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Search tags: 12-tasks-of-the-festive-season
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text 2018-01-01 19:38
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Wrap Up

I almost managed a black out and I planned The ABC Murders to be my read for square 11, but then I got sick with a stomach flu saturday night and my plan went down the drain. But I still did reasonably well, I think.


Total points: 23 ( + 3 for the Melbourne Cup challenge)



My marker (I simply had to use a Danish julenisse):


One book or task accomplished


Two (or more) books and / or tasks accomplished


Books / tasks fullfilled:


Square 1: All Saints Day / Día de los Muertos / Calan Gaeaf


Book: A book that has a primarily black and white cover, or one that has all the colours (ROYGBIV) together on the cover.


Task: Epitaph for my most hated book ever


Square 2: Bon Om Touk


Task: Post a picture from your most recent or favorite vacation on the sea (or a lake, river, or any other body of water larger than a puddle


Guy Fawkes Night


Task: Host a traditional English tea party, or make yourself a nice cup of tea and settle down with a good book to read. Which kind of tea is your favorite? Tell us why.


Square 3: St. Martin’s Day (5th) / Veterans’ Day / Armistice Day (11th)


Task: A quote about the ravages of war


Square 4: Thanksgiving Day 


Book: Books with a theme of coming together to help a community or family in need.


Book: Read a book that has a monk, nun, pastor / preacher, priest or other representative of the organized church as a protagonist, or where someone is struggling with feelings of guilt or with their conscience (regardless over what).


Task: Be thankful for yourself and treat yourself to a new book - post a picture of it.


Square 5: Advent


Task: Post a pic of your advent calender 


Square 6: Sinterklaas / St. Nicholas Day / Krampusnacht


Book: A story involving children


Bodhi Day


Book: Read a book set in Nepal, India or Tibet, –OR– which involves animal rescue. (Buddhism calls for a vegetarian lifestyle.)


Square 7: Saint Lucia´s Day   


Book: Read a book set in Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Sweden - and Finland for the purposes of this game) or a book where ice and snow are an important feature.

Task: Get your Hygge on -- light a few candles if you’ve got them, pour yourself a glass of wine or hot chocolate/toddy, roast a marshmallow or toast a crumpet, and take a picture of your cosiest reading place.


Square 8: Hanukkah / Las Posados


Book: Read a book dealing with visits by family or friends


Task: Spin a virtual dreidel – then tell us which book the dreidel picked.


Square 9: Winter Solstice and Yaldā Night 


Book: Read a book in one night


Square 10: Pancha Ganapati


Book: Read a book by or about a Nobel Peace Prize winner, or about a protagonist (fictional or nonfictional) who has a reputation as a peacemaker.


Book: Read a book whose cover has one of the 5 colors of the holiday: red, blue, green, orange, or yellow


Square 12: Festivus


Task: Perform the Airing of Grievances: name 5 books you’ve read this year that have disappointed you - tell us in tongue-lashing detail why and how they failed to live up to expectations.


Square 13: Hogswatch Night


Book: Read Hogfather


Square 14: Dies Natalis Solis Invictis


Book: Celebrate the sun and read a book that has a beach or seaside setting


Square 15: Boxing Day / St. Stephen´s Day


Book: Read anything where the main character has servants (paid servants count, NOT unpaid) or is working as a servant him-/ herself.


Square 16: Kwanzaa


Book: A book, whose cover has primarily red, green or black


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review 2017-12-28 20:06
The Beguiled
The Beguiled - Thomas Cullinan

The Beguiled is an atmopheric read and the gothic feel pulled me through this book in no amount of time. And yet this novel is too long and drawn out. My physical copy has 372 pages with a tiny font, which makes this book in reality (and with a normal font-size) a 600+ page novel.


So it´s a big novel, told from the perspective of eight different characters (the women in the boarding school) and everyone has their own background story. Unfortunately not every background story is relevant for the overall storyline and some things could easily have been left out of the novel.


