Thursday, February 4, 2016

TBT: Is it Canadian enough?

TBT from Sept 8, 2008
I appear to have been analysing Exit Lines by Joan Barfoot which I also reviewed on Sept 8, 2008.




John Mutford, over at the Book Mine Set, recently analysed a novel to see how it fit the Fergeson brothers description of the Typical Canadian Novel. I thought this book could benefit from the same treatment.


0 indicates a poor match, 1 is questionable, 2 is a perfect match:

1st. "Setting – Setting is important. It has to be bleak and foreboding: maybe Cape Breton or outport Newfoundland or a cabin in northern Ontario."

Score: 0 I can't identify the locale, I think any small town in North America could pass. The false cheeriness in an old age home is there, but that certainly isn't unique to Canada.


2nd. "Plot – Avoid this at all costs. Instead, the characters should just sort of mope from scene to scene, maybe staring into the distance now and then to remember events that happened long before. You don’t want a sense of forward momentum in a novel. You want “atmosphere.” '

Score: 1 It's not a huge plot but there is something going on while we get everyone's backstory. I wanted to keep reading and find out what happened next, that feels like plot to me.


3rd. "Humour – God, no. Instead of humour, you want irony. And lots of it. Your book should be drenched in irony. Soaked in it, even. When someone squeezes your book, irony should ooze out from between the pages. It should reek of postmodern alienation and ennui. The more postmodern the better."

Score: 0 I thought it was quite humorous and light. I'm not sure about post modern alienation, but the baby boomers are getting up there, so this book is certainly their demographic.


4th. "Character – In Canadian novels the men – especially the father figures – should be brooding alcoholics, or brooding violent alcoholics, or pathetic losers who aren't really alcoholic but are still quite pathetic, or recovering alcoholics, or violent losers, or brooding pathetic recovering alcoholics who are also violent.The main female character must be victimized. That goes without saying. She has to be victimized. But here’s the thing – she should also be empowered. That’s right. In Canadian novels, you get to have it both ways: “empowered victims.”"

Score: 0 Nice mix of characters, and while the token male was a bit of an ass, the women had their faults as well.


5th. "Style – Keep it simple. Stark. Unfurnished. Underwritten. Subject + verb + object again and again and again and again. SVO. SVO. Stick to the bare minimum offered by the English language. Do not use adverbs. And if you have to use adjectives, keep them short and simple and obvious to the point of redundancy (i.e., “blue sky,” “white clouds,” “wet rain,” “unfaithful husband”). "

Score: 1 Nicely written, easily readable,


With a 2 out of a possible 10 points, not your typical Canadian novel. I knew I liked it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Historical Fiction Novels



Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic related to the past or the future and I'm looking at my favourite historical novels. I think I've done a list like this with just historical mysteries. This is not mysteries, just great books. Some of these are as much about the characters as the setting, but the setting is important too. I may have had trouble keeping my list to ten.

prehistoric Europe: The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M Auel
First in the Anya series, life in prehistoric Europe

9th century Italy: Pope Joan by Donna Cross
Was there a female pope? I love the idea that women played a much bigger role in history than is recorded in history

12th century England: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
What all is involved in building those cathedrals in England?


15th century France: The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
Could have been an all Chevalier list, but this one was done nicely, looking at how woven murals were made. Chevalier is more famous for The Girl with the Pearl Earring.

16th century England: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
One of many great Tudor era books. Henry VIII left such great material

18th century Canada: The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor by Sally Armstrong
Life in the wilds of New Brunswick was not easy for a female settler


19th century Canada: Random Passage by Bernice Morgan
Ever wonder how rough life would have been in Newfoundland for those early settlers? Rough.


19th century England: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Victorian England is one of my favourite eras, and the plot in this one is more than the setting, but the setting makes it possible.



