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2016-19 Activities & Challenges > PBT Decathlon—August Reporting

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message 1: by Nicole R (last edited Aug 19, 2018 08:11AM) (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7782 comments Please post reviews for books you read for the decathlon here and indicate which month's theme you are reading for. Also, don't forget to shelve your reads!

AUGUST (5 raffle entries awarded): Read a book for the monthly tag that is recommended by a PBT member in the "Announcing the (month) thread" in the month that it is recommended.

Be sure to include in your review who recommended the book!

For August, you can find recommendations here. Please note that if you complete this challenge in future months, then the monthly tag and recommendation thread will change too!

Previous Months Themes: (3 raffle entries awarded)

July: Do one buddy read with a fellow PBT member and indicate in your review who you read your book with. The book does not need to fit the monthly tag and the "buddy" you read with does not have to be competing in the Decathlon Challenge. Got more than one buddy? Feel free to form a small group! Just be sure to list the people's names that you read it with in your review.

If you choose to start a buddy read thread (not required), then please put it in the 2018 Activities and Challenges folder. Thanks!

June: Pick any one of the past 10 years and think about why it was special to you. Read a book that somehow evokes that special time and share the specifics in your PBT review i.e. if you took a trip to Greece, pick a book set there. Be sure to tell us about the connection!

May: Read one book from the Man Booker shortlists for the past 10 years! (that is 2008-2017, for those bad at math). An easy to peruse list can be found on Wikipedia. Ah, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...

April: Submit a list of 10 books that you are interested in reading and let the randomizer pick for you! Most of you have your books, but if you don't yet, then post your list below and I will let you know which is the lucky book!

March: read all three tags that were vote options this month (espionage, faith, poetry). Note that the tag combination corresponds to the month you read for the challenge, not the March tags! One book can count for all three, you can read three separate books, or any combination in between!

IMPORTANT FOR MARCH DECATHLON CHALLENGE: Please DO NOT report for this challenge until you have read books for all three of the tags. If you read more than one book to complete the Decathlon challenge, then please put all of the book reviews including which tag they fit in a single post! That will help me immensely!

February: read any one of the ten books listed on your Goodreads TBR that have been there the longest.

January: read something that is a tribute to our retiring administrator, Linda (Ladyslott).

Want more info on the challenge? Check out our announcement and discussion thread.

Want to double check my math? Check out the scoring spreadsheet. If you see an error, please send me a PM with the month that I am missing your score and the message number in that thread. Thanks!


message 2: by Nicole D. (last edited Aug 04, 2018 06:27PM) (new)

Nicole D. | 1490 comments August - read something recommended in August post

Recommended by Michael

Warlight - Ondaajte

4/5

This was mostly a very good book, though I was bored at times there were also times I couldn't wait to get back to it.  The main characters (for me) were not as interesting as the peripheral characters --- The Moth, The Darter, Agnes, and others.  The story was interesting and well-told, dealing with family, love, loyalty, sacrifice and how the people and events in our lives shape us.  


message 3: by Kelly (last edited Aug 03, 2018 06:11PM) (new)

Kelly | 817 comments August - Read a book recommended to be read for the August tag

Mata Hari's Last Dance by Michelle Moran

4 stars

Mata Hari's Last Dance by Michelle Moran

Recommended by Amy

I did not know much about Mata Hari before reading Michelle Moran's historical fiction novel. The author tells of Mata Hari's difficult earlier life before she became a famous dancer. Mata Hari rises to success, but she also makes decisions that get her into trouble. Moran's writing develops Mata Hari's character and I especially liked how she expands on the long term friendship that Mati Hari had with her lawyer. Despite this, I felt that I never truly understood her. The book tells how Mata Hari may have rationalized many or her actions and relationships during World War I. She was condemned of espionage, but was she really guilty or a scapegoat who was misunderstood?


message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8854 comments I loved how it was really left open. Was it espionage? Unintentional espionage? Or was she really a mastermind and to what or whose end?


message 5: by Robin (new)

Robin A June= Magical realism
Finished The Enchanted. About inmates on death row. One is wanting to die. It tells of his story as a lady tries to get him off death row. It also tells of her story, a priest and prison life.


message 6: by Cora (last edited Aug 05, 2018 11:50AM) (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1406 comments July - Buddy Read

I read The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan with Cheryl and Ellie. Here is the link to our discussion. The translator of the English edition has joined the thread, so if anyone is interested in asking him any questions, stop by.

