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Challenge Home Fall 2020 > Completed Tasks

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message 1: by Kate S (new)

Kate S | 6164 comments Post your completed tasks here. In order to help us better manage our score keeping: PLEASE ONLY POST ONE BOOK PER MESSAGE.

Please use the add book/author link for the book titles. When claiming combo points, tell how the book qualifies, and provide a link if requested in the task description.

If using an outside source to qualify a book for points or combo, please be sure to post in the appropriate task thread prior to posting in this thread.

Sample RwS Post

20.6 Civil War

Grant Takes Command 1863-1865 by Bruce Catton

100+ word review

+20 Task
+10 Combo (10.4 starts with G, 20.3 Prolific - 20+ books)
+10 Review
+10 Not a Novel
+ 5 Oldies (pub'd 1969)
+ 5 Jumbo (556 pgs)

Task total = 60
Season Total: 375 (assumes mid season with a previous season total of 315.)

message 2: by Kate S (new)

Kate S | 6164 comments Power of Nine Sample Post

15.1 Power of Nine

Castle Rackrent and Ennui by Maria Edgeworth

+15 Task (pub 1809)

Task Total: 15
Season Total: 390 (assumes mid-season total of 375)

message 3: by Penny (new)

Penny (Literary Hoarders) (pennyliteraryhoarders) | 123 comments 10.1 Short Works

Good Citizens Need Not Fear: Stories by Maria Reva

Task Total: 10
Season Total: 10

message 4: by Anika (last edited Sep 01, 2020 06:48PM) (new)

Anika | 1952 comments 30.1 Go for the Green

Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho

I've read quite a few books by this author and tend to like his books which actually have a plot far more than his philosophical/spiritual books (though, even his plot-driven books have more than a dash of the spiritual). This would fall firmly in the latter category.
The bulk of the book is the text of a lost manuscript written in Jerusalem in 1099, the words of a wise man on the eve of a battle which they know will turn into their slaughter. It is part psalm, part prayer, some beautiful wisdom, and (sadly) a whole lot of recycled greeting-card-sentiment.
It was a quick listen (if a little jarring listening to Jeremy Irons read it--his voice normally connotes "villain" in my head and this is supposed to be a spiritual leader imparting wisdom on the eve of certain destruction) and while some of it will stick with me a while, most of it was pretty forgettable.

+30 Task, set in Israel 97%
+10 Review
+20 Combo (10.2: MFIAPC=CAMP; 10.4; 20.3; 20.10: born 1947 and still kicking)

Task total: 60
Season total: 60

I am not used to looking for combos after the straightforward Summer season :-D Also: I'm so glad to get new books from the library and not be limited to what I have on hand, especially audiobooks--I have so many projects requiring my attention and I'm so happy to be able to listen to a book while I work on them :-) Phew! Happy Fall!!

message 5: by Ann (new)

Ann (lit_chick_77) | 399 comments 10.1 Short Works

My Own Collection:
The City Born Great by N.K. Jemisin 22 pages
What a joy to read. So inventive, so vibrant. I loved every sentence of it.
I am originally a Chicagoan, a city that apparently has not reached the same stage as NYC. Because I thought I was a city girl, but I felt like an overwhelmed bumpkin when I went to New York. It really does have a life. This is the best type of urban fantasy - it feels really real. Recommended!

Porn & Revolution in the Peaceable Kingdom by Micaela Morrissette. 37 pages
Up until the end I was thrilled with this SUPER WEIRD story about a lonely slime mold and his horny pet human. In the future, humans stopped evolving but not Animals. Animals though have become very human-like. Bars, dating apps, effing Wal-Mart!
I was giddy with the strangeness. I love weird shit. But this does not stick the landing. At all.

The Night Cyclist by Stephen Graham Jones 29 pages
Very good, tight little thriller. I was glued to it, which made it an exceptionally fast read. There’s not much to say without spoilers, except that Stephen Graham Jones can really craft atmosphere.

The Devil in America by Kai Ashante Wilson 32 pages
”For the Devil in America, however, malice itself was the end, and temptation a means only to destroy. Here, the Devil would pursue the righteous and the wicked, alike and implacably, to their everlasting doom…”
This would always be a gutting story, but now.... America is just as horrible and bedeviled as it was. Grim, made worse by the fact that this all keeps happening. Still, very good and worth the read.

