Lori (lkernagh) Makes Steps with her 2023 Reading

Discussão2023 Category Challenge

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Lori (lkernagh) Makes Steps with her 2023 Reading

Editado: Nov 14, 10:47 pm

Hello everyone! For those who do not know me, I am Lori, a walking/kayaking/cycling enthusiast, bookworm, foodie 'gal' (age is a state of mind) who has happily called Vancouver Island off the west coast of British Columbia home for over 30 years. When I am not working or reading, my winter months are usually occupied with a craft project of some kind, while my spring and summer months are when I engage in my on-going attempts at container gardening.

I took a much needed social media break last year. I am feeling recharged and looking forward to dipping back into LT in 2023. Thought I would keep things simple with a steps challenge based on 2023's numbers (2+0+2+3=7) to create 7 categories. Hoping to use the categories below to read some of the many unread books lurking on my Kobo.

1. A Great Big Book
2. Non-Fiction/Memoirs - COMPLETED
3. 19th Century Literature
4. Boxed Sets
6. Canadian Indigenous Authors - COMPLETED
7. Trilogies, Quartets & Series - COMPLETED

I cannot guarantee I will be making frequent appearances, but will try to post updates on my reading and reply to comments left here. Thanks for stopping by!

Dez 17, 2022, 12:40 am

1. A Great Big Book - A book with 700 pages or more in length. Can be a single story - I have A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry lurking on my Kobo - or an omnibus (all stories collected in one ebook).

Editado: Nov 19, 4:17 pm

3. 19th Century Literature - This is where I admit to having a number of unread books by Anthony Trollope, and other 19th century authors lurking on my Kobo.
1. The Warden by Anthony Trollope - (review)
2. Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope - (review)

Dez 17, 2022, 12:41 am

4. Boxed Sets - Each boxed set will count as 1 book in this category. I seem to collect ebook boxed sets, and then forget about them.

Editado: Nov 19, 4:18 pm

5. KITS & CATS - For books that fit any of the monthly challenges.
1. In the Belly of the Congo by Blaise Ndala - (review)
2. Darktown by Thomas Mullen - (review) August AlphaKIT
3. A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong - (review) November SeriesCAT

Editado: Out 19, 11:46 pm

6. Canadian Indigenous Authors - A big thank you to whomever came up with the suggestion for the January 2022 Indigenous Authors AuthorCAT! I read a number of books by Canadian Indigenous Authors throughout 2022 (thanks to that monthly challenge) and looking forward to reading more in 2023.
1. True Reconciliation: How to Be a Force for Change by Jody Wilson-Raybould - (review)
2. Venco by Cherie Dimaline - (review)
3. Five Little Indians by Michelle Good - (review)
4. Glass Beads by Dawn Dumont - (review)
5. Bad Cree by Jessica Johns - (review)
6. The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters - (review)

Editado: Nov 14, 10:46 pm

7. Trilogies, Quartets and Series - Self explanatory. A spot for books from "series in progress" or new ones to be started. I am pretty sure some of these will be from boxed sets on my Kobo.

1. A Skeleton in Every House by Isabella Duke - (review)
2. The Execution by Sharon Cramer - (review)
3. After the Ending by Lindsey Fairleigh - (review)
4. Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly - (review)
5. Finlay Donovan is Killing it by Elle Cosimano - (review)
6. Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle Cosimano - (review)
7. Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano - (review)

Dez 17, 2022, 12:42 am

Free vector botanical numbers with tropical flowers illustration displayed above by rawpixel.com on Freepik Image by rawpixel.com on Freepik

Dez 17, 2022, 12:46 am

This thread is open for business!

Dez 17, 2022, 7:01 am

Welcome back! Hope you make great leaps forward in your 2023 reading!

Dez 17, 2022, 7:16 am

Glad to see you back. Looking forward to seeing what you read.

Dez 17, 2022, 7:32 am

I like your categories. Good reading in 2023.

Dez 17, 2022, 12:57 pm

I'm looking forward to seeing what you read, especially the Canadian Indigenous authors!

Dez 17, 2022, 1:02 pm

Looks interesting. Wishing you great reading and everything else as well.

Dez 17, 2022, 1:16 pm

It's great to see you back, Lori.

Dez 17, 2022, 1:46 pm

Welcome back, Lori!!! So good to see you again :) Looking forward to seeing how you fill your categories this year.

Dez 17, 2022, 6:38 pm

Happy reading in 2023! Your cats are great!

Dez 18, 2022, 8:43 am

Welcome back and happy reading in 2023!

Editado: Dez 18, 2022, 2:22 pm

Thanks everyone for the greetings and welcome back posts! Coming back to LT feels like returning home after a long trip - a return to comfort and familiarity. ;)

Taking advantage today of a lazy Sunday (we are having on and off snow showers ) to settle in a check out everyone's threads. This year I am more organized than previous years for the holidays, which makes for a nice change. Over the last two Christmases we decorated the front door to our unit, to bring some holiday cheer to our neighbours and any visitors who happened by. I was going to forgo that this year, as I did not have an idea of what I wanted to do (last year the door was wrapped like a giant present with a number of gag gift tags and the previous year was a tree made out of a variety of gift wrap), only to have a couple of neighbours comment a few weeks ago on how much they were looking forward to seeing how we decorate our door this year. Well, talk about pressure! Anyways, we rose to the challenge. A hunt through my craft trunk, a walk in the park, a trip to the local dollar store, and a evening of crafting produced this year's front door:

My virtual 'holiday card' greeting to all my wonderful thread visitors!

Dez 18, 2022, 3:40 pm

>20 lkernagh: "Wow" how cool.

Dez 18, 2022, 5:29 pm

>7 lkernagh: I'm glad it worked so well for you.

Welcome back!

Dez 18, 2022, 6:14 pm

That's really cute!

Dez 19, 2022, 6:06 am

>20 lkernagh: That looks very cool! Thanks!

Editado: Dez 19, 2022, 8:39 am

Welcome back Lori! I hope you have a great reading year.

Dez 19, 2022, 8:21 am

>20 lkernagh: wow! really cool front door!

Dez 19, 2022, 11:56 am

>21 DeltaQueen50:, >23 dudes22:, >24 MissWatson: and >26 bookworm3091: - Thank you Judy, Betty, Birgit and Bookworm for the comments re: my holiday craft project! I think it will be hard to top next year... good thing I have a year to think about it! ;-)

>22 pamelad: - Pam, do I have you to thank for the Indigenous Authors Cat last January? Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Happy to be back. I have missed everyone here.

>25 lsh63: - Thank you, Lisa!

Dez 19, 2022, 12:44 pm

Welcome back, Lori!
Your door looks great, I can see why your neighbors look forward to your decorating. Happy reading in 2023, and hopefully we'll see you around LT throughout the year!

Dez 19, 2022, 2:59 pm

>27 lkernagh: - With a little bit of adjustment you could probably make him a nutcracker. (ok - a lot of adjustment 😉)

Dez 20, 2022, 12:01 am

Glad to see you back, Lori! I love that door!

Dez 20, 2022, 12:05 am

Good luck with your 2023 reading

Dez 20, 2022, 6:33 am

Love the door! And what a nice holiday tradition.

Dez 20, 2022, 11:28 am

Such a clever door decoration--you have talent! And I'm looking forward to following your 2023 reading.

Dez 20, 2022, 11:42 am

What a great door!

Dez 20, 2022, 3:00 pm

Welcome back, Lori, and I love your festive door! I now want to try something like that, but I don't have a crafty bone in my body.

Dez 21, 2022, 12:40 pm

Welcome back Lori! I love your door too! I have some friends who always go mad on the external lights for Christmas, and this year because of the cost of energy they were planning on sending lots more cards and giving the lights a miss. But then they had several kids who walk past the house ask them when the lights were going to be put up, so they decided in the end to do the lights (maybe a bit less blingy than usual) and not send any cards.

Dez 26, 2022, 5:37 pm

>28 mstrust: - Thanks Jennifer! Great to be back. I am hoping to be here more frequently than I was over the past 2 years. ;-)

>29 dudes22: - I am not sure my crafting skills are quite up to the task, but I do like the idea of a Nutcracker. That has possibilities!

>30 VivienneR: - Thanks Vivienne!

>31 lowelibrary: - Thank you for the good luck wishes, April and for stopping by!

>32 mysterymax: - Thanks! It is a fun way for us to spread some holiday cheer! ;-)

>33 NinieB: - Thanks Ninie!

>34 Tess_W: - Thanks Tess!

>35 christina_reads: - Thanks Christina! I am sure there is some crafting skills lurking within you just waiting to be discovered. ;-)

>36 Jackie_K: - Thanks Jackie! Sounds like your friends have established a tradition of their own. May seem like a bit of work - I can relate! - but the good news about external decorations is you do not have to worry about forgetting to include someone on the Christmas card list!

Dez 26, 2022, 5:41 pm

Hello everyone! For those who celebrate, I hope you have had a lovely holiday season so far. If you or any of your loved ones were travelling, I hope your/their travels were not impacted by the winter storms that pretty much swept through large swathes of North America over the past 7 days! We stayed home this year - it is my turn to 'hold down the fort' at the office over the holiday season - so we had no travel plans. Victoria got slammed with a winter storm starting December 20th. Caused all sorts of mayhem on the roads, but, unlike the Lower Mainland, we were spared the brunt of the storm. Even so, Dec 20th goes on record as the 5th heaviest daily snowfall for Victoria since they started tracking this information back in 1940. I have lived here through 3 of the 5 top snow days. Spent most of the 20th watching small cars not designed for unplowed road conditions get stuck on our side street while some brave (a.k.a. stupid) individuals thought they would attempt to cycle, only to see them return a short time later WALKING their bikes home through the snow. Since the start of the pandemic I have had the ability to work from home, so I was thankful I did not have to travel to the office. A BIG SHOUT OUT to all workers who have had to brave storms and crazy weather to get to work and be available to serve the public!

We had a quiet Christmas (just the way I like it) with a long lie in, good food and Christmas-themed movies on the TV. We are looking forward to a quiet New Years this year.

On the reading front, I am currently reading Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway and listening to The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary as a bit of fluff for my audio-read.

Wishing everyone happy reading!

Dez 26, 2022, 7:01 pm

I’m glad you were able to stay safe at home! That was a proper snowstorm by any standard!

Dez 26, 2022, 7:38 pm

>39 rabbitprincess: - it was a dozy, RP, no doubt about that. We seem to still be coming out of it (like a dunk sobering up after a 4-day bender). While the roads are all clear and 95% of snow gone after a couple days of steady rain, it has had a lingering impact on supply chain issues. I went to the grocery store this afternoon to find nearly bare produce and meat departments. Between the snow, the impact of the storms on travel (BC Ferries has had a lot of cancellations this past week) and the holiday closures, it was eerie to see the store so empty of, well, a lot of things. Did not expect to find no kale, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, onions (yes, even onions!) etc. I did expect to see no bananas and certain other things. Ironically, lettuce and spinach was available! I wonder if that has anything to do with the price? ;-0

Editado: Dez 30, 2022, 2:14 pm

Welcome back, Lori! Love your challenges (and the botanical numbers) and your front door is adorable. Your crafting projects always brighten my day.

I see you have 19th century as one of your challenges. In Club Read 2023 there's a Victorian Tavern group--this year the emphasis is the Victorian era outside of Britain. The thread is here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/346714# and the first quarter selections are Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass and Susanna Moodie's Roughing it in the Bush.

Also Trollope is the monthly author for January 2023 here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/346555#

Just some incentives to help fill in your challenge ;)

Dez 31, 2022, 4:57 pm

Hello Lori and welcome back! And what a cool crafty door you made. Glad your neighbors asked all about it.

I read an Anthony Trollope a couple of years ago and really liked him, better than Charles Dickens (I was in a Dickens reading group at the time). You might just inspire me to check out some more of his books!

Glad you braved the storm, loved your observations of people not prepared for a heavy snowfall, and share in your salute for workers who do have to go out and brave the elements. Like our local vets.

Happy 2023 reading!

Jan 1, 10:33 am

Jan 1, 4:14 pm

Hope you have a great year of reading!

Jan 1, 6:25 pm

>41 kac522: - Thank you Kathy, for the welcome back, the compliment and the links to the Club Read Victorian Tavern group and the January Trollope Author links! Incentives help and I will definitely check out both of them!

>42 threadnsong: - Hi and thanks! Glad to see you like Trollope better than Dickens. Dickens is a 'hit or miss' for me, so I am hopeful that I will find Trollope's writing to my liking. ;-)

>43 mstrust: and >44 thornton37814: - Thanks you, Jennifer and Lori for the well wishes!


I hope everyone has had a lovely weekend and welcome to 2023! We had a low-key evening - watched some holiday classics like Die Hard, etc and then quietly toasted the New Year. Typically, I struggle to stay awake past 10pm but I persevered last night... I really wanted to see the end of 2022. Wishing everyone a wonderful, prosperous and healthy 2023!

Since I did not have a thread in any of the groups last year, below please find a summary of my 2022 reading. Not sure what I will start 2023 reading, but I do have some some possibilities lined up.

Editado: Jan 1, 6:58 pm

2022 Reading in Review:
I had a decent reading year in 2022 (got my reading mojo back! YAY!!!) It was a year where I dived into series reading while engaging in a year-long Canadian Indigenous Authors focus-read.

Canadian Indigenous Authors:

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese () Highly Recommended!
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice () An okay dystopian/apocalyptic story.
Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson () A MUST read! So good!
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline () Solid dystopian story!
The Strangers by Katherena Vermette () A poignant Métis inter-generational story about foster care, survival, and the family ties that both bind and break. A MUST read!
A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt () I gave up on this one. Probably not best suited as an audiobook narrated by the author. While probably a very important Indigenous LGBTQ memoir, I struggled with the random flow of thoughts.
The Break by Katherena Vermette () A powerful, raw story about assault, racial bias, and the importance of family, culture and land. Recommend reading this story BEFORE reading Vermette's The Strangers. Both stories are a MUST read!
Hunting by Stars by Cherie Dimaline () A solid - and unplanned by the author - follow-up to The Marrow Thieves.
Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline () A wonderful blending of First Nations magical realism with a touch of horror, making this a page-turning read for me.
Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq () This unique audiobook experience read by the author, an Indigenous throat singer, includes throat singing between each poem and short story segment of life growing up in Northern Canada.
As Long as the Rivers Flow by James Bartleman () While dealing with important issues of sexual assault, alcoholism, racism and inter-generational trauma, this story comes across more as a teaching point. Still a good read for anyone who wants to learn more about the impact of the residential schools on Indigenous communities.
A Mind Spread Out On the Ground by Alicia Elliott () This collection of memoir-formated essays about family, identity, mental health, oppression and racism through the eyes of Haudenosaunee writer Elliott. Thought provoking. Highly recommended reading!
Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway () The first novel by the Indigenous (Cree) playwright, this lyrical story weaves native storytelling themes of the trickster with the destructive impacts of colonialism and the residential school system. I really wanted to give this book a higher rating, but there were parts where the story rambles and I struggled to follow along.

