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review 2018-01-15 15:35
Very Brief Thoughts: Snowbound with the Notorious Rake
Snowbound with the Notorious Rake - Sarah Mallory

Snowbound with the Notorious Rake
by Sarah Mallory

 

 

One wicked Christmas night…

Trapped by a blizzard, the sight of notorious rogue Sir Lawrence Daunton almost makes schoolteacher Rose Westerhill turn back into the snow!  When it becomes apparent she has nowhere else to go Rose accepts his offer of shelter, vowing to remain indifferent to his practiced charm.

But as the temperature outside drops, she finds the wicked rake's sizzling seduction impossible to resist.  For one stolen night Rose abandons her principles—and her body!—to his expert ministrations.  Christmas with the rakish Lawrence promises to be a thoroughly improper yuletide celebration….



This historical romance by Sarah Mallory was written really well, but the actual story and the characters were quite frustrating.  On top of that, I was a little disappointed that the entire "snowbound" scenario really only lasted a couple chapters, then the rest of the book was just a typical romance with a reformed rake and the prudish schoolteacher.  I may or may not have started drifting off, or setting the book aside due to boredom.

As for our couple, they were pretty standard.  I didn't find Sir Lawrence to stand out much, but he was a neutral, good man.  Rose was more likable during the snowbound duration, but afterwards, I feel like she was a bit over-extreme in her prejudice against Sir Lawrence.  I understand that she has a history and can see why she's so cautious, but she went to the point of simply wanting to always believe the worst of Sir Lawrence no matter that he'd been nothing but honorable towards her from the beginning.

In contrast, I found it kind of hard to believe that she would take the word of her fiance, Magnus, and her future sister-in-law, Althea, without really giving it more thought.  She's been around Magnus and Althea enough that you'd think she wouldn't place so much credence in their words or actions.  So it came across as her trying to find any reason possible to discredit Sir Lawrence, even if it hadn't been warranted.

The romance was super frustrating, and I'm not sure there were even any characters I liked.

The background mystery about the sunken ship, and the investigation of it seemed kind of blah.

I may try another Sarah Mallory book, but I DO hope that this one was just a fluke.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/01/very-brief-thoughts-snowbound-with.html
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review 2018-01-15 15:30
Thoughts: Touch of Red
Touch of Red (Tracers) - Laura Griffin

Touch of Red
by Laura Griffin
Book 12 of Tracers


This is a Laura Griffin Tracers novel, so it is dark and gritty and real where you need it to be.  The premise was typical of most crime thrillers, and I'm always in love with how crime scene investigation and forensic science is incorporated.

Unfortunately, I'm not much enamored with TSTL characters.  I can't say that I've come across too many of them in the Tracers installments previously, but I also can't say that they didn't exist.

In Touch of Red, she certainly did exist.


The Story:
At the scene of a gruesome murder, Brooke Porter discovers evidence that a witness might have escaped after the fact.  What ends up being more surprising is who this witness may be, and the fact that said witness is probably in a lot of danger.  Without hesitation, Brooke is determined to find this witness and keep him safe.

Detective Sean Byrne is in charge of this homicide case, and realizes that he may have to keep an eye on Brooke when the Delphi Center trace evidence expert decides to play at being detective.  While he's more than happy to get a chance to spend more time with Brooke, it doesn't escape his notice that the murder has become just as sinister as the carnage at the crime scene suggests.


My Thoughts:
There's very little to say about this book without getting into a rant.

Don't get me wrong--I really enjoyed Touch of Red, much as I've enjoyed all the Tracers novels.  It's intriguing, it's fast-paced, and it involves one of my favorite subjects.  I also love how Laura Griffin incorporates more than just the current criminal case, showing us a scene where Brooke has caught up with two days worth of work, just analyzing fingerprints from different cases on her workload.  She's not just narrowly focused on the "case of the week," but because crime labs have more than one case going at a time, they've got backlog, and they've got piles of work yet to be finished.

So I love how the focus of the "case of the week" is balanced enough to be realistic.