+10 Task
+10 Review
+10 Not a Novel

Task total = 30
Season total = 30

message 6: by Ann (new)

Ann (lit_chick_77) | 399 comments 20.3 Prolific
Confessions by Kanae Minato

In a word? Tedious. At first I thought something must have been lost in translation, but nope. The same event is related over and over again, in pretty much exactly the same way. Tedious.
There is a kernel of a good story there, and a few passages held my interest, but mostly this was the driest, most dull way to tell a melodramatic, sensational tale.
It’s a revenge story, and as these things often go there are unintended consequences. Not that anyone actually cares... every single character is an utter sociopath.
Two events did surprise me, and the flat, sparse style worked to make them more shocking. So I guess there is that, and at least it was a fast, single-evening read.
This one was not for me.

+20 Task
+5 Combo 10.3
+10 Review

Task total = 35
Season total = 65

message 7: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Brown | 2494 comments 15.1 Power of 9

reading 09 to 90
page # locked in message 14
(questions thread)

The Dark Vineyard by Martin Walker

309 pages

15 task

Running total: 15

-> my carry over book
-> there is A LOT of wine drinking in this novel in case you need a book for 20.5

message 8: by Norma (last edited Sep 02, 2020 09:28AM) (new)

Norma | 1384 comments 20.3 - Prolific

A Wicked Snow by Gregg Olsen

+20 task
+15 Combo (10.2 - swag, 10.4, 20.5)

Task total: 35
Grand total: 35

message 9: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4355 comments 20.1 Award
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

+20 - Task
+10 - Combo (20.2 - under career, 20.4)
Task Total - 30 pts
Season Total - 30 pts

I just finished it but before I decide to write a review, I need a little time to recover from it. It’ll break your heart and is so timely with what the US is dealing with now,

message 10: by Norma (new)

Norma | 1384 comments 20.3 - Prolific

Embraced by Lora Leigh

+20 task
+10 Combo (10.3, 20.5)

Task total: 30
Grand total: 65

message 11: by Ann (new)

Ann (lit_chick_77) | 399 comments 30.1 Go for the Green
New Caledonia

French Sand by Catherine Broughton
Well, I’m furious that I spent $0.99 on this tripe in pursuit of internet points. The author does not deserve my pennies.
THIS. IS. AWFUL. In every possible respect.
First the major... I was appalled that this was written in 2012. Read this only if you love colonialism and casual racism. Early example of Melanie contemplating non-whites:
“ They were on the whole quite attractive, the island people. They were Polynesian in origin and although they had none of the Negro ebony beauty one might expect, nor any of the porcelain beauty of the Orientals and nor did they show a trace of the finely-chiselled features one saw among the Indian classes, the locals here were … she searched for the word … wholesome people, with soft-skinned faces and a broad bone structure. Greg had once told her that the Kanaks were especially lovely in comparison to the aboriginals of Australia”

WTF There’s no addressing that bullshit in the text. What modern writer could just plop that down as perfectly fine? Oh, one that thinks the British are literally the White Saviors of the world. From the author’s blog:
“Every black African in Africa has never to worry about being enslaved by slavers and sold overseas or to Arab lands because institutionalized slavery is effectively dead and gone. Without Great Britain stopping the slave trade in the Atlantic, slavery still exists.

Every Indian who enjoys the modicum of freedoms they possess they can directly thank the teachings and laws of Great Britain and the people who forced it upon your ancestors. Same with Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, (good lord, this list will go on for a while…)”

And the list does go on, and on.... OMFG. I feel like my browser and purchase history is forever tainted.

And finally, the minor: this needed editing. And proofreading. BADLY. There is a lengthy section that is a repeat of the pages that came before. At first I thought I lost my place due to hating this book and was re-reading, but nope... just self-published junk so in love with itself it could not be bothered with the bare minimum of critical effort. It reads like a very early draft - lots of scene and voice (and tense) shifting without context, and not in an experimental way.... the characters are insipid and miserable.... the book somehow becomes more dull when it turns into a mystery/caper....the only good thing I can say about this book is that I’m done with it. Thank god I can speed read.

+30 task
+30 White Country in list - 100% set in New Caledonia
+5 20.5
+10 review

Task Total = 75
Season total = 140

message 12: by Anika (last edited Sep 02, 2020 10:07AM) (new)

Anika | 1952 comments 30.1 Go for the Green

The Woman from Prague by Rob Hart

This was a fun listen (yes, another audiobook for's gonna be all audiobooks all the time until I finish this quilt...except for the one Kindle book I've got going when I read before bed). I don't know if it was the writing or the exceptional reader that made it so enjoyable, but it was a hoot! It's all cloak-and-dagger-y, but with a definite tongue-in-cheek attitude: an amateur P.I. is running away from his messy life in the U.S. and finds himself in Prague. A strange man confronts him in his apartment and charges him with following a woman and taking from her the "bad thing" that she is soon to receive. Our intrepid P.I., Ash, isn't terribly interested but strange man has two goons with two guns to persuade him--and a tail on his mom back in NYC, which ultimately persuades him. Thus begins a mad rush of a story (with shout-outs to both Chandler and Christie) which culminates in a shoot-out to the soundtrack of Nena's classic '80s hit, "99 Luftballons."
Apparently this is book 4 in a series but it stood alone just fine.

