butter Daisies – YA & Children’s Literature – These creamy delights are often a child’s first favourite. And like all good things, many of us never grow out of them.

8. Chai Tea Caramels – Global Reading – This chocolate is exotic enough to match with my reads that are set in far-away countries.

9. Hedgehogs – 1,001 Books – The Hedgehog is probably Purdys best known chocolate, a classic in it’s own right and so it matches well with the classics of this list.

10. Vanilla Creams – Non-Fiction – A straight forward, no nonsense chocolate that consists of a vanilla cream centre wrapped in chocolate. Non-fiction will go well with this.

11. White Cameos – Historical Fiction – Although I am not a huge fan of white chocolate, this delicate candy with the cameo picture has old fashioned appeal and would go well with any historical fiction.

12. Chocolate Letters – AlphaKit – I intend to participate in the 2021 AlphaKit and will place my reads here.

13. Purdy’s Gift Box – Since I am reading so many series, having only one category for Mystery or Police Procedural series isn’t going to be enough. I will use this category to randomly pick a series read from one of the many genres that I read from.

14. Sake and Sakura Truffles – These chocolates are a new addition to the Purdy’s lineup and since I have quite a few books that are written by new-to-me authors, this makes a perfect place to track them.

15. Maple Leaf Melties – All Others – In the shape of the Canadian Maple Leaf, these candies are meant to be popped in the mouth and allowed to melt slowly. This will be where I place all my reading that doesn’t fit anywhere else – what’s the connection? I am Canadian plus I love these candies and wanted to use them!

3DeltaQueen50
Editat: gen. 18, 5:37pm

2021 Tickers

Total Books Read:



Total Pages Read:



Books Read from My Shelves:

4DeltaQueen50
Editat: gen. 18, 5:39pm

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.

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

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


4.0 ★: A very good read and I enjoyed my time spent with this story - one I made an emotional attachment to

4.5 ★: An excellent read, a book 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.

5DeltaQueen50
Editat: març 4, 12:50am

2021 Bingo



1. Nature and Environment: Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell
2. Title Describes You:
3. Contains a Love Story: Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James
4. You Heartily Recommend:
5. Impulse Read: The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell
6. Suggested by Another Generation:
7. About Time or Time Word in Title:
8. By or About Marginalized Group:
9. 20 or Fewer LT Members:
10. Classical Element in Title: Blood Salt Water by Denise Mina
11. Set Somewhere You'd Like to Visit:
12. Dark or Light in Title: A Darker Side by Shirley Wells
13. Read a Cat or Kit: Grave's End by Elaine Mercado
14. New-to-You Author:
15. Arts & Recreation:
16. Senior Citizen Protagonist: Miss Clare Remembers by Miss Read
17. Type of Building in Title:
18. Less Than 200 Pages: The Gilt-Edged Mystery by E. M. Channon
19. Two or More Authors:
20. Character You Would be Friends With: While I Live by John Marsden
21. One Word Title: Poppet by Mo Hayder
22. About History or Alternate History:
23. Made You Laugh: The Women in Black by Madeleine St. John
24. Southern Hemisphere:
25. About or Contains Magic:

6DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 25, 8:27pm

Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge



This is a Good Reads Reading Challenge that I am going to do in 2021. I am not going to participate in the Good Reads Groups or follow their weekly guide but simply work the challenge on my own.

1. Related to "In the Beginning":
2. Author's Name Has No "A, T or Y":
3. Related to the lyrics of the song "Favorite Things": The Gown by Jennifer Robson - "Girls in White Dresses"
4. Monochromatic Cover:
5. Author is on USA Today's List of 100 Black Novelists You Should Read:
6. A Love Story: Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James
7. Fits a Suggestion that Didn't Make the Final List:
8. Set somewhere you have never visited:
9. Associated with a specific season or time of year:
10. A female villain or criminal:
11. Celebrates The Grand Egyptian Museum:
12. Written by a woman and translated to English:
13. Written by an author of one of your best reads in 2020:
14. Set in a made up place: Red Country by Joe Abercrombie
15. Siblings as main characters:
16. A building in the title:
17. Muslim character or author:
18. Related to the past:
19. Related to the present: Friday On My Mind by Nicci French
20. Related to the future: In the After by Demitria Lunetta
21. Title and Author contain the letter U:
22. Posted in one of the ATY Best Book of the Month Threads:
23. A Cross Genre Novel
24. About Racism or Race Relations:
25. Set on an island:
26. A Short Book (less than 210 pages): The Gilt-Edged Mystery by E. M. Channon
27. Book has a character that could be found in a deck of cards: Poppet by Mo Hayder
28. Connected to ice:
29. A Comfort Read: Miss Clare Remembers by Miss Read
30. A Long Book:
31. Author's career spanned more than 21 years:
32. Cover shows more than 2 people:
33. A Collection of Short Stories, Essays or Poetry:
34. A book with a travel theme:
35. Set in a country on or below the Tropic of Cancer:
36. Six or More Words in the Title:
37. From the "Are You Well Read in Literature List":
38. Related to a word given to you be a random word generator:
39. Involves an immigrant:
40. Flowers or Greenery on the cover:
41. A new-to-you BIPOC Author:
42. A Mystery or Thriller:
43. Contains elements of magic:
44. Title Contains a Negative:
45. Related to a codeword from the NATO phoenic alphabet
46. Winner or nominee from the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards
47. Non-Fiction book other than a Memoir or a Biography
48. Might cause someone to say "You Read What!!"
49. Book with an ensemble cast
50. Published in 2021:
51. Title refers to a character without giving their name
52. Related to "The End"

7DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 28, 7:50pm

Sweet Georgia Browns Mystery and Police Procedural Series



Books Read

1. The Secret Place (5) by Tana French - 4.1 ★
2. Blood Salt Water (5) by Denise Mina - 4.1 ★

8DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 17, 12:20pm

Cherry Cordials Vintage Crime Novels



Books Read

1. Mystery in the Channel by Freeman Wills Crofts - 3.0 ★
2. The Gilt-Edged Mystery by E. M. Channon - 3.8 ★
3. The Case of the Sulky Girl by Erle Stanley Gardner - 4.0 ★

9DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 21, 11:58am

Chocolate Creams More Mysteries and Crime Stories



Books Read

1. Poppet by Mo Hayder - 4.0 ★
2. Friday On My Mind by Nicci French - 3.8 ★

10DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 23, 5:33pm

Himalayan Pink Salt Caramels Light and Dark Fantasy



Books Read

1. Red Country by Joe Abercrombie - 4.5 ★

11DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 23, 5:34pm

Almond Crunch Science Fiction



Books Read

1. Network Effect by Martha Wells - 4.5 ★

12DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 25, 8:29pm

Passionfruit Hearts Romance



Books Read

1. Restoring Grace by Katie Fforde - 3.5 ★
2. Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James - 3.7 ★

13DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 14, 8:10pm

Peanut Butter Daisies Children's Lit/YA



Books Read

1. In the After by Demitria Lunetta - 3.7 ★
2. While I Live by John Marsden - 4.0 ★

14DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 12, 12:05am

Chai Tea Caramels Books Set Around the World



Books Read

1. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman (Sweden) - 4.2 ★
2. Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree (Spain) by Tariq Ali - 4.0 ★

15DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 12, 12:03am

Hedgehogs Books From the 1,001 Books To Read Before You Die List



Books Read

1. A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift - 3.5 ★
2. The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by J. M. Machado de Assis- 3.8 ★
3. Voss by Patrick White - 2.0 ★

16DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 15, 4:20pm

Vanilla Creams Non-Fiction



Books Read

1. Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell - 4.5 ★
2. Below Stairs by Margaret Powell - 3.8 ★
3. Grave's End by Elaine Mercado - 2.0 ★

17DeltaQueen50
Editat: març 2, 10:26pm

White Chocolate Cameos Historical Fiction/Reading Through Time



Books Read

1. Enter Three Witches by Caroline Cooney - 3.6 ★
2. The Gown by Jennifer Robson - 4.0 ★
3. Pieces of Eight by John Drake - 3.8 ★

18DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 24, 2:38am

Chocolate Letters AlphaKit - 2 Letters Each Month



A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.
H.
I.
J.
K. Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan - 4.0 ★
L.
M. Cop Hater by Ed McBain - 4.3 ★
N.
O.
P. Dreams of the Red Phoenix by Virginia Pye - 2.8 ★
Q.
R.
S.
T. Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner - 4.2 ★
U.
V.
W.
X. Irises by Franciso X. Stork - 3.7 ★
Y.
Z.

19DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 23, 5:37pm

Purdy's Gift Box Series Reading From All Genres



Books Read

1. A Darker Side by Shirley Wells - 3.5 ★

20DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 23, 5:38pm

Sake & Sakura Truffles Author I Haven't Read Before



Books Read

1. Border Songs by Jim Lynch - 4.0 ★
2. The Women in Black by Madeleine St. John - 4.0 ★

21DeltaQueen50
Editat: març 4, 12:52am

Maple Leaf Melties Book That Don't Fit Elsewhere



Books Read

1. Train Dreams by Denis Johnson - 4.5 ★
2. Miss Clare Remembers by Miss Read - 4.0 ★
3. The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell - 4.2 ★

22DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 3, 9:55pm

2021 Reading Plans



Group Reads and Hosting Duties:

February: Group Read of Voss by Patrick White
March: Hosting - ScaredyKit – Short Stories/Novellas
March: Hosting - HistoryCat - Early Modern History (1500 - 1800)
April: Hosting - SFFFKit – Series
April: Hosting - April Reading Thru Time – The Sun Never Sets
May: Hosting - Random Cat
July: Hosting - GenreCat - Romance

Year long Group Read: Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong

23DeltaQueen50
Editat: gen. 18, 6:01pm

Welcome!

24thornton37814
gen. 18, 6:17pm

Now I need to find some chocolate! Happy new thread!

25DeltaQueen50
gen. 18, 6:19pm

Thanks, Lori. Chocolate sounds like a good idea!

26DeltaQueen50
gen. 18, 6:27pm

11. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman - 4.2 ★
Category: Chai Tea Caramels - Global Reading
2021 GeoKit: Europe - Sweden
January TIOLI #12: An Author You Have Read Before




Us Against You by Fredrik Backman is a story of sadness, distress and healing as he returns to the small rural town of Beartown that lies deep in the Swedish Forest. This is a continuation of the novel Beartown in which he first introduced his characters and their beloved local hockey team. In the aftermath of the rape of the daughter of the manager of the hockey club by the team’s star player, the town has taken sides and the hockey club has fallen apart. Many of the players have left the team and now play for a rival team in Hed, a slightly larger town a few miles up the road.

Tensions between hockey clubs, towns and individuals are mounting and it is pretty obvious that all this strain is leading to a violent outcome. As a reader all one can do is hope that your own personal favourites come through somewhat unscathed.

Both these books are gut-wrenching page turners but I have to admit that the first book held my attention more fully. I found myself tiring of the author’s unique writing style about halfway through the book. At times it feels like the narrator is telling a fairy tale, and at other times I felt rather talked down to. But overall I would say Us Against You was a thought-provoking and heart-felt read about a dark tragedy and the many after effects this event caused.

27LadyoftheLodge
gen. 18, 7:26pm

Happy New Thread! I love to look at those chocolate pictures.

28rabbitprincess
gen. 18, 8:55pm

Happy new thread! I think I might have to order myself some Purdys for Valentine's Day :D

29BLBera
gen. 18, 10:24pm

>23 DeltaQueen50: I have a sister and a daughter who aren't crazy about chocolate, Judy. I can't understand it.

Happy new thread.

How's the recovery going?

30LibraryCin
gen. 18, 10:31pm

Less than a month and you already need a new thread!

There were too many messages the first time around, so I didn't take time to read all your chocolate categories.

Should I admit that I've never tried the "Sweet Georgia Browns"? Didn't realize they were like Turtles. Although, I tend to go for the dark chocolate more than anything else, anyway. But, I might have to grab the Sweet Georgia Browns next time. :-)

I really wish they'd do their peanut butter bars in dark chocolate. I've mentioned it to them (in store and they told me to email... and I did - alas still no dark chocolate peanut butter).

31DeltaQueen50
gen. 18, 10:55pm

>27 LadyoftheLodge: I set up this thread and then I went out to the grocery store - I had to be firm with myself when I went by the chocolate bars in the candy aisle!

>28 rabbitprincess: I think a selection of Purdy's for Valentine's is on my wish list as well.

>29 BLBera: Actually, although I do love chocolate, in my family I am not considered a major chocoholic - that title goes to my sister. I have a nephew who isn't fond of chocolate, my Mom always made sure to make cherry cupcakes for him when she made chocolate cake for the rest of us. The recovery is going very slowly, for some reason he seemed to suffer a setback today - I think going to doctor's on Wednesday to get the staples out is weighing on his mind. Also both daughters have told him he needs to walk even more than he is - which didn't go down well.

>30 LibraryCin: Well, my thread has been open since November, so three months worth of chit-chat. I have heard that people who prefer dark chocolate are the true chocolate connoisseurs. Personally I prefer the milk chocolate - but I think you would like the Sweet Georgia Browns - they are extremely yummy!