The romance was sweet, and probably could have been better if I had liked Brooke a bit more.  In fact, I absolutely loved her character from the previous book, and was set to enjoy her from the beginning of this book.  But at some point, she became so narrow-sighted and focused on "her witness" that she seemed to be teetering on reckless obsession.  I get that she was worried for the safety of the witness she discovered; I get that she felt it might have been her fault for bringing this particular person to the killer's attention.

What I don't get is how a level-headed trace evidence expert, who is supposed to also understand how the law works, as a medico-legal specialist, throws all of her common sense out the window for the last half of the book.  She also ended up kind of irrationally screechy...  Okay, well, she didn't really screech or anything, but she might as well have been.  Because she just started making all sorts of general, blanket assumptions that made it seem like she was the only one concerned about the witness's safety and finding the killer and blah, blah, blah...

She was basically telling all of her colleagues that they weren't doing their job.

It got a bit old.  Especially when she started imagining slights from Sean based on her own history with men.  I don't really think it was fair to him.

On the bright side, we have a not-broody alpha male this time around, who didn't feel the need to tell the heroine what to do all the time.  I'm not saying that he didn't try once or twice, but when he realized it was not the way to Brooke Porter's heart, he let it go, even if grudgingly.  And he never really went as far as caveman-styling his way into her life.

Anyway, the book was enjoyable on a certain level, and we do get to see more of some past characters as well as an introductory to what seems like the next couple in the Tracers installment--once again, somehow managing to seamlessly being part of this book without sticking out awkwardly.  And I approve.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/01/thoughts-touch-of-red.html
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text 2018-01-13 15:50
Read-a-thon: 24 in 48! January 2018 | Ani's Plans!


So here is the basic gist of this read-a-thon as copied from the 24 in 48 Readathon site:

 

Beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, readers read for 24 hours out of that 48 hour period.  You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, 4 hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six 4 hour sessions with 4 hour breaks in between; whatever you’d like.

 

*~*~*~*~*


So January 2018's 24in48 will be the weekend of the 27th and 28th!  I'm super pumped, and hopefully I won't be disturbed.  I don't work that weekend, so I'm going to comb my reading lists and see what I can get lined up for the thon.  Maybe, it'll include some of the following books:

 


I'm not sure what I want to read yet, but these are some that I'm wanting to get to at some point this year.  These are also books I own that have been awaiting my attention, so I hope I can get to them some time, if not during the read-a-thon!

Happy reading everyone!

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/01/read-thon-24-in-48-january-2018-anis.html
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text 2018-01-13 15:31
Ani's 2018 Reading Challenges | With a short 2017 reflection



For the most part, 2017 was actually a pretty productive year for my reading challenges, save for the snafu's of a couple of months at the beginning and end of the year.  For some summaries, progress, and updates, you can check out all the challenges I participated in at my 2017 Reading Challenges summary page.

It's honestly really hard to do, making myself not spend so much time obsessing over my reading challenge goals.  For 2017, I kept having to tell myself to take a more laid back approach, don't participate in too many challenges, follow my own reading moods... and so on.  But then another new reading challenge would catch my attention, and the next thing I know, I'm lost.

So... for 2018, I really think my best bet is just... to make some goals, and see where they all go.  I failed my Reading Assignment challenge for the first time since I started participating, and it didn't feel like the end of the world.  So maybe I can truly start to take a more laid back approach towards my reading challenges for 2018.

Just make the goals.  Then see where the year takes me.


Goodreads Reading Challenge

My Goal:  150 books
GR shelf:  2018 Reading Challenge


2018 Reading Assignment Challenge

hosted by Michelle and Berls @ Because Reading is better than real life
Spring Semester Goal:  Reading Level 1 // 12 books (1 books/month)
Fall Semester Goal:  TBR
GR shelf:  2018 Reading Assignment Challenge
My 2018 Reading Assignment Challenge Summary Page


2018 Mount TBR Challenge

hosted by My Reader's Block
My Goal:  Mount Vancouver -- Read 36 books from your TBR pile/s
GR shelf:  2018 Mt TBR Pile Challenge


2018 Personal Series Challenge

My tentative book list and challenge announcement
Goal #1:  Finish/Catch Up With 10 series, already started
Goal #2:  Read/Catch Up With 10 series, new to me
Goal #3:  Read 10 1st in a series books


2018 Author Love Challenge

hosted by Michelle and Berls @ Because Reading is better than real life
Author Chosen:  Jayne Ann Krentz
Goal:  Read 12 Books


***

Wish me luck!