+30 Task, 96% in Czech Republic
+20 "Blue" country
+10 Review
+10 Combo (20.2: in his bio, it states "he's worked as a political reporter"; 20.7)

Task total: 70
Season total: 130

message 13: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Sep 02, 2020 01:24PM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 12404 comments 20.10 Another Birthday?

Life Class by Pat Barker

I guess it pays to fully read the description, but I was prepared to read almost anything by Pat Barker. I picked up this book because one of my groups had a theme "art and artists". Do not be fooled. While the characters in this book are, indeed, artists, this is not a book about art and artists. Too bad. I think I would have liked it better if it were.

Barker didn't seem able to decide what she wanted to do. If set during the war, did she want the home front or the war? She didn't do either very well, although the war was the better of it. It was also a romance. Strangely, a romance where the woman wants to be independent or at least says she is opposed to marriage. Elinor says she is working (painting) but we never know how she feels about working at the time she's doing it. Why not? At the same time, her friendships with women are only referred to. She did have friendships and I think it would have been better for us to know more about them.

The sections where Paul goes near the front as an orderly are the better of this, but Barker fails to actually put us there. I have read extensively about this war. I have felt myself there in the trenches or in hospital or on the home front protesting. Barker stood aside looking on. She never allowed us to feel ourselves a part of anything.

There was so much wrong with this I'm just dissatisfied with it all around. I do love reading Pat Barker, but I honestly don't know whether I'll read the other two in the series or not. I've been told Toby's Room is better, but do I want to find out? This was just 2-stars for me.

+20 Task (b. 1943)
+10 Review
+10 Combo (10.4, 20.5 - many situations)

Task total = 40

message 14: by Coralie (new)

Coralie | 2442 comments 15.1 Power of Nine

UFO in Her Eyes by Xiaolu Guo

+15 Task (pub 2009)

Task Total: 15
Season Total: 15

message 15: by Connie (new)

Connie G (connie_g) | 1410 comments 15.1 Power of Nine

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

+15 task (272 pages)

Task Total: 15
Season Total: 15

message 16: by Shannon (last edited Sep 03, 2020 02:06AM) (new)

Shannon | 2 comments Ann wrote: "30.1 Go for the Green
New Caledonia

French Sand by Catherine Broughton
Well, I’m furious that I spent $0.99 on this tripe in pursuit of internet points. The author..."

If anyone is looking for a book set 50%+ in New Caledonia, I can highly recommend Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel Joyce
I'm not used to writing reviews, but this was a 5+* read for me.
Bits of funny, bits of sad, bits of adventure, interesting stuff about beetles, a page-turner. And wonderful writing.

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 12404 comments Post 15 Connie wrote: "15.1 Power of Nine

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

+15 task (272 pages)

Task Total: 15
Season Total: 15"

Connie - we need your reference as to how this applies to Power of 9 - pub date/author birth/page count?

message 18: by Nick (last edited Sep 03, 2020 10:26AM) (new)

Nick (doily) | 330 comments 15.1 Power of Nine

Winter World by A.G. Riddle 472 pp

Power of Nine Chart:

72 Winter World 472 pp

Task Points: 15
Total Points So Far: 15

message 19: by Connie (new)

Connie G (connie_g) | 1410 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "Post 15 Connie wrote: "15.1 Power of Nine

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

+15 task (272 pages)

Task Total: 15
Season Total: 15"

Connie - we need your referenc..."

It's for page count. I did include that it had 272 pages. By the way, it's a wonderful book for lovers of literary fiction!

message 20: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 4595 comments 15.1 Power of Nine

The Violin of Auschwitz by Maria Àngels Anglada

+15 Task (pages 109)

Task Total: 15
Season Total: 15

message 21: by Anika (last edited Sep 03, 2020 11:42AM) (new)

Anika | 1952 comments 30.1 Go for the Green

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach

The First True Love Poem
A man with no arms
Is just a torso
And head
And legs
Unless his legs are missing too
In which case he is only a torso
And head
Which isn't a bad thing, really,
If he has someone
Who'll scratch his back for him
When it itches.
--Damon Denys