The Gray House is the story of kids in a school for children with disabilities. Nothing is what it seems like in the house though. Strange and mystical things happen and as graduation approaches this strange happenings are becoming more and more important.

I finished the book while I was on vacation last week. I really liked it. It was creepy, mystical, and a bit dark, yet hopeful too. I appreciated all the characters in their own way. It was not an easy book to read, and there is still a lot that happned that I don't understand, but that was part of the appeal of the book. The translation was wonderful. Nothing felt out of place and although it is a Russian book, it felt universal.


message 7: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7782 comments Robin wrote: "June= Magical realism
Finished The Enchanted. About inmates on death row. One is wanting to die. It tells of his story as a lady tries to get him off death row. It also tells of her..."


Hi Robin,

This thread is for out Decathlon challenge, and it looks like you read Enchanted for the June magical realism tag? If so, we do not give retroactive points for reading for past tags, but we still want to hear about it!

So, for August the tag is espionage. Any book that you read that fits that tag, you can write a review of it and post it in the August 2018: Espionage folder, and the very first entry tells you how to post a review.

For all books not tagged espionage—like The Enchanted—you can post them in the August 2018: Other Books folder.

I hope this helps clarify!


message 8: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments August - read a book recommended in the August post

Warlight

Recommended by Michael

I am ashamed to admit that I had not, until Warlight, read any Michael Ondaatje. This is something that I must remedy, as I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I listened to the audio which in my opinion was very well done, although some of the Audible reviews suggest otherwise. The writing the writing! I could listen to his writing for days. Vivid and wonderfully atmospheric, I felt as though I was being transported to the pages of the book. I found the subtle mystery as told through the memory of Nathaniel quite mesmerising, particularly in the first half. I didn't feel as though the second half was as strong, although still thoroughly entertaining. I feel as though this one is going to make the shortlist, and believe it could be a contender, despite the fact that it didn't quite make it to a five for me.

Interestingly, in my Facebook memories today I spied a post whereby I had asked my friends what their favourite book ever was, and a conversation ensued that centred on the fact that Michael Ondaatje was definitely NOT the favourite for two of my friends who had studied The English Patient in secondary school. It led me to thinking about how reading tastes mature over our lives. If I had read Warlight as a 16-17 year old I suspect that it would have bored me to tears, and yet the older I am the more I appreciated nuanced writing that doesn't belt me over the head. In the post on Facebook I had listed several of my favourite books at the time, and they are not books that I would choose if I was asked the same question right now.

Anyway, I digress. Warlight. Loved it. I'll definitely be seeking our more Ondaatje, and believe the Golden Man Booker needs to be near the top of my TBR.


message 9: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jennywilliams88) | 701 comments August: The Thirty Nine Steps - John Buchan - 5 stars

Recommended by Barbara M & Critterbee

Blurb: Adventurer Richard Hannay, just returned from South Africa, is thoroughly bored with London life - until he is accosted by a mysterious American, who warns him of an assassination plot that could completely destabalise the fragile political balance of Europe. Initially sceptical, Hannay nonetheless harbours the man - but one day returns home to find him murdered... An obvious suspect, Hannay flees to his native Scotland, pursued by both the police and a cunning, ruthless enemy. His life and the security of Britain are in grave peril, and everything rests on the solution to a baffling enigma: what are the 'thirty-nine steps?'

