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Search tags: 24-festive-tasks
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review 2018-11-14 07:22
Door /Dec 21 Winter Solstice
Stick Man by Julia Donaldson (7-Sep-2009) Paperback - Julia Donaldson

Winter Solstice / Yuletide (December 21): Read any book that takes place in December OR with ice or snow on the cover OR that revolves around the (summer or winter) equinox OR a collection of poetry by Hafez.

Stick Man is a sweet book with stick man played out the role as a stick but all he wants is to go home. 

 

A read a loud book for children. 


 

Image result for stick Man book

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review 2018-11-12 20:44
Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky (audiobook)
Children of Time - Adrian Tchaikovsky,Mel Hudson

This book is still unadulterated awesome the third time through (second time by audio).

 

I love how it came down to the acceptance of the other through empathy and I love the alien spider mentality. Also, Holsten's mini-breakdowns were plausible and really fun to read.

 

Seriously, it's unadulterated awesome. Intelligent spiders in space battling the last humans for the control of the only habitable planet around. Guess who wins? You'll love the answer. I know I do. Plus it's a fun ride and at one point we have a decanted subculture running around on a sleeper ship. The spiders even have crazy biotech and literal ant computers (sort of like Hex).

 

I especially love how the spiders manage to out-humanity humanity.

(spoiler show)
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review 2018-11-12 13:30
24 Festive Tasks: Doors 2 and 5 - Books for Guy Fawkes Night and Veterans' / Armistice Day
Behold, Here's Poison - Georgette Heyer
Behold, Here's Poison - Georgette Heyer
The Riddle of the Third Mile - Colin Dexter,Samuel West
The Riddle of the Third Mile - Colin Dexter


Georgette Heyer: Behold, Here's Poison
(Narrator: Ulli Birvé)

The first Georgette Heyer mysteries I read were her Inspector Hemingway books, which in a way meant I was starting from the wrong end, as Hemingway progressed to the rank of inspector from having been the lead investigator's sergeant in the earlier Superintendent Hannasyde books.  That doesn't impede my enjoyment of Hannasyde's cases in the least, however, now that I'm getting around to these, even though I found the first one (Death in the Stocks) seriously underwhelming.  But Heyer redeems herself in a big way with Behold, Here's Poison: Though a fair share of her mysteries have a sizeable contingent of 1920s-30s stock-in-trade bright young things and generally "nice chaps" (which got on my nerves enough at one point to make me decide I'd had enough of Heyer), when she did set her mind to it, nobody, not even Agatha Christie, did maliciously bickering families like her.  And the family taking center stage here must be one of the meanest she's ever come up with, only (just) surpassed by the Penhallows.  I'm not overwhelmed with the story's romantic dénouement (there always is one in Heyer's books), and while I guessed the mystery's essential "who" and had a basic idea of the "why" at about the 3/4 - 4/5 mark (the actual "why" was a bit of a deus ex machina), by and large this has to count among my favorite Heyer mysteries so far ... though not quite reaching the level of my overall favorite, Envious Casca.

 

Ulli Birvé isn't and won't ever become my favorite narrator, and she seriously got on my nerves here, too.  Since all of the recent re-recordings of Heyer's mysteries are narrated by her, though, I've decided I won't hold her mannerisms against the author, and I've read enough print versions of Heyer books at this point to have a fairly good idea of what a given character would sound like in my head if I'd read instead of listened to the book in question.

 

 


Colin Dexter: The Riddle of the Third Mile
(Narrator: Samuel West)

For Veterans' / Armistice Day I'm claiming the very first book I revisited after the beginning of the 24 Festive Tasks game: Colin Dexter's The Riddle of the Third Mile had long been one of my favorite entries in the Inspector Morse series, but Samuel West's wonderful reading not only confirmed that status but actually moved it up yet another few notches.  (Samuel West is fast becoming one of my favorite audiobook narrators anyway.) The fact that due to the progress of medical research a key element of the mystery would have been much easier to solve these days does not impede my enjoyment in the least ... changing social mores aside, half the Golden Age crime literature, including many of the great classics by Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and even, on occasion, Arthur Conan Doyle would be deprived of substantial riddles if they were set today. -- The book qualifies for this particular "24 Festive Tasks" square, because some of the characters' and their siblings' encounter as British soldiers at the battle of El Alamein (1942) forms the prologue to the book and an important motive for their actions in the world of Oxford academia and Soho strip clubs, some 40 years later.

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review 2018-11-11 19:31
Book Meanders, Though Ends on a Hopeful Note
An Irish Country Cottage - Patrick Taylor

Well this is another Christmas book though I didn't realize it at the time. I think I just skimmed over the synopsis and started reading right away.

 

I will say that this may be a major change for many who have been reading the Irish Country books. Though Taylor invites some history into his books, he has mostly stayed away from the Troubles in Ireland. Now though, he takes on the first signs of this when he showcases the fights between the Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland.

 

I am not surprised he finally showed it in his books, Barry's now wife Sue, is a member of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) and has often talked about Dr. Martin Luther King, and one man, one vote. I think Taylor did a good job of incorporating that into his book, but I still find it unrealistic that the town of Ballybucklebo would not have any issues with things going on. Though that part was okay, I thought the rest of the book was a wash. Too many plots were going on and we didn't get to spend much time before rushing off to read about something else. 