Our protagonist, Ivan, was born far too close to Chernobyl. As a result, he was born with no legs, one arm, and three fingers. And a head. A head filled with a mind that is sharp and curious and sometimes a bit of a dick. He lives in a "Hospital for Gravely Ill Children" and has his whole life, dumped there by anonymous parents. He has never left the hospital grounds in his seventeen years. He has a patchwork "family" which consists of the other residents of the hospital and Nurse Natalya, who is the closest thing to a mother he's ever had. One day, Polina comes to the hospital and Ivan's life goes haywire...
This book was a little bit Wonder a little bit The Fault in Our Stars (but better than either of those) with the attitude of Holden Caulfield, but a Holden who is obsessed with Russian literature and trapped in a misshapen and misunderstood body. And the writing is wonderful, really allowing Ivan to shine. While this book does have the "Romance" shelving on goodreads, don't let that distract you: it's about LOVE, about how we give our hearts away not only to those with whom we are in love, but to parents or parental stand-ins and to chosen family and, even sometimes, to utter strangers. Also, don't let the "Young Adult" shelving distract you either--while it is about young adults, I wouldn't consider this a YA novel.
I laughed out loud, I wept, I rolled my eyes, and even cringed a little bit. All of the feels. I loved it.

+30 Task, set 99% in Belarus
+20 "Blue" country
+10 Review
+10 Combo (10.2 TILOIISS=TOILS; 10.4)

Task total: 70
Season total: 200

message 22: by Norma (new)

Norma | 1384 comments 15.1 - Power of Nine

Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich

+15 task (309 pgs)

Task total: 15
Grand total: 80

message 23: by Ann (new)

Ann (lit_chick_77) | 399 comments 20.5 Wine

Bunny by Mona Awad

Super fast read - blazed through it. It was a fun ride.
I’m not sure how to review this. It was nuts, but that is good. It was also extremely uncomfortable for me, in ways I’m still trying to unpack.
In my 20s, I was Bunny-close to an actual Interlochen grad, who was basically Vignette. Eep. My BFF was a film student and the Ava/Sam dynamic made me SQUIRM. Looking back, we had a weird-ass codependent relationship. And right now I’m queasy because as close as we were we did not exist to each other outside of school . Never called, never visited, never interacted on breaks, and never spoke once after graduation, yet people thought we were a couple when we were together.
I was a lit major, and I about died at “it languages the circumnavigation of the hermeneutical circle”. I knew these people. For a while I tried to be these people.


If Bunnies and Darlings were a real thing, my campus would have been a bloodbath.

+20 task
+ 10 review
+ 15 Combo (10.2 BAM, 10.3, 20.2 per Goodreads bio)

Task total = 45
Season total = 185

message 24: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Brown | 2494 comments 30.1 Go for the Green

Death by Divorce by Jaden Skye

96% Grenada

As I said in the socializing thread, I was a little hesitant to start this after Ann’s review of the New Caledonia book. When I chose this book I thought it could go either way – ok or bad. Well, it turns out it’s ok. The writer is competent, and apparently has written lots (….and lots of this type of mystery/romance) of these novels (novellas). It’s short and to the point. This isn’t ‘literature’, so you’re not going to be carried off by the beautiful descriptions. I liked that either the writer is economical, or an editor was involved. I also thought this was the perfect choice for reading while canning and freezing. I could read a bit while waiting for the canning pot to boil without worrying that I would lose the plot or the characters. You got enough of a flavor of Grenada to make it sound very beautiful (although, according to this novel with a criminal undercurrent!). Because of the ‘competency’ I’ll give it 3*.

30 task
20 one book country
10 review
5 combo 20.3

Running total: 80

message 25: by Beth (last edited Sep 05, 2020 02:23PM) (new)

Beth Robinson (bethrobinson) | 1109 comments 20.1 Award

The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison

+20 task others
+10 not a novel
+5 combo 10.2 - t,o,o,o,t,m - moot
+5 combo 10.7 - non-fiction
+10 review

Task total: 50
Grand total: 50

This small collection of essays was also a set of lectures that Morrison gave at Harvard. They are clear and crisp in their language use and talk in interesting ways about the construction of race and the nature of slavery. She ties her insights also into her reading and her writing, part of which must have been quite interesting to hear in person. I was struck by the slaveowner who noted down the times and places he had molested his slaves as part of his daily log, the real life story of a mother preferring her children dead than enslaved that was the inspiration behind Beloved, and her personal story of meeting a fisherwoman that inspired introspection.

message 26: by Norma (new)

Norma | 1384 comments 10.2 - Scrabble

The Case of the Screaming Beauty by Alison Golden

+10 task - tiles - TCOTSBAG - words - tabs, stab, scab, coats

Task total: 10
Grand total: 90

message 27: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 2979 comments 15.1 Power of Nine

Change of Life by Anne Stormont

+15 Task (pub 2009)