32justchris
gen. 18, 11:03pm

>31 DeltaQueen50: I'm a dark chocolate person (for medicinal purposes).

33leslie.98
gen. 18, 11:14pm

>23 DeltaQueen50: LOL! Happy new thread Judy - hope things are going well with you and your hubby. Now I must rush off to my kitchen to see what chocolate treats I may have :)

34Nickelini
Editat: gen. 19, 12:17am

Already on to your next thread, you popular girl, you. The chocolate box in the first picture is beautiful and a little sexy. (If chocolate boxes can be sexy)

35MissWatson
gen. 19, 4:35am

Happy new thread, Judy. It's a good thing I have a few chocolates left over from Christmas, I feel a sudden craving. I hope your husband is doing well?

36Helenliz
gen. 19, 7:36am

Happy new thread! Is your thread topper a hint to someone that they need to deliver?

37dudes22
gen. 19, 7:49am

Happy New Thread, Judy! Glad to hear things are well with your hubby and your girls are giving you some breaks.

>26 DeltaQueen50: - I have both of these books on my TBR but want to read Britt Marie Was Here first as a follow on to My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry which isn't technically a follow-on but is one of the characters.

38msf59
gen. 19, 8:17am

Happy New Thread, Judy! Hooray for all the chocolates. Thanks for the reminder on Us Against You. I loved Beartown but I never got to this one.

39katiekrug
gen. 19, 8:18am

Happy new thread, Judy! I enjoyed scrolling through the field of chocolate at the top :)

40Crazymamie
gen. 19, 10:04am

Happy new one, Judy!

41NinieB
gen. 19, 4:57pm

>23 DeltaQueen50: Just want to point out my mother-in-law is allergic to chocolate. So she's really not lying!

42DeltaQueen50
gen. 19, 5:20pm

Is anyone else having trouble with the posts today? On some of my Groups the messages are out of order with old ones at the top, sometimes years old, and the recent ones scattered throughout the list. And then when I post, the message doesn't automatically move to the top of the topics. It's driving me crazy!!

43DeltaQueen50
gen. 19, 5:35pm

>32 justchris: I totally believe you!! Actually dark chocolate is supposed to not only be good for you, but to increase your brain power as well.

>33 leslie.98: I bought these chocolate dipped/peanut butter cookies the other day and they are deadly (if you like that flavor combination). I am trying to limit myself to one a day.

>34 Nickelini: Chocolate boxes can definitely be sexy! I think I have been getting a lot of attention lately cause I have been moaning about trying to look after my husband after his operation.

>35 MissWatson: Enjoy your Christmas chocolate, Brigit. Hubby is doing pretty good, I am looking forward to taking him to the doctor tomorrow to get his staples removed and to see what the doctor thinks.

>36 Helenliz: Heh, I thought of that after I said I wanted Chocolate for Valentine's Day. I guess it's either get it delivered or get it myself!!

>37 dudes22: I am trying to read both sequels and series in a more timely fashion, and these two blended well together, with Us Against You really being a straight forward continuation of Beartown. I haven't read anything else by him yet, but certainly intend to.

>38 msf59: Hi Mark, I think you would like Us Against You. I need to track down your thread and see how the books are treating you these days.

>39 katiekrug: Hi Katie. Chocolate always makes things better!

>40 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie.

>41 NinieB: Allergic to chocolate! I can't imagine a worst allergy - well, being allergic to wine would be pretty tragic as well.

44FAMeulstee
gen. 19, 5:59pm

>42 DeltaQueen50: I had the same when I came in today, clicking on "Last Message" to sort fixed it.

45ELiz_M
gen. 19, 7:54pm

>42 DeltaQueen50: I think LT was pushing through some bug fixes to groups today so maybe it temporarily discombobulated things?

>43 DeltaQueen50: I assume by "I am trying to limit myself to one a day" you mean one box/package a day. :D

46DeltaQueen50
gen. 19, 8:09pm

>44 FAMeulstee: Anita, thank you so much, I can finally make sense of all this! I am hopeless when it comes to technology - and I get very frustrated very quickly!

>45 ELiz_M: I guess with the new format there are all kinds of bugs appearing. You know I could very easily scarf down one box a day but trying to control myself. :)

47leslie.98
gen. 19, 8:17pm

>43 DeltaQueen50:, >45 ELiz_M:, >46 DeltaQueen50: You must have stronger willpower than I do - I could never limit myself to one a day! The best I can do is to avoid buying such things in the first place because once it is in my home, it is quickly eaten :/

48Carmenere
gen. 20, 10:26am

Happy new thread, Judy! How sweeeet it is! (I fear I just dated myself)

49DeltaQueen50
gen. 20, 12:59pm

>47 leslie.98: I said I try to limit, myself I didn't say that I always succeed. ;)

>48 Carmenere: No worries, Lynda, I am pretty sure I am much older than you and I definitely remember Jackie Gleason.

50LadyoftheLodge
Editat: gen. 20, 2:55pm

>48 Carmenere: We have lots of good TV memories, don't we? My husband and I often remember jokes from "Rowan and Martin's Laugh In." They are still funny, and of course lead to hysterical laughter.

51Nickelini
gen. 20, 3:43pm

>42 DeltaQueen50:
Is anyone else having trouble with the posts today? On some of my Groups the messages are out of order with old ones at the top, sometimes years old, and the recent ones scattered throughout the list. And then when I post, the message doesn't automatically move to the top of the topics. It's driving me crazy!!

Good to know it's not just me. I wish they'd get this fixed

52dudes22
gen. 20, 4:09pm

I think I read over on the Talk Thread that if you click on the "Last Message" it will rearrange itself. I think that's what I did.

53Nickelini
gen. 20, 4:10pm

>52 dudes22: - yes, that sorts it by date. Super annoying to have to do that tho

54lkernagh
gen. 20, 4:44pm

Hi Judy, I am slowly catching up. Glad to read that your husband's surgery went well and that he is now home and the two of you have settled into a routine while he continues to recover.

Happy new thread!

55LittleTaiko
gen. 20, 5:17pm

>26 DeltaQueen50: - I loved both of the books in the Beartown series - though I know what you mean about worrying about the fate of some of the characters.

56Jackie_K
gen. 20, 5:20pm

Happy new thread! It's amazing you need a second thread already before the end of January - that's a lot of chat! (or maybe loads of us are hanging around because of the chocolate?!)

Glad to hear your husband is doing OK. I hope that continues!

And thank you to everyone for the 'last messages' tip - it's been driving me nuts.

57dudes22
gen. 20, 9:21pm

>53 Nickelini: - I only had to do it once and it's been fine since.

58DeltaQueen50
gen. 20, 10:18pm

>51 Nickelini: I don't mind that we had to click on "last messages" to fix it, but I wish there was some way to let us know about it early cause I spent half the day figuring the problem was with me only. I do love how helpful everyone here is when there is a problem.

>52 dudes22: Thank heaven, Anita came by here and told me about the "last message". Once I clicked on it. everything returned to normal.

>54 lkernagh: We went to the doctor today, Lori, and he had his staples removed. They want him to start physio next week so I expect we will see lots of improvements over the next couple of weeks.

>55 LittleTaiko: Beartown totally blew me away with it's wonderfulness. It's not often that a book like that comes along - and then you find out there is a sequel!!

>56 Jackie_K: I think the chocolate helps - that, plus I have a big mouth and love to chat!

59DeltaQueen50
gen. 20, 10:27pm

12. Irises by Franciso X. Stork - 3.7 ★
Category: Chocolate Letters
AlphaKit: X
TIOLI #9: A Book Picked For Me By Someone Else




Irises is a YA story by Franciso X. Stork, an author that I have found incredibly reliable at delivering interesting stories in an intelligent, well written manner. This is the first book by him that I haven’t been totally absorbed by and loved. Don’t get me wrong, it is still an interesting subject matter and is very well written, it just wasn’t a story that particularly appealed to me at this time.

It is about two sisters, Kate and Mary, who have been brought up by a strict father and whose mother, who brought the light and laughter to their lives, has been in a vegetative state for the last two years. The live in El Paso, Texas, but Kate dreams of going to university at Stanford in California. Mary lives to paint, although since her mother’s accident she has struggled to find the passion for her art. When their father dies suddenly, the two sisters must find a way to reach an agreement on some major decisions that need to be made before the girls can be free to find their way forward.

Irises is a story of love, sorrow and hope as these two sisters work through some very real problems and learn the value of having family at your side to help with the pain and hardships. Although this wasn’t a story that I particularly identified with, I can see that, like most good YA literature, it could generate good discussion among fourteen – fifteen year old readers.

60Nickelini
Editat: gen. 20, 10:29pm

>57 dudes22: I only had to do it once and it's been fine since.
>58 DeltaQueen50:

Well that's interesting. Yesterday I had to do it every time I visited the page; today I had to do it most times -- but not every time. Hmmm.

61DeltaQueen50
gen. 20, 10:33pm

>60 Nickelini: That is strange, Joyce, I also only had to go to the last page of the topics and click "last message" for every one of my groups and they are all working fine now.

62justchris
gen. 20, 11:34pm

>56 Jackie_K: Confession! Definitely here for the chocolate. The convo's a nice side benefit.

>58 DeltaQueen50: Glad your sweetie has passed a significant landmark with the removal of the staples.

>59 DeltaQueen50: Nice summary. Not for me. Extremely thankful that I wouldn't relate to it. I'm 50 and still nto ready to deal with losing my parents.

63Helenliz
gen. 21, 3:33am

>62 justchris: I'm 50 and still not ready to deal with losing my parents. You never are. I've lost both of mine by 45. It is a very strange sensation, a bit like someone just cut an anchor or cut you off from your roots.
Which means I probably wont be reading >59 DeltaQueen50: either.

64dudes22
gen. 21, 8:10am

>59 DeltaQueen50: - I took a book bullet from you years ago for another Frances X Stork book but haven't read any of his since (so many books...). I might need to put him back in my rotation. (...so little time). And I don't read as prolifically as you do.

65Jackie_K
gen. 21, 9:03am

The 'last messages' thing has sorted the problem out on my PC, but I don't actually have a 'last messages' option on my phone, which is showing posts from the middle of last year (I have it set to just show my starred threads). When it's done it before I've just had to not bother looking on the phone for a few weeks until it sorts itself out by itself again.

66clue
gen. 21, 11:00am

>62 justchris:,>63 Helenliz: I remember driving away from the hospital late one night shortly before my mother's death. After I pulled out of the parking lot I had to pull over and just sit for awhile because this thought had come to me - it was likely that in the next week I would be an orphan. I was 40 at the time, my dad had died when I was 30. Even though I was a widow by that time and had always been very independent, I wasn't ready to be on my own and probably never would have been.

67DeltaQueen50
gen. 21, 5:06pm

I was surprised to realize that it's Thursday today - the time just seems to be flying by. I feel like we just had a weekend yet here we are just about to start another!

>62 justchris: Whether it's the chocolate or the conversations - you are most welcome here. I lost my Dad many years ago but I am very lucky to be in my 70s and still have my Mom. This #gg@% virus has kept me from seeing her for far too long and at her age (99) I know I will never get this time back.

>63 Helenliz: It's strange that no matter how old you are - losing one's parents still makes you feel like an orphan.

>64 dudes22: I've always found him to be a reliable author, but I wouldn't rank Irises as one of his better ones.

>65 Jackie_K: Speaking of starred threads, I'm not too crazy about not being able to star someone's thread while you are actually on it. Now you can only star a thread from the list of topics. Hopefully the 'powers-that-be" will work through all the issues soon and we will all be happy with the format once again.

>66 clue: I know it's something that I am going to have to face in the not too distant future but for those of us who have been lucky enough to have had a wonder family life, losing a parent is very difficult, it changes the dynamics of one's greater family and, no matter one's age, forces you to accept that change is always going to happen.

Well, enough of the dreary talk! I just want to give a shout out to my latest Netflick addiction - "The Queen's Gambit" is excellent, I've been totally captured by the characters and the story.

68ChelleBearss
gen. 21, 7:27pm

Happy new thread!

69dudes22
Editat: gen. 22, 7:20am

We Watched "The Queen's Gambit" over the holidays and loved it. I must be doing something different because at the top of the thread I'm on in the right top there's a place to star or un-star a thread.

70msf59
gen. 22, 7:42am

Happy Friday, Judy. I hope you are both doing well. Have a good weekend and enjoy those books.

71lsh63
gen. 22, 8:01am

Hi Judy, Just checking in. I hope you and your husband are doing well. I heard that the Queen's Gambit was good. I'm still working my way through Bridgerton. My sister in law keeps calling me to ask if I finished watching it, but I'm only on episode 3. Have a good weekend!

72Nickelini
gen. 22, 12:18pm

>67 DeltaQueen50:
My husband, 20-year old daughter and I watched the Queen's Gambit back before Christmas and we all really enjoyed it

73RidgewayGirl
gen. 22, 12:53pm

The fashion and decor in The Queen's Gambit is just fabulous. Worth watching for the wallpapers alone.