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/01/anis-2018-reading-challenges-with-short.html
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text 2018-01-01 13:31
16 Festive Tasks | Wrap Up!
game play hosted @ Booklikes

 


I'm being super lazy about this wrap up post and just listing stuff... and pretty much duplicating my summarized tracking page (link above).  For the most part, aside from reading and the occasional review, I sort of fell of the face of the blogging world for a while.  I'm still kind of adjusting to a new lifestyle, which apparently includes more socialization with family now that my work and sleep hours are no long that of the third shift variety.

Anyway, I'm really, really (for the third or fourth time) hoping that I'll start becoming more active on the blogging and socializing front once again.  Holidays were busy, and while I had planned (and drafted!) a lot of potential posts to share... well, some of those fell through.

Still... I managed to get a lot more books read in the last month of 2017 than I had expected, so that's always good.  Of course, I really just fell into a historical romance marathon, with Tessa Dare and Courtney Milan keeping me entertained with their wonderful work!

Now onward to the lazy wrap up... I say lazy, because I had fully intended to include some book covers and maybe a photo or two.  I got lazy--that's all.

Once again, I'd like to thank our lovely 16 Festive Tasks hosts, Murder by Death and Themis-Athena for putting together this wonderful, holiday special!  I know I wasn't very active and I feel like I didn't participate, but I still had a lot of fun trying to come up with ways to earn those points, even though I didn't make it far.

 

 

All finished tasks will be listed under each category as they are completed.
(last updated 12/31/2017)

 

 

My Progress


Points Earned:  18
Books Read:  15
Tasks Completed:  3

 

 

The Tasks

 

Square 1: November 1st:
All Saints Day is a Christian festival celebrated in honour of all the saints, known and unknown.  Día de Muertos focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey, while Calan Gaeaf is the name of the first day of winter in Wales.


Book themes for Día de Muertos and All Saint’s Day:  A book that has a primarily black and white cover, or one that has all the colours (ROYGBIV) together on the cover.



Book themes for Calan Gaeaf:  Read any of your planned Halloween Bingo books that you didn’t end up reading after all, involving witches, hags, or various types of witchcraft –OR– read a book with ivy or roses on the cover, or a character’s name/title of book is/has Rose or Ivy in it.


Tasks for Día de Muertos and All Saint’s Day:  Create a short poem, or an epitaph for your most hated book ever.

Tasks for Calan Gaeaf:  If you’re superstition-proof, inscribe your name on a rock, toss it in a fire and take a picture to post –OR– Make a cozy wintertime dish involving leeks (the national plant of Wales) and post the recipe and pictures with your thoughts about how it turned out.

 

Square 2: November 5th:
Guy Fawkes Night (also known as Bonfire Night or Fireworks Night) is an annual holiday, primarily in Great Britain, commemorating the events of November 5th, 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords.  Bon Om Touk (the Cambodian Water Festival), marks a reversal of the flow of the Tonle Sap River.


Book themes for Guy Fawkes Night:  Any book about the English monarchy (any genre), political treason, political thrillers, or where fire is a major theme, or fire is on the cover.

Book themes for Bon Om Touk:  Read a book that takes place on the sea, near the sea, or on a lake or a river, or read a book that has water on the cover.



Tasks for Guy Fawkes Night:  Post pictures of past or present bonfires, fireworks (IF THEY’RE LEGAL) or sparklers. Or: 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.



Tasks for Bon Om Touk:  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), or if you're living on the sea or on a lake or a river, post a picture of your favorite spot on the shore / banks / beach / at the nearest harbour.