Task Total: 15
Season Total: 15

message 28: by Rebekah (last edited Sep 05, 2020 09:46AM) (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4355 comments 30.1 Go for the Green! Guinea- Bissau
The Ultimate Tragedy by Abdulai Sila

+30 pts - Task
+5 Pts - combo (10.2-Sat)
Season Total - 65 pts

message 29: by Mary (new)

Mary | 875 comments 20.3 Prolific

Three Vassar Girls Abroad: Rambles of Three College Girls on a Vacation Trip Through France and Spain for Amusement and Instruction by Elizabeth W. Champney

20 pts 20.3 Prolific

5 pts 20.5 Wine p 172 “. . . He had made me taste some marvelous wine of Xeres. . . “
5 pts 10.2 Scrabble. Trivet TVGAROTCGOAVTTFASFAAI. EWC
5 pts Jetsetters United States, France, Spain

10 Oldies
10 Review

A “girls book” from the 1880s. This is largely a travelogue with a framing story of three Vassar students who go to Europe with their chaperone, the older married sister of one of the girls. The girls interests (art, music, religion, history) are chosen to facilitate the description of Europe and the sights seen. In addition there are some subtle but interesting asides about the value of a chaperone — who other than being married seems to be less capable than the unmarried women; the virtue of a college education at a time when it was rare for women; and the appropriateness of a range of intellectual pursuits for women even at the expense of them not pursuing romance. Even so, there is a slight love interest . . . Interesting, but a little heavy on the travel narrative at the expense of developing the characters

Task total: 55 pts
Season total: 55 pts

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message 30: by Mary (last edited Sep 05, 2020 11:05AM) (new)

Mary | 875 comments 20.3 Prolific

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

The Invisible Man
HG Wells

20 pts 20.5 Wine. p 32 “when his nerves had been steadied by a glass of cheap sherry . . . “

5 pts 20.3 Prolific see

5 pts 10.2 Scrabble MIGHT tiles: T I M H G W
5 pts 10.4 Pilgrim
10 pts Oldies
10 pts Review

A classic sci fi book and movie I somehow missed. This novel relates the invisible mans story through a combination of third person narrative in the first half and a first person recollection of previous events that led to the invisible man being in the country house where the story ends. While a recap of prior events does not usually make for an exciting read, this actually works in driving the narrative. I enjoyed the elements of “chase” throughout the book. Like many authors whose work were originally serialized Wells knows how to keep your attention. A good read, now I need to watch the old Claude Rains movie!

Task total: 55 pts
Season total: 110 pts

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... ... 20.3 ...20.5 ... ... ... ... ...
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message 31: by Ann (new)

Ann (lit_chick_77) | 399 comments 20.1 Award

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

I don’t even know how to review this book. It’s a eulogy, a howl of grief. It’s so raw. But it’s not an ugly rawness... yes, it hurts to read this book but it is also beautiful. And sad, and unjust.
I kept thinking about my own life and family, which is so very very different. Middle class and white, I’ve never lost any young people close to me. I can think of only two young deaths, but they were people I knew of but did not know. How privileged, to never be touched by tragedy over and over.

The book builds towards the first and most painful loss - her brother Josh. It’s heartbreaking, but oh her love is so strong. It’s moving. Depressing but also celebratory. It’s a tribute not just to the men that died, but to family and community.

+ 20 Task
+ 10 Review
+ 10 Not a Novel
+ 10 combo (10.4, 10.8 (Mississippi, Louisiana, California))

Task total = 50
Season total = 235

message 32: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 330 comments 15.2 Power of Nine

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers, 1st pub'd 2018

Points This Post: 15
Total Points So Far: 30

Power of Nine Chart:

18 The Monk of Mokha 1st pub'd 2018
72 Winter World 472 pp

message 33: by Anika (new)

Anika | 1952 comments 30.1 Go for the Green

The News from Paraguay by Lily Tuck

This won the National Book Award in 2004...I mean, I kind of get it: it dabbles in magical realism and is based on a group of historical people/history that is not very well known, things which are well-regarded and interesting enough to elicit notice from the Award board, BUT:
It's magical realism lite, and not done very well. It's an obvious pastiche of One Hundred Years of Solitude: the sweeping saga spanning years that jumps from viewpoint to viewpoint, from the highest-ranking politically to lowliest servant, but I felt no attachment to or sympathy for any of the characters.
The writing is fine, but I've read so much better.
That being said: the subject matter was very interesting as I knew nothing about Paraguay or its bloody history. 3.5 stars.