1930s Canada: Clara Callen by Richard B Wright
Love, love this book set in depression-era Ontario


1930-40s Germany: Stones from the River by Ursula Helgi
A well done world war 2 era book among many set in that time. This one takes the German perspective. An original Oprah book

1970s India: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
Such a great book and so well written, this one set in India is one of the best books I've read, if only because I couldn't stop thinking about it.


















Monday, February 1, 2016

BOOK: A Neighbourly War: New Brunswick and the War of 1812 by Robert Dallison

A Neighbourly War: New Brunswick and the War of 1812 by Robert L Dallison, 180 pages (including all the references)

Hey, remember when US and Canada went to war? No, nobody does since it was in 1812, and luckily, we had no ill feelings afterward.

Most famous events from the War of 1812? Laura Secord saving the day for Canada, and the burning of the White House before it was called the White House. This book says that the president's house got called The White House after they painted over the char marks from the fire.

Laura Secord? Now I want some chocolate.

Sadly, there is no Laura Secord in this book because it looks primarily at New Brunswick's participation and actions. But here's a Heritage Minute that Canadians grew up with:


Back to the book. It's part of a series of books written about New Brunswick military history and contains all the facts about generals and regiments and cost of buttons for military coats that a history buff would want. But little ole NB was settled, and affected by world wide events, and that part is pretty interesting. Maine and NB were really hoping their self declared truce, between neighbours and trading partners, would hold, but higher powers had other ideas. There is some scuffling over islands on the border. Technically, it wasn't Canada that was at war because we were part of British North America, and this fight was as much about France and Britain, still. France supported the US, and Britain controlled all the money for 'Canada.' Britain was more invested in fighting Napoleon in Europe. (Which reminds me, after reading about Josephine last year, I'd still like to read more about Napoleon.)

New Brunswick ended up with a lot of settlers after the war. Enlisted soldiers and officers were offered land after the war ended. Britain offered shelter to any Americans who wanted to side with Britain after the war, which mostly consisted of escaped slaves. They were also offered land to settle in NB. So, while the military details were not interesting for me, seeing how the geography of NB and the people got information 200 years ago was quite interesting. After the girls traveled by bus to Quebec (13 h drive!) for a ringette tournament, reading how regiments marched to Quebec City, in the winter, gave me a new appreciation for life as a soldier.

There are plenty of pictures of buildings and graves and paintings. The back contains references. a glossary of military terms, and an index. This is a lovely book published by Goose Lane Editions. 




Sunday, January 31, 2016

UPDATE: January

A few more wintery aerials of McCabe Lake area from @flitelab
Flitelab phone of Nova Scotia (my brother in law's company)

The weather has been: *cross your fingers* okay. Regular wintery. Had one or two storm days so got to get some #stormchips. That blizzard that blew through Eastern US veered off and missed us. The nor'eastern this weekend just grazed us. But things didn't turn bad last year until February, so still cautiously optimistic. Actually, other than worrying about what could be, it's been quite mild (-5C) and lovely. 

 I am listening to: Just finishing up Dead Wake by Erik Larson, and Fates and Furies by Lauren Grof is on stand-by. In January, I also re-listened to Cabin Pressure by John Finnemore (with Benedict Cumberbatch) which can be found on Podcast apps. So hilarious!

Books on audio in January:

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, 11.5 hours

The last of YA Sync on my phone from 2015, considered part of the Code Name Verity series, because a character from Verity appears here as a friend of Rose in England. I was disappointed in the audio of Code Name Verity after loving the book. This book was okay. It's girls in an internment camp in Germany in WW2, so very bleak. Some of the girls are characters (obvs, plucky young ladies, defying the odds, etc, etc) and I didn't enjoy some of the voices that Sasha Pick used. I did finish and it was done very well showing the challenges Rose faced after her release. Not as dramatic as Code Name Verity, but I preferred the audio of Rose Under Fire.