74ronincats
gen. 22, 1:02pm

>67 DeltaQueen50: Judy, you can star a thread while on it; it's just in a different place. There is a box at the top right corner of the thread which gives you the option to either star or ignore that thread.

75dudes22
gen. 22, 1:15pm

>73 RidgewayGirl: - So true. Although I won't say what my husband thought.

76LittleTaiko
Editat: gen. 22, 2:44pm

>74 ronincats: - Interesting. For me, it's at the bottom of the thread after the last message.

ETA: Just realized it's on the top right if I maximize my screen. When it's not taking up the full screen then it's at the bottom.

77DeltaQueen50
gen. 22, 3:14pm

>68 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle.

>69 dudes22: I am trying to space "The Queen's Gambit" out and so far I have watched three episodes. It's so good! Duh! I just checked the top of the thread and there it is off to the right - a place to star the thread!

>70 msf59: Thanks, Mark. The books are treating me pretty good right now. I am loving The Romance of the Three Kingdoms which I started a day ago.

>71 lsh63: Lisa, Bridgerton really heats up after the first three or four episodes. I am looking forward to next year and more episodes.

>72 Nickelini: Every once and awhile a program comes along that really captures the attention - I think "Queen's Gambit" is one of those.

>73 RidgewayGirl: Ha! The episode I watched last night was set in 1960s Las Vegas - the hotel room's wallpaper really caught my attention. I don't know how anyone could relax or sleep in that room!

>74 ronincats: Thanks, Roni. Not only am I bad at technology, obviously I am bad at seeing what's right in front of me as well. The box to Star or Unstar a thread is right there in front of me and yet I still missed it

78Nickelini
gen. 22, 3:27pm

>73 RidgewayGirl: The fashion and decor in The Queen's Gambit is just fabulous. Worth watching for the wallpapers alone

Yes! That's so true.

On another note, LT seems to be sorting properly for me today so it appears that problem is fixed. I hope.

79hailelib
gen. 22, 8:15pm

Judy, finally catching up on your threads. I'm glad your husband came through the surgery OK and is at home now. Don't forget to take care of yourself!

80DeltaQueen50
gen. 23, 12:29am

>78 Nickelini: I'm glad the blips are sorting out for you, Joyce. :)

>79 hailelib: Hi Trisha and thanks, he is improving rapidly and there are times I have to slow him down and not try to rush things. As I see him improving, I feel much better as well.

81DeltaQueen50
Editat: gen. 23, 5:12pm

13. A Darker Side by Shirley Wells - 3.5 ★
Category: Purdy's Gift Box
January BingoDog: The Words Dark or Light Are in the Title
January TIOLI #13: Fulfills a New Years Reading Resolution




A Darker Side by Shirley Wells is the second book in her mystery series that features Forensic psychologist Jill Kennedy and DCI Max Trentham. This was a dark mystery indeed, with the murder of a mother and her teenage son, and the disappearance of two of the dead boy’s classmates. Jill Kennedy and Max Trentham work together on the case and also on healing their personal relationship. They work together well, combining their intelligence, knowledge and instinct to sift through the clues and the suspects. This one time couple also seem to be finding their way back to each other, but after Max broke her heart, it’s going to take some time before Jill fully trusts him again.

This is a story of secrets and relationships, both from the past and current ones. Somewhat predictable, I have mixed feelings about this series, but I still have a couple more books on my Kindle so I will be continuing on at some point. I did find that the book was poorly edited and the formatting to the Kindle felt unfinished and cheapened the appearance of the book.

82pammab
gen. 23, 1:04am

Seeing all the discussion about The Queen's Gambit and Bridgerton makes me smile, because I've also recently stumbled into both. Part of the cultural waters, I guess!

Glad to hear your husband is doing well.

83BLBera
gen. 23, 9:51am

It's great to know Mr. DeltaQueen is improving, Judy. I hope all continues to go well.

84thornton37814
gen. 23, 10:45am

>81 DeltaQueen50: I've never heard of that series. I added it to a wish list. I'm not immediately purchasing the first installment for $2.99, but at least I'll remember it is there.

85DeltaQueen50
gen. 23, 3:11pm

>82 pammab: It's interesting how these programs suddenly grab out attention - I remember last spring when "Tiger King" was the rage!

>83 BLBera: It's amazing how quickly he is improving now, Beth. He is walking much more steadily and is able to do most things himself, just needs a helping hand now and again. He's definitely ready for physio!

>84 thornton37814: I suspect I originally found this series as a Kindle Daily Deal, Lori. I hope you enjoy it when you get to it.

86leslie.98
gen. 23, 3:53pm

>85 DeltaQueen50: Great news about your husband's improvement, Judy!

87thornton37814
gen. 23, 4:18pm

>85 DeltaQueen50: I was thinking I'd keep my eye out for a better deal. They want to increase readership and do one of those "promotions."

88DeltaQueen50
gen. 24, 1:04pm

>87 thornton37814: Sounds like a good plan, Lori.

89DeltaQueen50
gen. 24, 1:06pm

We woke up today expecting to see snow but no, just more rain. It's so wet out there that even if the rain turns to snow at some point, I doubt if it will stick to the ground. I am not a huge fan of snow but we have no plans for the next few days and I am well stocked for groceries so I wouldn't mind a couple of days of snow.

90DeltaQueen50
gen. 24, 1:20pm

14. Border Songs by Jim Lynch - 4.0 ★
Category: Sake and Sakura Truffles
2021 GeoKit: North America
January TIOLI #4: Celebrating Susanna's Birthday




Border Songs by Jim Lynch is set in and around Blaine, Washington, a town right on the U.S./Canada border. Running eastwards from Blaine, the border between the two countries is very open, no fences no wires, simply a few markers and a shallow ditch. On the Canadian side runs Zero Avenue and on the American, Boundary Road. This border is a symbol of the trust and friendship that exists between the United States and Canada.

The author peoples his book with characters that are as unique as this open border. First and foremost, on the American side, we meet newly appointed border guard, 6’8” dyslexic Brandon Vanderkool who relates to animals and birds but has great difficulty with people. Brandon is in love with Canadian pothead Madeline Rousseau who has been running wild since her mother’s death, has started growing marijuana indoors. Between the Border Patrol and the smugglers/growers lie the regular inhabitants, the dairy farmers, retirees and property owners, many who make money on the side by turning a blind eye to strangers crossing their land during the night.

While there is plenty of action in this story what with arresting marijuana smugglers, suspected terrorists and vanloads of foreign prostitutes, it is really a wry, humorous story about our differences and similarities. And although the plot sort of fizzles out, the author’s charming and quirky characters engage the reader and make Border Songs an enjoyable portrait of life on the “border”.

91Nickelini
gen. 24, 1:39pm

>14 DeltaQueen50:

I ADORED Border Songs. Also, Zero Avenue is one of my favourite drives in the Lower Mainland

I woke up to rain in New Westminster too, but it's snowing now. I think we're in for a week of mixed rain and snow.

92DeltaQueen50
gen. 24, 1:45pm

>91 Nickelini: No snow here yet, but we are so close to the ocean that we often don't get the snow that the surrounding areas get.

I love to drive Zero Avenue and next time I do, I will be gawking at all the houses and farms and trying to see if they fit into Border Songs in any way!

93Helenliz
gen. 24, 2:10pm

We've had snow. It might last tomorrow, but we're due to be above 0C by mid week, so it'll be gone again.

Glad to hear that Mr DeltaQueen (or is that DeltaKing, or even DeltaQueen'sConsort??) is doing well. Physio will certainly help the improvement.

94DeltaQueen50
gen. 24, 2:28pm

>93 Helenliz: That's usually the way of our snow as well - here today, gone tomorrow! I am pretty sure hubby would like to be called DeltaKing, Mr. DeltaQueen would probably make him sound too submissive. ;)

95dudes22
gen. 24, 4:53pm

I like Consort. I think I'll take a BB for this.

96BLBera
gen. 24, 6:05pm

We have about six inches of new snow. I had just started to shovel, when my wonderful son-in-law pulled up with my favorite granddaughter. Scout came in the house to keep me company, while Dan finished shoveling. This, I can deal with. :)

97katiekrug
gen. 24, 8:11pm

Border Songs sounds good! Onto the list...

98DeltaQueen50
gen. 24, 11:06pm

>95 dudes22: Hi Betty, I hope you enjoy Border Songs when you get to it.

>96 BLBera: Now that sounds like the perfect way to remove snow - you get to play with your granddaughter while son-in-law shovels!

>97 katiekrug: It always makes me feel good when I can tempt you, Katie, since you hit me with so many BBs!

99LadyoftheLodge
gen. 25, 11:45am

>94 DeltaQueen50: You are cracking me up! I am sure my husband would like to be known as LordoftheLodge rather than Mr. LadyoftheLodge.

100DeltaQueen50
gen. 25, 12:44pm

>99 LadyoftheLodge: I found it is always better to let the male feel like he's in charge, after all I know who really is!
BTW LordoftheLodge certainly has a nice ring to it!

101Helenliz
Editat: gen. 25, 12:50pm

>100 DeltaQueen50: *snort*
It's that poster, "I'm in charge, and I have my wife's permission to say so".

We have an annual joke about Christmas cards. We can usually work out roughtly who they're form by the address. One of my friends always spells our surname wrong. In general though cards from his friends send tend to come to Mr & Mrs, ones from my friends tend to come to Dr & Mr. >:-) My friends are right and I asked Debrett's just to make sure.

102DeltaQueen50
Editat: gen. 25, 1:19pm

15. The Women in Black by Madeleine St. John - 4.0 ★
Category: Sake and Sakura Truffles
January RandomCat: Laughter
BingoDog: Made You Laugh
January TIOLI #8: From a Best of 2020 List




The New York Times perfectly describes The Women in Black by Madeleine St. John as a love letter to old fashioned department stores. This is a story meant to entertain and uplift as one reads of the women who work in the ladies cocktail and model dress department of Goode’s Department Store in Sydney, Australia. Each woman has issues that are keeping them from being happy. Patty is married to a rather insensitive man and has just about given up on her dream to have children. Singleton Fay is tired of parties and dating and longs to settle down with that one man who will take her seriously, Lisa, who works as a temporary salesgirl, hides her real name of Leslie, and pins her hopes on winning a scholarship to university as her father does not believe in higher education for women. Then there is the fabulous Magda, who operates the exclusive salon and longs to open a shop of her own

The story unfolds over the six weeks of the Christmas shopping season during the late 1950s. When I was a teenager I worked in a small local department store and reading about Goode’s brought back many fond memories. Although the story moves slowly, I was totally drawn in by the innocence of the times and the sly humor of the women. Like the simple black dresses that the clerks have to wear at work, The Women in Black is simply charming, witty and hopeful.

103pamelad
gen. 25, 2:13pm

>102 DeltaQueen50: There's a film as well, Ladies in Black, which is also charming.

104ChelleBearss
gen. 25, 7:22pm

>89 DeltaQueen50: I always love snow when there is no where to go!

105clue
gen. 25, 8:36pm

>102 DeltaQueen50: This looks like one I'd enjoy. I too worked in a small department store when I was a teenager and just wish we had the kind of service now that the man who owned the store I worked in expected to provide.

106Nickelini
gen. 25, 11:37pm

>102 DeltaQueen50:
The Women in Black - another book I adored when I read it. I was so happy to see it back in print this last year. I can't remember where I heard about it, but I had to hunt down a ragged second hand copy online. One of the things that I liked about it was that it was set in my favourite Sydney department store when I lived there in the early 80s.

What department store did you work at? I used to work at Woodwards. Food Floor though, not the department store. But I had the staff discount, and we were paid in cash every Saturday, so I'd just turn around and spend my money at the store. It was great. I recently found Food Floor: My Woodward's Days, which I'm looking forward to reading soon.

107katiekrug
gen. 26, 8:26am

The Women in Black sounds good, Judy. I'd not heard of it before.

108hailelib
gen. 26, 10:40am

Sounds like your last two books were good ones.

109mstrust
gen. 26, 12:36pm

Found you, Judy! I must have missed a step when you started your new thread but I'm catching up.

110DeltaQueen50
gen. 26, 1:02pm

>103 pamelad: Oh, I would like to see that film, I will have to hunt around and see if I can find it.

>104 ChelleBearss: Watching the falling snow come down is great - as long as I have nowhere to go and I am assured that the snow will not last more than a day or two. So far this week there has been snow all around us, but nothing here.

>105 clue: That was the first thing that struck me - how the actual service has changed over the years. That, plus how much of a small world the department store was, we all knew the owner's family and all the gossip about them.

>106 Nickelini: In those years I lived in Ottawa and I worked at a department store called Frieman's. In my time there were two locations and I worked in the smaller one that was in the West End suburbs in a mall called Westgate. As a student I was paid $1.00 an hour, and I worked Thursday night, Friday night and Saturdays. Depending on the department I was assigned to, I loved it. I mostly worked in ladies handbags, scarves, jewellery and gloves but occasionally I was sent to ladies wear, which I hated as all the clerks were on commission - except us part-timers so we were expected to pass all sales on to a full-timer and they all expected that they should be the one to get the sale. I also disliked working in the housewares department as the manager was quite the dragon. I, too, pretty much spent every penny I made in that store. Frieman's went on to open another location in the east end of Ottawa but then eventually sold out to Hudson's Bay. I didn't realize that Goode's actually exists, I wonder if the author happened to work there as a student.