Jan 1, 6:35 pm

>46 lkernagh: Wow! What a reading year. You have done some deep soul-searching and multi-themed reads. I can certainly understand that you needed to take a break from being on-line while you worked your way all through these books, and look forward to seeing what 2023 brings you (and your followers).

Editado: Jan 1, 10:58 pm

2022 Reading in Review - Continued:

SERIES/Collection Reads:

1. Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich - audiobooks narrated by Lori Petty and Lorelie King – What can I say. This was the perfect series to escape from 2022 real life. Yes, it started to get a bit repetitive and I will not be continuing with the series if Evanovich has more installments planned (29 installments is enough for me - I did not bother with the novellas). Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my time with Stephanie and crew - I have a special love for the quirky characters like Lula, Grandma Mazur, Sally Sweet, Randy Boyle and of course Ranger - but I think the series should have probably been wrapped up and sent off into the sunset around book 24. I also made the mistake of attempting to watch the movie adaptation of One for the Money a few months back. Talk about bad casting! YIKES! Really hard to watch after having fixed in my mind very different images for some of the characters. Overall rating for the series:

2. Inspector McLevy Mystery series and the Jean Brash Mystery spinoff books by David Ashton - I acquired the ebooks back in 2018. Only took me 4 years to get around to reading them! Based on the BBC Radio 4 series and set in 1880s Edinburgh, Scotland.
Shadow of the Serpent () Solid atmospheric murder mystery. Lots of grit with a dash of witty banter.
Fall From Grace () A complex, multi-layered mystery. A tad long-winded but still good.
A Trick of the Light () Excellent multi-layered mystery with enough twists and turns to keep my attention.
Nor Will He Sleep () Best book in the series. Sadly, also the last. Time to move on to the spin off books.
Mistress of the Just Land () First book in the Jean Brash spinoff from the Inspector McLevy Mystery series. Same great setting and characters, but missing the grit of McLevy (who is just a minor character this time).
The Lost Daughter () Second - and last - book in Jean Brash spinoff from the Inspector McLevy Mystery series. More McLevy and love the theatrical King Lear angle to this story.

3. The Deverill Chronicles series by Santa Montefiore - Anglo-Irish family saga, originally started out as a trilogy. I own the first book, borrowed the other three from my local library but ended up giving up on the series.
Songs of Love and War () A bit of a sleeper start to this Anglo-Irish family saga, but by the second half, I was hooked and looking forward to reading the second book in the series.
Daughters of Castle Deverill () A great blend of history, romance and intrigue with settings from Ireland, to London, New York and South Africa to tantalize this reader.
Last Secret of the Deverills () I continue to enjoy the setting, the characters and the occasional surprises Montefiore brings to the story. A wonderful beach read series.
The Secret Hours () While I enjoyed the books in the trilogy, this is an example of when trying to stretch a trilogy into further books just doesn't work. Will not read book 5 in what is now a series.

4. Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy by Kevin Kwan - I acquired the ebook boxed set back in 2018, but decided to listened to audibooks from my local library.
Crazy Rich Asians () Delightful fun, with a nice dash of character introspection thrown in.
China Rich Girlfriend () An okay story but a bit of a let down (and a tad overdramatic) after the first book.
Rich People Problems () A decent enough story to wrap up the trilogy.

5. Bailey's Prize - Reclaim Her Name collection - I downloaded the 25 books in the collection of books originally published under male pseudonyms when they were made available back in 2020. Chipping away at the collection, and will continue to do so in 2023.
For Our Country by Fateneh Farahani - writing as Shahein Farahani () I originally read this poem back in 2020. A satisfying re-vist to this very short, powerful work.
A Phantom Lover by Violet Paget - writing as Vernon Lee () Such an atmospheric story! Even better as a re-read.
A Diplomat's Diary by Julia Cruger - writing as Julien Gordon () First published in 1890, this is an okay story of a French diplomat's encounter with an American socialite in St. Petersburg during a Russian winter. Slow at first and more interesting as social commentary of the time period than of any startling gift of story-telling.
Cecilia de Noel by Mary Hawker - writing as Lanoe Falconer () A Victorian era novella length ghost story told from the POV of 7 individuals. A decent enough read, more interesting for the social and religious commentary of the time period than for the ghost/horror story elements.
Ye Game and Playe of chesse and Other Stories by Alice Dunbar Nelson - writing as Monroe Wright () A collection of three romance short stories set in the creole/Cajun community of New Orleans, circa early 1900s. The longest of the three stories - with a interesting chess connection - is the best of the bunch, IMO.
Atla: A Story of the Lost Island by Ann Smith - writing as Gregory Smith () A delightful mythical tale of the lost city of Atlantis. First published in 1886, the scientific insight of the author is a delight to encounter!

Editado: Jan 1, 7:02 pm

2022 Reading in Review - Continued:

STAND ALONE Fiction Reads:

The Maid by Nita Prose () Delightful mystery, if a bit tedious in places but I do love it when an author can surprise me.
The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren () Geeky Chicklit romance fun. Good for the first half but got a bit stale for me as the story carried on.
Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan () Summer beach read following Kwan's formula of spashy settings, a high profile wedding and family/romance drama. A bit redundant after taking in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy.
Flatshare by Beth O'Leary () Just what I needed - a romantic comedy with great characters, wonderful dialogue, delightful premise and an epistolary angle. Loved that the audiobook had two narrators, to capture the flatmates Leon and Tiffy. A story I can recommend if you need a bit of fluff, escapism reading material.

NON-Fiction Reads:

"Indian" in the Cabinet by Jody Wilson-Raybould () A candid glimpse into Canadian federal politics. Left me with a lot to ponder.
We Are All Perfectly Fine: A memoir of Love, Medicine and Healing by Dr. Jillian Horton () A page-turning memoir of medical practice burnout and the search for mindfullness. A wonderful read!
The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal, and Trial by Combat by Eric Jager () A detailed, well written true crime story about the last judicial-sanctioned duel in France. A great read.
COVID-19 and Ethics in Canada: The Failure of Common Decency by Jon Parsons () A collection of short articles written during the first two years of the pandemic, focused on society, norms and ethics.
Valley of the Birdtail by Andrew Stobo Sniderman and Douglas Sanderson () Non-fiction examination of 150 years of Canada-Indigenous relations from the point of view of residents of the Waywayseecappo Indian reserve and the town of Rossburn. A must read for Canadians on the path to reconciliation.

Jan 1, 6:42 pm

>47 threadnsong: - Thanks! I have to admit, most of my series reading was in audiobook format, which made for some listening fun! I have my doubts that I can replicate the level or volume of reading in 2023, but I have hopes that if I am not trying to reach any hard goals, I can make better headway with reading - and get more pleasure out of my reading time!

Jan 1, 9:29 pm

I've taken a couple hits from your 4/5 star reads! Thank you!

Jan 1, 10:29 pm

>51 Tess_W: - Hi Tess! I hope the 'hits' are enjoyable/informative reads (based on which books I hit you with). ;-)

Jan 1, 10:30 pm

Currently Reading:
True Reconciliation: How to Be a Force for Change by Jody Wilson-Raybould.
The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain by Dr. Steven R. Gundry
Physical books:
Nothing at the moment.

I know... I tend to read very few non-fiction books - 2022 was an exceptional year for non-fiction reading - so this may look like a strange start to my 2023 reading, but the explanation is simple. I had holds on both books through my local library and both holds just happened to come up ready for borrowing this weekend.

Jan 1, 11:10 pm

Happy new year, Lori! I'm glad you're here this year.

Editado: Jan 2, 4:26 am

You look like you had a great reading year in 2022, so glad the mojo is back - it's disconcerting when a reader's mojo goes missing.
And love your door decoration. How sweet that people wanted to see it.
Looking forward to discovering lots from your thread this year.

Lyzard in the 75 group is doing a read of Trollope's The Belton Estate, so if that happens to be one you have you might want to pop in https://www.librarything.com/topic/347197

Jan 2, 6:12 am

I've often thought of doing a extend reading of certain authors or series, but I always get sidetracked. You had some interesting reads last year. Going to check a few a little bit more.

Jan 2, 9:47 am

Hi, Lori! Hoping to follow along with your reading in 2023.

Jan 2, 10:03 am

>57 bell7: Thanks! I understand that "hope to" part. I think as the year progresses, it becomes more difficult and we have to "catch up."

Jan 2, 10:56 am

Wow, you didn't slow down on your reading at all!

Jan 2, 2:30 pm

>10 lkernagh: LOL! I was going to say I like your categories. Then, I saw your "open for business" post. Love it!

Jan 2, 2:49 pm

Happy New Year! Your Christmas front door is an inspiration I wish I was clever enough to copy!

Jan 2, 4:35 pm

>54 richardderus: - Hi RD, thanks for the new year wishes and for stopping by!

>55 Helenliz: - Thanks Helen, it was a good reading year! We noticed over the past 3 years more of our neighbours make an effort to share holiday cheer (lights, displays, etc) and it is really nice to see and be apart of sharing all this happiness!

The Belton Estate isn't one of the books lurking on my Kobo, but thanks for telling me. I do love Lyzard's group/tutored threads so I will definitely check it out!

>56 dudes22: - Hi Betty, I can relate! It is so easy to be sidetracked by other shiny books (or planned reading). Taking a break from social media made it easier for me to just let my 2022 reading take me where it did. ;-)

>57 bell7: - Lovely to see you stopping by Mary!

>58 thornton37814: - Ditto!

>59 mstrust: - Ha, yes Jennifer, I am afraid 2023 might not be productive a reading year as last year was! Approximately 45-50% were audiobooks so that needs to be taken into account. ;-)

>60 LibraryCin: - Thanks!

>61 VivienneR: - Thanks! I found roaming the holiday decorations aisle at the dollar store was helpful in giving me the Snowman door theme.


Today is a non-work day so the other half and I had a late morning lie-in and just finished taking down the holiday decorations and lights. Other half is still in holiday food mode so it looks like I will be making more shortbread this afternoon, something I can do while listening to my current audiobook.

Jan 2, 6:48 pm

Happy New Year! It's great to see you back, and I look forward to seeing what you read this year!

In case you're interested, Liz/lyzard is hosting a group read of Trollope's The Belton Estate this week. It's one of his shorter novels.

Editado: Jan 2, 6:53 pm

You did manage an interesting group of books last year!

Hope you have a good year of reading in 2023.

Jan 3, 10:44 am

Happy New Year, Lori! What a great reading year you had last year. Looking forward to seeing what you get up to this year.

Jan 3, 4:15 pm

>63 cbl_tn: - Happy New Year, Carrie and thanks... it is good to be back! I have bookmarked Liz's Trollope thread and hope to check it out at some point.

>64 hailelib: - Thanks for the thread visit and the good year reading wishes!

>65 Crazymamie: - Hi Mamie, lovely to see you stopping by!

Jan 4, 11:32 am

>46 lkernagh: Happy New Year! I enjoyed looking through the summary of your Canadian Indigenous Authors category. Glad to see some love for A Mind Spread Out on the Ground.

Jan 4, 11:58 am

Wow, your 2022 reading is very impressive! I will look at >46 lkernagh: in more depth when I have a bit more time. The Break is already on my wishlist.

Jan 4, 9:33 pm

>67 mathgirl40: - Happy New Year, Paulina! I have enjoyed - and continue to engage in - reading Canadian Indigenous Author works. A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is such an important work and very happy to stumble across it through my local library!

>68 MissBrangwen: - Thank you! 2022 was a very good year for getting my reading mojo back. ;-)

This is where I show my Canadian winter wimp side. It has been an unusually cold winter so far this year here in Victoria, so much so that I have been making use of my ski sweaters, which usually only get worn when I head home to Alberta to visit family during the winter months. This past spring I got a new road bike (for commuting, etc) but the wimp that I am find it is too cold to get on my bike to cycle commute to work. I have been enlisting other half to drive me in and pick me up on my in-office days. ;-)

Jan 5, 2:02 am

I was very happy to see you also loved Indian Horse and your rating of Son of a Trickster has me excited as I have it on my Kindle.

Not sure what is going on these days with the groceries. I never know what I will be able to get until I go and check out the shelves. The price of lettuce at $5.00 a head is bad enough but Bell peppers are sky-high as well and they are grown in greenhouses right here in B.C.

Jan 5, 7:05 pm

>69 lkernagh: This is where I show my Canadian wimp side. That sentence made me laugh! My intention was to sweep off the back deck and enjoy a nice fire in the fire pit/stone chimany thing we bought a couple of years back. It's been a while since we used it. But as soon as I took the dog out, I decided it was too cold to light a fire and sit outside. So, here I am on the couch.

I'm in Atlanta, where it's 58F. Just to assure you you're not the only wimp!

Jan 5, 11:19 pm

>70 DeltaQueen50: - Hi Judy, Son of a Trickster is such an unique and yet relatable coming of age story, which is why I gave it the exceptional star rating. I need to get to the next book in the trilogy.... at some point.

I am like you on the grocery shopping. I do my meal planning in my head based on what is available in the store (I cannot rely on pre-made lists any more). I am baffled as to why the Bell peppers are so darn expensive. As you have said, they are local greenhouse grown. Baffling and frustrating as I have recently developed a preference for making roasted bell pepper sauce to replace tomato sauce for pasta and pizza.

>71 threadnsong: - LOL, I admit to wearing my 'wimp' designation as a badge of honour in defiance of my family members who think nothing of -20'C temps at this time of year. Your back deck with fire pit sounds perfect!