 

Square 3: November 11th:
St. Martin’s Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Martin, Martinstag or Martinmas, as well as Old Halloween and Old Hallowmas Eve, is the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours (Martin le Miséricordieux).  Veterans’ Day, or Armistice Day, marks the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918.  In the United States, Veteran’s Day is expanded to include all military veterans from any military action.


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).



Book themes for Veteran’s Day/Armistice Day:  Read a book involving veterans of any war, books about WWI or WWII (fiction or non-fiction). –OR– Read a book with poppies on the cover.

Tasks for St. Martin’s Day:  Write a Mother Goose-style rhyme or a limerick; the funnier the better. –OR– Take a picture of the book you’re currently reading, next to a glass of wine, or the drink of your choice, with or without a fire in the background. –OR– Bake a Weckmann; if you’re not a dab hand with yeast baking, make a batch of gingerbread men, or something else that’s typical of this time of the year where you live.  Post pics of the results and the recipe if you’d like to share it.

Tasks for Verteran’s Day/Armistice Day:  Make, or draw a red poppy and show us a pic of your red poppy or other symbol of remembrance –OR– post a quote or a piece of poetry about the ravages of war.

 

Square 4: November 22nd and 23rd:
Penance Day, or Buß- und Bettag (November 22nd), is a Protestant holiday and a public holiday in the state of Saxony and is an occasion for Protestant Christians to pray or reflect on quiet thoughts, and while Thanksgiving (November 23rd) started out as a purely US holiday (and Canadian! on October 9th), it’s now well-known around the world for its feasts, family togetherness, and a holiday that strikes fear in the hearts of turkeys everywhere.


Book themes for Penance Day:  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).

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.

Tasks for Penance Day:  Tell us – what has recently made you stop in your tracks and think? –OR– What was a big turning point in your life? –OR– Penance Day is a holiday of the Protestant church, which dates its origins, in large parts, to Martin Luther, who published his “95 Theses” exactly 500 years ago this year. Compile a catalogue of theses (it needn’t be 95) about book blogging!  What suggestions or ideas would you propose to improve the experience of book blogging?

Tasks for Thanksgiving Day:  List of 5 things you’re grateful for –OR– a picture of your thanksgiving feast; post your favourite turkey-day recipe. –OR– Be thankful for yourself and treat yourself to a new book - post a picture of it.



Bonus task:  Share your most hilarious turkey-day memory.

 

Square 5: December 3rd and following 3 Sundays:
Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.


Book themes for Advent:  Read a book with a wreath or with pines or fir trees on the cover –OR– Read the 4th book from a favorite series, or a book featuring 4 siblings.

  • Read:  Merry Christmas, Baby by Jill Shalvis // pine trees on the cover // +1 point
  • Read:  The Scandalous, Dissolute, No Good Mr. Wright by Tessa Dare // features four sisters // +1 point

 


Tasks for Advent:  Post a pic of your advent calendar.  (Festive cat, dog, hamster or other suitable pet background expressly encouraged.) –OR– “Advent” means “he is coming.” Tell us: What in the immediate or near future are you most looking forward to?  (This can be a book release, or a tech gadget, or an event … whatever you next expect to make you really happy.)



Bonus task:  Make your own advent calendar and post it.

 

Square 6: December 5th-6th and 8th:
Sinterklaas, also known as St. Nicholas Day, celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas on 6th of December.  The feast is celebrated annually with the giving of gifts on St. Nicholas' Eve (5th of December) or on the morning of 6th of December, Saint Nicholas Day.  Krampusnacht (December 5th) is the day when Krampus, a companion of St. Nicholas, arrives to punish the children who have been naughty during the year, and in Asia, the 8th of December is Bodhi Day, the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment.


Book themes for Sinterklaas / St. Martin’s Day / Krampusnacht:  A story involving children or a young adult book, or a book with oranges on the cover, or whose cover is primarily orange (for the Dutch House of Orange) –OR– with tangerines, walnuts, chocolates, or cookies on the cover.