Funny Girl by Nick Hornby, 10 h 19 min

I had no idea what this would be about, but it's Hornby, and it's been listed on 'best of' lists, so I gave it a whirl. Summary in five words: Mary Tyler Moore in England? The novel follows a young girl who wants to be funny, and on television. She meets up, in 1960s London, with writing partners who happen to gay, but not romantic partners. They both hide their sexual orientation in different ways. They make a successful comedy programme in England, and the book just continues to follow their lives, up til the present. There are plenty of sociological comments on show business, following your dreams, the business of nostalgia, life in England from the 60s to present, and the sacrifices made to achieve your dreams. Worth the time.



I am watching: 

  • I watched quite a bit of the Australian Open, enjoying Milos Raonic's run to the semis.
  • The Grinder with Fred Savage and Rob Lowe! Very, very funny, with both actors on point. Fred Savage has the Bob Newhart role of a sane person with craziness around him, and Rob Lowe plays his brother, a Hollywood actor returning home after playing a lawyer for years. He thinks he knows the law since he played a lawyer on TV. 
  • My son play basketball on AUS-tv, online streaming of all the games. Go Capers!


I am reading: 
Books read in January: short reviews for the ones I'll never get around to writing better ones!


A Beam of Light - Andrea Camilleri
19th in the Inspector Montalbano series. 

After not liking for years how Salvo treats Livia, I am now ready for them to break up. There has been little shown that is positive in their relationship, and he seems to have some regrets for decisions. In this one, a new women appears who is, of course, obsessed with Montalbano. The notes at the back by the translator Stephen Sartarelli continue to add to the reading experience and could be even more! The mystery had a call back to a previous book, so that was cool.




Mr Chartwell - Rebecca Hunt, 256 pages

Winston Churchill referred to his lifelong battle with depression as 'the black dog' and here the dog is an actual creature, calling himself Mr Chartwell. Mr Chartwell is a busy worker, and when he takes a room in Esther's home it is clear he is coming for her as well. The book tells parallel tales of Esther and Churchill as they are struggling. I think the book is discussing two different kinds of depression - a clinical, hereditary type associated with Churchill and his family, and a situational one like Esther's due to a tragedy in her life. 
It was  a little weird, with the dog actually there for those who can see it but the point was made. Esther was a lovely character and I liked the supporting cast around her that help her pull through the dark time. The Churchill parts made me want to read more about him and Clementine. (And they are characters in the non-fiction book, Dead Wake.)

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E Lockhart   already reviewed
Swamp Angel - Ethel Wilson 
A Neighbourly War: New Brunswick and the War of 1812 - Robert Dallison




Our Souls at Night - Kent Haruf, 170 pages

Having never heard of Kent Haruf before seeing this title on several end of year lists, I now have his Evensong trilogy I'd like to read. All take place in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado. 
Our Souls at Night was his last book before Haruf died of cancer in late 2014. The premise is so sweet - a widow asks her neighbour, who she knows a bit socially but not really friends, if he, also widowed, would sleep the night in her bed. She's lonely, and wants some companionship. Someone to talk to through the night. It's a pretty simple book that follows the aftermath of this request. There is more to the story, and less, at the same time.


Plans for February:
The start of a new semester of classes and two girls playing ringette means a busy February. I'm planning a week-end to Halifax to watch my son play some basketball games and visit with sister and sister-in-law. Another weekend away to attend the Atlantic Ringette Championship that both girls play in, Under 14 and Under 16 Provincial teams. 

Reading wise, I'm hoping to read a mystery (Undone by Karin Slaughter), something Canadian, and something from the shelves that I already own. I've got a few books on request on audio that should come in an orderly fashion. (Fates and Furies, Finders Keepers by Stephen King, and Mountain Story by Lori Lansens)

I'm not sure what is going on with Blogger, but I am not having fun with the formatting problems. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

TBT: AWARD: Make My Day

TBT from January 29, 2007:
Another post from the draft pile of digital clutter. I guess I never posted this. Oops! Some of these bloggers are no longer blogging, but some I still am friends with.