Jan 7, 6:34 pm

>72 lkernagh: All food prices are getting ridiculous! I'm doing a Walmart pick-up tomorrow for things like toothpaste, deodorant, cat food, etc., but I added a few grocery items to it. I always get sticker shock when I look at the prices nowadays. I purchase the meats and veggies at a real grocery store. The only thing I remember adding grocery-wise to my list was sour cream (which I want for my baked potato at lunch tomorrow and didn't have in the fridge) and macaroni and cheese cups to occasionally take to work for lunch. While they aren't as good as homemade, I love the convenience of them for lunches.

Jan 8, 9:19 pm

>73 thornton37814: - Hi Lori, sticker shock is a good way to describe the grocery shop experience these days!

Editado: Jan 8, 10:08 pm

Book #1 - The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain by Dr. Steven R Gundry MD - narrated by Christopher Solimene
Source: Local library
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: 2019
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count/ Audio duration: 416 pages / 10 hours 50 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.00 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"Most of us have heard of gluten—a protein found in wheat that causes widespread inflammation in the body. Americans spend billions of dollars on gluten-free diets in an effort to protect their health. But what if we’ve been missing the root of the problem? In The Plant Paradox, renowned cardiologist Dr. Steven Gundry reveals that gluten is just one variety of a common, and highly toxic, plant-based protein called lectin. Lectins are found not only in grains like wheat but also in the “gluten-free” foods most of us commonly regard as healthy, including many fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and conventional dairy products. These proteins, which are found in the seeds, grains, skins, rinds, and leaves of plants, are designed by nature to protect them from predators (including humans). Once ingested, they incite a kind of chemical warfare in our bodies, causing inflammatory reactions that can lead to weight gain and serious health conditions.

At his waitlist-only clinics in California, Dr. Gundry has successfully treated tens of thousands of patients suffering from autoimmune disorders, diabetes, leaky gut syndrome, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases with a protocol that detoxes the cells, repairs the gut, and nourishes the body. Now, in The Plant Paradox, he shares this clinically proven program with readers around the world."
I like to get the BAD NEWS out of the way first. This is an overly looooonnnngggg book that has the author frequently repeating himself, interspersing the interesting bioscience bits with anonymized 'case stories' of patients he has treated with his dietary plan before finally outlining his diet plan and segueing into informercialland for his own brand of supplements and herbal remedies. Probably could have succinctly handled the bioscience - best part of the book, IMO - by cutting a good 100 pages / 3 hours of listening time, but that is an editor's job to point these things out. Oh, and for some crazy reason, after listening to the audiobook on the Libby app on my smart phone, I am now getting sponsored Gundrynutrition videos in my Instagram feed (what is up with that???).

I have always been a big believer that what we eat/expose ourselves to plays a large role in our personal health, including what happens to our food throughout the food chain process before it reaches the kitchen. I was curious to see how Dr. Gundry's focus on lectins as a red flag stacks up against other medical and scientific professionals that take a holistic microbiome approach to health. The book does a great job delving into a variety of topics including: plant genetics, human evolution, industrialization of agriculture (pastured to warehousing of chicken and cattle replacing grass with grain/corn feed, replacement of manure with petrochemical fertilizers) to globalization of the food supply chain, the popularity of whole grains, pulses and vegetarian alternative products and the impact on our microbiome (gut flora). This is where I hold up my hand and admit I thought I was eating a healthy diet by including a large quantity of pulses, fresh fruits year round and whole grains in my diet, eschewing processed foods for scratch baking/cooking whenever possible. Even with all this 'healthy' eating, I have never felt amazingly fantastic. If what Dr. Gundry states about the science is true - I have not fact checked it - my 'healthy' diet is a disaster for my health. While I am not about to rush out and become one of Dr. Gundry's patients or religiously convert over to the Plant Paradox diet plan, I have examined his "yes" and "no" food list (ironically, not included with the audiobook but something I found by way of a simple Google search). I have used his food list to create my own modified diet plan that I plan to follow for the rest of the month to see if I notice any changes in how I feel. Not quite a New Year resolution but I gave up drinking a couple of years ago so this seems like a good alternative to Dry January plans some of my friends have embarked upon.

Overall, I can recommend this book as interesting reading for the bioscience and, with any diet plan, can only suggest this with caveats that everyone is different and there is no such thing as a silver bullet for all health problems (Gundry seems to believe his diet plan is the cure all for a diverse range of medical conditions and ailments).

Jan 8, 9:25 pm

Lori! Hi and Happy New Year! Good luck with your category challenge.
Do you also have a thread in the 75ers? I may have missed it.
In any case, good to see you posting about books again.

Jan 8, 10:03 pm

>76 Carmenere: - Hi Lynda! Lovely to see you have found me over here. No, I don't have a thread in the 75ers this year. Taking baby steps to get back into LT after a hiatus from the site. I do make occasional visits to the 75er group, so I will try to remember to locate your thread. Thanks for stopping by!

Jan 14, 5:35 pm

The 75 group is hard to keep up with. I fall behind all the time there.

Jan 15, 10:28 pm

>78 thornton37814: - Glad to see it is not just me that struggles to keep up with the 75ers!

Taking advantage of a rainy Sunday night to curl up with laptop and cup of tea (Twinings Winter Spice) for a little bit of LT catch up time. Not much to report - normal busy work week which has meant I have not had as much reading time as I would like. Oh and a bit of a birthday weekend for me. I am not big on presents - don't need anything - but other half still surprised me with a dozen of my favourite flowers (yellow roses). Because we are still not doing indoor dining, we ordered take out from a new local restaurant I have been wanting to try (Biryani Palace). We both give it two thumbs up. Always nice to be able to add another restaurant to our rotating take out roster when we don't feel like cooking. ;-)

Jan 15, 10:29 pm

Currently Reading (and next up):
True Reconciliation: How to Be a Force for Change by Jody Wilson-Reybould - Approximately 55% read. A lot to take in and ponder, so not flying through this one.
Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian - This has been lurking unread on my ereader since 2015, so hoping to read this as part of the Hidden Gems RandomCAT.
nothing at the moment.
Physical books:
Nothing at the moment.

Jan 16, 4:12 am

Had to come and hunt you down, Lori!

Have a wonderful reading year my friend. x

Jan 16, 4:22 am

Happy belated birthday, Lori!

Jan 16, 10:56 am

Sounds like a great birthday weekend! Glad the takeout from the new local restaurant was a hit. We're still not doing indoor dining either.

Jan 16, 2:31 pm

Happy Birthday, Lori. I like how you and your hubby celebrated - quietly and with excellent food!

Jan 16, 4:44 pm

The very first indoor dining we did since the pandemic started, in May last year, my daughter caught covid, and then gave it to both of us. So for now we only eat out if we're travelling and have no choice mid-journey. Otherwise it's takeaway for us too.

Happy belated birthday, it sounds like a perfectly relaxing one!

Jan 17, 11:48 am

Happy birthday -- sounds like it was a lovely one! The Cobweb Bride is also languishing on my e-reader, so I'll be curious to see what you think of it!

Jan 18, 10:48 am

Happy Birthday! Glad you had a relaxing celebration.
Wow, our lockdown take-out days were so brief that it seems like forever ago and I can't imagine still not going into restaurants (I know you're choosing it) because we love eating out. No dishes for me and no dog staring us down with each bite.

Jan 18, 12:02 pm

Another belated Happy Birthday to you.

We don't go anywhere we don't have to and don't intend to for a while yet.

Jan 18, 8:40 pm

>81 PaulCranswick: - Hi Paul! Did I forget to leave my 'forwarding address' when I stopped by your thread? My bad. Happy to see you were able to tracked me down. ;-)

>82 MissWatson: - Thanks Birgit!

>83 rabbitprincess: - Birthday weekends are great, RP. I like being able to stretch the happy day across 2-3 days. ;-) The restaurant was packed when we stopped by to pick up the take out so I am confident it will survive these crazy economic times and we can happily sample our way through their menu.

>84 DeltaQueen50: - Thanks Judy. We are not big on parties or crowds - never have been... but food, now that is important!

>85 Jackie_K: - Thanks Jackie and wow, I hope your family's Covid experience was mild with no lingering issues. It is so hard to make these kinds of decisions - indoor dining, attending an event, etc - especially if cases are down and it seems the risk is lower. ;-(

>86 christina_reads: - Thanks Christina! My double motivation for reading The Cobweb Bride is it appears I received it via Netgalley and it is the only book that I have yet to read and review, so I guess I need to get on that. ;-o

>87 mstrust: - Thanks Jennifer! My family is full on with the indoor dining so they graciously accommodate me when I say I am not ready. I don't mind doing dishes and love how many of the restaurants in our area have pivoted from being just in-person dining to offering take out as an option. Of course, we don't have a dog giving us "Feed me" eyes as we eat, so I can appreciate your choices. ;-)

>88 hailelib: - Thanks! Sounds like how we are approaching things and we don't feel like we are missing out on anything.


A bit of exciting news! Okay, it doesn't take much to excite me these days but I was over the moon with happiness today when I learned that I have been approved for an ARC of Kate Morton's latest book, Homecoming. I feel like a kid who has just been given a pony! I am pretty sure all of you know which book I am reading next. ;-)

Editado: Jan 18, 8:41 pm

Currently Reading (and next up):
Homecoming by Kate Morton - Super excited to receive this ARC via Netgalley! Morton is one of my favourite authors.
Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian - This has been lurking unread on my ereader since 2015, so hoping to read this as part of the Hidden Gems RandomCAT.
nothing at the moment.
Physical books:
Nothing at the moment.

Editado: Jan 18, 10:06 pm

>89 lkernagh: Re: Homecoming - me, too! Was also excited! I am never chosen for the new books by popular authors! LOL!

(And I'm impressed you get to yours so quickly! I need to finish monthly challenges first... then I have a few other Netgalleys I need to get to first!)

Jan 18, 11:07 pm

Yet another belated Happy Birthday.

I've been to a few indoor restaurants but if the tables are too close together, I get very toey and don't enjoy it. Still preferring outdoor dining.

Jan 19, 10:33 pm

Great categories! (I also have a bunch of dusty Trollopes :) I was in awe of your series reading. I struggled last year to just finish one more in each series I've started.

>48 lkernagh: I'd never heard of the Reclaim Her Name collection, but I'd like to read some of these you've mentioned and check out the rest.

Jan 21, 5:54 pm

>91 LibraryCin: - So happy to see you also were selected to receive an ARC of Morton's latest! it is like Christmas when those acceptance emails come in, isn't it? As for getting to it quickly, I have started it yet... hope to tonight. I made a promise to myself that I Have to write the review of a finished book before starting my next read. Work this week delayed that review writing. Good think I learned early in life to delay gratification. ;-)

>92 pamelad: - Thanks, Pam! I agree re: tables too close together. There is a local restaurant we sometime frequented pre-pandemic and the tables were crammed into the space too tight for my comfort level. The food was marvellous, but I will not be going back there if they have not changed and have removed a table or two to allow for more space between dinners (there was no privacy, you could hear all the conversations going on around you!). I LOVE outdoor dining and happy to do so in the winter months even if it means patio heaters and sitting in my jacket to eat. ;-0

>93 madhatter22: - Thanks, Shauna! There is something about classics and collecting dust on book shelves (in my case, they are on my Kobo, so no dust but still neglected!). Last year was very much a 'free form' reading year for me which made it a LOT easier to focus on series reading. ;-)

According to Baileys website (sponsor of the Woman's Orange Prize) Reclaim Her Name was created in 2020 to mark the 25th year of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, re-releasing 25 books by authors who used a male or gender neutral pseudonym, putting their female name on their work for the first time. At the time they made the books available as free ebook downloads for a limited time, which I took advantage of! Unfortunately, I cannot find a list of the 25 books anywhere online, so here is a list of the books and their male pseudonyms:

Atla. a story of the lost island by Mrs. J. Gregory Smith
Ye Game and Playe of Chesse & Other Stories by Monroe Wright
Cecilia de Noel by Lanoe Falconer
A Diplomat's Diary by Julien Gordon
A Phantom Lover by Vernon Lee
For Our Country by Shahein Farahani
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Marie of the Cabin Club by Arnold Petri
Attila, my Attila! A play by Michael Field
Indiana by George Sand
Keynotes by George Egerton
The History of Sir Richard Calmady: A Romance by Lucas Malet
Valerie Aylmer by Christian Reid
Some Emotions and a Moral by John Oliver Hobbs
Echoes From Mist-land: or, The Nibelungen Lay, Revealed to Lovers of Romance and Chivalry by Auber Forestier
Iras: A Mystery by Theo Douglas
Twilight by Frank Danby
Takekurabe "Growing Up" by Higuchi Ichiyoi
The Head of Medusa by George Fleming
The Life of Martin R. Delany by Frank A. Rollin
The Garden of Kama And Other Love Lyrics From India by Laurence Hope
The Roadmender by Michael Fairless
Painted Clay by Capel Boake
The Silence of Dean Maitland... by Maxwell Gray
How White Men Assist in Smuggling Chinamen Across the Border in Puget Sound Country by Mahlon T. Wing


With cloudy/rainy weather today in my part of the world, today is a good day to do some laundry and get a book review written. Both accomplished so relaxing with some LT time. Hope everyone has had a good week and is enjoying the weekend!

Jan 21, 5:57 pm

Book #2 - True Reconciliation: How to Be a Force for Change by Jody Wilson-Raybould
Source: Local library
Format: ebook
Original publication date: 2022
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count/ Audio duration: 352 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.60 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"What can one do to help advance reconciliation? For Wilson-Raybould, what individuals and organizations need to do to advance true reconciliation is self-evident, accessible, and achievable. True Reconciliation is broken down into three core practices—Learn, Understand, and Act—that can be applied by individuals, communities, organiza­tions, and governments. Fundamental to a shared way of thinking is an understand­ing of the Indigenous experience throughout the story of Canada. In a manner that reflects how work is done in the Big House, True Reconciliation features an “oral” history of these lands, told through Indigenous and non-Indigenous voices from our past and present. The ultimate and attainable goal of True Reconciliation is to break down the silos we’ve created that prevent meaning­ful change, to be empowered to increasingly act as “inbe­tweeners,” and to take full advantage of this moment in our history to positively transform the country into a place we can all be proud of."
I had to ponder how best to review this one. Wilson-Raybould uses this as an opportunity to raise the reader's awareness of Canada's poor track record of Indigenous relations. This history of false motivations, broken promises and 'slow as molasses' government response to various court rulings in support of Indigenous rights is presented through first person statements (written historical records) made by key players in this history. This is Wilson-Raybould's legal background coming through in that she focuses on presenting the evidence, not trying to sway the reader to a certain point of view through just an expression of opinion. Many Canadians of a certain age group (like me) never learned much at school about the history of Canadian Indigenous relations beyond isolated events like the Metis uprising in the Red River Rebellion of 1869-70. For this reason, I really appreciate the time Wilson-Raybould has taken to compile the statements and information to present both sides as a chronological timeline of events. Maybe a little dry reading, but I appreciated the fact that I was able to read the opinions of various Indigenous Chiefs and got through that a better appreciation for the hurt, frustration and societal damage the Canadian policies had on the Indigenous communities and their way of life.