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

Tasks for Sinterklaas / St. Martin’s Day / Krampusnacht:  Write a witty or humorous poem to St. Nicholas –OR– If you have kids, leave coins or treats, like tangerines, walnuts, chocolate(s) and cookies [more common in Germany] in their shoes to find the next morning and then post about their reactions/bewilderment. ;)  If you don’t have kids, do the same for another family member / loved one or a friend.

Tasks for Bodhi Day:  Perform a random act of kindness.  Feed the birds, adopt a pet, hold the door open for someone with a smile, or stop to pet a dog (that you know to be friendly); cull your books and donate them to a charity, etc.  (And, in a complete break with the Buddha’s teachings, tell us about it.) –OR– Post a picture of your pet, your garden, or your favourite, most peaceful place in the world.

 

Square 7: December 10th & 13th:
International Human Rights Day (December 10th) commemorates the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  St. Lucia’s Day (December 13th) is celebrated most commonly in Scandinavia, with their long dark winters, where it is a major feast day, and in Italy, with each emphasizing a different aspect of Saint Lucia's story.


Book themes for International Human Rights Day:  Read a book originally written in another language (i.e., not in English and not in your mother tongue), –OR– a book written by anyone not anglo-saxon, –OR– any story revolving around the rights of others either being defended or abused. –OR– Read a book set in New York City, or The Netherlands (home of the U.N. and U.N. World Court respectively).

Book themes for Saint Lucia's Day:  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.

Tasks for International Human Rights Day:  Post a picture of yourself next to a war memorial or other memorial to an event pertaining to Human Rights.  (Pictures of just the memorial are ok too.) –OR– Cook a dish from a foreign culture or something involving apples (NYC = Big Apple) or oranges (The Netherlands); post recipe and pics.

Tasks for Saint Lucia's Day:  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 coziest reading place.

Bonus task:  Make the Danish paper hearts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jur29ViLEhk

 

Square 8: December 12th - 24th:
Hanukkah (begins 12th, ends 20th) is the Jewish Festival of Lights.  It commemorates the re-dedication of the Holy temple in Jerusalem and the miracle that a one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days.  Las Posadas (begins 16th, ends 24th) is a novenario (nine days of religious observance) celebrated chiefly in Mexico and by Mexican-Americans in the United States.  The novena represents the nine-month pregnancy of Mary, the mother of Jesus celebrated by Christian traditions.


Book themes for Hanukkah:  Any book whose main character is Jewish, any story about the Jewish people –OR– where the miracle of light plays a significant part in the stories plot.

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.

Tasks for Hanukkah:  Light nine candles around the room (SAFELY) and post a picture. –OR– Play the Dreidel game to pick the next book you read.

Assign a book from your TBR to each of the four sides of the dreidel:

  • נ (Nun)
  • ג (Gimel)
  • ה (He)
  • ש (Shin)

Spin a virtual dreidel: http://www.torahtots.com/holidays/chanuka/dreidel.htm –- then tell us which book the dreidel picked. –OR– Make your own dreidel: https://www.activityvillage.co.uk/make-a-dreidel, –OR– Play the game at home, or play online: http://www.jewfaq.org/dreidel/play.htm and tell us about the experience.–OR– Give some Gelt: Continue a Hanukkah tradition and purchase some chocolate coins, or gelt. Post a picture of your chocolate coins, and then pass them out amongst friends and family!

Tasks for Las Posadas:  Which was your favorite / worst / most memorable hotel / inn / vacation home stay ever?  Tell us all about it! –OR– If you went caroling as a kid: Which are your best / worst / most unforgettable caroling memories?

Bonus task:  Make a piñata (https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Pi%C3%B1ata), hang it from a tree, post, basketball hoop, clothesline or similarly suitable holder and let your neighborhood kids have a go at breaking it.

 

Square 9: December 21st:
Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere, also known as Yaldā Night in Iran.  The same day is the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere, giving them the longest day of the year. / Mōdraniht is "Night of the Mothers" or "Mothers' Night” in old English and was an event held at what is now Christmas Eve by the Anglo-Saxon Pagans.  Yuletide is a festival observed by the historical Germanic peoples.  Scholars have connected the celebration to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin, and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Mōdraniht.