>107 katiekrug: I stumbled on the book while I was looking at the NPR Best of 2020 for a TIOLI Challenge. I thought it was a brand new book and was quite surprised when I saw that it's a reissue and was originally published in 1993.

>108 hailelib: Hi Trisha, yes, I have had a couple of really good ones in a row and the good books are continuing as I am currently reading The Secret Place by Tana French and so far, it's having no problem holding my attention.

>109 mstrust: Hi Jennifer, glad you found me. :)

111LadyoftheLodge
Editat: gen. 26, 2:14pm

>101 Helenliz: None of our friends refer to us as Dr. and Mr., although that is how we are sometimes addressed when we make charitable donations. (This is mainly because I ask that we be listed this way in their publications.) Sometimes they list our names separately which can also be correct, but alas, a lot of people still mess it up. I suppose that is because Dr. and Mrs. is more common?

>102 DeltaQueen50: I also worked in a department store when I was an undergrad student. I have fond memories of working at JC Penney for $1.70 an hour. It was locate in a bustling downtown area, which was also fun because there was so much to do on my lunch hour. My main department was Men's Furnishings, but I ended up working in almost every department in the store by the time I graduated from college. I suspect I would have been on management track if I had not taken a teaching job.

112BLBera
gen. 26, 2:33pm

The Women in Black sounds like a fun read, Judy.

113Helenliz
Editat: gen. 26, 5:05pm

>111 LadyoftheLodge: I may as well admit it, some of my friends do it as they know it winds husband up a little. That and we went through PhDs together, so we know what went into getting those letters and so we're damned well gping to use them, if only on a Christmas card!

The occasion that sticks in my mind is when we had the alarm serviced. The first year we'd had the invoice and I'd written and sent the cheque, which had Dr on it. The following year he came with the invoice prepared, and it was to Dr & Mrs. At which point I laughed like a drain and husband was put out. Because if I'm Dr, he must be Mrs. The alarm engineer had the grace to look embarassed and it has been right ever since.

And with that I apologise for taking the thread entirely off topic! Back to books...

114mstrust
gen. 26, 5:25pm

>111 LadyoftheLodge: Another JC Penney survivor here! I worked in the cosmetic/fragrance dept. I don't remember what I was making, but I got to work with my best friend and I met my husband through another co-worker. Not bad, huh?

115msf59
gen. 26, 6:39pm

>90 DeltaQueen50: I also loved Border Songs, Judy. Yah! I need to read more of his work.

116Familyhistorian
gen. 26, 8:08pm

As a teenager, I worked in a store too. It was Ogilviys a department store in Quebec. Fortunately, it was in the English speaking suburbs so I didn't have to try to speak in my school girl French.

We didn't get any snow over here either, Judy, although I think they did up on Westwood Plateau.

117DeltaQueen50
gen. 27, 2:02pm

>111 LadyoftheLodge: & >113 Helenliz: I never thought about the distinction of "Dr. & Mrs" or "Mr. & Dr." or even "Dr. & Dr." but I totally agree that if one has gone through the study and work to earn the degree, then the title should be proudly used.

>112 BLBera: It was a quick, light read that I enjoyed, Beth.

>111 LadyoftheLodge:, >114 mstrust:, >116 Familyhistorian: It seems many of us are familiar with working as students in department stores. I actually could have made more money babysitting as I lived in an area with many young families, but I enjoyed working in the store, it was both fun and interesting.

>115 msf59: Hi Mark, that was my first thought as well - "I have to read more from this author!"

>116 Familyhistorian: Meg, I remember Ogilviys! We had a couple of outlets in the Ottawa area. I had a friend who worked in the downtown outlet - it was right on the Sparks Street Mall - so she was in the thick of downtown activities. I'm sure there used to be quite a few locally owned department stores, but I think they are pretty much all gone now, eaten up by the larger department stores. And now, the larger department stores are struggling, I guess on-line shopping is their bugaboo.

118DeltaQueen50
Editat: gen. 27, 2:15pm

16. Mystery in the Channel by Freeman Wills Crofts - 3.0 ★
Category: Cherry Cordials
January MysteryKit: Involving Water




Mystery in the Channel by Freeman Wills Crofts was originally published in 1931 and is an intricate, involved murder case involving two dead men found on an abandoned yacht floating on the English Channel. I had a great deal of trouble both getting into this book or feeling any kind of empathy of the characters. The plot, on the other hand was detailed and had plenty of twists and turns.

Set in the world of finance, the two men are associated with Moxton General Securities, a firm that is about to make headlines for its imminent collapse. The book gives us a variety of settings, including the English Channel, the French coast, London and the English coast. Inspector French of Scotland Yard is tireless in his search for answers, but there were a lot of tedious details that caused my eyes to glaze over. As a main character, French is neither colorful, interesting or even overly intelligent, instead he doggedly works his case and follows the trail to it’s successful conclusion.

While Mystery in the Channel is a clever mystery, I doubt if I will be actively hunting for anymore books from this author as I found the plodding nature of the story line to be rather boring.

119katiekrug
gen. 27, 2:45pm

>118 DeltaQueen50: - Pretty cover, though!

120MissBrangwen
Editat: gen. 27, 2:52pm

>118 DeltaQueen50: I think I enjoyed it a little more than you did, but I was put off by the complete lack of women in the story - apart from the wives providing dinner and then leaving the room!

121RidgewayGirl
gen. 27, 7:27pm

>102 DeltaQueen50: I have this on my tbr and will keep it in mind for a rainy weekend.

122DeltaQueen50
gen. 27, 9:56pm

>119 katiekrug: That is the re-issue cover, Katie, and is what sold me on the book.

>120 MissBrangwen: I decided to immediately dive into another classic crime story and I am now reading The Gilt-Edged Mystery and so far I am enjoying this one a lot more. I think I just wasn't in the mood for the nautical mystery.

>121 RidgewayGirl: I hope you enjoy it when you get to it, Kay!

123leslie.98
gen. 28, 1:04am

>119 katiekrug: & >122 DeltaQueen50: So a good choice for the BingoDOG Impulse read square, since it is supposed to be for a book selected for its title or cover...

124christina_reads
gen. 28, 11:14am

>102 DeltaQueen50: Seeing your review of The Women in Black, as well as the subsequent discussion, convinced me to pull it off my own shelves. I really enjoyed it as well, so thanks for the nudge! :)

125DeltaQueen50
gen. 28, 1:07pm

>123 leslie.98: It would be a great choice except for the fact that I planned on reading it for the MysteryKit. :)

>124 christina_reads: I'm glad you enjoyed it, Christina.

126NinieB
gen. 28, 7:00pm

>118 DeltaQueen50: There's a classic Monty Python skit in which a mystery writer is seen writing at his typewriter and occasionally pulling an air chain while chanting "Woo--woo--". The joke is that the mystery writer is obsessed with railroads and their timetables. I've always thought that Freeman Wills Crofts was the inspiration (OK, one of several) for that skit. Yes, Inspector French is a plodding, methodical policeman who spends tons of time tracking down timetables and alibis and has absolutely no personality other than being plodding and methodical! Either it works for you or it doesn't.

127ronincats
gen. 28, 9:17pm

HI, Judy. Hope the husband is still improving rapidly and minimizing your care-taking duties!

128rabbitprincess
gen. 29, 9:08am

>126 NinieB: Ah, a blast from the past! The sketch is referred to as "the Agatha Christie sketch", but I'd call it more of a Sayers sketch à la The Five Red Herrings: https://montypython.fandom.com/wiki/Agatha_Christie_Sketch

129DeltaQueen50
gen. 29, 12:05pm

>126 NinieB: Ah, I guess I am not a person who likes plodding and methodical work. I wasn't a fan of The Five Red Herrings with all it's rail schedules either.

>127 ronincats: Hi Roni, he is doing much more for himself but I guess I spoiled him as he still seems to need a great deal of my attention. I started warming blankets and afghans for him in the dryer and giving him foot massages and now he seems to expect those. His first physio session is coming up on Monday and I am hoping to see him expanding his universe after a few sessions. Other than the one trip to the doctor's office, he hasn't been out of the apartment since we brought him home from the hospital.

>128 rabbitprincess: When Ninie described the skit my first thought was of Dorothy Sayers and The Five Red Herrings - I am a huge Monty Python fan but I don't remember that particular skit.

130DeltaQueen50
Editat: gen. 29, 12:24pm

17. The Gilt-Edged Mystery by E. M. Channon - 3.8 ★
Category: Cherry Cordial
BingoDog: A Short Book (Less than 200 pages)
Around the Year in 52 Books: A Short Book (Less than 210 pages)




Originally published in 1932, The Gilt Edged Mystery by E. M. Channon is a clever mystery that follows two story lines and two murders that eventually mesh together in a cleverly contrived and slightly melodramatic manner. The settings vary from Geneva, Switzerland to the Peak District as a Cambridge mathematics scholar gets involved in both plot lines.

Alured Dalmaine meets and falls in love with a school mistress in Geneva and agrees to check on her sister, who married an Englishman and now lives in the Peak District. The sister hasn’t been heard from in a while and there is concern that she may be unhappy or in some kind of trouble. He also becomes involved with a fellow traveller, Samuel Hooper, who has inherited a fortune, which did not sit well with his many cousins who were left out of the will. When Alured discovers Hooper with a slit throat, there is no shortage of suspects.

This was lively mystery that offered up plenty of red herrings along with some very strange character names and while the ending was a little over the top, I enjoyed my read of this golden age mystery.

131NinieB
gen. 30, 8:56am

>128 rabbitprincess: Definitely Five Red Herrings-ish. Ironically I don't think Christie did much in that timetable way; maybe a bit in Mystery of the Blue Train? Crofts did timetables in book after book.

>129 DeltaQueen50: The chain-pulling woo-woo is something my husband does everytime I start telling him about a complicated mystery plot, so I definitely remember the skit!

132DeltaQueen50
gen. 30, 12:48pm

>131 NinieB: The only other Christie that I can think of that dealt with train schedules would be What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw also known as The 4:50 From Paddington.

I can see why you would remember that skit! :)

133justchris
gen. 30, 9:27pm

>128 rabbitprincess: Five Red Herrings is immediately what came to my mind too.

134DeltaQueen50
Editat: gen. 31, 12:29pm

18. The Secret Place by Tana French - 4.1 ★
Category: Sweet Georgia Browns
January TIOLI #12: A Book By An Author I Have Read Before




The Secret Place by Tana French is the 5th entry in her Dublin Murder Squad series. I had a rather mixed reaction to this book, on the one hand I was frustrated by the claustrophobic setting of a girls school and the repetition of questions that were put to the 8 girls who were of the most interest to the police. I often found myself checking to see how many pages were left. On the other hand, I was totally immersed in the story and there was no way that I was going to stop reading until I found out who the murderer was.

It’s a year after a student from a nearby boy’s school was found brutally murdered on the grounds of St. Kilda’s, a posh girl’s school. A student, whose father happens to be a policemen, comes to the police with a picture of the murdered boy with the words “I know who killed Chris” written across it. This gives Stephen Moran the chance he’s been looking for to cross over from Cold Cases to the Murder Squad. He persuades the lead detective Antoinette Conway to include him in the investigation. Together they spend a very long day interviewing the 8 girls who had an opportunity to post the picture of the murder victim.

This book is about both the lies and secrets that swirl around a group of teenage girls and their friendship and loyalty to one another. French, with her detailed plotting and literary writing style rolls out the story in two time-lines, the on-going investigation into the murder and the events that led up to a boy being murdered. Although I wish the book had been about 75 to 50 pages shorter, The Secret Place is nonetheless a powerful and gripping addition to the Dublin Murder Squad series.

135mathgirl40
gen. 30, 10:56pm

>130 DeltaQueen50: I'll have to keep this author in mind, as I love Golden Age mysteries and there seem to be so many that I have yet to discover.

136Nickelini
gen. 31, 11:10am

>134 DeltaQueen50:
Have you read all of that series? I’ve read 2 and own another 2. Must get back to it

137BLBera
gen. 31, 11:38am

I've only read the first of the Dublin series, Judy, and I loved it. I need to continue with the series.

How's Mr. DeltaQueen doing? It sounds like recovery is progressing?

138Crazymamie
gen. 31, 11:53am

Happy Sunday, Judy! Like Beth, I have only read the first book in that series and I loved it, but could not get into the second book. I might just jump into book three.

139DeltaQueen50
gen. 31, 12:48pm

>135 mathgirl40: I am always surprised at the number of unknown authors from the Golden Age of Mystery, I often hear of new ones when I check out lists of favorites. E. M. Channon is a female author and as well as mysteries, she also wrote a series of school-girl books for girls aged 10 - 12. There was a definite youthful vibe to the mystery that made it feel like it was aimed at the younger set as well.

>136 Nickelini: Joyce, I am one of those rigid readers who must read series in order so, of course, I have read Tana French's series in order! My next one will be #6, The Tresspasser.