+30 Task, set 93% in Paraguay
+20 "Blue" country
+10 Review
+10 Combo (10.8: France, Argentina, Paraguay; 20.5: sooo much wine and champagne)

Task total: 70
Season total: 270

message 34: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 2979 comments 10.1 Short Works

The Garden Of The Villa Mollini And Other Stories by Rose Tremain

I love Rose Tremain’s novels, but this collection of short stories didn’t quite live up to my expectations. They only seemed to scratch the surface of their characters, and I don’t think I will remember many of them.

I wonder if she was going through a bad time when she wrote them, because a lot of them seem focused on loss and decay – the owners of a house destroy more and more of the local population’s land and amenities to prettify their garden, a man revisits his childhood home to find it’s no longer standing, an elderly poet suffers the loss of fame and respect… generally, they are not happy stories.

+10 Task
+10 Review
+10 Not a novel

Task total: 30
Season Total: 45

message 35: by Rosemary (last edited Sep 05, 2020 02:50PM) (new)

Rosemary | 2979 comments 20.5 Wine

Five Give Up the Booze by Bruno Vincent

This is a parody of the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton, one of several similar books in which the Five (siblings Julian, Dick, and Anne, cousin George the tomboy, and Timmy the dog) have grown up and are facing the challenges of modern adult life.

After a New Year’s Eve party, the four humans are all suffering such hangovers that they resolve to do Dry January. The only cloud on the horizon is the wedding of an old schoolfriend, with the bad news that Julian must step in as Best Man and George will have to wear a pale blue bridesmaid’s dress.

This started off well, with the sardonic Julian providing most of the laughs, but the wedding plot isn’t strong enough to keep up the comedy.

+20 Task "Everyone was drinking champagne and wine and beer and spirits"
+10 Combo (10.2 tiles FGUTBBV, word TUB; 10.9 Bruno approved)
+10 Review

Task total: 40
Season Total: 85

message 36: by Penny (new)

Penny (Literary Hoarders) (pennyliteraryhoarders) | 123 comments 10.3 Single

Sisters by Daisy Johnson

Task Total: 10
Season Total: 20

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 12404 comments 15.1 Power of 9
pub years, numerical

The Hollow Needle: Further Adventures of Arsène Lupin by Maurice Leblanc

+15 Task (1909)

Season total = 55

message 38: by Connie (new)

Connie G (connie_g) | 1410 comments 20.5 Wine

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

The doctors couldn't diagnose Rose Gold's illness for eighteen years. She was chronically sick, and spent much of her childhood in the hospital. Rose Gold was home-schooled by her mother, and had no friends. The community held fundraisers to help with the medical bills. Finally the cause of her illness was found--her twisted controlling mother, Patty Watts.

Now Patty is getting out of prison and Rose Gold is taking her into her home. Surprisingly, Rose Gold is also letting Patty babysit for baby Adam without supervision. Their neighbors are shocked!

The story is told by two unreliable narrators. Both Patty and Rose Gold are liars and psychologically damaged people. Patty has not forgiven Rose Gold for testifying at her trial. Her daughter has not recovered from the years of abuse. Will Rose Gold forgive her mother or take revenge? This is a dark psychological thriller that's hard to put down! 3.5 stars.

+20 task p 261 "I refilled my cup with more Sutter Home White Zinfandel."
+10 combo 10.8 (Illinois, Indiana, Colorado); 10.9 Gold approved
+10 review

Task total: 40
Season total: 55

message 39: by Beth (new)

Beth Robinson (bethrobinson) | 1109 comments 10.5 Monster Redux

The Devil on the Road by Robert Westall

+10 task
+5 combo (10.2) t,d,o,t,r,r,w - word
+5 age pub 1978
+10 review

What a strange book. It is a time travel fantasy, but also a thing of tradition and destiny and man vs woman or mechanical against nature, in two aspects. The writing style is a product of its time and captures the self assured but angry and confused university student that is the protagonist. For all that the book is in first person and he even talks about his feelings, he remains somewhat opaque. I honestly can't imagine why this tangle was published a young adult book (but is not in Brooklyn, so yay points) or beloved, based on the reviews, as it so morally weird and creepy. But maybe it only feels that way from being middle aged. The best part was undoubtedly the cat. I will miss the cat.

Task total: 30
Grand total: 80

message 40: by Tien (new)

Tien (tiensblurb) | 2549 comments 10.2 Scrabble!
The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon
first letters: T W E A G
word: GATE

An intriguing premise of the novel in that it is around and about words and what happens when words disappear. It is set some time in the future when technology is such that cell phones are nearly obsolete (and yet, there is a fax machine still?!) and most people use this thing called a Meme to assist them with everything (including remembering words -this would so handy as I experienced lots of mental/word blocks!). Yet, there are those who doubted that this is a good thing and are working to preserve books and words and all that entails.