Review: I really enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting. It gripped me from the first page with Hannay reminding me of John Watson before he meets Sherlock (and that probably makes Peter him!) It also helps that I can recognise certain plot points as the lead up to the First World War.


message 10: by Kszr (new)

Kszr | 172 comments August: The Thirty Nine Steps - John Buchan 3 stars

While this was an enjoyable book, I guess I am too much expecting more when it comes to twists and such. I also noticed the plot points around the war, but this just was not my favorite spy novel, no matter how I tried.


message 11: by Barbara M (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2275 comments August: The Alice Network
Recommended by Amy who was sure Cindy would like it. Me too!

My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 12: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 8626 comments Barbara wrote: "August: The Alice Network
Recommended by Amy who was sure Cindy would like it. Me too!"


And I'm reading it next (that is, I just finished one and I'll be starting tonight!). I'm pretty sure a few different people recommend this one, as well!


message 13: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 2217 comments August reporting: read a recommendation from the August post

Journey to Munich - by Jacqueline Winspear
4 stars
recommended by JGrace (thank you!!)

London, 1938, and the whispers of war are growing louder. Maisie Dobbs, recently returned from Spain where she tried to dispel her grief by working as a nurse to badly wounded soldiers, is approached by the British Secret Service. They would like Maisie to assume the identity of Edwina Donat, the daughter of a highly regarded scientist, who has been arrested and imprisoned in Germany. Leon Donat is being held at Dachau but the German government has agreed to release him, but only to a family member. Maisie greatly resembles Edwina and after some intense training with a firearm, Maisie sets off for Germany, but not before she is approached by a man she hates and blames for the deep seated grief is suffering. Mr. Otterborn would like Maisie to find his daughter, Elaine, who is somewhere in Munich and convince her to come home. Maisie reluctantly agrees to this request as well.

Once in Munich, Maisie is continuously thwarted in her attempts to have Leon Donat released to her care. Paperwork piles up daily on the desks of the German soldiers and they can't seem to locate the files they need. Meanwhile, Maisie connects with the errant Elaine, only to find that she is deeply attached to a young German soldier and refuses to return to England. Maisie herself knows that she is under constant surveillance and at great risk if her subterfuge as Edwina Donat should come to light. Getting Donat out of Dachau may prove to be the most harrowing experience of Maisie's life.

Once again Winspear has written a great Maisie Dobbs story. I do prefer Maisie as the private investigator rather than the spy, but this was a good departure from the normal stories.


message 14: by Rachel N. (new)

Rachel N. | 1529 comments August: read a recommendation from August tag thread

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger 4 stars recommended by annapi and KateNZ

Sophronia Temminnick causes no end of problems to her mother so she is sent to Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality which it turns out teaches more than just etiquette, lessons include poisons and knife throwing. Sophronia befriends most of the debuts, other newcomers to the school, and the sooties who work in the boiler room. She also acquires a mechanical dog Bumblesnoot which I loved. The whole book is very tongue in cheek with lots of steam punk elements. It was a bit slow in spots but overall an enjoyable fun read.


message 15: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8854 comments The Expats by Chris Pavone - 4 stars. Cross Posted to Espionage and General Feed. Recommended by Jolene, Rachel N., Joi, and my local librarian.

Despite a somewhat lukewarm recommendation from Jolene, Rachel N., and Joi, I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would. This would make a terrible book in audio. It jumps around a lot in small bursts to multiple time frames, many just four months to a year off. At we spend a lot of time in the protagonist's head - which I can see why Kate gets a bit unnerving. I wouldn't call her weak, whiny, and complaining - but she does border just a bit on insufferable. Look - I think it takes a lot of talent to write a story from inside a character's head, rather than 3rd person, because you have to be able to do that extremely well. Our internal thoughts are not always the easiest places to be.