>137 BLBera: Hi Beth, you have some good reading ahead of you. My hubby is doing well, there been a fair amount of improvement but he has good days and bad days. I'm hoping that when he starts physio next week, I'll see even more improvement.

>138 Crazymamie: Mamie, book #2, The Likeness was my least favorite of the series and since it's not grabbed you, I would move on to #3, Faithful Place which, so far, is my favorite of the series. The Likeness seems to be one of those books that draws mixed reactions from readers, personally I found the plot idea a little hard to believe.

140LibraryCin
gen. 31, 1:48pm

>134 DeltaQueen50: I had to go check and compare them all. This was my least favourite of the Dublin Murder Squad series. I rated it 3.5 (good). All the others, for me, were 4-5 stars.

141Chrischi_HH
gen. 31, 2:49pm

I'm glad to hear your husband is doing much better. :) And you have read some interesting books (as always). Tana French ha sbeen on my reading list for quite a while, I really should push the Dublin Murder Squad series closer to the top.

142hailelib
gen. 31, 3:45pm

The Gilt-Edged Mystery sounds interesting as I've been reading some older mysteries this month.

I hope the physical therapy works well for your husband.

143threadnsong
Editat: gen. 31, 8:27pm

Hello Judy! Skipping over here to read through your *gulp* second thread for the year. Guess that means I need another piece of Ghiradellii's chocolate??

Glad you and Mr.DeltaKing are continuing to do well, and best of luck with his PT appointment tomorrow!

144katiekrug
feb. 1, 10:06am

So glad to hear your husband is (mostly) doing better. I'm sure the physio will help a lot.

Faithful Place is next up for me in the series, so I'm glad to hear it's your favorite!

145dudes22
feb. 1, 11:14am

>139 DeltaQueen50: - I wasn't a fan of The Likeness either for about the same reason and so never really moved on in the series, but I'm planning to read book #3 this year. Glad to hear it's good.

146DeltaQueen50
feb. 1, 12:21pm

>140 LibraryCin: I can certainly see why this one would not be a favorite, Cindy, it moves at a fairly slow pace, the school setting was very confining - I looked forward to the parts where the kids went to the mall to hangout! I got totally hooked on the story and found myself unable to put it down.

>141 Chrischi_HH: Thanks, we realize now that this is going to be a long term recovery, but since we are so limited to where we can go these days, it's no real hardship. I have found all The Dublin Murder series pretty good, some, of course, are better than others, but I do notice that everyone has their own favorites.

>142 hailelib: I have a couple of other murder mysteries by this author and I am looking forward to giving them a try. I am hoping that the PT gives him a little boost to extend his efforts.

>143 threadnsong: Hi Threadnsong, it's always the perfect time for chocolate! :) Thanks for the good wishes.

>144 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie. I think you will enjoy Faithful Place.

>145 dudes22: I also think you will love Faithful Place, Betty.

147rabbitprincess
feb. 1, 4:58pm

I'm all caught up with the Dublin Murder Squad and wishing French would write another one :( I quite liked The Secret Place but would have to agree that Faithful Place is better.

148DeltaQueen50
feb. 1, 5:13pm

>147 rabbitprincess: I still have The Tresspasser to read but I certainly hope she is going to write more of the series.

149DeltaQueen50
feb. 1, 5:22pm

19. Below Stairs by Margaret Powell - 3.8 ★
Category: Vanilla Creams
February GenreCat: Biographies & Memoirs
February HistoryCat: 1800 to Present
February TIOLI #13: Author's LT Rating is 3.50 or Better




Margaret Powell’s memoirs, Below Stairs, are a description of her life in domestic service. She was born in 1907 in Hove in the United Kingdom and left school at the age of 13 to start working. At 14, she got a job in a hotel laundry room and a year later went into service as a kitchen maid. She eventually progressed to the position of cook, working various jobs until marrying her milkman husband and having three sons.

Domestic service was not a job for the faint-hearted. I know that I wouldn’t last 10 minutes under the conditions that servants were subjected to then nor could I do the work that was required. Starting at 5:30 am and working until bed-time was the norm. As a kitchen maid she was to assist the cook, but in reality, there were many other chores she had to do as well, including polishing boots, and scrubbing both front porch and door. Realizing that only she could improve her situation, she passed herself off as a trained cook, going to temporary jobs until she felt ready to work as a permanent full-time cook.

Mrs. Powell’s writing style is warm and chatty, like reading a letter from an old friend as she paints vivid descriptions of the great houses of the 1920s and the vanishing life styles that were soon to give way to modern life. Her stories of food to be prepared, mistresses to please and other servants to get along with are interesting, unsentimental and earthy. I found her an admirable person who after having three children, went back to school and passed her ‘O’ levels at age 58. Below Stairs is a charming inside account of what domestic service was actually like back in the early 20th century.

150thornton37814
feb. 1, 8:30pm

>149 DeltaQueen50: I saw that book when I was working on a project this week. I made note of it. I'm glad to know it's pretty good.

151lindapanzo
feb. 1, 8:36pm

Whoa, guess I haven't stopped by here in awhile.

>118 DeltaQueen50: While some of the British Library Crime Classics have been OK, lately, very few of them have been good enough for me to want to read more from that author. I used to love mysteries from that era but lately, not so much. Except for an author I already like, Nero Wolfe, Erle Stanley Gardner, or something like that.

152leslie.98
feb. 1, 9:14pm

>130 DeltaQueen50: Another 'unknown' GA mystery author to add to my TBR :)

>144 katiekrug: ditto and ditto!

>149 DeltaQueen50: I'm taking a BB for this one. Memoirs are generally not my cup of tea but your review makes me think that I would quite like this one!

153LibraryCin
feb. 1, 10:01pm

>148 DeltaQueen50: I hope she keeps going, too! I'm caught up!

154MissBrangwen
feb. 2, 4:07am

>149 DeltaQueen50: This has been on my wishlist for a long time. I think it was advertised a lot when Downton Abbey was in full swing. It's good to see that it's a worthwhile read!

155DeltaQueen50
feb. 2, 12:25pm

>150 thornton37814: Hi Lori, apparently she has written a number of books about her days in service, and as this book covers the total years she worked, I would guess that the other books are more stories and incidents from that time. I note there is also a cook book as well.

>151 lindapanzo: Hi Linda. There seems to be a market for golden age mysteries so I would guess that is why we are seeing so many being reissued. When it comes right down to it, the ones that never went out of print - Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Josephine Tey etc., along with their American counterparts - Erle Stanley Gardner, Nero Wolfe etc. were the cream of the crop.

>152 leslie.98: I hope you enjoy the E.M. Channon book when you get to it, Leslie. The physio went well, I think they really worked him as he went right to bed with an ice pack when he got home. He doesn't go again until next week, but he has a number of home exercises that he needs to do. At about 200 pages, Below Stairs is a short read and she is good at getting her story across in a warm and interesting manner so hopefully, you will enjoy it.

>153 LibraryCin: I see that her latest book, The Searcher is a stand-alone. I haven't tried her other stand-alone, The Witch Elm as I have seen mixed reviews for it. I just hope she still has some Dublin Murder Mysteries on her drawing board!

>154 MissBrangwen: I am fascinated at how those grand homes were run and I still miss Downton Abbey. Apparently Margaret Powell's books were among the ones that were used to gather material for "Upstairs, Downstairs" back in the 1970s.

156thornton37814
feb. 2, 3:38pm

>155 DeltaQueen50: I think part of the appeal of golden age mysteries is that they were true mysteries. Today's cozies try to mix in romance when it doesn't really need to be there. The sleuths tend to be less intelligent too. (Of course, Sayers did mix romance in hers, so I suppose there is a precedent with Lord Peter.) There's also an agenda in publishing today, and I think some people who are sick of that want the older stuff where it isn't present.

157LibraryCin
feb. 2, 5:08pm

>155 DeltaQueen50: Thank you for the reminder of the standalones - I have both on my tbr, but haven't gotten to them yet!

158pamelad
feb. 2, 5:12pm

>156 thornton37814: A lot of contemporary cosies are bogged down in domesticity. I prefer a house party in a storm with the phone cut off and a village policeman who arrives on a bicycle. No baking, jam making, quilting or school runs.

159thornton37814
feb. 2, 8:40pm

>158 pamelad: I actually don't mind the baking, jam making, and quilting as elements in a novel, but I'd prefer for it to be part of a character's domestic routine than their occupation, I suspect. For example, in an Amish mystery, I love for the female characters to be gathered around a quilt or baking bread in the kitchen, but I think the contemporary cozies are tiresome because of the same old setting. I like the "locked-room puzzles" too. I like village charm in a mystery.

160leslie.98
Editat: feb. 2, 10:42pm

>158 pamelad:, >159 thornton37814: I think that what you are both saying is that the mystery & its elucidation should be the focus rather than the extraneous background (whether it be hobby or family life or romance). Like >159 thornton37814:, I don't mind the baking etc. if it is a natural outgrowth of one of the characters but as a background, not as a major theme! IMO, too many contemporary cozies have the mystery as the background with the main character's personal life as the major theme - tiresome in a stand-alone but almost unbearable in a series. It is a rare cozy series that features some such hobby and also has decent mystery plots that are solved by logic & investigation (rather than hunches or fortunate happenstance)... but even those that don't are better than the ones that feature the main (usually female) character's love (and all too frequently sex) life, at least for me!

161NinieB
feb. 2, 10:36pm

>149 DeltaQueen50: "I found her an admirable person who after having three children, went back to school and passed her ‘O’ levels at age 58."

And how many of us could do that??

162pamelad
feb. 3, 3:11am

>130 DeltaQueen50: I bought The Gilt Edged Mystery along with two other E. M. Channon mysteries for the grand sum of $2.99. It is coming along nicely.

163DeltaQueen50
feb. 3, 4:29pm

>156 thornton37814: You are right, Lori, and there a nostaglic appeal to these books - even though I was nowhere near being born, I love to read about my grandmother's time.

>157 LibraryCin: I'm glad you have them - I'll be watching for your thoughts on them.

>158 pamelad: I love a good "isolated country house" mystery!

>160 leslie.98: I agree that the mystery should be front and center in a mystery story!

>161 NinieB: After raising two daughters, I know my brain went to mush and it took years for it to get back to normal. She raised three boys which is rather daunting and still managed to finish her education.

>162 pamelad: Enjoy the read! :)

164DeltaQueen50
feb. 4, 11:54am

20. The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis - 3.8 ★
Category: Hedgehogs
February 1,001 Books Group Read
February TIOLI #10: A 4 is in the Number of Pages




The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by Brazilian author Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis was originally published in 1881, but its wit and style stands up well in today’s modern world. Machado de Assis is remarkable as an author as he produced poems, plays, stories, articles and novels and he is today considered Brazil’s greatest writer. The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas is an unusual yet fun story as the main character, Bras Cubas tells his life story from his grave. He dedicates his memoirs to the first worm to gnaw the cold flesh of his corpse.

The story unfolds with plenty of irony and caustic wit, after all he is a corpse with nothing to gain or lose from the telling. Bras Cubas was born wealthy and with high expectations, but success eluded him all his life. He never marries, and his biggest disappointment seemed to be that he didn’t leave any children behind. He tells his story over the course of 160 short chapters, revealing incidents from his life that gives the reader insight and knowledge of his character. At times he interrupts his story to make snide comments or observations directly to the reader about the human experience.

Although it felt rather experimental in nature, I quite enjoyed The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas. The author provided an interesting, slightly odd story, anchored in the history of the day that both amused and educated me. This has the feeling of a timeless classic due to his fresh writing style and witty observations.

165pamelad
feb. 4, 2:22pm

>164 DeltaQueen50: I've added it to the wishlist. LT is great for uncovering classics from other languages.

166Helenliz
feb. 4, 2:47pm

>164 DeltaQueen50: I read Dom Casmurro by the same author a couple of years ago, and rated it 5 stars. I hadn't realised another of his was on the 1001 list. I'm going to look forward to that one then.

167DeltaQueen50
feb. 4, 4:22pm

>165 pamelad: & >166 Helenliz: I never would have read this book if it hadn't have been chosen as the group read for the 1,001 Books Group this month. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily the book read and I will certainly be looking forward to reading Dom Casmurro in the future.

168leslie.98
feb. 5, 1:47am

>164 DeltaQueen50: I read that last year and agree that it felt experimental in its writing style. I liked Dom Casmurro also though that is a more traditional style, not as amusing.

169BLBera
feb. 5, 8:54am

>164 DeltaQueen50: This one sounds interesting, Judy. Onto the WL it goes. I haven't read a lot of Brazilian writers. I love LT for opening my eyes to books I've never heard of!

170DeltaQueen50
feb. 6, 2:32am

I wasn't around LT earlier in the day as I woke up this morning and immediately started a horrible nose bleed. I am on blood thinners so really had trouble getting it to stop, and then I was exhausted for the rest of the day. My nurse daughter is coming over tomorrow to help with buying some groceries and getting me a humidifier as we are pretty sure it's the dry conditions that are causing it. I am not getting outside much these days and my husband is always cold so the heat is on non-stop which then dries the air out. I have been drinking lots of water and setting bowls of water out around the place as I don't want another occurance tomorrow. So I spent the day mostly napping and reading.