Anana's father, Dr. Johnston, disappeared without notice and while things were undisturbed in his office, she felt something is not quite right. Sinister men are on the prowl. She herself was feeling very sick. And all around her, people are speaking in gibberish. Her topmost concern, however, was for her father and how to get to him.

I liked how the chapters of the book are divided, by alphabets (a-z), especially as the protagonist and her father works at the Dictionary. The story is told primarily from Anana's point of view though there were some chapters which were extracts from another character's journals. I found the book to be rather difficult to read because I feel that it is so wordy! There were just so many big words... okay, so these characters are literate and highly educated but this turned me off. It was also hard to read because of all the gibberish included; okay, so it's part of the sickness and it rather authenticate the story but it really made the story HARD to understand. I'd say, overall, an okay read but did not love it.

+10 Task
+10 Review

Post Total: 20
Season Total: 20

message 41: by Tien (new)

Tien (tiensblurb) | 2549 comments 10.3 Single
Crisis by Felix Francis

Harrison Foster is a lawyer, a crisis manager, with a mind that never stops spinning was sent to Newmarket after a stable fire killed 7 horses with 2 being owned by a client of the firm he was working for. While it appears to be a straight forward job, it soon became immediately apparent that there was a lot more to the stable fire than an accident. Especially when a body of an unknown person was found there. There begins Harry's plunge into the world of horse racing and a particularly dysfunctional tight-lipped family on which this mystery centred.

Harry sounds like a run-off-the-mill sort of guy who, in his late 30s and single, does not appear to have much interest in his life but his work. He loves his job but his current assignment is taking a lot more out of him than the usual. His brain won't let up though and he's keen for justice to be brought for the dead body. Crisis was an easy listening audiobook for me, even if I'm not that interested in horses or know anything about racing/betting, but the mystery itself wasn't a biggie to me. I did like the ending though -turned out to be a rather sweet romance, after all.

+10 Task
+10 Review

Post Total: 20
Season Total: 40

message 42: by Tien (new)

Tien (tiensblurb) | 2549 comments 10.2 Scrabble!
The Dark is Rising (The Dark Is Rising #2) by Susan Cooper
first letters: T D I R S C
word: DIRT

I made myself re-read Over Sea, Under Stone before I read this supposedly book 2 but aside from 1 secondary character, there isn't any connection to book 1?! I suppose this may come clear later on though I have read some articles to say that book 1 was more of a prologue to the story.

The Dark is Rising is set over a Twelve-Days of Christmas in England where Will Stanton (youngest of the Stantons) is about to turn 11 years old. And this appears to be significant as he started to notice unusual things around him. The rest of the novel is Will discovering what he is and where he stands and continues on the battle between Light and Dark.

I find that I do not care so much for either books because there's barely any female characters and none of them I like! Nor do they develop for the better. I'm not keen on the adventure and this magical world either... maybe because I don't really get it?! In any case, not the book for me and as my son wasn't interested, I read this on my own so I'm glad I got this read rather quickly.

+10 Task
+10 Review

Post Total: 20
Season Total: 60

message 43: by Coralie (new)

Coralie | 2442 comments 10.2 Scrabble

Dark Winds Over Wellington: Chilling Tales of the Weird & the Strange by Tabatha Wood

+10 Task D, W, O, W, T, B -> TWO
+10 Not a Novel (short stories)

Task total = 20
Season Total: 35

message 44: by Coralie (new)

Coralie | 2442 comments 15.2 Power of Nine

A Month of Sundays by Liz Byrski

+15 Task (published 2018)

Task Total: 15
Season Total: 50

message 45: by Deedee (new)

Deedee | 1924 comments Task 10.2 Scrabble!

Word: THAW

The Truths We Hold: An American Journey (2019) by Kamala Harris (Hardcover, 336 pages) [Biography/921]
Review: Kamala Harris wrote this last year in order to introduce herself to the nation’s voters. She was running for the presidential nomination, but dropped out early, and now she is the Democratic Nominee for Vice President. She includes a handful of heartwarming stories from her childhood and young adult life, plus affectionate stories about her husband.

Most of the book focusses on her professional life, first as a prosecutor and as a district attorney, and later as a Senator from California. She also includes long passages on her views of the issues of the day, including healthcare, immigration, and judicial reform, followed by long passages about what she personally has done to improve those matters. Overall, this book is useful because it lets the reader know the background and policy opinions of the potential future Vice President.