My thought as I read this, is that it would be a far better film or tv mini-series than a book. It had the feel of Bravo's Imposters, a two season series that I just adored and recently wrapped up. Also the feel of ABC's The Catch - also a two season similar premise. I also loved ABC's Deception - which I thought was one of the most clever premise and executions on TV, and wrapped up in just one season - but what a season it was! In all of these storylines, the fun is the blurring of who the good guys actually are. Its unclear all the time, who is the cat and who is the mouse. The double crosses - and in the name of love, or children. Characters trying to make the right decisions, for the right and wrong reasons. And they travel all over Europe, playing spy, all the characters do, not knowing who they are chasing - and being just regular folks on top of that. Mom's who fold laundry and have coffee with other moms. Who hang out at playgrounds and do puzzles and carpools. And who have a double life. Who wouldn't want that? All of us must truly want to be living a double life, or we wouldn't be the readers that we are. I found it exciting - and I didn't really care about twists and reveals. I just wanted to enjoy the ride - and I did.

Just one more funny thing about this book. The reason it had been lingering on my TBR was because of a recommendation from a librarian in the children's section of our local library, who had just read it and thought I would like it. I think about how so many PBT members work in libraries and that you guys want to know that we take your recommendations seriously. I actually linger every time at the Staff Recommends section, and has picked up a lot of good or unheard of recommendations that way. I thought this was a lot of fun, and I'm glad I read it. This is what I love about PBT, and why I consider myself the ultimate devotee. Because its really good for me to be pushed out of my comfort zone and try things I never would have otherwise picked up. My interests are narrow (in broad categories; historical fiction, contemporary fiction, magic, and WW2). And yet with this group, I always find something I can really enjoy. Dystopian and Space Opera and Espionage are admittedly just not my thing - but look what fun I am having this year!

Now starting the Summer Queen, which couldn't be more up my alley. I don't admittedly know much about 12th century royals, so this should be a new era for me. Plus, this book is book number six for my listopia lists one and three: Remarkable Women in Historical Fiction (Eleanor/Alienor of Aquitaine) and Girl with a Red Dress. I actually thought I'd knock off about 25 of those this year. That list was just for fun - to see how many I would drum up. But these challenges and personal interests have drawn me asunder. Also up for this month is: The Rain Watcher (giveaway), I'll be Your Blue Sky, the Forgotten Garden, Love and Ruin, and Bachelor Girl. Hint for Bachelor Girl, That book will complete my listopia list four: Historical Fiction set in the Jazz Age, and she happens to be wearing a red dress too. See how narrow I am? The dresses were just for fun.


message 16: by Idit (new)

Idit | 1028 comments August: Recommendation
The 39 Steps (Richard Hannay, #1) by John Buchan
The 39 Steps | John Buchan | 2.5 stars
I liked the writing. I liked the description of the Scottish nature. Disliked the rest.


message 17: by Kszr (new)

Kszr | 172 comments Idit wrote: "August: Recommendation
The 39 Steps (Richard Hannay, #1) by John Buchan
The 39 Steps | John Buchan | 2.5 stars
I liked the writing. I liked the description of the Scottish nature. Disliked the rest."


So glad it was not just me!!!


message 18: by Booknblues (last edited Aug 12, 2018 03:21PM) (new)

Booknblues | 6196 comments August- A book recommended

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje Warlight's cover shows a scene largely obscured by fog and reading it was like trying to find one's way through a thick fog and get to what is really going on. Shortly after the end of WWII Nathaniel and his older sister, Rachel are left by their parents, in the care of a man they call Moth. Their father is moving to Singapore for his work and their mother plans on following him there.

What really happens is given out bit by bit. The novel shifts back and forth through time, the reader learns what Nathaniel and Rachel's life was like without their parents. Moth surrounds them with an odd assortment of characters.

I love Ondaatje's writing and have read three of his other books, The English Patient, The Cat's Table and Anil's Ghost, which I rated highly. I am still mauling over how I felt about Warlight. The Hansel and Gretel story is interesting and it is clear that we all see things from different perspectives.

I know that some reviewers felt the last chapter was unnecessary, but I was glad to have it as it gave me a bit more resolution. I don't necessarily need everything wrapped up tidy with a bow, but the book left me feeling a bit off-kilter.

Just one word about the espionage suitability of the book, and that is that it definitely fits, but I don't want to give anything away.


message 19: by LibraryCin (last edited Aug 12, 2018 02:30PM) (new)

LibraryCin | 8626 comments August: Recommendation in the announcement thread.
Recommended by JoLene, and others!