Book themes for Winter Solstice and Yaldā Night:  Read a book of poetry, or a book where the events all take place during the course of one night, or where the cover is a night-time scene.

  • Read:  Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare // majority of events take place in the course of one night // +1 point

 


Book themes for Mōdraniht:  Read any book where the MC is actively raising young children or teens.

 


Book themes for Yuletide:  Read a book set in the midst of a snowy or icy winter, –OR– set in the Arctic or Antartica.

 


Tasks for Winter Solstice and Yaldā Night:  Read a book in one night - in the S. Hemisphere, read a book in a day. –OR– Grab one of your thickest books off the shelf.  Ask a question and then turn to page 40 and read the 9th line of text on that page.  Post your results. –OR– Eat a watermelon or pomegranate for good luck and health in the coming year, but post a pic first!.

Bonus task:  Read a book in one night.

Tasks for Mōdraniht:  Tell us your favourite memory about your mom, grandma, or the woman who had the greatest impact on your childhood. –OR– Post a picture of you and your mom, or if comfortable, you and your kids.

Bonus task:  Post 3 things you love about your mother-in-law (if you have one), otherwise your grandma.

Tasks for Yuletide:  Make a Yule log cake - post a pic and the recipe for us to drool over.

 

Square 10: December 21st:
World Peace Day is the day the United Nations General Assembly has declared as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.  Pancha Ganapati, is a modern five-day Hindu festival in honor of Ganesha that comes to an end on the 25th.  The festival was created in 1985 as a Hindu alternative to December holidays like Christmas by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (born Robert Hansen), a Westerner who embraced Hinduism.


Book themes for World Peace Day:  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 themes for Pancha Ganapati:  Read anything involving a need for forgiveness in the story line; a story about redemption –OR– Read a book whose cover has one of the 5 colors of the holiday: red, blue, green, orange, or yellow –OR– Read a book involving elephants.



Tasks for World Peace Day:  Cook something involving olives or olive oil.  Share the results and/or recipe with us. –OR– Tell us: If you had wings (like a dove), where would you want to fly?

Tasks for Pancha Ganapati:  Post about your 5 favourite books this year and why you appreciated them so much. –OR– Take a shelfie / stack picture of the above-mentioned 5 favorite books.  (Feel free to combine these tasks into 1!

 

Square 11: December 21st-22nd:
Soyal (December 21st) is the winter solstice ceremony of the Zuni and the Hopi (Hopitu Shinumu), The Peaceful Ones, also known as the Hopi Indians.  It is held on the shortest day of the year to ceremonially bring the sun back from its long winter slumber.  The Dōngzhì Festival (December 22nd) also celebrates the winter solstice and is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians.


Book themes for Soyal:  Read a book set in the American Southwest / the Four Corners States (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah), –OR– a book that has a Native American protagonist.

Book themes for Dōngzhì Festival:  Read a book set in China or written by a Chinese author / an author of Chinese origin; or read a book that has a pink or white cover.

Tasks for Soyal:  Like many Native American festivities, Soyal involves rituals such as dances.  What local / religious / folk traditions or customs exist where you live?  Tell us about one of them.  (If you can, post pictures for illustration.) –OR– Share a picture you’ve taken of a harvest setting or autumnal leaf color.

Tasks for Dōngzhì Festival:  If you like Chinese food, tell us your favorite dish – otherwise, tell us your favorite desert.  (Recipes, as always, welcome.)

 

Square 12: December 23rd
Festivus is “The Festivus for the rest of us!”; originally a family tradition of scriptwriter Dan O’Keefe, who worked on the US sitcom Seinfeld, Festivus entered popular culture after it was made the theme of a Seinfeld episode.  Saturnalia, the ancient Roman festival in honour of the god Saturn, begins on December 17th and comes to an end on December 23rd.


Book themes for Festivus:  Read anything comedic; a parody, satire, etc.  Books with hilariously dysfunctional families (must be funny dysfunctional, not tragic dysfunctional).  Anything that makes you laugh (or hope it does).