+10 Task
+10 Not-a-Novel: non-fiction
+10 Review

Task Total: 10 + 10 + 10 = 30

Grand Total: 00 + 30 = 30

message 46: by Valerie (last edited Sep 06, 2020 08:45AM) (new)

Valerie Brown | 2494 comments 10.3 Single

Straight by Dick Francis

Another very enjoyable read from Dick Francis. This is the way a mystery/thriller should be written. As per usual for Francis, the protagonist, Derek, is thrown head-first into a confusing and dangerous (it turns out) situation. He is a smart, decent man who does well as a jockey and is happy with his life. Then, his much older brother is killed (accidentally and unexpectedly) and Derek has to get his brother’s estate (essentially, the business) in order. Of particular interest to me is that the business in question is gem dealer. A fair amount of the story takes place at the business and it seemed quite accurate. There’s even a goldsmith involved, and he reminded me of someone I know in the jewellery business! Poor Derek gets knocked around quite a bit, but luckily, he’s young and tough and he figures out the biggest mystery of the story at the very end. 4*

10 task
10 review
5 combo 20.3
5 oldie

Running total: 110

message 47: by Rosemary (last edited Sep 06, 2020 12:23PM) (new)

Rosemary | 2979 comments 20.3 Prolific

Miss Julia Inherits a Mess by Ann B. Ross

Miss Mattie Freeman passes away after a fall, and to her surprise Julia finds that she is the nominated executor. There are some nice pieces of furniture, but it doesn't look like nearly enough to cover all the bequests that Mattie specified, so it seems likely there will be some disappointed beneficiaries.

Then a man turns up claiming to be Mattie's long lost nephew. Is he who he says he is? And why does he say he wants nothing but the family photos? Miss Julia is determined to solve the mystery.

This is probably the last Miss Julia that I will read, as they were circulated by a reading friend who very sadly is no longer with us. I enjoyed it, and it makes a good farewell to the series.

+20 Task (there are 22 books in this series: )
+10 Combo (10.2 tiles MJIAMABR, word BRIM; 10.4)
+10 Review

Task total: 40
Season Total: 125

message 48: by Denise (new)

Denise | 1554 comments 20.5 Wine

The Monster in the Box by Ruth Rendell


This thoroughly enjoyable entry in the Inspector Wexford series falls near the end, #22 of 24. Fittingly, Wexford spends a lot of time taking a wistful look back at the changes that have taken place in his hometown, England in general, and his own life. We get an interesting backstory on how he met his wife Dora, and tales about some women he knew before he met her.
The main plot involves a man whom Wexford intuitively believed had committed a murder decades before, but it could not be pinned on him for lack of any evidence.  He stalked Wexford for a while at the time, then mostly disappeared, but has creepily turned up and seems to be stalking Wexford again.
A second plot involves an immigrant family whose teenage daughter disappears.  If she is dead, was it an honor killing by her own family, or was it a forced marriage, or did she just run off?  It was interesting to see how Rendell wove the two plots together.  As always she does a good job.
There are passing references to earlier cases, but it isn't necessary to have read the preceding books to understand and enjoy this one.

Wine quote:
"Burden took a sip of his wine. He wrinkled his nose but made no comment on the quality or taste of what he was drinking."

Scrabble tiles: TMITBRR  
Words: brim, trim, mitt

+20 task
+20 combo (10.2, 10.4 "M," 20.2 approved in task thread, 20.3 Rendell bibliography)
+10 review

Task total=50
Season total=50

(13/122 Mysteries Challenge)

message 49: by Denise (new)

Denise | 1554 comments 20.3 Prolific

Beast In View by Margaret Millar


The plot of this relatively short 1955 mystery/thriller involves two adult siblings, a brother and a sister, and a former friend of the sister. The sister lives alone, essentially friendless. The brother still lives with their recently-widowed mother. Someone is making strange, threatening phone calls to the sister.  The sister persuades her investment advisor to investigate. Eventually other people start getting phone calls--and worse.
The story is very much a product of its time, both in atmosphere and the mindset of the characters. There is a mild noir flavor. I enjoyed the writing style. She comes up with a lot of fresh similes and metaphors.
Margaret Millar's biography is interesting. I admit to having never heard of her. She was married to crime fiction author Ross Macdonald. I definitely will be reading more by Millar, and might try a Ross Macdonald title too.

(Be careful reading the reviews, there are unintentional spoilers around which would ruin the twist at the end.) 

tiles: BIVMM
word: VIM

+20 task (at least 27 titles - Bibliography)
+ 5 combo (10.2 Scrabble)
+10 review
+ 5 oldies (1955)

Task total=40
Season total=90

(14/122 Mysteries Challenge)

message 50: by Heather (new)

Heather (sarielswish) | 722 comments 10.6 - banned

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Low Lexile - no bonuses

+ 10 task

Task total: 10
Season total: 10

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