With the historical foundation established, Wilson-Raybould delves into a tough topic: understanding what true reconciliation is. This is complex, as not all Indigenous Peoples agree on what true reconciliation means to them but the point Wilson-Raybould makes is that true reconciliation can not happen until there is dialogue, consensus and action that leads to lasting change. Again, Wilson-Raybould does not try to drive the reader to a specific action or outcome. Instead, she focuses on how true reconciliation is supposed to take people outside of their comfort zones and lead them to make changes that are impactful, meaningful and lasting. This can be anything from volunteering or taking part in First Nations events that are open to the the public to creating a safe space where Indigenous and non-Indigenous can meet. I was very happy the author briefly tackled a topic that I have pondered a fair bit over the past few years: how impactful and meaningful are visible actions like removing a statue or renaming a building/street as an act of reconciliation? My impression is that these actions are 'low-hanging political fruit', something that governments can do to signal reconciliation while not actually doing any of the challenging transformative changes we need. Wilson-Raybould seems to concur and mentions how these actions can backfire and actually do more harm. As my local city council learned, making decisions in a vacuum based on input from only a select few individuals can blow up in the form of public outcry that no public consultation was ever undertaken, so, a cautionary tale.

Overall, A book well worth reading for anyone who wants to understand more about Canada's broken path of Indigenous relations and how everyone in the community can help make a difference, in their own way.

Favourite quote in the book is one from the Right Honorable Mary Simon, Canada's first and current Indigenous Canadian Governor General:
"I firmly believe that this story will increasingly be "our" story. Of change that is increasingly advanced together, with increasingly common visions and goals. Of change that reflects not only true reconciliation, but a revitalized vision of Canada. And the predominant voices in the story will be of Canadians from all walks of life and backgrounds, expressing how they asked what they could do and came to understand what action they can take, and illustrating how they acted and had an impact. Will your voice be part of that story?"

Jan 22, 7:23 am

>95 lkernagh: - A well thought-out and interesting review. I too think that the removing of words or renaming is low-hanging fruit. My state's name until a few years ago was "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations". Vocal voices managed to get a referendum on the ballot a few years ago to remove "and Provience Plantations" even though that was not a reference to slavery. I'm sure many of the things she talks about could also be applied to Native Americans here in the US.

Jan 22, 10:39 pm

>96 dudes22: - Thanks Betty! I like books that: 1) make me think and 2) are open-ended enough in their advice to make it easy to apply to a number of situations. I hear you on the vocal voices and how some changes get pushed though that leave lasting questions! It makes me think about all the environmentalists that protest "this and that" where I live and think nothing about the fact that their tactics (blocking bridges during rush hour, etc) are not winning them new supporters. It is baffling.

Fev 14, 8:42 pm

>95 lkernagh: Thank you for this thorough and thoughtful review. Reconciliation is indeed a difficult subject, and it's hard to know what actions would lead to true reconciliation and not just lip service. Wilson-Raybould's book seems like a very worthwhile read.

Fev 15, 7:39 am

>95 lkernagh: What a great review. Sounds right up my alley (history) and is going on my WL.

Editado: Fev 15, 3:09 pm

>95 lkernagh: Similar things are happening in Australia. We are preparing for a referendum on a Voice to Parliament, a change to the constitution that would ensure that the Aboriginal people are consulted on legislation.

>96 dudes22: I think it's worthwhile to make symbolic changes such as replacing names that have racist connotations. This doesn't preclude practical action and is a sign of good will.

Fev 15, 6:33 pm

Enjoyed catching up on your thread!

Editado: Fev 18, 7:25 pm

>98 mathgirl40: - Thanks Paulina. Wilson-Raybouold tackles reconciliation without being preachy or presenting just one point of view. Her balanced reasoning makes it easier to have hope for meaningful reconciliation to occur!

>99 Tess_W: - Thanks Tess. I hope you you get a chance to read it. It left me with a lot to think about while still giving hope that reconciliation is not unattainable.

>100 pamelad: - Hi Pam, I will keep an eye on the Australian news re: referendum. Here in British Columbia, the provincial government brought in legislation recognizing UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples), so there is a lot of work to make sure First Nations are consulted on matters like land use, etc. Early stages in this work and a lot of challenges being uncovered. A new regional hospital is being built on First Nations lands on south Vancouver Island. Local First Nations constructions companies are being excluded from working on the site because they are not unionized. Back in 2018 British Columbia passed new regulations that require companies working on provincial infrastructure projects to be unionized. I am guessing the government, when they came up with the regulations, thought this was a great idea - to ensure workers on the sites are paid union wages - and did not expect it would have such a negative downstream impact on First Nations companies, who typically do not join the recognized labour unions.

>101 VictoriaPL: - Thanks for stopping by Victoria!

Huge apologies for being absent from my own thread! Hard to believe it has been 4 weeks since I last posted. What have I been up to? Well, work has been crazy busy but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. For the past 27 months I have been doing my job and the job of a colleague out on leave. We have FINALLY hired a temporary placement (they started January 31) and this month has been spent training the new hire. Always more work and takes longer to get things done when explaining the hows and whys then if i just do it myself, but this short term pain will pay off in dividends soon (fingers crossed). The new hire is sharp, keen and quick to learn. Of course, Covid (new hire) had to throw a monkey wrench into the training, morphing into two weeks of remote training via emails, virtual meetings and text messaging. Hoping to be back to in person training next week!

Made a purchase a few weeks back that resulted in signing up and taking advantage of a trial period of Amazon Prime so we did a fair bit of binge watching. I can highly recommend the British TV serial dramatization of John le Carre's The Night Manager starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie. I can also recommend the mini series "The English" starring Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer.

On the reading front, it has been slow with limited reading time (see above for why). I did finish Kate Morton's new book Homecoming last night. Loved it! The book will not be released until April 4th, so I am in a bit of a quandary: Can I /should I post the review now (or more like, as soon as I write it up) or should I hold off until closer to or after the release date?


Fev 18, 2:18 pm

>102 lkernagh: - You're link goes to the book by Belva Plain. I say wait a bit. Or not if you're only going to give out what's already out in the public.

Fev 18, 7:26 pm

>103 dudes22: - Thank you for bringing the wrong book link to my attention, Betty! Fixed. There sure are a LOT of books with the same title! I like your suggestion. It also gives me time to ponder my review.

Fev 18, 7:31 pm

I seem to have derailed from my planned Category Challenge reading.... darn shiny new books! :-)

Currently Reading (and next up):
VenCo by Cherie Dimaline - When I discovered Canadian Indigenous author Dimaline had a new book coming out this month, I requested a copy via Netgalley and was super excited to receive a copy!
In the Belly of the Congo by Blaise Ndala - Another Netgalley request for a book coming out this month.
A Skeleton in every House by Isabella Duke - A LTER book from the January batch that caught my eye.
Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian - This has been lurking unread on my ereader since 2015 - and overdue for a review on Netgalley to give me a 100% review history, so determined to get this one read at some point this year.
nothing at the moment.
Physical books:
Nothing at the moment.

Editado: Mar 12, 8:29 pm

Hello and catching up with your thread at long last! I've been reading your chats and your book reviews, and >95 lkernagh: it is good to start the dialogue and the reconciliation.

Regarding the changing of street names or removing of statues as a first step in that reconciliation, my local County finally took down an obelisk that had been erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy in the 1920's in front of the Old Courthouse. You've probably seen a lot of that going on in the Southeastern US in the past few years. It was not an easy task to take this emblem of racial segregation down: there were court battles for a while, until finally the County said to the opposing, Confederate-leaning forces, "Oh, y'all want to sue us for even *talking* about removing this symbol your great-grandmother erected? Well, watch this." The removal was televised, and the overall feeling was one of relief and joy. It was a small step, but it felt and looked important.

Maio 22, 7:29 pm

>106 threadnsong: - Thanks for sharing! Reconciliation brings both the good and the bad parts of society to the forefront. Change and acknowledgement is challenging for some to accept, and it is that refusal that leads to more hurt and suffering. Happy to read that the end result was an overall feeling of relief and joy!


Hello everyone! I know, I disappeared AGAIN. 2023 is shaping up to be just like 2022 so my visiting here will probably be sporadic at best. Keeping well, just continue to be busy (and time seems to be just flying by!). My reading has taking quite the nose dive from what I accomplished last year. I guess it is a good thing I went with a small reading challenge this year. Hoping the summer months will afford me with more reading time. We shall see. Anyways, time for some reviews.

Maio 22, 7:30 pm

Book #3 - Homecoming by Kate Morton
Source: Netgalley ARC
Format: ebook
Original publication date: April 4, 2023
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count/ Audio duration: 560 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.40 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the author's website:
"Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959: At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek in the grounds of a grand country house, a local man makes a terrible discovery. Police are called, and the small town of Tambilla becomes embroiled in one of the most baffling murder investigations in the history of South Australia.

Many years later and thousands of miles away, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for nearly two decades, she now finds herself unemployed and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Nora, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and is seriously ill in hospital.

At Nora’s house, Jess discovers a true crime book chronicling a long-buried police case: the Turner Family Tragedy of 1959. It is only when Jess skims through its pages that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this notorious event — a mystery that has never been satisfactorily resolved.

An epic story that spans continents and generations, Homecoming asks what we would do for those we love, how we protect the lies we tell, and what it means to come home. Above all, it is an intricate and spellbinding novel from one of the finest writers working today."
I am a big fan of family sagas, especially when the story draws me in, providing a strong sense of time and place, a feeling of connection with the characters, and a good dash of family secrets intrigue and tension. Morton delivers on all counts with her latest offering. Well, almost on all counts. I never really connected with the character Jess. Found her rather annoying, actually. Other than that, Homecoming was a satisfying winter read.

“Peeling back the onion" is a perfect way to describe this one. Layer by layer by layer, the reader slowly gets to the core of the family history, the shocking Christmas Eve discovery, the police investigation, the relationships and the closely guarded family secrets. Told in vivid detail, it is easy to picture the town of Tamilla and the evocative beauty of the South Australian Adelaide Hills. The 'who' and 'why' are slowly teased out, but the effort to follow the story through to the end is worth it, in my opinion. I really love how Morton makes use of chapters from a fictitious true crimes novel (another POV) to aid Jess in her ‘search’ for answers.

If you are looking for a fast-paced suspense read, you will probably be disappointed. This is not that kind of story. You need to be prepared to invest the time, to sink into the descriptive prose, soak up the atmosphere, and let the motivation behind certain actions – those all important ‘whys’! – slowly be revealed. Even though I was able to suss out the main family secret pretty early on, Morton still had a few more surprises up her sleeve that I did not expect.

Now, some readers may not be as enamoured as I am with Morton's latest. Some may not appreciate the shifting points of view and switching timelines. They may find revisiting certain events from different angles to be repetitive and may become frustrated that Morton takes such a circuitous route to tell the story. Some may find the pace slow, maybe even plodding in places. Some readers may feel there is just too much story (Geez, is there such a thing?) My response to these readers: Approach this story like a journey. A direct path may get you to the end quicker, but the slower, meandering routes reward the reader with unexpected vistas along the way.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy.

Maio 22, 7:31 pm

Book #4 - Venco by Cherie Dimaline
Source: Netgalley ARC
Format: ebook
Original publication date: February 7, 2023
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count/ Audio duration: 444 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the Amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"Lucky St. James, orphaned daughter of a bad-ass Métis good-times girl, is barely hanging on to her nowhere life when she finds out that she and her grandmother, Stella, are about to be evicted from their apartment. Bad to worse in a heartbeat. Then one night, doing laundry in the building's dank basement, Lucky feels an irresistible something calling to her. Crawling through a hidden hole in the wall, she finds a tarnished silver spoon depicting a story-book hag over letters that spell out S-A-L-E-M.

Which alerts Salem-born Meena Good, finder of a matching spoon, to Lucky's existence. One of the most powerful witches in North America, Meena has been called to bring together seven special witches and seven special spoons—infused with magic and scattered to the four directions more than a century ago—to form a magic circle that will restore women to their rightful power. Under the wing of the international headhunting firm VenCo, devoted to placing exceptional women in roles where they can influence business, politics and the arts, Meena has spent years searching out witches hiding in plain sight wherever women gather: suburban book clubs, Mommy & Me groups, temp agencies. Lucky and her spoon are number six.

With only one more spoon to find, a very powerful adversary has Meena's coven in his sights—Jay Christos, a roguish and deadly witch-hunter as old as witchcraft itself. As the clock ticks toward a now-or-never deadline, Meena sends Lucky and her grandmother on a dangerous, sometimes hilarious, road trip through the United States in search of the seventh spoon. The trail leads them at last to the darkly magical city of New Orleans, where Lucky's final showdown with Jay Christos will determine whether the coven will be completed, ushering in a new beginning, or whether witches will be forced to remain forever underground."
I will start of this review admitting I am a BIG fan of Dimaline's stories, having previously read The Marrow Thieves, its sequel Hunting by Stars and Empire of Wild. I approached Venco with a little bit of trepidation. While I enjoy stories that dip into magical realism and mythology, witchcraft has always fallen a bit flat with me. I should have realized I could trust Dimaline to give readers a delightfully modern, feminism-empowering story filled with fabulous kick-ass characters, great dialogue and wonderful soul-searching. At its heart, this is a story about finding family, self-appreciation and making meaningful connections, all wrapped up in a suspense-filled race to find seven enchanted spoons and bring the coven together before the spell is nullified and do battle with the coven's nemesis. I have my fingers crossed Dimaline has a sequel in mind!

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy.