>168 leslie.98: I felt that The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas seemed much more modern than the 1800s - except, of course, for the references to Napoleon and other events that dated it.

>169 BLBera: I have read so many new-to-me authors since I came to LT - I just wish I was younger and had time to discover even more authors!

171rabbitprincess
feb. 6, 8:55am

>170 DeltaQueen50: Yikes! That must have been really scary. I hope you're feeling better. Glad to hear your daughter will be able to come and help out.

172mstrust
feb. 6, 9:52am

>170 DeltaQueen50: I wake up with nosebleeds sometimes during the summer, as the air here is already very dry and we have fans on our faces all night. So you can combat the dryness by putting a little moisture up your nose at night with a Q-tip, like face cream or Vaseline.

173DeltaQueen50
feb. 6, 7:46pm

>171 rabbitprincess: It was scary, I've heard before that taking blood thinners makes any wound bleed but I was amazed at how difficult it was to make it stop.

>172 mstrust: I did the vaseline thing last night and was relived to get up this morning with no problems. We picked up a humidifer today and hopefully that, plus the vaseline overnight will help.

174DeltaQueen50
feb. 6, 8:01pm

21. The Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree by Tariq Ali - 4.0 ★
Category: Chai Tea Caramels
First Quarter Reading Through Time: 16th Century
2021 GeoKit: Europe - Spain
February RandomCat: Fruit and Veggies
February TIOLI #9: A Title Word Appears in the 2nd Chapter, 2nd Paragraph, 2nd Sentence




The historical novel, The Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree by Tariq Ali tells of the Reconquest of Spain during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella in the 1500s. The Reconquest was the absorbing or eliminating of Jews and Muslims from Christian lands. Although the Moors had allowed all religions their freedoms and rights and there existed treaties for the Christians to allow the Muslims their religion and culture, both Queen Isabella and certain Church officials were strongly opposed. Focusing on one family, the Banu Hudayl, we learn of the price paid by the doomed Muslims of the sixteenth century Spain.

This family lived just outside Grenada and for over 800 years had been a powerful force in the Muslim world. In the times written of, each member held their own beliefs and expectations of what was going to occur and how best to react. Narrated by multi-generational members of the family, we learn of their life and their culture through the descriptions of food, clothing, daily routines and the inter-action of various family members with one another.

While much of the book seemed more like a non-fiction recreation of Moorish society, the author certainly managed to get across his message of how hatred can destroy. I was fascinated by this look at events from a different aspect. The Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree is a tragic story of the destroying of Islamic Culture for the political and monetary gain of the Roman Catholic Church.

175LadyoftheLodge
feb. 6, 8:44pm

>170 DeltaQueen50: My husband is on blood thinners and strangely, he had that exact same thing happen last week. At least he got it under control quickly though. It is not a common occurrence for him, but it was scary at the time. He has a prescription nasal spray to help with the moisturizing. But then again, resting and reading is a good way to spend the day, right? I got my first covid vaccine on Thursday and woke up in the night with a very sore arm, but otherwise no problems.

176thornton37814
feb. 7, 10:53am

>170 DeltaQueen50: Oh, my father's bleeds were always so much worse because of the blood thinners. I can empathize with your problem.

177DeltaQueen50
feb. 7, 1:02pm

>175 LadyoftheLodge: Thanks for the information. I will talk to my doctor about getting a nasal spray to moisturize, I'm sure that would be helpful. We are still waiting to hear when we are going to be getting our vacination, they are going by birthdate so my husband will be advised before me.

>176 thornton37814: Hi Lori, it certainly was a scary event!

178DeltaQueen50
feb. 7, 10:21pm

22. The Gown by Jennifer Robson - 4.0 ★
Category: White Chocolate Cameos
Around the Year in 52 Books: Relates to the lyrics of "My Favorite Things" - Girls in White Dresses
February Reading Through Time: Fashion
February HistoryCat: 1800 to Present
February TIOLI #4: Only 1 Letter is Used as a Vowel in the Author's Last Name




The Gown by Jennifer Robson is a historical fiction story that I found to be a very satisfying read. The book puts its focus on two of the talented embroiderers that did the intricate work on Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown. The combination of reading about conditions and lifestyles in post-war (1947) Britain and the setting of designer Norman Hartwell’s work rooms gave the book an interesting slant. Two women, both with their own unique problems and secrets learn the power of female friendship and the value of “starting over”.

Norman Hartwell outdid himself with his design of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown. Ann, an English working class girl and Miriam, a French Jewess emigree both find themselves working on the complex embroidery that was a hallmark of a Norman Hartwell dress. Meanwhile their private lives become entwined as they live together, work together and become fast friends. While Miriam struggles to overcome her survivor’s guilt from the war, Ann, meets and falls in love with a “too charming to be believed” man. There is a third narrator to the book as well as we jump to the present and follow Ann’s granddaughter, Heather, on her journey to discover more about her beloved grandmother.

In The Gown, the author keeps the spotlight on her three main characters, Ann, Miriam and Heather. She did supply plenty of details about the embroidery and dressmaking process as she wove together the various story lines, but the Royals are definitely in the background. This was an absorbing and charming read about the value of friendship, and although there was some romance, it wasn’t overdone.

179justchris
feb. 7, 10:34pm

>174 DeltaQueen50: That's right up my alley! Thanks!

180MissBrangwen
feb. 8, 3:48am

>178 DeltaQueen50: This sounds like a great read and is on my WL now!

181msf59
feb. 8, 8:04am

Happy Monday, Judy! I can say that now. Yah! Very cold here, so this will keep me inside for the week but then I can focus more on the books. I hope all is well there.

182thornton37814
feb. 8, 10:00am

>178 DeltaQueen50: That one sounds more interesting than I thought it might be when I read publishers' descriptions when it came out.

183dudes22
feb. 8, 1:38pm

>178 DeltaQueen50: - I already took a BB for this from clue back in 2019. I guess I should try and get around to reading it.

184BLBera
feb. 8, 3:07pm

The Tariq Ali novel sounds like one I would enjoy. There was a PBS series based on The Ornament of the World, which was nonfiction. I really enjoyed it.

185LibraryCin
feb. 8, 5:19pm

>182 thornton37814: I read it last fall (for my "f2f" book club... well, Zoom now, really!). It did turn out to be much better than I'd expected!

186DeltaQueen50
feb. 8, 5:19pm

>179 justchris: Tariq Ali is the author of a series of 4 books that are called the Islam Quartet, all are set in the Muslim world but each one is a separate story. I have now read two, the other one being the story of Saladin in the 12th Century. The two remaining books are The Stone Woman set in the declining Ottoman Empire in 1899 and A Sultan in Palermo in which he returns to the 12th century and writes of Muslim geographer/cartographer al-Idrisi in Sicily.

>180 MissBrangwen: I found The Gown to be a good light historical read with an interesting setting.

>181 msf59: Having time to focus on books is always good. We are being warned that it is going to get colder this week as well which is a shame as we were getting some nice spring-like weather a couple of days ago. Things are going fairly well here, Mark, my husband is slowly gaining his mobility but I can see it's going to take some time.

>182 thornton37814: I didn't have very high expectations for The Gown, Lori. I thought it would be all romance and little history so I was pleasantly surprised when the romance aspect was mostly put on the back burner.

>183 dudes22: I can certainly relate to that, Betty. I have so many books that I have added to my library from LTers BB but it takes me some time to get to them. I have a list, that I am hoping to clear this year, which includes books like Homegoing, Dodgers, Long Bright River - all BB!

>184 BLBera: I am enjoying this series of books, Beth. It is interesting to read about the Muslin world as written by a Muslim. While the writing tends to be very factual and detached, it is always interesting.

187clue
Editat: feb. 8, 9:30pm

>178 DeltaQueen50: You might want to check out another of her books, Goodnight from London. The cover makes it look like a romance but romance is a fairly small part of the plot. It's also takes place during WWII.

I think I'll give some of her others a try but like you, I thought they looked a little romancy for me. Her newest just came out, Our Darkest Night.

188MissWatson
feb. 9, 4:04am

>174 DeltaQueen50: I'll take a BB for that, Judy. Your review makes it sound so fascinating!

189DeltaQueen50
feb. 9, 2:00pm

>187 clue: I have the three books of her WW II trilogy on my shelves and I will certainly take a look at Goodnight From London as well.

>188 MissWatson: I hope you enjoy the Tariq Ali book when you get to it.

190DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 9, 2:17pm

23. Miss Clare Remembers by Miss Read - 4.0 ★
Category: Maple Leaf Melties
BingoDog: A Senior Citizen Protagonist
Around the Year in 52 Books: A Comfort Read
February TIOLI #11: Rolling Challenge Based on Mardi Gras




Miss Clare Remembers by Miss Read is a lovely read featuring the thoughts and remembrances of eighty year old Miss Dolly Clare. While Dolly spends a quiet day at her cottage waiting for the arrival of her good friend, Emily, she looks back over her life, and the reader gets to know her very well indeed as we are given glimpses of both her childhood as well as events from her adult years as a teacher at the Fairacre School.

To an outsider, Dolly Clare would look like she lived a very insulated life. Born in the market town of Caxley, she never moved farther than 20 miles from her birthplace. She remained single, lived with her parents until their death, and only ever travelled to London, 70 miles away, once in her life. But Dolly actually lived a rich, full life in the small thatched cottage that she grew up in. As a teacher she guided many generations of schoolchildren, she did fall in love and was planning on a different life, but her young man died in World War I. As her thoughts go back, we learn of her first meeting with her friend Emily as young children, and how that friendship grew and sustained both women through many of life’s difficulties.

Miss Read writes of life in small British villages in a warm and engaging way, the passing of the seasons are observed with many descriptions of the flora and fauna of the area. I listened to an audio version as read by Gwen Watford whose warm, steady voice was perfect for this material. Miss Clare Remembers is a comforting read that was full of the joys and sorrows of life.

191LadyoftheLodge
feb. 9, 4:39pm

>190 DeltaQueen50: I love the Miss Read books, and have read all of them. They are great comfort reads, and I like that they are about school teachers (since that is my profession). I wished I could teach in one of the schools mentioned in her books.

192DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 9, 9:38pm

>191 LadyoftheLodge: I am a big fan of Miss Read's. I have completed my read of all the Thrush Green books and now I am filling in on the Fairview books that I missed or wish to re-read. I hadn't read Miss Clare Remembers before and I really enjoyed it.

193leslie.98
feb. 10, 10:51pm

194DeltaQueen50
feb. 11, 3:29pm

>193 leslie.98: I hope you enjoy Miss Clare Remembers, Leslie.

195DeltaQueen50
feb. 11, 11:35pm

24. Voss by Patrick White - 2.0 ★
Category: Hedgehogs
Group Read
February HistoryCat: 1800 to Present
2021 GeoKit: Oceania, Australia, New Zealand
February TIOLI #8: Rolling Challenge by Nbr. of Words in Title




I found Voss by Patrick White to be a difficult read. While I was expecting a descriptive book about an expedition to cross the Australian continent east to west, I found myself reading a book whose focus was very much on two characters, that of German explorer, Voss, and Laura, the niece of his benefactor. We travel with Voss who seems to be on a journey of self-discovery, and explore the complex relationship between the two main characters. I didn’t like or understand either of the main characters, finding Voss to be stubborn, misanthropic and possessing a deep anger inside himself. Laura seemed to be self-centered, cold and remote. Yet we are asked to believe in a powerful, almost physic connection between the two.

Due to the dense, yet poetic language I found that many sentences had to be re-read numerous times in order to decipher. I was also somewhat off-put by the author’s unsympathetic treatment of the aborigines. I am sure that he used well recognized terms of the day to describe them, but he also did nothing to offset this colonial attitude with a more modern view. The book swerves between the hardships, dangers and eccentricities of the men on the expedition and the petty details of colonial society, and Laura’s perceptions of disaster.

Voss is most certainly brilliant, finely crafted and eloquent yet readers beware, it is also overly long, ponderous and requires a lot of reading patience. Unfortunately my best memory of Voss will be how happy I was to reach the end of this lengthy novel.

196pamelad
Editat: feb. 12, 1:13am

>195 DeltaQueen50: From what I've read about Patrick White, your comments about the man Voss could also apply to his creator. White was famously curmudgeonly and until Voss his books didn't get their due recognition in Australia, probably because he said such scathing things about Australians. I started off enjoying the book, but by about half way I'd had enough of Voss and Laura. But I liked the poetic language.

I thought that Jackie acted the way he did in the end for White's artistic reasons, and was revolted. His action seemed very unlikely, but I suppose it was meant to demonstrate that he had been corrupted by contact with Europeans.

A Fringe of Leaves is a much easier read.

197katiekrug
feb. 12, 8:32am

>195 DeltaQueen50: - I was going to join this group read but the early comments really put me off of it. I think I'll just let it pass me by... Hope your next read is a better one!

198MissBrangwen
feb. 12, 9:20am

>197 katiekrug: Same here! I would not have joined the group read, but I definitely thought that I would read Voss at a later date, and now I don't think I will. The reviews and descriptions don't suggest that I would enjoy this novel. Like you >195 DeltaQueen50: I would rather have expected a description of the Australian wilderness or his journey.