Sweet Jill , mrstreme, at The Magic Lasso, has given me a wonderful award, since I guess I make her Day! I'm a little slow getting back to this, but I am to pass it on, very easily , to other bloggers who make my day, everyday, as I blog roll and hop.

There are many blogs I look forward to, and I hate to leave anyone out, but here are some of them, and since the ones I can't get on here are so great, I know that they will be nominated if they haven't already. I previously gave my mwah awards out; since I already kissed them, they should know: they make my day.

chris at book-a-rama - my neighbour in the Maritimes, who reads great books, and has the best Friday buzz links

tiny little librarian in the tiny reading room- a kindred spririt in reading, I enjoy her reviews and since we usually like the same books, I get good recs from her

joy at thoughts of joy - I love her reviews, and she holds nothing back. I often enjoy her bad reviews more, even though it means she's read a bad book. I can't even count how many of her challenges entered

bybee at naked without books! - bybee's enthusiasm comes through all the way across the Pacific, as she finds books and book clubs to share her reading. Great reviews

pam at sidewalk shoes - she reads, she cooks, her blog makes me drool, it's my new favorite hangout, and I hope to get invited for supper soon

paula at on a rainy night - I used to be more crafty, so I love seeing all of Paula's wonderful crafts and hearing of her expanding family. She sounds so cheerful.

suey at it's all about books - she reads great books, and some of her all time favorite books are my all time favorite books too.

kookiejar at a fraternity of dreamers - the links, the Lost, the fun. Don't you all just love seeing kookie's name on the blogroll with a new post?

argh! there are many others I want to add, but don't want to leave anyone out, but I know I have, so I waited a week to finish this,

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Stephen King books






Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is a freebie. Inspired by Katherine's post at I Wish I Lived in a Library for where to start with Agatha Christie, I'm recommending some Stephen King.

I've read Uncle Stevie since I was a teenager. Not all his books are hits, but many, many are. If you haven't read King before, his books are not all gross and scary. There is gross and scary for sure, but he lets your imagination worry about more than he will ever write. There's a List at Librarything called Top 5 Books by Stephen King, where you'll find 22 books that make the top 5 list of his books.

I'd divide his work into 3 types: shorter novels and short stories, big epic stories, and regular books.


Shorter Novels and Short Stories

Night Shift and Everything's Eventual are both superb collections of short stories. Even if you aren't a short story fan, these tidbits of stories would be a great place to get your toes wet in the scary stuff. Not all of them work as well, but you can't read these books and not have some stories stick with you. Not everything is super scary or gross; some stories can be quite sweet.

Different Seasons and Full Dark, No Stars are both books with four or five novellas. (Regular authors might even release them as 'novels'.) Both have stories that have been made into movies, some very good movies.  The Body (movie Stand By Me) and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption (movie Shawshank Redemption) are both from Different Seasons, and they are not super scary at all.


Once you have dipped your toes in the water with King, and are ready to get fully immersed in his writing, I'd suggest some epic novels. These are the ones that King is famous for: huge, long, sprawling novels of good and evil. The kind that keep you up late at night; first because you can't put them down, then because they were scary!

The Stand and It are number 2 and 3 on that List at Librarything for a good reason. They are character rich, with plots that are involved and elaborate. The Stand is about a flu that wipes out most of the Earth's population, and the remaining people start to congregate together, for an epic battle of good and evil. It starts with twelve year olds, King's favourite age to write about. A group of kids grow up and are drawn back to their hometown to battle some scary evil stuff. The back and forth between past and present and all the characters makes this unput-downable.

The Talisman might be a good place to start if you are already a fan of fantasy type books. This one has supernatural elements with world-shifting, which is usually not my genre, but The Talisman ended up being one of my favourite books by King. A little boy has to get from here to there and find his mother. He can travel faster in the other world, but it is more dangerous. This was co-written with Peter Straub, and The Black House is a sequel of sorts, but I didn't like it as much. The journey and quest in the Talisman was just enough for me.