Editado: Maio 23, 4:36 pm

Book #5 - In the Belly of the Congo by Blaise Ndala - translated from the French by Amy B. Reid
Source: Netgalley ARC
Format: ebook
Original publication date: February 7, 2023
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count/ Audio duration: 432 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the Amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"April 1958. Princess Tshala Nyota, daughter of King Kena Kwete III of the Kuba people in Congo, is among the eleven “villagers” put on display at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels. After the humiliation of the Nazi occupation, the royal palace is determined to restore the Belgian colonial empire’s honor and prestige by showcasing the successful “civilization” of Congo, Belgium’s “model colony,” at one of the biggest international events since the end of the Second World War.

The young princess recounts her journey from her home of Kasaï to a Catholic school run by nuns, where she meets and falls madly in love with a handsome Belgian administrator. But when her father discovers the affair, his fury cannot be contained. Fearing for her life and his own, Tshala’s lover sends her to Léopoldville to stay with his friend, a collector and dealer specializing in African art. In the capital, she is immersed in a world pulsing with youth, sex, energy, and hope for the new independent republic. But when Tshala is betrayed by her lover’s friend, she is sent to Brussels and her forced exhibition at Expo ’58. Soon after, she mysteriously disappears.

August 2003. Nyota Kwete, the princess’s niece, is sent to Brussels to continue her education at the university. Before she departs, her father charges her with the task of discovering the fate of the missing princess. In Brussels, she is welcomed by the Congolese diaspora community and crosses paths with a Belgian scholar who is haunted by his own ghosts. Together, they uncover important secrets that were taken to the grave.

In this internationally acclaimed and award-winning novel, Congolese Canadian author Blaise Ndala examines Belgium and Congo’s colonial past and current legacy through the lives of two unforgettable women, connected by family and history across continents and decades."
As a fan of multi-generational stories and a ongoing student of colonial history and reconciliation, I really looked forward to reading this one. As I was reading, it didn't take me long to realize what little I knew about the colonial history of the Belgian Congo. This put me at a disadvantage as I had no knowledge of the significance of the names, places and circumstances mentioned throughout the story. That being said, Ngala writes with beautiful prose and it is clear that he wrote this story with feeling and purpose. My recommendation: This is a powerful story that would be best appreciated if the reader has some understanding of the history of the Belgian Congo or is prepared to take the time to learn and do further research as they immerse themselves in this story.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy.

Editado: Maio 23, 4:37 pm

Book #6 - A Skeleton in Every House by Isabella Duke
Source: LTER
Format: ebook
Original publication date: 2023
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count/ Audio duration: 325 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.25 out of 5 /
Book descriVenco with a bit of trepidation.... ption/summary: from the Amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"Suffocated by the constraints of high society, Catriona Winters yearns to prove herself as a journalist. So when a nobleman is found slain, his body drifting off the Limehouse docks, she heads to the scene. There she clashes with the infuriating Inspector Thomas Marlowe, who is set on keeping the details of his inquiry out of the headlines.

Meanwhile, her childhood friend Nathaniel, heir of the Viscount Ashford, has returned from an unexplained sojourn in the country. The deeply buried attraction between them flares once more, but rumours swirl about his absence and a potential scandal his father seems determined to quash.

As Catriona struggles with her feelings for Nathaniel and her animosity towards Marlowe, she wades ever deeper into the secrets of Limehouse. But a second killing soon shocks London, leaving no one above suspicion. Catriona must unmask the murderer before he strikes again—and before she makes herself his next victim."
I enjoyed this one. I love the atmospheric Victorian setting. While I struggled a bit with believing Catriona would have the freedom to roam Limehouse and parts of London unescorted (sometimes it is best to just give in to the story and not ponder these things!) I found the mystery to be well crafted, even if I did figure out who the murderer is pretty early on. The romantic web of multiple potential love interests was a bit of an unnecessary distraction in my opinion. I tend to read these types of stories for the mystery, NOT the romance angle. Even so, I will admit that I found myself rooting for one of the gentlemen to win Catriona over. Overall, an entertaining murder mystery.

Thank you to the author and LibraryThing for providing me with copy in exchange for a review.

Maio 22, 8:05 pm

>110 lkernagh: ow*ow*ow* I'm hit! The book-bullets are a-flyin'!

Glad to see you around, Lori. Even though you're dangerous to my budget....

Maio 22, 8:47 pm

>112 richardderus: - LOL, thanks for stopping by my usually dormant thread and apologies for the BB's. :)

Maio 22, 11:00 pm

Have spent most of the evening pondering my next read. Do I read a May CAT/KIT? Do I start a June CAT/KIT? My track record for reading this year has me taking weeks to complete one book, so that is an option. Do I read something to fill one of my categories?

After a ponder - I do like a good ponder! - and a review of the LT books on my Kobo, I have decided I am going to take a different tack. I am going to start with the oldest acquisition on my Kobo (which turn out to be The Execution by Sharon Cramer, acquired April 5, 2015), and slowly work my way through some of those older acquisitions. A perfect way to see if I can clear some books off my Kobo (deleting duds that were most likely free downloads).

Maio 23, 12:26 am

Good to see you back again, Lori! I hope you can get some good reading done this summer although that's usually when reading slows for me.

Maio 23, 6:04 am

Glad to see you here whenever you can make it. I had already put Kate Morton's book on a list so no BB but a good review. I need to work on some of my older books too - both physical and ebooks. I started adding my reading pile to LT in 2010, but I know I had some of them earlier than that.

Maio 23, 11:05 am

Great minds....this year I'm also working on clearing off my virtual shelves!

Maio 23, 12:46 pm

Hi Lori, good to see you here. I am also trying to concentrate on books that I have had on my shelf or Kindle for far too long! Hope you have a great summer!

Maio 23, 4:08 pm

>115 VivienneR:, >116 dudes22:, >117 Tess_W: and >118 DeltaQueen50: - Thanks Vivienne, Betty, Tess, and Judy for stopping by! Nice to see I am not the only one attempting to chip away at the towering TBR piles (digital or physical) we all have. ;-)

Today is a day off for me so taking advantage of the overcast skies to settle in with a cup of tea and see what everyone has been up to since I last logged in to LT a few months back.

Maio 23, 4:22 pm

>119 lkernagh: Ooh yay, extra-long weekend! Glad to see you back, and I hope you find some gems among the old acquisitions!

Jul 4, 9:23 am

Dropping in to say "hi" as I play catch-up, but it looks like you are behind in posting too, so your life must be as busy as mine has been.

Jul 28, 10:44 pm

>120 rabbitprincess: - Hi RP! Extra-long weekends are the best. :-)

>121 thornton37814: - Hi Lori! Thanks for stopping by my neglected thread. Life has been busy this year. Nothing specific I can pin it on.... just overall busyness. I hope you have been able to enjoy the summer and things have slowed down a bit for you.

Jul 28, 10:45 pm

Hello Everyone! I hope this summer has been treating everyone well and you have not been in areas impacted by crazy weather. Here on Vancouver Island we went from a colder than normal spring to a drought summer. We have been spared the smoke from the wildfires, so that is a blessing. I held off on a container garden this year while I waited for the weather to improve. Bought a box full of starter plants (selection of lettuce, salad greens and herbs) early in July and have enjoyed having fresh garden salads most days. I am attempting to grow a some kale from seed.... the seeds have sprouted so figure it will be 6 more weeks before we have kale for harvesting. I also bought a couple of petunia plants to add some colour.

Vacation in June included a trip home to see family in Alberta, attend my nephew's engagement party and then a road trip into Saskatchewan for a family reunion. The reunion had been in the works for the past three years (was originally planned for 2021 and postponed, for obvious reasons). Great to see extended family from all across North America, but the island girl that I am, I forgot about the bugs! Horse flies are nasty biters and bug repellent does nothing to deter them. I read somewhere (after I got back home) that some bugs are attracted to the colour blue. That ties in my reunion bug experience: I was a bug magnet when I was wearing blue (which was most days of the reunion). I will remember to not pack blue clothes the next time I head into a northern bug zone and see if colour really does make a difference. ;-)

On the reading front, I have been reading (and listening to audiobooks) but no where near my usual or previous reading levels. Also not sticking with my category challenge, so I will be curious to see if I complete it this year.

That is pretty much it in a nutshell. Time for some reviews.

Jul 28, 10:47 pm

Book #7 - The Execution by Sharon Cramer
Source: TBR
Format: ebook
Original publication date: 2012
Acquisition date: April 5, 2015
Page count: 360 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.00 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the Amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"14th Century France: D'ata the young priest is a dark angel amid the death and despair of the medieval prison, but as he enters the cell of a condemned man — a mercenary who is set to be executed in the morning - he is transfixed by the killer’s eyes. The face of the murderer is his own, a mirror image of himself. Unknown to each other until this strange night, the two men share the stories of their ill-fated lives and the destiny that brought them to this fetid dungeon. Their tales unfold, creating an unbreakable bond sealed with their darkest secrets. With only hours until the execution, D’ata begins to question which man should truly be condemned. Should it be Ravan, the ruthless killer - a boy from an orphanage who suffered the unimaginable? Or should it be he, the man of God whose own tormented desires ended in tragedy and the inescapable darkness of his own soul? As the sun rises, D’ata knows what he must do. But can he pay the ultimate price, for what is the cost of true freedom?"
This book has been lurking on my TBR pile for 8 years. Time to crack it open! For those who do not know, The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favourite reads. If Cramer has never read Dumas classic story, she was fully channelling the atmospheric vibe and trilling intrigue in the opening chapters of her book The Execution! Sadly, the story loses a lot of the page turning suspense with the continual use of shifting points of view and historical flashbacks. Don't get me wrong, at its heart, this is still a story about love, loss and revenge, and the ending takes the reader back to the wonderful atmospheric vibe that drew me in at the start, but parts of the story were just a hard slog to get through with too much repetition and lost the suspenseful momentum that excited me when I started to read it. Also, parts of the story read true to a 14th Century setting but I found other sections and some of the dialogue had a modern vibe that clashed with the historical setting.

Apparently, this is the first book in a three book series. Overall, an okay read. I give it 5 stars for the start and ending but the middle (the majority of the story) gets only 2.5 stars from me (2.75 in a generous mood), so I am not motivated to read further in the series.

Jul 28, 10:49 pm

Book #8 - Five Little Indians by Michelle Good
Source: GVPL
Format: ebook
Original publication date: April 14, 2020
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 304 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.70 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the Amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"Taken from their families when they are very small and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie are barely out of childhood when they are finally released after years of detention.

Alone and without any skills, support or families, the teens find their way to the seedy and foreign world of Downtown Eastside Vancouver, where they cling together, striving to find a place of safety and belonging in a world that doesn’t want them. The paths of the five friends cross and crisscross over the decades as they struggle to overcome, or at least forget, the trauma they endured during their years at the Mission.

Fuelled by rage and furious with God, Clara finds her way into the dangerous, highly charged world of the American Indian Movement. Maisie internalizes her pain and continually places herself in dangerous situations. Famous for his daring escapes from the school, Kenny can’t stop running and moves restlessly from job to job—through fishing grounds, orchards and logging camps—trying to outrun his memories and his addiction. Lucy finds peace in motherhood and nurtures a secret compulsive disorder as she waits for Kenny to return to the life they once hoped to share together. After almost beating one of his tormentors to death, Howie serves time in prison, then tries once again to re-enter society and begin life anew.

With compassion and insight, Five Little Indians chronicles the desperate quest of these residential school survivors to come to terms with their past and, ultimately, find a way forward."
A must read. Words like "powerful" come to mind to describe this one. In this debut novel, Good creates five unique and memorable characters. While the story touches on the residential school system, the focus is more on what it means to be a survivor and the resulting consequences of inter-generational trauma the system has on communities as all are impacted, those taken by force and those left behind. The story really communicates how the "everything is okay" veneer is just that: a thin, crack-able surface that only attempts to hide the pain, suffering and trauma. It does nothing to help repair the person inside. Good does not paint the story all doom and gloom, but she also does not sugarcoat the situations or the experiences. She presents the story in a way that invites conversations and raises awareness. A worthy read.

Jul 28, 10:50 pm

Book #9 - The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee - audiobook read by Dennis Boutsikaris
Source: GVPL
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: May 16, 2016
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count/listening time: 608 pages / 19 hours listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.40 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the Amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"In this biography Mukherjee brings to life the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices. Throughout, the story of Mukherjee’s own family—with its tragic and bewildering history of mental illness—reminds us of the questions that hang over our ability to translate the science of genetics from the laboratory to the real world. In riveting and dramatic prose, he describes the centuries of research and experimentation—from Aristotle and Pythagoras to Mendel and Darwin, from Boveri and Morgan to Crick, Watson and Franklin, all the way through the revolutionary twenty-first century innovators who mapped the human genome."
Yes, I admit that I have not read - or listened to - the author's Pulitzer Prize winning book The Emperor of All Maladies. I keep meaning to pick that one up, but intentions are actions are very different. I was looking for an audiobook for my vacation and noticed my local library had The Gene available so one quick download later I was ready to go. First observation: Mukherjee does a fantastic job presenting this epic scientific history, theory and philosophy in a highly relatable, story telling format. Yes, parts of the science was WAY over my head, but that is okay, there is so much in this book I was just happy to find sections that REALLY fascinated me - especially the sections where he delves into the history of genetic manipulation (which is also really creepy!). That got me thinking more about Gain-of-Function research (which has seen an up surge in debate in the past few years) which also made this a rather timely read for me.

Overall, happy to have finally picked up one of Mukherjee's books. Hoping to read more books by the author at some point.

Jul 28, 10:52 pm

Book #10 - How Medicine Works and When It Doesn't by F. Perry Wilson MD - audiobook read by Shawn K. Jain and the author
Source: GVPL
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: January 23, 2023
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count/listening time: 304 pages / 9 hours listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.50 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the Amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"Through stories from his own practice and historical case studies, Dr. F. Perry Wilson, a physician and researcher from the Yale School of Medicine, explains how and why the doctor-patient relationship has eroded in recent years and illuminates how profit-driven companies—from big Pharma to healthcare corporations—have corrupted what should have been medicine’s golden age. By clarifying the realities of the medical field today, Dr. Wilson gives readers the tools they need to make informed decisions, from evaluating the validity of medical information online to helping caregivers advocate for their loved ones, in the doctor’s office and with the insurance company.