The Alice Network / Kate Quinn
4.5 stars

It’s 1947. Charlie is pregnant and her mother is taking her to Europe to take care of it. While there, unbeknownst to her mother, Charlie wants to try to find her cousin, Rose, who disappeared late in the war. Charlie has a couple of names and an address to help start her off. So, she pays Eve a visit. Charlie doesn’t yet know this (she knows nothing about Eve), but Eve was a spy in WWI. Now, Eve is a bitter woman, but she, her driver, Finn, and Charlie head to France to see what they can find out about Rose. It was the other name Charlie showed up with, Rene, that convinced Eve to help. On their journey, both Finn and Charlie find out more about Eve’s life as a spy as they also try to find what happened to Rose.

The book flipped back and forth between Charlie’s viewpoint in 1947 and Eve’s during WWI, but the start of the chapter tells us who we are following and when, so it’s pretty easy to follow. I liked both storylines equally. Everyone had flaws, but I liked all the main characters, even the cantankerous Eve! “The Alice Network” really was a network of women spies during WWI, which I hadn’t heard of. It was really interesting to read about. Despite the length, I found it quick to read. I really, really liked this and I’m sure it will make my top 10 of the year.


message 20: by Joni (new)

Joni | 623 comments August: Recommendation in the announcement thread.

Harriet the Spy

I enjoyed young Harriet. She reminds me a lot of my young daughter.....very literal. Sometimes that can get a young child in trouble.

I listened to this book mostly with my daughter. She said "I don't consider Harriett a spy....more like a stalker." :) This made me laugh.

Young Harriet liked to "work" when she wasn't in school.....and sometimes when she was in school. Her work consisted of walking around her town and noting observations, about friends, grown ups and citizens, in her note book. Her dream was to be a real spy when she grew up.

Things were going well for Harriet until her "nurse aka nanny" got engaged to be married and moved away. Then things seem to fall apart for Harriett. The biggest thing was losing her "notebook" on the school playground and then it was discovered by a fellow classmate.....all of her notes were shared with everyone, including her best friends. Then all of a sudden she had no friends.

Through this Harriett learned a great lesson.....be careful with your thoughts, even when they are only written.

Harriet never gave up wanting to be a spy. She just made sure that she was better at it and more guarded with her thoughts.


message 21: by annapi (new)

annapi | 5068 comments August - Read a book for the monthly tag that is recommended by a PBT member in the "Announcing the (month) thread" in the month that it is recommended.

Book: Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming
Recommended by Jason
My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 22: by Jeremiah (new)

Jeremiah Cunningham | 717 comments Decathlon August Read - Recommended by Michael

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
5 Stars

First of all, this book is not easy to categorize. It is fits into many different categories, such as historical fiction, unreliable narrator, and espionage. And yet, it does not cleanly fit into any of those categories. If I had to describe the novel, I think I would say that is is a human interest story. However, even at that, it is told through the winding path of human recollection. A recollection that comes in bits and spurts and doesn't always tie neatly together.

I have seen many terms used to describe the writing of Ondaatje in Warlight. Terms such as foggy or atmospheric certainly apply and do convey a sense of the writing. While I appreciate those terms, I think the term that most fits my impressions of the book is effervescent. From the very first line of the book there seems to be something bubbling in the story and yet for the most part it is just small bubbles floating to the top.

Although the book never reaches this point, the writing continually feels as though if you gave it a good shake it would explode all over your mind. Each detail is just slightly agitating prior thoughts and details to the point that you are not sure whether or not it is safe to take off the lid. Even today, almost a week after finishing the book I still get a tingling sensation when thinking about the writing.

As for the story line itself, I personally love reading books with unreliable narrators and Ondaatje captures the best of that type of story line in Warlight. While it feels at times as though there is no story line, the real story to me was about self-discovery and just how shifting our sense of self really is.