Book themes for Saturnalia:  The god Saturn has a planet named after him; read any work of science fiction that takes place in space. –OR– Read a book celebrating free speech. –OR– A book revolving around a very large party, or ball, or festival, –OR– a book with a mask or masks on the cover. –OR– a story where roles are reversed.

  • Read: The Lost Night by Jayne Castle // sci-fi book that takes place in space // +1 point


Tasks for Festivus:  Post your personal list of 3 Festivus Miracles –OR– post a picture of your Festivus pole (NOTHING pornographic, please!), –OR– 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.

Tasks for Saturnalia:  Wear a mask, take a picture and post it.  Leave a small gift for someone you know anonymously - a small bit of chocolate or apple, a funny poem or joke.  Tell us about it in a post. –OR– Tell us: If you could time-travel back to ancient Rome, where would you want to go and whom (both fictional and / or nonfictional persons) would you like to meet?

 

Square 13: December 25th
Christmas -- we really don’t think anyone needs an explanation of this one, but Hogswatch Night is the festival celebrating the winter solstice and the New Year across much of the Main continent and some other areas of Discworld.  It falls on the 36th of December, the new year beginning on the 1st of Ick.  If this all sounds like nonsense, you’ve not yet read Terry Pratchett.  What better time to give his books a try?


Book themes for Christmas:  Read a book whose protagonist is called Mary, Joseph (or Jesus, if that’s a commonly used name in your culture) or any variations of those names (e.g., Maria or Pepe).

Book themes for Hogswatch Night:  Of course - read Hogfather!  Or any Discworld book (or anything by Terry Pratchett)

Tasks for Christmas:  So. many. options.  Post a picture of your stockings hung from the chimney with care, –OR– a picture of Santa’s ‘treat’ waiting for him. –OR– Share with us your family Christmas traditions involving gift-giving, or Santa’s visit.  Did you write letters to Santa as a kid (and if so, did he write back, as J.R.R. Tolkien did “as Santa Claus” to his kids)?  If so, what did you wish for?  A teddy bear or a doll?  Other toys – or practical things?  And did Santa always bring what you asked for?

Tasks for Hogswatch Night:  Make your favourite sausage dish (if you’re vegan or vegetarian, use your favorite sausage or meat substitute), post and share recipe.

 

Square 14: December 25th
Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (‘birthday of the unconquered sun’) - Sol Invictus was the official sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers.  Quaid-e-Azam (‘Great Leader’) Day is the Pakistan holiday celebrating their founder’s - Muhammad Ali Jinnah - birthday.


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.


Book themes for Quaid-e-Azam:  Pakistan became an independent nation when the British Raj ended on August 14, 1947.  Read a book set in Pakistan or in any other country that attained sovereign statehood between August 14, 1947 and today (regardless in what part of the world).

Tasks for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti:  Find the sunniest spot in your home, that’s warm and comfy and read your book. –OR– Take a picture of your garden, or a local garden/green space in the sun (even if the ground is under snow).  If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, take a picture of your local scenic spot, park, or beach, on a sunny day. –OR– The Romans believed that the sun god rode across the sky in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.  Have you ever been horseback riding, or did you otherwise have significant encounters with horses?  As a child, which were your favorite books involving horses?

Tasks for Quaid-e-Azam:  Pakistan’s first leader – Muhammad Ali Jinnah – was a man, but both Pakistan and neighboring India were governed by women (Benazir Bhutto and Indira Gandhi respectively) before many of the major Western countries.  Tell us: Who are the present-day or historic women that you most respect, and why?  (These can be any women of great achievement, not just political leaders.)

 

Square 15: December 25th-26th:
Newtonmas, on the 25th of December is the celebration of Sir Isaac Newton’s birthday.  St. Stephen's Day, or the Feast of Saint Stephen, is a Christian saint's day commemorating Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr.  Anyone who reads any British historical fiction will be familiar with Boxing Day, but there are competing theories for the origins of the term, none definitive.  When in doubt, fall back on the OED, which defines it as “[…] a holiday on which post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box”.