Dr. Wilson wants readers to understand medicine and medical science the way he does: as an imperfect and often frustrating field, but still the best option for getting well. To restore trust between patients, doctors, medicine, and science, we need to be honest, we need to know how to spot misinformation, and we need to avoid letting skepticism ferment into cynicism. For it is only by redefining what “good medicine” is—science that is well-researched, rational, safe, effective, and delivered with compassion, empathy, and trust—that the doctor-patient relationship can be truly healed."
I admit I probably had some expectations when I downloaded this audiobook and started to listen. Not exactly what I was expecting but I do appreciate the candour with which Dr. Wilson approaches the topic of erosion of the patient-doctor relationship. I feel for the medical profession, especially if they are family doctors or general practitioners. It is literally impossible for one to try and take care of their practice, their patients AND stay on top of the latest developments in the scientific and medical fields. Maybe artificial intelligence will be able to assist, but we are in early days for that to be a viable solution! So much easier to hope the FDA has does its job re: due diligence when approving drugs and overseeing Big Pharma (our for profit "pill pushers"). As with any relationship, the doctor patient relationship is a two way street: both parties need to be open to discussion. It should not be a one-sided relationship where patients are talked down to and their concerns are not taken into account.

Overall, I did find the book helpful in suggesting some strategies to improve the patient-doctor relationship (or use it as the clue that one might need to find a different doctor).

Jul 28, 10:53 pm

Book #11 - After the Ending by Lindsey Fairleigh
Source: TBR
Format: ebook
Original publication date: December 14, 2012
Acquisition date: December 14, 2015
Page count: 426 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 2.80 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the Amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"Grad student Dani O'Connor falls violently ill when a mysterious outbreak spreads across the globe. When her fever finally breaks, she barely recognizes the devastated world around her. Everyone is dead, and Dani is all alone. Or so she thinks...

Across the country, her bartender best friend Zoe, is used to dealing with hotheads and dirtbags, but nothing could have prepared her for the twisted thoughts of her fellow survivors. Anyone left alive is either sick, insane, or changed...like her. As her newfound super senses gain strength, Zoe must learn to control them before she loses herself to madness completely.

Can Dani and Zoe overcome deadly attacks and unseen dangers when deranged survivors lurk in dark corners everywhere? Or will they lose their way–and their lives–on the journey to find one another?"
The reason I read this one is it has been lurking unread on my e-reader longer than any other book, so time to read it. First impressions: a little bit freaky to be reading a book about a flu-like pandemic sweeping the globe and killing people, but a few chapters in and it starts to slide back into a familiar dystopian post-apocalyptic setting (and stops feeling some creepy 2012 prediction of that C-word pandemic). Anyways, enough about that. Did I enjoy it? It was alright. I think the book - which is first book in a series - is probably more suited for a Young Adult audience with the romance, childhood crush and occasional hurt feelings thrown into the mix. I struggled with some of the technology in the book. For example, how can cell phones (and power) not work but Dani and Zoe can communicate across the country via email from laptop computers??? Overall, a decent enough plot, some interesting characters and enough suspenseful moments to keep moving the story along. Will I continue with the series? Not planning to (even with the shocking reveal at the end of book 1!) but if I stumble across a copy of the next book in the series and I am in the mood I might consider reading it. I might.

Jul 28, 10:55 pm

Book #12 - The Warden by Anthony Trollope - audiobook read by David Shaw-Parker
Source: TBR
Format: ebook/audiobook
Original publication date: January 5, 1855
Acquisition date: May 2, 2019
Page count/listening time: 240 pages / 7 hours and 34 minutes
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.10 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the broadview press book listing webpage:
" The first of Trollope’s Barsetshire novels, The Warden concerns the moral dilemma of the Reverend Septimus Harding, who finds himself at the centre of a bitter conflict between defenders of Church privilege and the reforming impulses of the mid-Victorian period. Appointed warden of an almshouse, he is given a comfortable salary from its founder’s will to oversee the institution and the small weekly incomes given to the men who live there. Mr. Harding’s disproportionate salary, however, becomes a source of concern for a local reformer who denounces the allocation of funds as a Church abuse.

Interweaving the complexities of the Victorian world, the novel draws on ecclesiastical scandals, criticizes the power of the press, satirizes the law, and examines the growing influence of London on provincial life."
My first Trollope and happy to say, I really quite enjoyed the story, even if it is considered by some to be the weakest book in the Barsetshire Chronicles. From my perspective, that means I have a lot to look forward to as I plan to read all books in the series! I found Trollope's narrative to be inviting. We are allowed to see his characters strengths and weaknesses. He does not seem to play favourites. I love how he brings his personal viewpoints to the story. Okay, probably better to say Trollope interjects himself into the story, with dashes of well placed sarcasm! It is Trollope's sharp eye - and sharper quill - that made this such an wonderful story. He gives readers - via his characters - a detailed perspective of the moral, social and political viewpoints of his era.

Overall, very happy to have finally dipped into Trollope's world and looking forward to reading the next book in the Barsetshire Chronicles series.

Jul 28, 10:56 pm

Book #13 - Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly- audiobook read by Lorelei King
Source: GVPL
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: 2012
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count/listening time: 321 pages / 3 hours and 38 minutes
Decimal/ Star rating: 2.70 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the Amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"Kate Appleton needs a job. Her husband has left her, she's been fired from her position as a magazine editor, and the only place she wants to go is to her parents' summer house, The Nutshell, in Keene's Harbor, Michigan. Kate's plan is to turn The Nutshell into a Bed and Breakfast. Problem is, she needs cash, and the only job she can land is less than savory.
Matt Culhane wants Kate to spy on his brewery employees. Someone has been sabotaging his company, and Kate is just new enough in town that she can insert herself into Culhane's business and snoop around for him. If Kate finds the culprit, Matt will pay her a $20,000 bonus. Needless to say, Kate is highly motivated. But several problems present themselves. Kate despises beer. No one seems to trust her. And she is falling hard for her boss.

Can these two smoke out a saboteur, save Kate's family home, and keep a killer from closing in…all while resisting their undeniable attraction to one another? "
Having binge-read my way through Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series last year, I thought I would give this first book in the Culhane Family series a try. What can I say? Evanovich has spoiled me with the quirky characters and crazy situations I love from the Stephanie Plum books. I found Love in a Nutshell to be too sweet, too cute and a bit boring if I am to be honest. I am not a big romance reader so I tend to get frustrated when a perfectly good mystery story plot has to give way to the typical "will they or won't they" romance angle.

An okay read if you like mystery romance novels set in a quaint summer vacation locale but I am not going to continue with the series.

Jul 29, 12:47 pm

Welcome back, Lori! Good to know about blue attracting bugs, although a touch disappointing because blue is one of my favourite colours :(

Jul 29, 3:09 pm

Welcome back! Curious where in Sask your reunion was? I'm originally from Gravelbourg (Southern Sask), though it sounds like you were somewhere north.

Jul 29, 4:46 pm

>125 lkernagh: Taking a BB for this one. My husband is Mvskoke and I am always looking to read more about indegenious history (even if fictional).

Jul 29, 5:54 pm

>129 lkernagh: Loved The Chronicles of Barsetshire. Happy reading!

Jul 30, 6:45 pm

>131 rabbitprincess: - Thanks RP! I probably should have done more research into the whole "mosquitoes attracted to colours". Diving a little more into this, it is possible that mosquitoes are attracted to darker colours of black, navy, blue and red, but some other studies claim they are attracted to longer wavelength colours while other studies claim mosquitoes are more attracted to contrasting colours. I think I will stick to what I used to believe.... they are more attracted to body heat and sweat odour, even if I have no scientific evidence to back this up. :)

>132 LibraryCin: - Thanks! Reunion was held at Elk Ridge Resort near Waskesiu Lake (so, mid-Saskatchewan area). It was for my maternal side of the family which has roots in Prince Albert and surrounding area. The uncle who organized the event is a golfer - as are some other members of the family - so I think that was behind the decision for the resort location. We were at the resort the weekend before the PGA Elk Ridge Saskatchewan Open. I will take my sister's word for it that the course is great. I am more for zip-lining and paddle boarding. ;-) Still, the bugs were nasty and impervious to insect repellent!

>133 lowelibrary: - I am so happy that Indigenous voices are getting the attention and recognition they deserve. So much about the historical treatment of Indigenous Peoples has been swept under the rug and ignored, for too long. Michelle Good has another book published earlier this year - Truth Telling - that is a collection of essays about the contemporary Indigenous experience in Canada. I have a hold placed at my local library for that one.

>134 pamelad: - YAY! Happy to find another Chronicles of Barsetshire fan!

Editado: Jul 30, 7:04 pm

Currently Reading or On Deck:


Thorn Tree by Max Ludington - The publisher reached out to me as a possible interested reader and the premise intrigued me enough to give it a read.
The Girl in the Eagle's Talons by Karin Smirnoff - This is billed as being book #7 in the Millennium series. I admit I have only read the first three Lisbeth Salander novels authored by Stieg Larsson but this was offered up as a read now on NetGalley last week and I was intrigued enough to request a copy.

The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health with Facts and Feminism by Dr. Jennifer Gunter - Why this now? I have been following OBGYN Jen Gunter on Twitter/X (whatever Elon is calling the site these days) for a few years now and only recently discovered that she is an author of not one, but two books (the other book being The Vagina Bible). I am in the right age bracket to hopefully find the book 'helpful'. ;-)

Physical books:
The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense by Gad Saad - One of the outcomes of the recent family reunion is some of us are going to attempt a quarterly book club via Zoom and this is the first book.

... as always, my reading is subject to change, based on whim or some other random reason!

Jul 30, 10:17 pm

>135 lkernagh: Ah, I've never been there. Not much of a golfer myself!

Ago 1, 8:09 am

>136 lkernagh: I've followed Dr Jen Gunter for years on twitter too. I definitely trust her for medical information!

Ago 1, 10:08 am

Hello, Stranger! Nice to see you back!

Ago 6, 2:48 pm

Looks like you've been playing catch-up. I caught up yesterday and finished one last night I need to post.

Ago 30, 6:18 pm

Good to see you back again, Lori!

>125 lkernagh: I have Michelle Good's book but hesitate picking it up because it seems like a harrowing read.

>129 lkernagh: I'm glad you enjoyed The Warden. More Trollope goodies are on the horizon.

Editado: Ago 31, 4:36 am

I found The Five Little Indians to be a very worthwhile and impactful read .

Set 4, 5:50 pm

>137 LibraryCin: - LOL, it was good to see a part of Saskatchewan I have never been to before. :)

>138 Jackie_K: - She is the best, isn't she?!?! Happy to see you also follow her on twitter.

>139 mstrust: - Hi Jennifer! *waves frantically* I tend to be a repeat stranger around these parts, with only very shorts stops in to update my reading and that is about it. Hope you have been keeping well. I understand the weather in your part of the world has had even warmer than usual temps this past summer!

>140 thornton37814: - Hi Lori, lovely to see you stopping by my pretty much abandoned (by me) thread. :)

>141 VivienneR: - Hi Vivienne, lovely to see you stopping by! Five Little Indians is a great read, and the author does a good job of getting the story across without it being as harrowing a read as one would imagine. As for Trollope, I have dipped into Barchester Towers, and really enjoying it!

>142 vancouverdeb: - Hi Deb! Lovely to see you here and yes to your comment that Five Little Indians is a very worthwhile and impactful read.

Happy Labour Day to all who celebrate (I know it is celebrated in North America, but I tend to forget if it extends to other countries as a holiday today). I am soooooo looking forward to the hopefully cooler and wetter weather for September. It has been just to darn darn, hot and smokey in too many places across North America this summer...at least those areas that were not subject to flash storms and flooding. I am soooo glad I have never had an interest in attending Burning Man or any of those other 'festivals'. Just WOW. I wonder what the winter season will bring....

Taking advantage of the day to post up some more reviews so I don't get too far behind with that.

Set 4, 5:51 pm

Book #14 - The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health with Facts and Feminism by Dr. Jennifer Gunter- audiobook read by the author
Source: GVPL
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: May 25, 2021
Acquisition date: N/A
Listening time: 13 hours and 5 minutes
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.60 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the Amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"The only thing predictable about menopause is its unpredictability. Factor in widespread misinformation, a lack of research, and the culture of shame around women's bodies, and it's no wonder women are unsure what to expect during the menopause transition and beyond.
Menopause is not a disease—it's a planned change, like puberty. And just like puberty, we should be educated on what's to come years in advance, rather than the current practice of leaving people on their own with bothersome symptoms and too much conflicting information. Knowing what is happening, why, and what to do about it is both empowering and reassuring.
Frank and funny, Dr. Jen, Canadian OB/GYN and the internet's most fearless advocate for women's health, debunks misogynistic attitudes and challenges the over-mystification of menopause to reveal everything you really need to know about: Perimenopause, Hot flashes, Sleep disruption, Sex and libido, Depression and mood changes, Skin and hair issues, Outdated therapies, Breast health, Weight and muscle mass, Health maintenance screening... and much more! Filled with practical tips, useful information and startling insights, this essential guide will revolutionize how women experience menopause—and show them how their lives can be even better for it."
This is where I start off by stating that I knew about Dr. Gunter by following her social media account before I knew anything about her published works. If you follow her on social media, you know that Dr. Gunter is a straightforward, practical individual with a great sense of humour and bold fashion sense... she even has a shoe - The Dr Gunter - named after her via her partnership with John Fluevog Shoes. How cool is that!!! I knew she had great writing skills when I read her tweets earlier this year (April 2023) chronicling a suspenseful adventure-filled multi-day journey just to fly home (US West Coast) from a conference in New York (the lesson: NEVER fly out of Newark if you can help it!)

Enough fan-girling. Lets talk about her book.... or in this case, the audio version of her book, read by the author. First off, Dr. Gunter - oh, lets just call her Jen - brings a lot, and I mean A LOT of good facts, statistics and information to the reader's attention. After reading this, I feel better informed and really empowered to not only understand "The Change" that all women will experience at some point in their lives, but how to advocate for tests, etc from the unfortunately still very paternalistic medical establishment that doesn't really give women health issues the attention and focus it deserves. While the audiobook is great for a first pass through, I would recommend acquiring a print copy that makes it easier to refer back to specific sections. This is a book that many readers may want to refer to repeatedly. Obviously, audiobooks do not make it easy to find and go back to specific sections in an audiobook - unless you take the time to make bookmark annotations as you listen along (I don't). I would also recommend this book to young women as Jen offers some great wisdom and medical advice women of all ages may find beneficial. As Jen says, menopause is actually a process that starts at different ages for different women with different outcomes and experiences. I know many parents struggle with having the "Talk" with their kids, but how many women out there have had good conversations with their mothers, aunts, cousins and friends about the big "M"? Thanks to Jen's forthright personality and feminism, it is hopeful this book can help start some of those conversations.