Regular Type Novels

These books may not be significantly shorter, but there are fewer characters and less involved plot.
Duma Key, and Misery less involved novels. Duma Key is still a little long, but has supernatural elements and friendships that make it an enjoyable read. Misery is a lot of fun because of the movie and the focus on crazy fans, but in other ways, it is so realistic that is becomes super scary and gross.

For my last recommended book, I chose The Green Mile. I read this in its original serial format, King's homage to Dickens. Six books were released, one every two months for a year. My sister and I bought the books in this way, read and shared them, then waited for the next book. Now, you would get the book in a single edition, so it is probably quite long. I adored this book, for its history of the 1930s, the hint of supernatural, the stand-up characters, and the character of John Coffey. Also a wonderful movie, King pulls the heartstrings in this one.


A few honourable mentions: The Bachman Books were published under a pseudonym and then later released under King's name. When I read the first story, The Long Walk, I put the book down and didn't read any other stories for a long time, because it was so good, I couldn't imagine reading the next story. I finally read the rest and they were also good, but didn't make the impression that The Long Walk did.
Eyes of the Dragon was a fairy tale written for his daughter and I remember really, really liking it.

I didn't even mention The Shining which is the top book listed by most fans. I liked it but it didn't make the impression on me that the other books did. It would fit under Regular Type Novels.





Sunday, January 24, 2016

BOOK: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E Lockhart

It's the return of a (very) old post I've done before: Books and Authors I Can't Tell Apart

here, and here and here.  (wow. This is the third time I've included Frankie Landau Banks in my confusions. I'm glad I finally read this book!)

 This time it's authors I'm mixing up:        E Lockhart  and   AS King

Usually once I read an author/the books, I don't get them mixed up anymore. But these two!

Both write exceptionally good young adult books.
E Lockhart - We Were Liars, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landua-Banks
AS King - Reality Boy, Ask the Passengers

Both are women.

Both have initials! That are vowels!

I've now read two books by each and I've really enjoyed all of them. They both seem to write a little more than the standard YA fare. And I think I will forever tie these two authors and their books into the same neat package of  'I really like her writing and her books!'

Here's a review of the latest book I've read, by E Lockhart.


The Disreputable History of Frankie Landua-Banks by E Lockhart, 352 pages

Starting at the end, then backtracking to the start, the third person narration is so closely connected to Frankie that I was sure (after the fact) that I had been reading her diaries. Actually, you can practically hear the narration laid over a movie screenplay to move along the story, with foreshadowing like - This will be important later. The book starts with Frankie's confession of her Disreputable History, then tells what led to that point. Frankie attends a rich boarding school that has been co-ed for a large number of years, but not forever. That's important. She's at the age where she is beginning to question traditions and women's roles, and the double standards that are inevitably in play.

When second year Frankie begins dating the cool senior, she gets into the gang that runs things. But the super secret boys club (of which her father has spoken and was a member) begins to rankle. She knows about it, but her boyfriend doesn't tell, or include her. She finds a way to control the club and make some social progress at the same time. Alas, her efforts are not recognized (the boys take the credit) or appreciated as anything other than pranks. Then things go too far.

Frankie was such a strong, smart character who, while a teenager in love, also was not willing to sacrifice her values or her self for her boyfriend. Also a stupid teenager doing stupid things once the power got to her. Lockhart includes some philosophy and sociology ideas (just like King did in Ask the Passengers. Stop it, you two!)

I really liked this book. Frankie was a great character, not perfect in motives but strong in her self.



Thursday, January 21, 2016

TBT: CHALLENGE: Classic Books, winter 2007

TBT: from the draft pile of digital clutter early 2007



My very first reading challenge from the winter of 2007. I was so excited when I found the idea of a 'reading challenge.' This one was hosted or sponsored at A Reader's Journal by booklogged or the delightful Cheya. She is still one of the only bloggers I have met in person when she and her husband visited PEI back in July 2007, and she is still blogging! Go visit and say hi!















1. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Dafoe
2. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
3. Treasure Island - RL Stevenson
4. On the Road - Jack Kerouac DNF
4. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - RL Stevenson
5. Wrinkle in Time - Madelaine L'Engle
6. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
7. Northanger Abby - Jane Austen

Thursday, January 14, 2016

TBT: MEME: What Science are you?

TBT:from the digital clutter, March 2010. I remember doing these little quizzes all the time back then. Now they would be on Facebook, but we used to blog them as well.




You Are Physics




You are a highly intellectual and intelligent person. There's not a subject that doesn't interest you.
You are very drawn to theories, and you are capable of understanding incredibly complex ideas.
You are curious about everything around you - from the smallest cell to the universe as a whole.

You believe that there are many connections in the world that we can't see. The way everything fits together fascinates you.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

TOP TEN TUESDAY: 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn't


 Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant to Get to But Didn't. That's an easy one! I've been reading peoples top books from last year, and using my Paperless List App to keep track of titles as I see them. I even have some requested already at the library or audiolibrary. I can tell they must be good because the line is long. A few favourite authors, a few new names. 



Dead Wake by Erik Larson

Finders Keepers by Stephen King

Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexi

Against a Darkening Sky by Lauren B Davis

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

Etta And Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper


Any of these you have loved?

Monday, January 11, 2016

THROWBACK POST:BOOK: Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart

Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart, 250 pages

Nonfiction Five 2010


Elfine [the cat] continued to thrive, and when she wasn't dozing she became, indeed, a great ratter. Or at least we think she did. The presence of rats and mice had been evidenced by their turds, little black pellets dotted about all over the house and terrace. Soon they disappeared altogether, which led us to one of two conclusions; either she was killing rats and mice very effectively or she was eating their turds. p 123




(Found in digital clutter of draft posts, apparently from 2010. I'm going to post some of these old posts as TBT posts here for the next little while.
I remember liking this book; I like Spain and travel memoirs)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

ETC: great quote


Here's to a great year of reading, friends!





it’s always fun to disagree about a book with people 
whose opinions you trust, right?




I was cleaning up my draft posts and found this quote I had saved (from 2010!), from the booklady's blog on this post, which is no longer there. Any one else have digital clutter like this?

Monday, January 4, 2016

LIST: Best Reading of 2015

reading-stats-2015-1024x278
Number Of Books You Read: 114
 Number of Re-Reads: 7 (shocked how many books I re-read! )
Audiobooks: 62
Genre You Read The Most From:   mysteries (33)

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?
The Martian by Andy Weir
The mix of adventure and humor and science made this a big win for me. I answered this last, after almost filling it into several categories (memorable character, world building, action-packed/unputdownable) Can't wait to see the movie!

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear
I raced through the last half of the series last year and loved Maisie's growth and how the series developed (and ended at Leaving Everything Most Loved). This lastest book was a huge disappointment. Winspear progressed a couple of years, after Maisie's marriage, move to Canada, and death of husband and baby. She then proceeded to 'tell' this story in flashback as Maisie deals with her sad, sad life, yet again in Gilbraltar as she hides after she already lived in India after all that.