199DeltaQueen50
feb. 12, 12:20pm

>196 pamelad: If I give Patrick White a second chance, A Fringe of Leaves sounds interesting - but then so did Voss until I started reading it! I forgot to report my completion of the book on the group read thread, I will do so now.

>197 katiekrug: & >198 MissBrangwen: I was very leery of reading Patrick White and it looks like I was right to be wary of him. I would still like to give him another try at some point, but I am pretty sure that he and I are not simpatico.

200pamelad
feb. 12, 2:28pm

>198 MissBrangwen: Voss did describe the landscape and the journey, but the book wasn't a straightforward narrative because the interior world of the characters dominated the outside world.

201MissBrangwen
feb. 12, 3:21pm

>200 pamelad: Thank you for explaining! And for recommending A Fringe of Leaves - maybe I'll try that one first!

202VivienneR
feb. 13, 1:19am

>170 DeltaQueen50: My husband wakened me at 5am this morning needing help with a gusher. It happens quite often to him. He has Parkinson's Disease but I don't know if the meds have that effect. I was interested to hear that a prescription inhaler is available. I'll look into it.

>178 DeltaQueen50: I've had The Gown on my wishlist for a while, I've enjoyed other books by Jennifer Robson.

203msf59
feb. 13, 9:05am

Happy Saturday, Judy. Have you read Bluebird, Bluebird? I know you like a good crime novel now and then, so if you have not I would recommend it. Sorry in advance for dropping a BB on your own thread. It is my nature. Grins...

204DeltaQueen50
feb. 13, 2:32pm

>202 VivienneR: Tell your husband I greatly sympathize with him, nosebleeds are horrible! We woke up to about 3 inches of snow, our first snowfall this winter, and it's still snowing and mounting up. Luckily I went out yesterday and stocked up on all necessities - driving in the snow in the lower mainland is a definite hazard!

>203 msf59: Hi Mark, I don't know why I haven't read Attica Locke before now - but I am adding Bluebird, Bluebird to the list - it looks good.

205DeltaQueen50
feb. 13, 2:42pm

25. Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan - 4.0 ★
Category: Chocolate Letters
February AlphaKit: K
February TIOLI #4: Only 1 Vowel is Used in the Author's Last Name




Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan is the third book in his satiric romantic comedy series about the ultra rich and powerful Asian families from Singapore. All of these books are full of designer fashion, gourmet food, expensive art and tongue-in-cheek fun. There is also family greed, speculation and social pressure as the extremely wealthy Su Yi, mother and grandmother to many of these influential people is dying, and this brings out members from every extended branch of the family, all seeking their share of her huge estate.

Nicky Young and Astrid Leong have been her favorite grandchildren but in recent years Nicky and his grandmother fell out over his marriage, and Astrid is in trouble with her family because of her too public romance with Charlie Wu, even though they are both married to other people. Some members of the family, most notably Eddy Chang, are trying to keep the favorites away from their grandmother in the hope that he will benefit by their absence. Of course the author updates his readers on all of his characters, the many multi-billionaires of southeast Asia that have appeared in the other books.

These over-the-top books have been a fun escape from reality. The action has played out all over the globe as the ultra-rich go about their soap opera lives full of petty intrigues and lavish spending. If you are in the mood for some crazy family drama set in some of the world’s most expensive locations, these books should fill that craving nicely.

206VivienneR
feb. 13, 4:35pm

>204 DeltaQueen50: Snow? Getting snow in your area is strange when out here in the mountains we've had very little this year. We usually get a LOT. I'm not complaining but clearing snow is my usual winter exercise and I actually enjoy it.

207threadnsong
feb. 13, 8:03pm

>172 mstrust: Oh wow, the trick of Vaseline under the nose before bed! That takes me back to early, early childhood, when I slept with a humidifier on all night.

>178 DeltaQueen50: This sounds incredible. I heard a recollection of one of the students from London's Royal School of Needlework and how she put some stitches in the Coronation gown of Queen Elizabeth II but had not even heard about her wedding gown as a Princess. You've piqued my interest! I love embroidery but do not have a deft hand with it.

208DeltaQueen50
feb. 14, 3:14am

>206 VivienneR: I think we ended up getting somewhere around 8 - 10 cm with more being called for tomorrow. Ugh - and I have to go out tomorrow and pick up my granddaughter at the stables.

>207 threadnsong: I am hoping that my nose will be happier with the milder weather. I've been living under a humidifer all week.
Apparently not all the seamstresses worked on the wedding gown so at the end, they lined everyone up and they all got to put in a stitch so that they could actually say that they worked on the Princesses wedding gown.

209DeltaQueen50
feb. 14, 8:14pm

26. While I Live by John Marsden - 4.0 ★
Category: Peanut Butter Daisies
BingoDog: A Character I Would Like As A Friend
February TIOLI #9: A Title Word Appears in the 2nd Chapter, 2nd Paragraph, 2nd Sentence




While I Live by John Marsden is the continuation of Ellie Linton’s story that was started in his Tomorrow series that was about the invasion of Australia. The war is supposedly now over and Ellie and her friends can go back home and be teenagers again. Certain parts of their country have been ceded to the enemy in the treaty but it is soon clear that the fighting isn’t over as enemy militia start raiding across the border. Ellie’s farm is very close to the border and it, along with her neighbours, are targeted.

By the end of the first chapter her parents are brutally murdered by foreign militia and Ellie must now try to hold the farm together, raise her adopted brother, attend high school and battle with the slimy lawyer who got himself appointed her guardian in order to swindle her out of her property. She comes into contact with a group of freedom fighters that call themselves the Liberation and is invited to join but at this time she has too much on her plate to get involved in fighting again.

Once again I became totally involved in Ellie’s world and the tough road she has to travel. Ellie is a character that I have come to like and admire very much and by the book’s end, I was hooked once again into Ellie’s adventures and will definitely be continuing on with the Ellie Chronicles.

210DeltaQueen50
feb. 15, 4:26pm

27. Grave's End by Elaine Mercado - 2.0 ★
Category: Vanilla Creams
February ScaredyKit: Scary Non-Fiction
BingoDog: Read A Cat/Kit
February TIOLI #7: A Book You Heard About in January




Grave’s End by Elaine Mercado is her account of the years she and her family lived in a haunted house.
Sightings, visitations, strange sounds, noxious smells are just some of the things that this family experienced while the unknown stalked them. While some things such as all the lights coming on, the doors unlocking by themselves were easier to rationalize, other things frightened and saddened them. From visions of a skeletal bride to drinking glasses hovering in the air, feelings of suffocation and intimate touches were experienced by Elaine and her daughters over the years. My biggest question throughout the book was why the family stayed in this house.

Yes, this was their first, hard saved for house. A large Victorian that they renovated and restored, but even after Elaine and her husband divorced, she and her girls stayed in the house. If I was experiencing even some of the things that they described, I would have been out of that house. She wrote of how the girls didn’t want to move away from their school or their friends but surely she could have found somewhere close by for them to live.

I am a skeptic and this book didn’t help make a believer out of me, my thoughts were more about how much the author was financially benefiting from this story. Unfortunately, the writing was weak and uninspired which made the supposedly scary events come off more as a campfire tale than a true story. If you are looking for a good haunted house story, I would suggest you pass on Grave’s End.

211DeltaQueen50
feb. 17, 12:25pm

28. The Case of the Sulky Girl by Erle Stanley Gardner - 4.0 ★
Category: Cherry Cordials
February TIOLI #6: Involves a Court Case




The Case of the Sulky Girl by Erle Stanley Gardner is the 2nd book in his highly successful Perry Mason series. The TV show “Perry Mason” was a staple in my house during my growing up years, so I was quite surprised that the book gave me a totally different view of this character. In the book, Parry Mason isn’t quite as upstanding and honest as the TV character, while he doesn’t cross the line, he certainly skirts the edges. The book gives us an edgier Perry Mason, but I couldn’t help but still see Raymond Burr as the lawyer.

This book was classic Perry Mason with a murder case that involved trust funds and blackmail. Perry Mason is defending a young couple in a case that looked pretty bleak for them, but once he got to the court, he knew exactly how to handle the jury, the judge and the prosecutor. It is obvious that the author knows the rules of law as the trial portion of the book was very realistic and although I had a very good idea of who the real murderer was, the courtroom reveal was dramatic and like the rest of the book, well crafted and clever.

212mstrust
feb. 17, 1:05pm

I have yet to read anything by Gardner but I need to put him on my WL. I like this title and the cover is great too! I admire the vintage artwork so much more than the more modern ones with blurry pictures.

213DeltaQueen50
feb. 17, 5:53pm

>212 mstrust: I love vintage covers as well and actually this one fits the story well as a pink negligee plays a part. The story seemed a lot more gritty than the TV show, but considering the show was on in the late 50s and early 60s that is to be expected.

214NinieB
feb. 18, 12:06am

>211 DeltaQueen50: Two-fisted Perry also seems to have something going on the side with Della. These early ones are just different.

215DeltaQueen50
feb. 18, 2:04pm

>214 NinieB: Della Street is also very different in the book from the TV show. It's pretty obvious in the book that she adores Perry, his feelings are a little more ambiguous.

216DeltaQueen50
feb. 21, 12:03pm

29. Friday On My Mind by Nicci French - 3.8 ★
Category: Chocolate Creams
Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge: Relates to the Present
February TIOLI #11: Rolling Challenge Based on Mardi Gras




While I was thoroughly engaged by Friday On My Mind, the fifth book in author Nicci French’s mystery series, the plot was one of the weaker ones and required the reader to accept a lot that didn’t really make a lot of sense. I think this book would most likely only appeal to those of us who are already enthralled by Frieda Klein and are willing to follow her no matter how messy the story becomes.

When Frieda’s ex-lover is pulled from the Thames River with his throat cut, she immediately believes it is the work of her stalker, Dean Reeve. But as she is the only one who believes Reeve is still alive suspicion actually falls on Frieda. When it gets to the point of placing Frieda under arrest, she goes on the run and slowly uncovers some clues that lead her in another direction. Unfortunately, the actual murderer is keeping an eye on her and has plans to silence her forever.

The book moves at a fast pace and as Frieda becomes hunted by both the police and the murderer it builds to an exciting finish. This is a series that really needs to be read in order so as to understand Frieda’s motives, her friends staunch loyalty, and the ever present danger that lurks on the horizon. Well written with some dark humor inserted to lighten the atmosphere, Friday On My Mind, while not the best in the series, was, for me, both thrilling and addictive.

217MissBrangwen
feb. 21, 12:43pm

>216 DeltaQueen50: Interesting review! I haven't tried this author yet.

218VivienneR
feb. 21, 4:35pm

>216 DeltaQueen50: I recently tried The Lying Room a standalone by Nicci French and found it a bit disappointing. I'm hesitant to read more although the Frieda Klein series has been on my wishlist for a while.

219DeltaQueen50
feb. 21, 10:11pm

>217 MissBrangwen: Husband and wife author team, Nicci French have written both many stand-alone mysteries and the Frieda Klein series. I have been a fan of theirs for some time, but only in the last couple of years got around to the Frieda books - I was immediately hooked after the first one, Blue Monday.

>218 VivienneR: Hi Vivienne. I have read tons of Nicci French books but wouldn't you know it, I haven't read The Lying Room. I just checked my library and the two stand alones that I rated most highly are Under the Skin and Secret Smile. Of course there is no shortage of mystery thriller writers so you may decide not to continue on with Nicci French.

220DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 22, 12:44pm

30. Network Effect by Martha Wells - 4.5 ★
Category: Almond Crunch
February SFFFKit: Sentient Things
February TIOLI #4: Only 1 Letter is Used as a Vowel in Author's Last Name




The adventure, the humor, the fast paced action, in fact all the things that I have come to love about the Murderbot novellas are in this first full length novel, Network Effect by Martha Wells. Murderbot is a rogue Security Unit robot who has managed to hack it’s way into becoming a free-thinking, cranky, cynical and artificially intelligent being that is, in fact, a deadly weapon that excels in protecting its humans. Made from half cloned human material and half inorganic technological parts, it has a lot of human qualities but doesn’t really like most humans all that much. It would much rather be left alone to watch it’s favorite TV shows in peace.

The author takes us from action scene to action scene as Murderbot and some of its current friends are suddenly captured and whisked across space. Things start to really get complicated when the perpetrator is revealed and this leads to even more action as a dangerous rescue mission is called for. Network Effect is a seamless continuation of the story that has been laid out in the first four novellas. One could read it as a stand-alone but the novellas will certainly help to fill in the blanks and give the reader all the insight it needs into the motives and, dare I say it, the feelings that Murderbot expresses.

Network Effect is a great read that has you laughing and cheering at times and then nodding thoughtfully at others. At the end of the book the author gives us a glimpse of what is going to happen next as Murderbot makes a decision about the next phase of its life. Personally I can’t wait until the next great space adventure is available.

221msf59
feb. 22, 2:23pm

Hi, Judy! Good review of Network Effect. Looking forward to finally getting to that one soon. I loved the earlier books.