 

"An Irish Country Village" takes 18 months after the events in the last book. FYI, I am still salty we didn't get a wedding scene in the last book and instead had Kinky describing it before Taylor gets into his usual recipes.

 

We have Barry and Sue returning home from the Christmas holidays when they stop due to fire trucks rushing past. They follow and realize that Donal's family's cottage is up in flames. Barry and Sue of course take the whole family back to number one (O'Reilly's home) and soon the whole village pitches in to help out Donal and his family. Donal and his family are able to move temporarily, but the village does what it can to help him rebuild his old cottage. 

 

We still have O'Reilly still wishing that Kitty would retire to spend more time with him (eyeroll city) and that's about it. He and Kitty are happy, and O'Reilly does what he does best, sits around and meddles with things. 

 

We have a new doctor in this one that I didn't feel anything about her. She was just there, and boring in my eyes. We have reference to the doctor in the last book who takes over Fitzpatrick's practice and that's about it. It's so weird how Taylor will just ignore characters and go on and on about those I would happily take a break from (like Bertie and Flo). Fitzpatrick does appear in this one, and we get another romance on the horizon. 

 

As I said above the book talks about the Troubles for the first time. I have never read about the march that took place on January 1, 1969. The People's Democracy began a four-day march from Belfast to Derry, which got harassed and attacked by loyalists. We even have Sue and Barry go and march in the book and I think the incident that is referenced in this book, is about Burntollet Bridge. We have Barry witnessed people getting attacked and doing what he can to help a young woman who is hit repeatedly over the head. I am not going to lie, I was sick of Sue's attitude in this one. She wants to continue marching even though people are being beaten all around them and doesn't get why Barry (who is a doctor) refused to continue on and stays and tends to the woman he got attacked. I read a bit more about this incident and it sound pretty bad. The book ends in March, but reading further, there are several more incidents that will be occurring that it seems Taylor will incorporate into this book. 

 

We have major plots also dealing with Barry and Sue's fertility problems, Bertie's health issues, etc. It just reads like same old same old in this one. 

 

There is an interesting ending though with the talk of someone who has been in this series from the beginning, who may emigrate due to the fights between the Catholics and Protestants. And it seems to be setting up possibly Barry's exit from this series. 

 

I forgot to mention this book is $15 and is not worth the price at all. 

 

New Year's Eve (December 31): Read a book about endings, new starts, or books where things go BOOM!

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review 2018-11-11 19:06
Just....No. Things Fall Apart, the Center Does Not Hold
The One You Really Want - Jill Mansell

I want to kick something. This book didn't work at all, and the ending just cobbles together happy endings, that make zero sense when you read what has come before. I am all for happy endings in my romance books, but not with partners who come out of nowhere and or partners that have zero chemistry with the objects of their affection. I kept hoping Mansell would switch things up a bit and have Carmen and Nancy not do what is typical for these types of books, it just doesn't work. 

 

"The One You Really Want" has best friends Nancy and Carmen dealing with Christmas and changes to their lives. Nancy expected that her husband was buying her some fancy jewelry, instead she gets the surprise of her life when she finds out he has been having an affair. Carmen is still grieving the death of her rock star husband, three years later. When her brother-in-law comes to visit (and stay) for the holidays, she finds she is not going to be able to shut the world away anymore. 

 

I wish that Mansell had actually shown Nancy and Carmen hanging out solo more than she did. Instead we have Nancy working, dealing with her mother Rose, and crushing on Carmen's next door neighbor. I wish I had gotten a better sense of her character. She doesn't even care that her husband is cheating on her. She just pops smoke from Edinburgh to go and live with Carmen in her mansion in Chelsea. I don't know if I wanted her sobbing throughout the book, but she's not even grief stricken. And her mother and Carmen tell her how they never liked her husband anyway. 


Carmen's story jumped all over the place. She has three love interests in this book and the first one fails miserably and the second is ruined because she lies about her history and how much money she has. It made no sense to me, and I felt annoyed about it. The worst for me is that Mansell has you rooting on one of these guys for most of the book, and throws a third person in the ring for her and it didn't work at all. 

 

Carmen's brother-in-law Reenie did not read as realistic to me at all. He's a rockstar and has a new girl every day it seems, but it stretched realism that he was living with Carmen, Nancy, and Nancy's mom Rose and has zero friends it seems. 

 

Nancy's mother Rose was okay, but not that exciting a character.

We also get the next door neighbor Conner and his 16 year old daughter Mia. I didn't really like Conner and thought him not actually standing up for his daughter more due to his BS relationship was eye-roll inducing. I didn't get why Nancy even liked this guy. 

 

The setting of this book take place over Christmas. What's weird though is it doesn't read like a typical Christmas romance book. Also the book jumps ahead a few months here and there so I don't even know what month things ended on. It was summer I think. 

 

The ending was a bit of a mess. We have Carmen deciding to start a relationship I didn't root for at all and then she fades away from the book. We switch to Nancy and she gets her totally not realistic happy ending too. 

 

Winter Solstice / Yuletide (December 21): Read any book that takes place in December OR with ice or snow on the cover OR that revolves around the (summer or winter) equinox OR a collection of poetry by Hafez.

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