Book themes for Newtonmas:  Any science book.  Any book about alchemy.  Any book where science, astronomy, or chemistry play a significant part in the plot.  (For members of the Flat Book Society: The “Forensics” November group read counts.)

 


Book themes for Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day:  Read anything where the main character has servants (paid servants count, NOT unpaid) or is working as a servant him-/ herself.

 


Tasks for Newtonmas:  Take a moment to appreciate gravity and the laws of motion.  If there’s snow outside, have a snowball fight with a friend or a member of your family. –OR– Take some time out to enjoy the alchemical goodness of a hot toddy or chocolate or any drink that relies on basic chemistry/alchemy (coffee with cream or sugar / tea with milk or sugar or lemon, etc.).  Post a picture of your libations and the recipe if it’s unique and you’re ok with sharing it.

Tasks for St. Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day:  Show us your boxes of books! –OR– If you have a cat, post a picture of your cat in a box. (your dog in a box works too, if your dog likes boxes -- we're looking at you WhiskeyintheJar) -- or any pet good-natured enough to pose in a box long enough for you to snap a picture.

BONUS task:  Box up all the Christmas detritus, decorations, or box up that stuff you’ve been meaning to get rid of, or donate, etc. and take a picture and post it.

 

Square 16: December 26th-31st:
Kwanzaa honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1.  Is there any place in the world that doesn’t celebrate New Year’s Eve?  But Hogmanay is the unique Scottish take on New Years Eve and Day and might be new to many of us, as might be St. Sylvester’s Day, the feast day of Pope Sylvester I, and Watchnight, a late-night Christian church service that starts late on New Year's Eve, and ends after midnight.


Book themes for Kwanzaa:  Read a book written by an author of African descent or a book set in Africa, or whose cover is primarily red, green or black.

Book themes for Hogmanay / New Year’s Eve / Watch Night / St. Sylvester’s Day:  Read a book about starting over, rebuilding, new beginnings, etc. –OR– Read anything set in medieval times. –OR– A book about the papacy –OR– where miracles of any sort are performed (the unexplainable - but good - kind).



Tasks for Kwanzaa:  Create a stack of books in the Kwanzaa color scheme using red, black and green and post your creation and post a photo (or post a photo of a shelfie where black, red and green predominate).

BONUS task:  Create something with your stack of books: a christmas tree or other easily identifiable object.

Tasks for Hogmanay / New Year’s Eve / Watch Night / St. Sylvester’s Day:  Make a batch of shortbread for yourself, family or friends.  Post pics and recipe. –OR– Light some sparklers (if legal) and take a picture - or have a friend take a picture of your “writing” in the sky with the sparkler. –OR– Get yourself a steak pie (any veggie/vegan substitutions are fine) and read yourself a story - but take a pic of both before you start, and post it.–OR– make whatever New Year's Eve / Day good luck dish there is in your family or in the area where you live or where you grew up; tell us about it, and if it's not a secret recipe, we hope you'll share it with us.

MASSIVE HUGE BONUS POINTS if you post a picture of yourself walking a pig on a leash. (Done to ensure good fortune of the coming year.)

 

 

Surprise Tasks / Bonus Tasks

 


(I will update this section with a brief summary of the above four cards at a later date.  But the first one is a Surprise, Surprise Bonus Task that our hosts will be revealing as the game progresses.)


Surprise, Surprise Bonus #1 - Melbourne Cup Day, the Race that Stops a Nation!
11/05/2017:  Pick three of the ponies listed for this task to bet on, then wait and see what the outcome is.  Host, Murder by Death will announce the results and award points for any winners!

My Picks:  1) Wall of Flame // 2) Nakeeta // 3) Ventura Storm
Winners:  1) Rekindling // 2) Johannes Vermeer // 3) Max Dynamite
Points Earned:  0

~~~~~~

Surprise, Surprise Bonus Joker #2: The Cuckoo Egg
11/28/2017:  Figure out which of the 32 holidays present doesn't actually occur in December!

Me:  Did not guess.
The Answer:  World Peace Day -- actually takes place on September 21 of each year.
Points Earned:  0

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/01/16-festive-tasks-wrap-up.html
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