Finally, I could not help but think that Ondaatje captures the feels of past literary masterpieces with such eloquence. The river scenes in the book were certainly reminiscent of Twain and Huckleberry Finn, the boarding school descriptions and exploits reminded me of the short stories of Hemingway, and the way in which characters interacted and drifted in and out of the story brought to mind feelings experienced in reading The Great Gatsby.


message 23: by Sushicat (new)

Sushicat | 804 comments August: recommended by Jason

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming - 3.6 stars

It’s rather strange to read a book introducing a character I know so well from the films. I was strangely disappointed and surprised at the same time. Clearly for me the book Bond resembles most closely Sean Connery. The mysoginy was even stronger in the book than in the films. What impressed me was the introspection I had not expected, which gave the character plausibility. The plot is rather simplistic though.


message 24: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6004 comments August - Recommended by Jason

Casino Royale (James Bond, #1) by Ian Fleming
Casino Royale – Ian Fleming – 3***
“The name is Bond, James Bond.” And this is the book that started it all. It’s a fast-paced, spy thriller, that entertains. Bond’s attitude towards women is rather appalling, but he’s a product of his time, and of the genre.
LINK to my review


message 25: by Critterbee❇ (last edited Aug 18, 2018 02:11PM) (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 418 comments August - Espionage Recommendation

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan ★★★ recommended by Barbara

The Thirty-Nine Steps was an incredible, over-the-top, old school spy novel originally published in 1915. It is set in 1914 England and Scotland, starring our hero, Richard Hanney, who has the uncanny talent for getting out of difficult situations, often in fantastical ways.

In this first book of a series featuring the reckless, thrill-seeking Hanney, he stumbles upon international intrigue within the first few pages, and the breakneck pace continues through to the very end of the tale. There have been several film adaptations, and the story itself does have the potential for making spectacular action movies.

After learning that the stability of Europe is in danger, Hanney flees both the English police and a shadowy nefarious spy organization, heading north to the countryside in Scotland. As he attempts to decipher what exactly is happening, and how he can prevent disaster, he madly dashes across the countryside, only just ahead of those pursuing him. What follows are close calls, improbable situations, and lucky encounter after lucky encounter.

While this is typical of the 'sacrifice everything for country' breed of espionage novels, this was a little too implausible to be something that I would want to re-read. There are several things I disliked about the book - casual racism, careless endangerment of bystanders, and an overly-cocky hero walking the line between swashbuckling and manic alphahole with a knack for incredibly lucky escapes.

The good parts are the pacing - it is what it is, a fast, action-filled historic thriller.


message 26: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6004 comments Nicole R - Just want to clarify something because I'm getting confused.

In your original post on this thread (this month and previous months as well) you reference "points" ..... but I thought this challenge was not for participation points but rather for entries into a raffle (to be held at end of year).

I think I've been calculating my own points incorrectly, so I want to be sure I've got that straight.

Thanks for clarifying.


message 27: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7782 comments Book Concierge wrote: "Nicole R - Just want to clarify something because I'm getting confused.

In your original post on this thread (this month and previous months as well) you reference "points" ..... but I thought thi..."


Yes, you are correct, this is for raffle entries. I will try and be more cognizant of that difference in my future posts. No promises though....


message 28: by Jeremiah (new)

Jeremiah Cunningham | 717 comments I realize it is only the 20th, but I am so anxious to see the challenge for September. I have been playing the games and doing the challenges for the last 10 years with this group, but this one might easily be my favorite. Great job administrators. Hope we have something like this again next year.


message 29: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7782 comments J.W. wrote: "I realize it is only the 20th, but I am so anxious to see the challenge for September. I have been playing the games and doing the challenges for the last 10 years with this group, but this one mig..."

So glad you are enjoying it, JW! We haven't really started planning for next year's challenges yet (I guess it is almost that time!), but will certainly keep in mind that you enjoyed this challenge :)

I will be announcing the September decathlon challenge right after the tag for the month is announced. I try to do it the same day, but I think we all know that I sometimes need a gentle reminder! lol


message 30: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 2943 comments August - recommended by Michael

Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene

link to my review:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 31: by Cora (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1406 comments August - Recommended by PBT member

This book was recommended by Booknblues.