222DeltaQueen50
feb. 24, 2:34am

>221 msf59: Hi Mark, the Murderbot books are always a fun and exciting read and I am looking forward to where the author is going to take us next.

223DeltaQueen50
feb. 24, 2:44am

31. Thick As Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner - 4.2 ★
Category: Chocolate Letters
February AlphaKit: T
February TIOLI #7: A Book I Heard About In January




Thick As Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner is the 5th book in her Queen’s Thief series, but it could also be read as a stand alone story. Kamet is the slave-secretary to the former ambassador of Attolia, Nahuseresh. He enjoys his position, even though he must endure his masters moods. One day when a fellow slave tells him that his master has been poisoned, he joins forces with an Attolian soldier who has offered to help him get to Attolia. Since the slaves of a murdered master are put to death as a precaution, Kamet knows he needs to leave the Empire. Together they travel across the Mede empire looking for a way to fully escape all that are trailing after them.

This was a fun adventure story that was lighter in style than some of the previous books. Kamet and Costis, the Attolian soldier, make an interesting pair and as they bond and grow in friendship, the reader learns to care for these characters and to root for their success. The last third of the book comes full circle back to the political machinations of the King and Queen of Attolia and gives us a very satisfactory ending.

This is a superior YA fantasy series as the author takes great care to slowly build her characters and create relationships that feel real. The setting, world building and politics are crafted with care and the result is a complex, multilayered story that fully engages the reader. I am hopeful that there will be more books in this series.

224christina_reads
feb. 24, 9:20am

>223 DeltaQueen50: Glad you enjoyed this one! It's on my list for next month and I can't wait to read it! To my knowledge, there is one book after this, Return of the Thief, and I believe it's supposed to be the final book in the series.

225BLBera
feb. 24, 10:21am

Hi Judy: I haven't read anything by French, and you remind me that I want to try Martha Wells, too. How is Mr. DeltaQueen? I hope his recovery is going well.

226DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 25, 8:38pm

>224 christina_reads: I didn't realize that another book is available and I have picked myself up a copy this morning. I will be sorry to see the end of this series.

>225 BLBera: I have long been a fan of Nicci French's books. The stand-alones can be a little hit-or-miss, but for me, the Frieda Klein series has been outstanding. There are many however who are put off by Frieda as she is a somewhat flawed character.

ETA: I forgot to add that my hubby is improving all the time and getting stronger every day.

227Familyhistorian
feb. 25, 1:45pm

Did you get any snow, Judy? I woke up to snow on the ground again this morning. This is either the third or fourth time that has happened over here which shows that I must be in a colder spot in the Lower Mainland than you are.

228DeltaQueen50
Editat: feb. 25, 11:25pm

>227 Familyhistorian: No snow here, Meg. It was chilly this morning but by mid-day it was quite mild. It feels like Spring to me. Where I live in Delta, we are more influenced by the ocean rather than the mountains that you are close to.

ETA: I just saw on the News that a good portion of Vancouver had to deal with a lot of snow this morning - and we didn't get as much as a snowflake!

229DeltaQueen50
feb. 25, 8:36pm

32. Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James - 3.7 ★
Category: Passionfruit Hearts
BingoDog: Contains a Love Story
Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge: A Love Story
February TIOLI #10: A 4 Is In The Number of Pages




I am not quite sure what to make of my first Eloisa James book. Desperate Duchesses seemed to be more a bedroom farce than a historical romance. Set in Georgian England, the oversexed characters romp and posture through the book as the author introduces a number of characters in this, the first book of the Desperate Duchesses series. At times I felt there were too many characters to keep track of and that the main story, that of Roberta and Damon, seemed almost secondary.

I found this book to have an abundance of humor and sex scenes but was rather lacking in old-fashioned romance. The main couple were not exactly star-crossed but instead, while the male half of the couple was very sure of what he wanted, the female needed to grow up and discover what love and marriage was really all about. In the end though I decided I quite enjoyed this colorful and dramatic story and I will probably try at least one more in this series as I am curious as to which couple the author will feature next.

230Familyhistorian
feb. 28, 4:49pm

>228 DeltaQueen50: It was feeling like spring before the snow fell the other day and didn't take long for it to get back to that feeling, Judy. I hope that was it for the last taste of winter here.

231DeltaQueen50
feb. 28, 7:43pm

>230 Familyhistorian: All in all, we had a pretty mild winter and hopefully we are now entering our long spring. We have daffodils blooming out on our balcony and I see plenty of crocus in bloom when I go out.

232DeltaQueen50
feb. 28, 7:53pm

33. Blood Salt Water by Denise Mina - 4.1 ★
Category: Sweet Georgia Browns
BingoDog: Classic Element in Title
February TIOLI #10: A 4 is in the Number of Pages




Blood Salt Water by Denise Mina is the fifth book in her Alex Morrow series. There hasn’t been a further entry in this series since this book was published in 2015 which leads me to believe that the author has moved on from this sequence. There was definitely a feeling of closure in this story. The actual plot was a combination of murder, fraud, drug dealing and blackmail.

There isn’t a lot of mystery involved in this story, we learn very quickly whodunnit so the plot becomes more about explaining the how and why of the various crimes and exactly who is connected to who. A wealthy businesswoman disappears from Glasgow and all traces of her lead to a small seaside town. Of course all is not as it seems on the surface as the businesswoman appears to have been under a loose police surveillance. She is suspected to be heavily involved in a large scale con, and the reasons for her disappearance are not immediately clear. Meanwhile a drowned woman has been pulled from the nearby loch and a local pub has been burned to the ground causing the death of two more individuals. How all these crimes mesh together in this intricately plotted literary thriller makes for a very good read.

I have long been a fan of Denise Mina. Her books are dark, intense and meant for a mature audience. This well constructed book is much more than a straight crime story as she doesn’t tie up all the ends neatly, instead she shows that law can be imperfect and that often money can make a difference in how justice is dealt out. Even if this series has come to an end, I look forward to continuing my exploration of this author’s work.

233ronincats
feb. 28, 9:27pm

Hey, Judy, hope your spring is on the way!

234Nickelini
feb. 28, 10:41pm

>230 Familyhistorian:, >231 DeltaQueen50:
When I was out for my walk today it felt like an okay-winter Vancouver day -- foggy and damp, but fresh rather than cold. Only snowdrops and crocus in my neighbourhood, haven't seen any daffodils yet. I usually have an array of bulbs that go from Feb until May, but I think the squirrels got to my garden this winter and I'm not sure what I'm going to get.

235DeltaQueen50
març 1, 12:09pm

Happy March 1st everyone! Today the weather is rather dull but I see some weak sunshine has just poked through, and (fingers crossed) the forecast is for some warm sunny days later in the week.

>233 ronincats: I love both spring and fall, Roni, and I am looking forward to some warm days when I can take my book and read outside.

>234 Nickelini: We live in hope of warm weather and sunshine here on the West Coast! The squirrels took all our tulip bulbs when we lived in the house, but luckily they don't seem to bother us here up here on the third floor.

236LadyoftheLodge
març 1, 3:12pm

Hi there! Here in Indiana, we have sunny skies and all the snow is melting. There has been some flash flooding though because of the rain this weekend. It is supposed to be sunny all week, with higher than average temps, so we are looking forward to sitting out on the deck.

237LibraryCin
març 1, 5:13pm

We have a nice chinook happening here in Calgary today... was also yesterday and should continue through the week. 10C today and yesterday, will be in single digits above 0 the rest of this week and they are saying 10 again on Friday!

238hailelib
març 1, 7:10pm

I woke up to rain this morning although it was more of a drizzle by the time that I was moving around. The only good thing is that it was warm enough that the heat was barely on today. Our daffodils are just starting to bloom and they are always late compared to the ones in town. I’m definitely ready for spring!

239DeltaQueen50
març 2, 12:52pm

>236 LadyoftheLodge: I lived in Ontario for a number of years and although I don't miss the long, snowy winters, I do miss that early spring when the weather starts to warm up and the snow melts. I remember hearing the sound of water trickling everywhere. Enjoy sitting out on your deck!

>237 LibraryCin: Calgary always has such interesting weather! I remember visiting there and have a quick snow storm in July - of course, it melted away very quickly, but there's always something in the weather to remind you not to ignore it!

>238 hailelib: I am ready for some warm spring weather as well. We didn't get any snow to speak of this winter but we certainly had more than our share of dull cloudy days.

240DeltaQueen50
Editat: març 2, 11:02pm

34. Pieces of Eight by John Drake - 3.8 ★
Category: White Chocolate Cameos
March GenreCat: Action & Adventure
March Reading Through Time: Arghh, Matey!
March TIOLI #5: Author's First Name Starts with a 'J'




Pieces of Eight by John Drake is the second in his trilogy that is a prequel to the classic story, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. After the events of the first book, we find Long John Silver and his crew marooned on the unknown island, while the evil Captain Flint sails away to gather more men with a plan to come back and wipe out Silver and reclaim the island and his treasure for himself. Flint has also kidnapped the love of Long John’s life, the beautiful black woman Selena.

The story follows both parties as they prepare for their final meeting. Who will survive and who will get the treasure? A nation of displaced North American Indians, a cross dressing pirate captain and some diseased monkeys are thrown into the mix to keep the story lively and exciting. This is a gentlemen of fortune story that is full of action and adventure. Of course, as there is a third book, most everything is left hanging at the end of the story, but nevertheless, it’s a fun ride to get there.

Pieces of Eight is a little over-the-top as the author makes sure to include every element one could possibly expect from a pirate story. We have acts of piracy, the navy chasing the pirates, double-crossing and treachery aplenty, and the excitement of cannon fire, and swordplay. All in all an entertaining sequel to Flint and Silver, the first book of the trilogy.

241DeltaQueen50
març 4, 12:59am

35. The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell - 4.2 ★
Category: Maple Melties
BingoDog: Impulse Read
March GenreCat: Adventure
March TIOLI #3: Involves a Game or Contest




The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell was first published in Collier’s magazine in 1924. Considered by many to be an example of short story perfection, this classic story features a big game hunter, Sanger Rainsford, who falls off a yacht in swims to what seemed to be a deserted island in the Caribbean, but on the island he meets Colonel Zaroff, a strange Russian aristocrat who spends his time on the island, hunting humans. The Colonel decides that the big game hunter will make an excellent quarry.

This short story was apparently inspired by the fashionable hunting safaris in Africa and South America of the 1920s and it has been adapted for film and TV more than once. This O Henry awarded story is one of a series of short stories that I studied while in high school many years ago, but I think it stands the test of time quite well.

The Most Dangerous Game is, on one level a story of adventure and drama, but it definitely raises questions about man’s need to hunt to acquire trophies. The struggle between these two hunters brings up many questions such as, is hunting strictly for the sport of it, ever justified. While the title refers to the fact that man is the most dangerous animal, it also makes reference to the game that is played out by Rainsford and Zaroff. What makes this story so memorable is the ambiguous ending that could be interpreted in a number of ways.

242mstrust
març 4, 1:09pm

That sounds good!
I don't know if you every watched the TBS comedy Wrecked, but they did several episodes of the passengers of a wrecked cruiseship making it to an island and thinking they were saved, only to be hunted by a group of insane millionaires.

243DeltaQueen50
març 4, 1:18pm

>242 mstrust: Hi Jennifer, I haven't seen that show but apparently a lot of TV shows have borrowed the plot - Star Trek comes to mind right away.

244Familyhistorian
març 4, 3:05pm

I started exploring Denise Mina's books once I saw her in person, Judy. She's very good and I should get back to the Alex Morrow series.

As for the ticker issue, I notice that the top ones you have in >3 DeltaQueen50: are fine, Judy, but the bottom one has a problem with the goal as it reads "30 Owned Books Read done - 90 Owned Books Read"

>234 Nickelini: I noticed that the daffodils were starting to bloom when I was downtown on Tuesday.

245lsh63
març 4, 3:16pm

Hi Judy, I hope you are doing well. Way back at >232 DeltaQueen50:, I thought I was up to date with the Alex Morrow series, but apparently I didn’t read this one , thank you for reminding me!

246DeltaQueen50
març 5, 5:20pm

>244 Familyhistorian: I think the problem is simply the length of the statement so I changed the original statement of '120 Owned Books Read' to '120 Owned Books' which makes the whole summary fit a little better. It was trying to say '90 Owned Books Read To Go' and now, without the word 'Read', you can almost see the complete statement.

>245 lsh63: You are most welcome, Lisa. I'm sorry to see the end of this series, if indeed, it is over, but anything she writes is bound to be good.

247msf59
març 5, 6:12pm

Happy Friday, Judy! I hope all is well, my friend. I am enjoying Network Effect. Hooray for Murderbot!

248DeltaQueen50
Editat: març 7, 1:34pm

>247 msf59: Hi Mark. All is well here, I have been neglecting LT a bit recently as I have fallen into the hole of computer games. I have been drawn into a Harvest Moon game and it is taking most of my spare time. My reading has fallen off but I am sure the pages will soon draw me back.

249DeltaQueen50
març 7, 1:34pm

I've opened a new thread filled with more chocolate treats - come on over and join me!