Also, Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Heaney. Keeping information from the reader because the main character had Alzheimers so she kept forgetting what people told her was annoying. I get that she was confused, but it seemed like a cheap technique to keep the suspense up.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari was not a stand up comedy routine, or essays on love by a comedian. It was a sociological study, with a real researcher, with results and statistics and everything. Plus, it was narrated by a comedian, so it was funny and informative. It will also make you happy to be married and not out there. That was not surprising.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

 5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?
Best series started : Will Trent series by Karin Slaughter (Triptych and Fractured)
Best series From Beginning to End: Miss Marple by Agatha Christie (read all 12 novels)
Best sequel: The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Parallel story to  Life As We Knew It, a dystopian young adult book)

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
I mostly read tried and true authors (even a new Judy Blume!) so I guess Karin Slaughter is the author and series I discovered this year that I will be reading more of.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia was a young adult vampire/supernatural story from YA Sync. Let's not say the 'best book', let's just call it the book most out of my comfort zone.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Cobra by Deon Meyer
Another Bennie Griesell police mystery in South Africa. Always layered characters, great pacing, great mystery.

 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill was a unique, nonlinear story that I listened to quite quickly, and when it was done, thought I'd like to listen again, because I think there was more to get, but the first time through I was just trying to put the story together

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
Inside by Alix Ohlin

11. Most memorable character of 2015?
Jack Caffrey from Mo Hayder's mystery/thriller series is a always memorable character. The two books I read this year (Gone and Skin) also have Flea Marley, the police diver; also memorable.

Also memorable in a bad way was Mr March, the sad sack soldier, provider, and preacher. Nothing he did impressed me in March by Geraldine Brooks. I may still write a post on how much he annoyed me.


13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan was a crazy memoir about a brain infection that manifested itself as a psychotic condition until the right doctor got called in. This was very scary and amazing how the author reconstructed her terrible month.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
The Republic of Love by Carol Shields
I think I borrowed this 3 years ago from our school library, and then I adored it once I read it. Carol Shields wrote such wonderful books.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
I loved the passages in Ask the Passenger by AS King that show the passengers on planes getting affected by Astrid's messages of love sent skyward. Slightly magical, the passengers suddenly start thinking about a problem in their life, and end up feeling better. I'm becoming a fan of King.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
Shortest? a few audio books were only a few hours long The Explorers Club,by Nell Benjamin or Here in Harlemby Walter Dean Myeres
Longest: 16 h 3 min (531 pages) All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
Walt by Russell Wangersky was a great book with an unreliable narrator, but you were never quite sure how unreliable or crazy he was

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
Once we dial back the twee excitement of OTP, I like Lady Georgiana Rannoch and that Irish rogue Darcy O'Meara from the Royal Spyness mysteries by Rhys Bowen. I read three this year, and I'm up to book 6 and there does seem to be a somewhat commitment made between them, but the obstacles are still many. Royal Blood, Naughty in Nice, and The Twelve Clues of Christmas

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Eighty year old Addie and five year old Sharla in Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens was a wonderful connection of two people who didn't know how much they needed each other

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
Chevalier (Girl With a Pearl Earring) does historical fiction so well, creating stories based on real people

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
School library book passed to me in the staff room (instead of returned to library.) I actually knew very little about it when I took it for March break. Nice thoughtful look at a family in the 1970s.


23. Best 2015 debut you read?
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins was a great suspenseful read

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Mars from The Martian by Andy Weir


25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Dodger by Terry Pratchett was a very fun book, imagining Charles Dickens meeting a character who he will then base The Artful Dodger on

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?
I'm pretty sure I was bawling by the end of Martin Short's autobiography  I Must Say: My Life as Humble Comedy Legend Made me laugh and cry 

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Banks was a connected short story collection about one character trying to find love. First published in 1999, I picked this up at a book sale somewhere and quite enjoyed it.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
X by Ilyasah Shabazz
A fictionalized story of the beginning part of Malcolm X written by his daughter.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?
I wrote a whole post on A Corner of White by Jacklyn Moriarty


30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Hated in in high school, still hated it now. (Golding's opening essay defending why he couldn't write this with girls just got me started)

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?  
Her by Harriet Lane

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?
Tracy Chevalier has a new book coming out, and it has JOHNNY APPLESEED
(I had a record when I was little about singing Johnny Appleseed - "Oh, the Lord is good to me"
At the Edge of the Orchard in March 2016

 3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I'm always looking back at books I missed, seldom aware of new books coming out, except by my favourite authors

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?
Maybe there will be a new Tana French? Or a newly translated Deon Meyer?
I am waiting for the audiobook of Mrs Roosevelt's Confidente by Susan Elia MacNeal. I've only listened to this series and don't want to change now.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?
Just keep at the blog sporadically, read a few good books
I also want to read the books I picked for my Once & Again Challenge.