The Tourist - Olen Steinhauer

3 1/2 stars

Milo Weaver is a former black ops agent, known as a tourist, for the CIA. After a case ends badly, he decides to retire from his secret life and become an analyst supporting other agents. Despite his desire to live an uneventful life with his wife and daughter, he finds himself being drawn back into the mystery, intrigue and danger of post-9/11 espionage.

I liked this book. It was different than other espionage/spy stories because of Milo's family and his attempts to balance his work with his home life. The twists and turns were interesting and unsuspecting. I did find some of the pivots of the story a bit clunky and I was a bit annoyed my Milo's wife's frustration at his secrets (she knew he worked for the CIA yet she was upset he wouldn't tell her the details of where he went and what he was doing for work). Overall it was an interesting read/listen and I am grateful for the recommendation.


Mindy aka serenity | 120 comments August- Recommended by PBT Member (Jen and Karin)

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by Jean Le Carre
3 stars

Let me preface by saying that spy novels are not really my thing. I love a good intricate story but put it in the setting of the Cold War or WWII (which most spy novels are) and my interest level tanks. Nevertheless I gave this book a shot because it was on the 1001 books list.

The book follows an ousted ex-spy named George Smiley, who was removed from the British spy circuit because a big shakeup in power. But now there are some loose ends and something is not quite right with how the shakeup happened. All they have is George to try and connect the dots and piece together frayed edges of events that happened decades before. There are inquests, double agents, Russians, proper British agents, more Russians, , wire tapping, file stealing, and even more Russians. Truly if this is your thing, then this novel is the classic you are looking for. I'm glad I tried it, but spy novels are still not my thing.


message 33: by Linda C (new)

Linda C (libladynylindac) | 1116 comments AUGUST - series recommended by annapi

Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School, #3) - Gail Carriger (4 stars) 8/22/18

What starts as a visit home from Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing School for spies to attend Sophronia's brother's engagement party ends up as an adventure. Fellow student Lady Sidheag has problems at home in Scotland with her werewolf clan and the group decide to borrow a train to take them there. However, the train is occupied by a known vampire conspirator, who's plot they interrupt, leading to a confrontation with the Picklemen as well. Sophronia gets to try out her new espionage techniques and weapons, fend off overtures from two would be suitors and foil a plot. Fun spoof.


message 34: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7871 comments August-Recommended by KatenNZ

The Blackstone Key

In a month with a serious tag this was such a fun read!

In the year 1795, in the city of Cambridge, on a gloomy October morning Mary Finch walks into the Eagle, a public house to purchase a coach ticket. Mary is a school teacher at the nearby St Ives and she has received a letter, much delayed, from a relation she has never met, asking her to come to his home in Sulfolk.

Mary's life is dull and this is the adventure she has day dreamed about. So off she goes, never expecting to become entwined in the intrigue and espionage of the current war with France.

Rose Melikan tells a wonderful tale, at times a bit long winded, but paints a lovely picture of life in the 18th century. The entire time I spent reading this I kept trying to cast the characters into a 1940's B movie that you would watch with delight because it was so ridiculous.

Thank you Kate, this was a just what I need to keep my mind off the current state of life!


message 35: by Lyn (last edited Sep 06, 2018 07:31PM) (new)

Lyn (lynm) | 313 comments March catch up:

The Prophet by Kahil Gibran
Fits both the poetry and faith tags.
This book was given to me when I graduated from high school in 1973. It made such an impression on me that 45 years later it still has a place on my bookshelf even though I haven't read it in years. I read it many times in my late teens and early 20s hoping/thinking that I would find guidance. The words still have meaning, but different now that I have lived, loved, worked, and raised a family.
Twice a Spy by Keith Thomson
Fits the espionage tag
Fun read, retired CIA with alzheimers and his son travel to Martinique in an effort to find a washing machine necessary to ransom a kidnapped CIA agent. Very entertaining.


message 36: by Elise (new)

Elise (ellinou) | 525 comments August - Book recommended by other PBT members.