It doesn´t help either that the climax of the story lies about the halfway mark of the novel and after that the story just peters out. There is a lot of quarreling and tensions arise every now and then, but most of the women/girls behaved so incredibly stupid that I had a hard time believing in the credibility of the story. 


Having said that, I really enjoyed reading this book. All the characters are disturbing and by omitting the point of view of the only man in the house, I had ambigious feelings towards him in the end. He is a manipulating, lying, seducing creep, who is only interested in himself. And yet I have my doubts if he deserved what he has got. And did the other characters get what they deserved? No one is clearly good or bad or without sin in this novel.


 Book themes for St. Martin’s Day: Read a book set on a vineyard, or in a rural setting, –OR– a story where the MC searches for/gets a new job. –OR– A book with a lantern on the cover, or books set before the age of electricity. –OR– A story dealing with an act of selfless generosity (like St. Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar).



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review 2017-12-26 16:15
This Rough Magic
This Rough Magic - Mary Stewart

I´m not sure why I like Mary Stewart´s books as much as I do, but it must have something to do with the way I feel when reading one of her books:




Yes, she´s taking the reader on an adventure. And I don´t care how formulaic, unrealistic and farfetched her stories are and I can´t even get bothered by the mandatory romance in her books. The gorgeous descriptions of the landscapes and countries her books are set in, are alone worth the effort to read her books.


So, what does This Rough Magic bring to the table: The wonderful setting of Corfu, Greeks with iconic names, quoting of Shakespeare´s The Tempest (even though the play hasn´t any significance for the overall plot), an unconvincing romance (Lucy fell in love within a blink of the eye), an (almost) “over the top” bad guy and an action-packed finale.


This book feels like vacation put in between book covers and I guess her other books will give me the same feeling. And because of this I will happily return to Mary Stewart´s books in the future.


Book themes for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti: Celebrate the sun and read a book that has a beach or seaside setting. –OR– a book set during summertime. –OR– set in the Southern Hemisphere.



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review 2017-12-25 16:32
A Christmas Party / Envious Casca
A Christmas Party: A Seasonal Murder Mystery - Georgette Heyer

My physical copy of this Georgette Heyer book is titled "A Christmas Party" and as Themis pointed out to me, the original title "Envious Casca" has a specific point to it. Themis was so kind and gave me a hint about the title and I looked it up after finishing the book and she is right: the original is much more fitting for the story than the new one (which is pretty bland and boring, I think).


The murder mystery might not be the strong suit of Envious Casca since I thought it to be a bit predictablebut I loved the dysfunctional family / friends relationships of the Christmas company at Lexham manor. The toxic atmosphere between these people and their lashing out at each other without holding back was highly entertaining.


Overall a really fun read and I´m glad that I managed it to read it this Christmas.


Book themes for Las Posadas: Read a book dealing with visits by family or friends, or set in Mexico, –OR– with a poinsettia on the cover. –OR– a story where the main character is stranded without a place to stay, or find themselves in a 'no room at the Inn’ situation.


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review 2017-12-25 15:57
High Rising
High Rising - Angela Thirkell

After finishing Chernobyl Prayer I needed something lighthearted and fun to read and High Rising was the perfect choice. Set in a British small town, a group of its residents come together to prevent an "unsuitable" marriage, which might possibly rupture the peaceful country life of Low and High Rising.


The plot is predictable, it´s not laugh-out-loud funny (I guess some of the humour goes right over my head) and the characters are stereotypical and doesn´t have much depth to them. Except for Tony maybe, the main characters son, he is the most obnoxious child I have ever read about. Think of the word annoying to the tenth degree and you might imagine just how annoying Tony is. Plus he creeped me out at times. And I have a soft spot for Laura Morland, said main character, who has the most unruly hair and who has the most endearing way to brush off a marriage proposal.


But it still was a fun read and overall I enjoyed this novel, but I´m not in a rush to read the next one in the series. 


Book themes for Thanksgiving Day: Books with a theme of coming together to help a community or family in need. –OR– Books with a turkey or pumpkin on the cover.



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