Thanks for reading all my ramblings, if you made it to the end. I enjoy looking back at my books and thinking about which book best fits the category, and making sure I mentioned all the books that were memorable for some reason or other. Let me know where you agree or disagree. Thanks for all the reviews and recs!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

CHALLENGE: Series Goals 2016



This has been my favorite challenge and the one I have the most success with - my own personal list of series to keep up with. Last year I read 28 books from my lists. Being able to get some audiobooks has helped a lot, and has rejuvenated some series for me.  Thanks again to SuziQoregon at Whimpulsive for the inspiration.

The Ones I got up to date in 2015. Will there be new books in my favorite series in 2016? 

Darko Dawson by Kwei Quartey
    Murder at Cape Three Points (March 14)
    Gold of Our Fathers (Mar 16
The Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French
The Number One Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
     The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine
Vish Puri by Tarquin Hall
Inspector Armand Gamauche by Louise Penny
     New book Aug 2016
Inspector Montalbano by Andrea Camilleri
      A Beam of Light
      Montalbano's First Case and Other Stories (Feb 16)
Maggie Hope  by Susan Elia MacNeal
   Mrs Roosevelt's Confidente  (October 2015)



Up to Date and Series is Done. :(
Detective Erlendur by Arnaldur Indridason
Is there a prequel to Erlendur? Must look for Reyjevik Nights
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
Miss Marple series (audiobook)


I think I'm done with the following series - the last book was not satisfying
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
Flavia DeLuce by Alan Bradley

 Still Working on...


 Jack Caffery by Mo Hayder (rec'd by suziQoregon)
6. Poppet
7. Wolf

 Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
7. Heirs and Graces
8. Queen of Hearts
9.A Royal Threesome
10. Crowned and Dangerous

Hazel Micallef - Inger Ash Wolfe
The Calling (read in 2012)
The Taken (listened in 2015)
A Door in the River
The Night Bell (Dec 15)

Will Trent series by Karin Slaughter
3. Undone  (own the book)
4. Broken  (playaway)
5. Fallen  (pei audiobook)
6. Criminal (pei audiobook)
7. Unseen


Matthew Shardlake by CJ Sansom
2. Dark Fire
3. Sovereign
4. Revelation
5. Heartstone
6. Lamentation


The Colours of Madeline by Jacklyn Moriarty
A Corner of White 2015
Cracks in the Kingdom


The ones I want to start reading in 2016: 

Wesley Peterson Mysteries by Kate Ellis
The Merchant's House by Kate Ellis
The Armada Boy by Kate Ellis
  An Unhallowed Grave by Kate Ellis
  The Funeral Boat by Kate Ellis
  The Bone Garden by Kate Ellis
 

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth 





 The Ones Where I thought I'd read in 2013 2014 and then didn't: 
Still Not Giving Up on Some of These:

Harry Hole by Jo Nesbo
The Devil's Star
The Redeemer
The Snowman
The Leopard
Phantom (playaway library)

Martin Beck Crime series by Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall
6. Murder at the Savoy nov 15
7.The Abominable Man
8. The Locked Room
9. Cop Killer
10. The Terrorists

Harry Bosch by Michael Connelly
The Last Coyote
Trunk Music
Angels Flight
A Darkness More Than Night
City of Bones
Lost Light

 An Irish Country Series by Patrick Taylor
An Irish Country Courtship (audiobook Halifax)
A Dublin Student Doctor
An Irish Country Wedding
Fingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor
An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War (audio Halifax)