The Nightingale

My review.


message 37: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte | 1596 comments August - Recommended by Kimberly, Karin, and Jason

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, 3 stars

Review: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 38: by SouthWestZippy (new)

SouthWestZippy | 962 comments August-Recommend by Idit
The Code Book The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography by Simon Singh
The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
5 stars

This is one of those books you need to take your time with and let it roll around in your brain. I enjoyed reading about the history and importance of Quantum Cryptography.
If you are into history then I recommend this book, if you are numbers or code type person, I highly recommend this book.


message 39: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7782 comments Head's up that I will be tallying the completion of this challenge on Monday (yay for Labor Day!) so be sure you have your reviews posted by about 10 AM EDT


message 40: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3822 comments Alright, 2 days to start and finish my espionage/decathlon book! Lol.


message 41: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7782 comments Joi wrote: "Alright, 2 days to start and finish my espionage/decathlon book! Lol."

Hahaha! You can save it for September and read a friendship book that someone recommends and still get 3 raffle entries for it!


message 42: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3822 comments Nicole R wrote: "Hahaha! You can save it for September and read a friendship book that someone recommends and still get 3 raffle entries for it! ."

I'm pretty determined to do it in this month!! I want to be able to say I as 12/12 for tags!! I picked up I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You so it should read super quickly. I haven't read a page in probably a month. I'm doing an audiobook now, but still. Need to get back into the swing of things.


message 43: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7782 comments I can’t imagine why you haven’t read. Have you had something big going on in your life!? 😉


message 44: by Olivermagnus (last edited Aug 31, 2018 10:02AM) (new)

 Olivermagnus (lynda214) | 2223 comments August Decathlon - Recommend by Joanne

The Other Woman - Daniel Silva - 4 Stars

I always eagerly look forward to every July, secure in the knowledge a new Gabriel Allon novel by Daniel Silva will be released. The Other Woman finds Allon and his team attempting to rescue their Russian mole, Heathcliff, who has indicated he has such important information, he must defect immediately. But Allon's plan goes awry when he's outplayed by the Russians, something that rarely ever occurs.

He and his team must now find the woman who can reveal the identity of a mole who has reached the highest levels of Britain’s MI6. The search will take Gabriel back in time to one of the 20th century's greatest intelligence scandals.

Silva’s work has always had a political edge, and his storytelling is gripping as always and realistically written. Twists, turns, and nonstop action find Gabriel surrounded by conflict while facing one of the most critical mission of his career.

That being said, this was not my most favorite book involving Allon and I wouldn't recommend it to any new espionage reader. As a long time reader I did missed some of the usual character interaction that seemed to be missing in this novel. My favorite recent book is The Black Widow and it would give a new reader a great picture of one of the most exciting characters in the espionage field. I will anxiously await the next story in the Gabriel Allon series and hope Silva gets back to the more personal elements of his story.


message 45: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3822 comments I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
3 Stars

Cute. YA. Very YA. Girls school about learning how to be spies. There is a "new girl in school", there is the "dark and mysterious boy", there is the "new hot teacher", the "my mom is the headmaster". All the typical boarding school tropes. But with the twist of the school being learning espionage and covert operations instead of language and math.

I read this in two sittings. Super fast read. They had the fun "operations missions" interspersed in the book. You can't really think too hard about the world, the story, or the way everything comes together. Extremely corny, very predictable. It's really unbelievable, but who cares. It's fun. I'd suggest this to a 6th grader. Lots of "girl power" themes.


message 46: by KateNZ (new)

KateNZ | 2503 comments ‘Warlight’ by Michael Ondaatje (August Decathlon) - recommended by Michael

I think I forgot to cross-post this here for the Decathlon - here’s a link to the review in the PBT folder ...
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 47: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments Eek. I think I have missed this too. I shall post this evening.


message 48: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7782 comments I have recorded all of the raffle entries and this thread is now closed!

Feel free to double check my math on the spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/...

If you think I overlooked you, then please send me a private message, including what message # your post in here so I can double check!


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