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text 2018-01-09 15:43
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place - 8%
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place - Julie Berry

I picked this up because Jayne Entwistle is the narrator, but so far this is a very silly book.

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review 2017-12-31 16:06
A Cornucopia of Holiday Stories
Murder On Christmas Eve: Classic Mysteries for the Festive Season - Ellis Peters,Margery Allingham,Various Authors,Ian Rankin,Val McDermid

Turns out I already knew five of the ten stories in this anthology:

 

 

Ellis Peters's The Trinity Cat

Julian Symons's The Santa Claus Club

Ian Rankin's No Sanity Clause

G.K. Chesterton's The Dagger With Wings

and Marjorie Bowen's Cambric Tea.

 

So I skipped those (though I do really like the stories by Ellis Peters, Julian Symons and Ian Rankin -- care somewhat less for the other two, though) and just read the remaining five entries:

 

Michael Innes: The Four Seasons

John Dickson Carr: The Footprint in the Sky

Val McDermid: A Wife in a Million

Lawrence Block: As Dark as Christmas Gets

and Marjorie Allingham: On Christmas Day in the Morning

 

Of these, far and away my favorites were the stories by Michael Innes and Lawrence Block (Marjorie Allingham's On Christmas Day in the Morning came somewhat close because of its bittersweet solution): Innes's The Four Seasons is a variation on the country house mystery set in the Fen Country and centering on a painting -- actually, it's a country house story within a country house story, because the actual story is being told by a guest at a country house holiday party in turn --; and Block's As Dark as Christmas Gets is an extremely cleverly conceived hommage to Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries, in everything from tone to characters, setting, plot, book title name checking, and even solution.

 

Since this book has a(n, umm, mostly) black and white cover, for 16 Festive Tasks purposes I'll be using it as my read for All Saints' Day.

 

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text 2017-12-31 15:39
December Re-Cap
The Last Place You Look - Kristen Lepionka
Marrow - Tarryn Fisher
Undone (Unknown Trilogy Book 3) - Wendy Higgins
Dear Daughter: A Novel - Elizabeth Little
The Butterfly Project - Emma Scott
Down to the Liar - Mary Elizabeth Summer
Certain Dark Things: A Novel - Silvia Moreno-Garcia
RoomHate - Penelope Ward
Undertow - Michael Buckley
Pretty Dead Girls - Monica Murphy

Ohhhh...December!  I had very good Christmas, and I hope you all did too.  I even managed to read a few books. I'm having a difficult time reconciling the end of 2017.  Not sure why that is???  I just can't believe the new year is here, already.  On to my re-cap...

 

 

 

 

 

(Audiobook) The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka

Finish Date: 12/01

4.3/5 STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Audiobook) Marrow by Tarryn Fisher

Finish Date:  12/08

4.5/5 STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Kindle eBook) Undone by Wendy Higgins

Finish Date:  12/13

4.8/5 STARS - GRADE=A

 

(Audiobook) Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little

Finish Date:  12/14

3/5 STARS - GRADE=C

 

(Kindle eBook) The Butterfly Project by Emma Scott

Finish Date:  12/19

5/5 STARS - GRADE=A+

 

(eBook Novella) Down to the Liar by Mary Elizabeth

Finish Date:  12/20

2.5/5 STARS

 

(Audiobook) Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Finish Date:  12/20

3.7/5 STARS - GRADE=B

 

(Audiobook) RoomHate by Penelope Ward

Finish Date:  12/23

3.8/5 STARS - GRADE=B

 

(Audiobook) Undertow by Michael Buckley

Finish Date:  12/29

4.2/5 STARS - GRADE=B+

 

(Netgalley eArc) Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy

Finish Date:  12/30

2.5/5 STARS - GRADE=D+

 

Plus 1 DNF...I just couldn't get into this.

 

11 BOOKS TOTAL

3,316 Pages 

6 Audiobooks, 1 Novella, 2 eBooks, 1 DNF eBook and 1 Negalley eArc.

 

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review 2017-12-31 15:13
Southern Holidays
A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, & The Thanksgiving Visitor - Truman Capote

Truman Capote's charming, magical memories of his childhood Christmas and Thanksgiving with his mother's Monroeville, Alabama family -- particularly his much elder and much-beloved cousin Miiss Sook, who thanks to her own child-like nature was mother, grandmother and elder sister to him simultaneously; but, most importantly, the greatest source of warmth, love and compassion of his entire childhood.  In the book's second (individually, last-published) entry the Monroeville experience is contrasted with the one (sadly failed) attempt by Capote's father to make up for years of non-parenting, and seeing all three stories published together, the contrast -- and the boundless warmth of Capote's Monroeville home, and of Miss Sook -- is brought out in an even brighter light, (As an aside, it is easy, too, to recognize the place, and the traits of individual personalities, in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, which was inspired by the same community.)

 

Since this book doesn't merely include two Christmas but also a Thanksgiving memory, for 16 Festive Tasks purposes I'm going to use it as my book for the Thanksgiving holiday book joker.

 

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review 2017-12-30 23:19
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 16 - New Year’s Eve / St. Sylvester’s Day: Prophetic Bells
The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In - Charles Dickens,Richard Armitage

Well, well -- nothing like ringing in the New Year (albeit a day early) with Charles Dickens: What he did for Christmas in the story about the old miser Scrooge, he did again a year later for New Year's Eve with this story; which is, however, quite a bit darker than A Christmas Carol.  Once again, a man is swept away to see the future; this time, however, it's not a miserly rich man but a member of the working classes, a porter named Toby (nicknamed Trotty) Veck eeking out a living near a church whose migihty bells ring out the rhythm of his life -- as if Dickens had wanted to remind his audience that the moral of A Christmas Carol doesn't only apply to the rich but, indeed, to everyone.  Along the way, the high, mighty and greedy are duly pilloried -- in this, The Chimes is decidedly closer to Hard Times, Our Mutual Friend, A Tale of Two Cities, and Bleak House than it is to A Christmas Carol -- and there are more than a minor number of anxious moments to be had before we're reaching the story's conclusion (which, in turn, however, sweeps in like a cross breed of those of Oliver Twist and Oscar Wilde's Importance of Being Earnest).

 

Richard Armitage's reading is phantastic: at times, there are overtones of John Thornton from the TV adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, (or in fact, both John Thornton and Nicholas Higgins) which matches the spirit of the story very well, however, since workers' rights and exploitation are explicitly addressed here, too, even if this story is ostensibly set in London, not in Manchester.

 

In the context of the 16 Festive Tasks, The Chimes is an obvious choice for the New Year's Eve holiday book joker, so that it is going to be.

 

 

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