A great book!

Editado: Set 4, 6:13 pm

Book #15 - Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus- audiobook read by the Miranda Raison
Source: GVPL
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: 2022
Acquisition date: N/A
Listening time: 11 hours and 55 minutes
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the Amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo."
This is a goody and I can see why the holds list at my local library is so darn long! Thank goodness for a new "skip the line" feature for digital loans my local library now has to make one or two copies available as "Fast Reads" with a reduced checkout duration or it would have been Christmas before I could enjoy this one.

Thoughts on this one: I really enjoyed it. Elizabeth Zott is a wonderful protagonist: A practical, witty and determined chemist navigating the sexist 1960s world where women are expected to be pretty, slim and - cough, cough - happy housewives. Garmus tackles everything from science, misogyny, sexual assault and discrimination, grief and unconventional (by 1960s standards) family dynamics in this witty debut novel. Zott is supported by a fantastic cast of characters, my favourites being Zott's daughter Madeline (Mad), neighbour Harriet Sloane and - of course! - Six-Thirty (you will have to read the book to find out about Six-Thirty)! The blending of cooking and chemistry was a perfect sell to me as I love to "mess around" in the kitchen and have to be reminded sometimes that as innovative I think I am, chemistry still rules the day for some cooking 'experiments'. Not sure I agree with a comment I read somewhere that Elizabeth Zott is the next Bernadette (Where'd You Go, Bernadette). I have to admit, I found the ending to be a bit underwhelming but overall, a solid debut literary experience from Garmus and I look forward to her next book! Yes, some of the younger generations may not connect with all of the 1960s nuances laced through this one but I think it is a wonderful, empowering novel that give great life lessons with a refreshing STEM slant.

Set 4, 5:55 pm

Book #16 - Thorn Tree by Max Ludington
Source: Netgalley
Format: ebook
Original publication date: April 2024
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 391 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the barnesandnoble.com book listing webpage:
"Now in his late-sixties, Daniel lives in quiet anonymity in a converted guest cottage in the Hollywood Hills. A legendary artist, he’s known for one seminal work—Thorn Tree—a hulking, welded, scrap metal sculpture that he built in the Mojave desert in the 1970s. The work emerged from tragedy, but building it kept Daniel alive and catapulted him to brief, reluctant fame in the art world.

Daniel is neighbours with Celia, a charismatic but fragile actress. She too experienced youthful fame, hers in a popular television series, but saw her life nearly collapse after a series of bad decisions. Now, a new movie with a notorious director might reignite her career.

A single mother, Celia leaves her young son Dean for weeks at a time with her father, Jack, who stays at her house while she’s on location. Jack and Daniel strike up a tentative friendship as Dean takes to visiting Daniel’s cottage—but something about Jack seems off. Discomfiting, strangely intimate, with flashes of anger balanced by an almost philosophical bent, Jack is not the harmless grandparent he pretends to be.

Weaving the idealism and the darkness of the late 1960s, the glossy surfaces of Los Angeles celebrity today, and thrumming with the sound of the Grateful Dead, the mania of Charles Manson and other cults, and the secrets that both Jack and Daniel have harboured for fifty years, Thorn Tree is an utterly-compelling novel."
In Thorn Tree, Lundington hands his readers a story cinematic in scope, expansive in descriptive details and filled with flawed, troubled characters. Told in three parts, With a flash back to the 1960s Haight-Ashbury "scene", it is easy to immerse oneself in the story. I love a slow simmering read, and Ludington takes readers down a slow winding path to reveal the 'whys'. I found Celia and Daniel to be well-developed characters - easy to relate to - while Jack is more of an enigma to puzzle over. So, a lot of great things to like about this one. Unfortunately, either the book started to lose traction (or I started to lose interest) in the weaving of the various plots. By the end, I was just happy to be finished. I will admit that I have not read any novels by Emma Cline or Jennifer Egan so it is possible this will appeal more to fans of Cline's and Egan's books. I also can only take the author's word for what the 1960s were like. I was left with a big "WHY" and the feeling the story would probably work better played out on the large screen than as a smaller picture flickering in my head as I read along.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing an advanced reader copy.

Editado: Set 4, 6:16 pm

Book #17 - Darktown by Thomas Mullen - audiobook read by Andre Holland
Source: TBR
Format: ebook/audiobook
Original publication date: September 13, 2016
Acquisition date: November 4, 2018
Page count: 384 pages / 11 hours and 47 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 5.00 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"Responding to orders from on high, the Atlanta Police Department is forced to hire its first black officers, including war veterans Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith. The newly minted policemen are met with deep hostility by their white peers; they aren’t allowed to arrest white suspects, drive squad cars, or set foot in the police headquarters.

When a woman who was last seen in a car driven by a white man turns up dead, Boggs and Smith suspect white cops are behind it. Their investigation sets them up against a brutal cop, Dunlow, who has long run the neighborhood as his own, and his partner, Rakestraw, a young progressive who may or may not be willing to make allies across colour lines. Among shady moonshiners, duplicitous madams, crooked lawmen, and the constant restrictions of Jim Crow, Boggs and Smith will risk their new jobs, and their lives, while navigating a dangerous world—a world on the cusp of great change."
I stumbled across Atlanta-based Mullen's 2006 debut novel, The Last Town on Earth, about the 1918 Flu Pandemic in Washington state, back in 2009. I have also read Mullen's The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers, which cemented me as a HUGE fan of Mullen's works. It has taken me a while to get around to starting his Darktown series, and boy, I am wondering why it took so long! As a reader, I tend to gravitate towards books that provide for a deeply satisfying read. Mullen delivers exactly that with this richly textured novel. If, like me, you enjoy reading gritty historical crime novels, you are in for a real treat with Darktown, the first book in what is currently a three book series set in the post World War II era of Atlanta, Georgia. With great characters, vividly descriptive settings and an intricate plot that kept me on the seat of my chair, this story is more than just another police procedural. Mullen gives the reader a fascinating portrayal of bootleggers, police corruption, the imbalance of justice and pre-civil rights race relations in 1940s Atlanta.

I own copies of the other two book in the Darktown series and will be diving into Lightning Men very soon. As an aside, if you are a fan of the Timothy Wilde trilogy by Lyndsay Faye (first book being The Gods of Gotham), I can highly, HIGHLY recommend Darktown to you.

Set 4, 6:01 pm

You are definitely getting in some top-quality reads, Lori. Seeing you posting again is always a treat, and yay for Labor Day time to do it. May Day is the usual Labor Day in the rest of the world but us North Americans don't like even the whiff of socialism, so we made this one up.

Stay well and keep up the good readings.

Set 4, 6:35 pm

>148 richardderus: - Hi Richard! Lovely to see you stop by and thank you for the kind words. My reading is no where near on par (# of books read) with previous years, but I seem to be doing a better job of managing my expectations and priorities this year. I tis all about striking a balance. :)

Best wishes for a wonderful September.

Editado: Set 4, 6:41 pm

Currently Reading or On Deck:


The Girl in the Eagle's Talons by Karin Smirnoff - I know I got a copy via Netgalley, but I am just not in the mood to read this one. I think this is one of those situations where it has been too long since I read the original Lisbeth Salander novels authored by Stieg Larsson and have not read any of books #3 through #6 by David Lagercrantz. Will wait another week to see if the urge to read this strikes me.

Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope - yes, I have started to read the second book in the Barsetshire Chronicles. I love how it feels as thought I never let the hamlet/town!

Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen - Book #2 in the Darktown series!

Glass Beads by Dawn Dumont - A collection of short stories by Plains Cree writer, to continue my exploration of works by Indigenous authors.

Physical book:
The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense by Gad Saad - One of the outcomes of the recent family reunion is some of us are going to attempt a quarterly book club via Zoom and this is the first book. I still need to crack this one.

... as always, my reading is subject to change, based on whim or some other random reason!

Set 4, 6:40 pm

>143 lkernagh: I think most countries use May 1, International Workers' Day, to celebrate Labor Day or its equivalent.

Set 4, 6:42 pm

>150 lkernagh: - Thanks Keith, that is good to know!

Set 5, 7:31 am

Good to see you back, Lori. Although with you reading less books, there are less BBs for me to take.

>145 lkernagh: - This has been recommended to me by a few people but I haven't gotten to it yet. Our library has something similar. They have extra of the popular books on an "Express" shelf and you can have them for 7 days.

>147 lkernagh: - This will be a BB. Sounds like a good book. I think I still have Last Town on Earth in my TBR pile (or maybe I've seen it in my husband's). I'm a little leery of trying grittier books on audio, so I'll have to think about that.

>150 lkernagh: - I too never kept up with the Salander books after Larsson's death although I do have the first one on my kindle.

Set 5, 7:32 am

>144 lkernagh: Adding this one to the list! Glad to see it lived up to expectations (because of course it did, it's Jen Gunter!).

Set 5, 7:39 am

>144 lkernagh: I also thought Dr. Jen Gunter's menopause book was excellent. I'm glad I have a print copy as a reference because I'm not quite to the point where I needed all the specific medical recommendations. But it was good to get a grounding in what to expect and what can be treated. My impression from friends going through menopause is that a lot of U.S. doctors are still fairly anti HRT. It was great that she really supports all of her assertions with studies.

Set 19, 10:59 pm

>153 dudes22: - Hi Betty! Glad to see there is a positive to my reading less books. :-) I am loving the "Express" for digital books via the local library. Really came in handy during the summer months when people were busy with other things. If you do get around to dipping into one of Mullen's books, I will be curious to learn what you think. As for the latest Salander book, I bailed.... I just could not get into it.

>154 Jackie_K: - Hi Jackie. Love your comment "(because of course it did, it's Jen Gunter!)". Made me smile. :-)

>155 japaul22: - Yay! Happy to see you also found Gunter's book excellent reading! I am a big fan of evidence-based science and medicine so Dr. Gunter being able to provide the evidence/research to support her recommendations is fantastic. Nothing grates on me more than a doctor who does not like a patient who asks questions and wants to know more. Science and medicine are both constantly evolving fields and I am happy to see Dr. Gunter stays on top of the evolving research.


Just a quick stop by to say hello and to post a review - I know, all I have managed to read in the past few weeks is listen to one audiobook. *big sigh*. I have bailed on two planned reads - The Parasitic Mind and The Girl in the Eagle's Talons. In a bit of a reading funk so might just dive back into Trollope. ;-)

I hope everyone has been having a wonderful September!

Set 19, 11:00 pm

Book #18 - Glass Beads by Dawn Dumont - audiobook read by Louise Polika
Source: GVPL
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: 2017
Acquisition date: N/A
Listening time: 7 hours and 28 minutes
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.70 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"Told through a series of interconnected short stories readers experience the friendships of four First Nations people — Everett Kaiswatim, Nellie Gordon, Julie Papequash, and Nathan (Taz) Mosquito — as the four friends experience family catastrophes, broken friendships, travel to Mexico, and the aftermath of the great tragedy of 9/11. Spanning two decades, readers are intimately connected with each struggle, whether it is with racism, isolation, finding their cultural identity, or repairing the wounds of their upbringing."
I have to admit I wasn't really drawn into this collection until after the halfway mark. Not sure if it was me mentally disconnecting the older sounding voice of the narrator with the younger college aged friends in the initial stories or if I needed to get a good sense of the characters before the stories started to click with me. I did finally click with it and really got to appreciate the different perspectives Dumont brings to the stories. While the four friends experience life lessons most young adults experience when they move away from home, they also experience challenges and traumas that to this day fall disproportionately on First Nations peoples, such as the inherent racism in the legal/justice system and the struggles for their voices to be heard and respected. By the end of the book, I was left pondering how little has changed and how much more needs to be done to effect lasting change.

Editado: Set 20, 1:26 am

So good to see you posting Lori~

>157 lkernagh: In a bit of a reading funk so might just dive back into Trollope. ;-)

LOL! I just finished a short Trollope that got me back on track: Harry Heathcote of Gangoil. It's very unusual for Trollope: it's set in the Australian outback. It's the dead heat of summer (Christmas!) and Harry has to monitor his vast homestead on the lookout for brush fires and vengeful neighbors.

It's not long--I read it in a day while sitting around in a giant room downtown for jury duty (never got called); it was a quick read with some action toward the end and typical Trollope resolution.

Happy reading!

Set 29, 6:10 pm

>147 lkernagh: I took a BB for Darktown and am happy to see that my library has both the e-books and e-audiobooks for the series. I've not read anything by Thomas Mullen before, but this sounds exactly like the sort of crime novel I would enjoy.

Set 29, 6:12 pm

Hi Lori! Happy Deathtober's reads!

Out 2, 6:07 pm

>143 lkernagh: Thank you for letting me know Five Little Indians is not the harrowing tale I thought it might be. I'll look forward to it.

Out 6, 4:06 pm

Happy Thanksgiving, Canadian friends.

Out 19, 11:41 pm

>158 kac522: - Thanks Kathy for stopping by and for the recommendation for Harry Heathcote of Gangoil. That is quite the title! I will keep an eye out for that one. I am enjoying Trollope. I decided to dive into Barchester Towers and love how it picks up not long after where The Warden left off.

>159 mathgirl40: - I hope you enjoy Darktown Paulina! I am always excited when a new book I am interested in is available in both audio and e-book formats. Choices are good!

>160 richardderus: - Thanks Richard and happy Deathtober reads to you!

>161 VivienneR: - Anytime Vivienne!

>162 richardderus: - LOL! Thanks RD!


Hello everyone, I continue to be more missing than present here on LT, but happy to report all is well, just busy. Reading is going slow but I am hoping as we shift into the colder/darker months I will find more time for reading. I am not exactly on track with my reading challenge so this may be one of those years when I don't complete it. I am okay with that.

I hope everyone is keeping well, safe and healthy. These are crazy/disruptive times we are living in. How about I distract you with a couple of book reviews?

