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text 2018-12-31 17:15
24 Festive Tasks: Door 15 - St. Nicholas' Day / Sinterklaas, Task 2 (Three Wishes)

My three wishes, as we close out the old year and begin the new one:


For myself: To be able to look back, at the end of 2019, and have preserved what I like in my life, and have improved what I don't like.


For the BookLikes community: Long may it survive, and I hope it will grow ever closer together!  (Wish 1.a: Many happy returns of Halloween Bingo and Festive Tasks.)


For the world: A return to sanity, peace, justice, and (dare I say it?) wisdom.  In everything from society and politics to the environment and everyday relations and communication.  (And don't tell me that's more than one wish (again).  It really isn't.  But even if it were, I wouldn't care a rat's rear end.)

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review 2018-12-18 21:34
24 Festive Tasks: Door 15 - St. Nicholas' Day / Sinterklaas, Book
Desert Heat - J.A. Jance,Hillary Huber


I needed a break from all the Christmas and winter reads I've been indulging in lately, so I squeezed this one in -- the print version has been lingering on my shelves way too long as it is.  And I'm happy to have finally started on a series that I've long had a feeling I would like: There's a tiny bit of TSTL syndrome and a few somewhat implausible character actions / choices, as well as a bit of tautological writing at the beginning (surprisingly so, since by the time she published this book, Jance already had another successful series under her belt that had been running for almost a decade), but all of this is essentially over and done with -- and Jance and her protagonist Joanna Brady have found their book series feet -- by the end of the second or third chapter, and from then on we're off to very solid enjoyment.  The solution is clear pretty much from the word "go", too, but once the book finds its feet, it's fun to just come along for the ride.  This is definitely a series I'm happy to have added to my library.


And go figure, the audio version I listened to even has a bright red and orange cover, so it qualifies for the St. Nicholas square in 24 Festive Tasks!

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text 2018-12-10 20:56
24 Festive Tasks: Door 15 - St. Nicholas' Day / Sinterklaas, Task 3 (Holiday Treats)

Here's my assortment -- this year's edition:


The traditional Christmas-y stuff:

"Christstollen" (Christmas loaf cake), "Printen" (spicy, crunchy gingerbread bars), "Frankfurt Bethmännchen" (round marzipan and almond cookies), "domino cubes" (chocolate-coated cubes filled with gingerbread mass, chocolate and jelly), and chocolate-coated almond gingerbread cookies


-- and the not-necessarily-Christmas-y-but-melt-in-your-mouth-sinfully-delicious stuff: white chocolate and crushed almond tartuffi (pralines) and dark chocolate pralines (both Italian)


... and a chocolate Santa, and two snowmen wearing chequered scarves and red winter bonnets, just because!


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text 2018-12-09 21:57
24 Festive Tasks: Door 15 - St. Nicholas' Day / Sinterklaas, Task 4 (Books Featuring Children Rescued from Peril)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain,Guy Cardwell,John Seelye
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Black Stallion - Walter Farley,Keith Ward
M - Jon J. Muth

I suppose Harry Potter and just about every children's / YA fantasy (or mystery) series would fill this bill, but big HP and Three Investigators fan though I am, let me offer these for consideration instead:


1.  Mark Twain: The Adventure of Tom Sawyer -- Tom and Becky Thatcher in McDougal's Cave (rescued thanks to Tom's tenacious search for an exit), and Tom and Huck Finn up against Injun Joe; inter alia, listening to Joe's and his cohorts' plans at the peril of their own death in case they are discovered, and Tom incurring the same risk by speaking up at Injun Joe's trial (after which Joe escapes through a window).


2.  Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Secret Garden -- At the beginning of the book, Mary is sent to England to stay with her uncle to save her from the cholera epidemic that will shortly thereafter kill both of her parents, who have remained in India.


3.  Walter Farley: The Black Stallion -- Alec and "The Black" become friends when they help each other to survive on a desert island after being shipwrecked.


Honorable mention:


"M" (screenplay, not book): A chillingly creepy 1930s movie,  concerning the hunt for a pedophile serial killer -- starring Peter Lorre (pre-Hollywood) as the pedophile and directed by Fritz Lang.


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text 2018-12-06 18:40
Sinterklaas / St. Nicholas Day-24 Tasks


Sinterklaas / St. Nicholas Day
Task 1:  Write a book wish list to St. Nick.
Dear Saint Nick,
I apologize in advance for the number of books that I want. I can't help it though, I love books. I do want to say that my goal for 2019 is to read more books by women and men of color. Thanks in advance for helping me out with that!
BecomingNot That Bad: Dispatches from Rape CultureThe Wedding PartyThe Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)
A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals, #1)On the Come UpThe Key to Happily Ever AfterThe Right Swipe (Modern Love, #1)
Lies Sleeping (Peter Grant, #7)The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in AmericaThe Everlasting Rose (The Belles, #2)
The Downstairs GirlHere and Now and ThenWhat We Talk About When We Talk about RapeMagical Negro


Task 2: You are King / Queen for the day and can have 3 ‘wishes’:  one for yourself, one for your community (however you define it), and one for the world: What are they?


Wish for me-I wish that I could take a fantastic trip to a different country in 2019. 


Wish for the community-I wish that we could have an open and honest conversation about race and religion and have people stop trying to shut down things. I loathe that we still have states in this country that like to pretend still that the Civil War was over states right. I loathe that we all act like Jim Crow laws were not a thing. It makes me seethe that we had a whole Civil Rights Movement that took place in the 1950s and 1960s and people act like we have come so far, though not really. I hate that if I say black lives matter, I get people screeching about me about the police and how black lives matter is a hate/terrorist organization. 


Image result for civil rights movement


Wish for the world-That we stop sugarcoating it when people are pushing racist ideologies the world over. Call them out, call them racist. Call it a lie when someone uses an obvious terrible talking point. It seems scary to me that we seem to be hell-bent on going around and blaming immigrants for everything in the U.S. with some factions in Europe doing the same thing. At this point I wonder if people just want them to be pushed out to sea to fend for themselves or what. 


Task 3: If your holiday family traditions should include bowls or plates filled with gingerbread, cookies, oranges / tangerines, chocolate, nuts and the like, share a photo with us!


I probably will have to skip this. Will see if I am up for taking pictures to post. 


Task 4: List your 3 favorite books involving children being rescued from serious peril.


1. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, review can be found HERE

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, review can be found HERE

3. The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist #1) by Rick Yancey, review can be found 




Book: with an orange or red cover or with nuts, chocolate or coins on the cover, set in The Netherlands or Germany, by a Dutch or German author, or with canals or beer on the cover.


Daughters of the Witching Hill

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