Out 19, 11:42 pm

Book #19 - Bad Cree by Jessica Johns - audiobook read by Tanis Parenteau
Source: GVPL
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: January 1, 2023
Acquisition date: N/A
Listening time: 8 hours and 14 minutes
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.85 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"When Mackenzie wakes up with a severed crow's head in her hands, she panics. Only moments earlier she had been fending off masses of birds in a snow-covered forest. In bed, when she blinks, the head disappears. Night after night, Mackenzie's dreams return her to a memory from before her sister Sabrina's untimely death: a weekend at the family's lakefront campsite, long obscured by a fog of guilt. But when the waking world starts closing in, too--a murder of crows stalks her every move around the city, she wakes up from a dream of drowning throwing up water, and gets threatening text messages from someone claiming to be Sabrina--Mackenzie knows this is more than she can handle alone. Traveling north to her rural hometown in Alberta, she finds her family still steeped in the same grief that she ran away to Vancouver to escape. They welcome her back, but their shaky reunion only seems to intensify her dreams--and make them more dangerous. What really happened that night at the lake, and what did it have to do with Sabrina's death? Only a bad Cree would put their family at risk, but what if whatever has been calling Mackenzie home was already inside?"
I did like this one! I usually steer clear of books that have an element of horror - my vivid imagination and horror stories can lead to sleepless nights for this reader - but I would categorize this as "horror-lite". This is really more a story about generational trauma, laced through with supernatural elements. This debut novel from Johns, a member of the Cree Sucker Creek First Nation, weaves traditional Indigenous elements with some classic horror tropes to produce a story that is both captivating and at times chilling to read. Not a compelling page turner for me, but the further I got into the story, the more I wanted to keep reading to find out why Mackenzie was having these dreams and learn the story behind her sister Sabrina's sudden death. I love how Johns brings the importance of dreams found in Cree culture into the story with the immediate acceptance by Mackenzie's Indigenous family and friends of what Mackenzie is experiencing. I look forward to further stories by this author.

Out 19, 11:43 pm

Book #20 - The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters - audiobook read by Aaliya Warbus and Jordan Waunch
Source: GVPL
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: April 4, 2023
Acquisition date: N/A
Listening time: 8 hours and 44 minutes
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.00 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"July 1962. A Mi’kmaq family from Nova Scotia arrives in Maine to pick blueberries for the summer. Weeks later, four-year-old Ruthie, the family’s youngest child, is seen sitting on her favourite rock at the edge of a field before mysteriously vanishing. Her six-year-old brother, Joe, who was the last person to see Ruthie, is devastated by his sister’s disappearance, and her loss ripples through his life for years to come.

In Maine, a young girl named Norma grows up as an only child in an affluent family. Her father is emotionally distant, while her mother is overprotective of Norma, who is often troubled by recurring dreams and visions that seem to be too real to be her imagination. As she grows older, Norma senses there is something her parents aren’t telling her. Unwilling to abandon her intuition, she pursues her family’s secret for decades."
Another worthy debut novel by a Canadian Indigenous author (I am on a roll) and a nice change of pace from my recent batch of Indigenous author reads. This story is set on the east coast of North America (Nova Scotia and Maine) and told through alternating perspectives of Joe and Norma. At its core, this is a historical fiction story, covering the 1960s to present day time period, with themes of secrets, grief, belonging and the importance of family, language and culture. Poignant is the word that comes to mind to best describe this story. I think this would make an excellent book club choice. There are so many interesting topics for discussion in this story.

Editado: Out 19, 11:52 pm

Book #21 - Finlay Donovan is Killing it by Elle Cosimano - audiobook read by Angela Dawe
Source: GVPL
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: February 2, 2021
Acquisition date: N/A
Listening time: 9 hours and 59 minutes
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.85 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"Finlay Donovan is killing it . . . except, she’s really not. She’s a stressed-out single-mom of two and struggling novelist, Finlay’s life is in chaos: the new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her, and this morning she had to send her four-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head after an incident with scissors.

When Finlay is overheard discussing the plot of her new suspense novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer, and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet . . . Soon, Finlay discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart, as she becomes tangled in a real-life murder investigation."
Some of you may recall I binge read - okay, binge listened - my way through Janet Evanovich's delightfully zany Stephanie Plum private investigator series a couple of years ago.

I have been hard pressed to find a new 'escapism' series to give me laughs along with murderous intrigue like Stephanie and crew, and then I stumbled across this book. The fact that Evanovich calls Finlay Donovan "irresistible" should tell Evanovich fans all they need to know about this one.

(SIDE NOTE: Dirty Thirty is now available! wOOt!)

Squirrel ... Where was I? Oh yes... providing you with my thoughts on this one. What do I love about this book? It is easy to relate to the characters. I will admit it is a bit of a stretch (but not impossible) to imagine events playing out like they do, but this is fiction so I just roll with it. Favorite character: Veronica (Vero for short), the 20-something student accountant, nanny to Finlay's two kids and Finlay's some times reluctant, some times enthusiastic partner in crime. Vero is a delight and the perfect wise cracking side-kick. Finlay waffles between responsible mom and impulsive hot mess, which makes her such an endearing character... you cannot help but hope that at the end of the day, disaster is averted and she gets her man (romantically, that is).

A delightfully fun first book in what is currently a three (soon to be four) book series.

Out 20, 6:47 am

>166 lkernagh: - I'm always looking for a book to listen to that is enjoyable. I've put it on my library list but there are a bunch of holds on it, so I'll have to keep checking to see when it's available. I don't like to put holds on audio books because I don't listen very quickly. Mostly when I drive or walk. I'm also going to put it on my BB list, so I remember where I heard about this.

Out 21, 2:05 pm

The stories are very clearly treating you well, Lori. Hoping the Dark Months keep the trend going! *smooch*

Nov 14, 10:43 pm

>167 dudes22: - Ohhhhhhhh Betty, you are in for a treat with the Finlay Donovan books. Can I entice you with my further review below? ;-)

>168 richardderus: - The reading happens when I can find the time. Thanks for stopping by RD!

Just a quick stop in to post a review, and update to my current reading.

Nov 14, 10:44 pm

Books #22 and #23 - Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead and Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano - audiobooks read by Angela Dawe
Source: GVPL
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: February 2022 and January 31, 2023
Acquisition date: N/A
Listening time: 9 hours and 20 minutes / 8 hours and 38 minutes
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.85 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead: "Finlay juggles being a single mom of two and struggling to finish her next novel while Vero's keeping secrets, Detective Nick Anthony seems determined to get back into her life and someone out there wants her ex-husband, Steven, out of the picture. Permanently. Saving Steven will send her down a rabbit hole of hit-women disguised as soccer moms, and a little bit more involvement with the Russian mob than she'd like."

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun: "Finlay and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero accidentally destroyed a "borrowed" luxury car and now Finlay is in debt to the Russian mob. For payment, she is asked with finding a contract killer before the cops do, which involves attending a citizen's police academy and dodging potential spies while doing some sleuthing... and avoiding a looming book deadline."
I am combining both books into one review for simplicity and because I found both stories equally enjoyable. We have a number of repeat characters and some new players added to the mix. The end result is a series of stories that logically flow from one into the other. Definitely a series you do not want to start mid-stream or cherry pick your way through... you will miss a LOT of the context if you do that! I love how all three books in the series have ended with "tune in next week folks" kind of teaser endings. This is without a doubt a fun "potato chip" series.... hard to stop after just one. If you are looking for a fun escapism Rom-Com styled mystery/crime series, I recommend adding the Finlay Donovan series to your reading list.

Editado: Nov 14, 11:09 pm

Making note that I really need to crack down on some CAT/KIT reading for one of my categories, here are my current reading plans. *Post edited to add a novella that fits the November SFFKIT to my planned reading list.

Currently Reading or On Deck:


Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope - I am still reading and enjoying this one. Hope to finish it by this weekend (so I can start the next book in the Barsetshire Chronicles series - Dr. Thorne).
The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose - I managed to snag a review copy via NetGalley. I did enjoy her debut novel the Maid so looking forward to reading this one.
the Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley - Hoping this re-telling of Robin Hood fits the November KiddyKAT. If not, it is a book that has been lurking on my Kobo unread for some time now.
Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell - Found this novella lurking on my Kobo and a perfect fit for the November SFFKIT.

Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong - Fits the November SeriesCAT (historical fiction written by a contemporary author) It proving to be a rather fun time travel story borrowed via my local library system.

Physical books:
Nothing at the moment
... as always, my reading is subject to change, based on whim or some other random reason!

Nov 15, 1:54 pm

>171 lkernagh: I hope you enjoy The Outlaws of Sherwood! It's one of my childhood favorites, and I think it really holds up.

Nov 19, 4:13 pm

>172 christina_reads: - I am so happy to see McKinley's book is one of your favourites! I am looking forward to starting it either today or tomorrow.

Nov 19, 4:16 pm

Book #24 - A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong - audiobook read by Kate Handford
Source: GVPL
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: May 31, 2022
Acquisition date: N/A
Listening time: 14 hours and 11 minutes
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.40 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"May 20, 2019: Vancouver, British Columbia-based homicide detective Mallory Atkinson is in Edinburgh to be with her dying grandmother. While out on a jog one evening, Mallory hears a woman in distress. She’s drawn to an alley, where she is attacked and loses consciousness.

May 20, 1869: Housemaid Catriona Thomson had been enjoying a half-day off, only to be discovered that night in a lane, where she’d been strangled and left for dead . . . exactly one-hundred-and-fifty years before Mallory was strangled in the same spot.

When Mallory wakes up in Catriona's body in 1869, she must put aside her shock and adjust quickly to the reality: life as a housemaid to an undertaker in Victorian Scotland. She soon discovers that her boss, Dr. Gray, also moonlights as a medical examiner and has just taken on an intriguing case, the strangulation of a young man, similar to the attack on herself. Her only hope is that catching the murderer can lead her back to her modern life . . . before it's too late."
Canadian author Kelley Armstrong is new to me, probably because she writes primarily fantasy novels. I stumbled across this one while surfing my local library audiobook selection while looking for books that would fit the November SeriesCAT. Yes, I have a TON of books already lurking unread on my Kobo that would fit the category, but I wanted an audiobook. I am getting lazy with my reading. That, and I wanted something I could listen two while doing household chores.

First book in a new series - and as luck would have it, available for immediate borrowing - I decided to give this one a go. Time travel stories can be hit or miss with me, depending on how the author balances the juxtaposition of "traveller from the future" and the period setting. I like that our protagonist faces the double challenge of getting her bearings in the past AND having to try and keep Catriona's employers and acquaintances from suspecting anything is a miss with Catriona. Good luck with that! The fact that Mallory finds herself, as Catriona, in the employ of a well-to-do bachelor brother and his widowed sister who have their own eccentricities and passion for amateur investigating that make them somewhat outliers of acceptable Edinburgh society works to her benefit, I think. The potential serial killer murder mystery angle is a good one with some great suspense scenes and wonderful plot twists! I like how modern police detective Mallory is horrified by certain policing practices of the time period and tries to figure out which modern day forensic tools were known in 1869 (for obvious time travel reasons).

Some downsides, for this reader anyways: I found the story spends a bit too much time on Mallory's ruminations, leading me to sometimes say to myself "Come on Mallory, get on with it." There were also some bits of repetition of thought. I felt the story dipped a bit on the intrigue meter when Mallory comes clean to one of the characters about who she really is and where she is really from. Yes, that does aid things when we get to the suspenseful climax, but I noticed that after that reveal, I was not as riveted to the story as I had previously been.

Overall, I enjoyed this murder mystery time travel story enough to place a hold for the next audiobook in the series... but I struggled a bit to give it a star rating. Not sure If I am satisfied with my choice. Star rating may change by half a star upon further reflection.

Nov 19, 4:16 pm

Book #25 - Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
Source: TBR
Format: ebook
Original publication date: 1857
Acquisition date: May 2, 2019
Pages: 542 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.95 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
"The second novel of Anthony Trollope’s Chronicles of Barsetshire series and widely considered one of his best and most popular works, Barchester Towers was published in 1857 and continues the story of Mr. Harding and his daughter Eleanor in the beautiful cathedral city of Barchester. Upon the death of the popular and beloved bishop, the citizens fully expect his son, Archdeacon Grantly, to fill the vacancy. Much to their consternation, however, the far more Evangelical Bishop Proudie is given the position. A struggle for power ensues between these traditional and new forces. Mrs. Proudie, the Bishop’s overbearing wife, and the Bishop’s new chaplain, the distasteful and hypocritical Mr. Slope, use their power to control the selection of the new warden of the local hospital over the objections of the rest of the clergy. Clerical reinforcements are called in on both sides and the struggle between the different factions of the church plays out amid the romantic entanglements and dramas of the town’s inhabitants. In the end, the results are more than satisfactory for Eleanor and other citizens of Barchester in this witty comedy."
Yes, consider me a delighted Trollope fan! I took my time reading this one, reading just a chapter a day. I am not sure if this was ever serialized (or written with the intention of serialization back in the day), but the story does lend itself to being read in short instalments over many days/weeks. Trollope's observant eye makes him the perfect story teller, capturing the political and social nuances of a cathedral town a short train ride away from bustling London and the political power centre. It is clear that Trollope utilizes his pen to wage an attack on privilege, position and expectations of the Victorian era, exposing it to his witty and biting critique. No character is spared, but it is obvious that Trollope loves his characters and goes to pains to inform the reader that while there are always winners and losers in the game of life, Barchester and its citizenry will triumph in the end and life will carry on. As a reader, it helps to like character-driven stories as there is not a lot of action going on in this one. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Doctor Thorne.

Nov 19, 4:32 pm

>175 lkernagh: Glad you enjoyed Barchester Towers, Lori. I agree with you that Trollope is a perfect story teller. He is able to transport the reader in time.

My next one is the last in the series The Last Chronicle of Barset that I was hoping to read this year for the Historical fiction challenge bonus category. Haven't managed it yet but I haven't given up.

Nov 19, 10:00 pm

>174 lkernagh: Taking a BB for this one. I don't think I have read a time-travel mystery yet.

Nov 21, 1:03 am

>174 lkernagh: What a coincidence! I just picked up a library hold for this book. As soon as I see 'time travel', I want to read it!