Katie's Reading Retreat - Chapter 4

É uma continuação do tópico Katie's Reading Retreat - Chapter 3.

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Katie's Reading Retreat - Chapter 4

Editado: Ontem, 3:26 pm

(Leonard and Nuala embodying the lazy freeloaders they are (not sure how I ended up with an inset of Leonard's pic in his photo...).

For anyone new to my thread, I’m Katie: reader, wine drinker, food appreciator, shenanigan-ator, and non-sufferer of fools. I live outside New York City with my husband, "The" Wayne, our cat, Leonard, and our dog, Nuala/Noodles.

My reading varies widely - I love genre fiction (romance and crime), contemporary and historical fiction, and narrative nonfiction. I try to balance my reading in all these areas. I also use my thread as a bit of a life journal, which mostly means I talk about what I’m cooking, eating, drinking, watching, doing, and avoiding doing.

Thanks for being here!

Currently Reading
(Kindle) (Audio)


Books Off My Shelf: 6
Books Off My Kindle: 4
Books from Audible/Chirp: 1
Library Loans (print/e-books/audios): 15
Friend Loan:

26. You Say It First by Katie Cotugno (audio) (3.5 stars)
25. At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier (4 stars)
24. Perestroika in Paris by Jane Smiley (audio) (4 stars)
23. Broken Harbor by Tana French (4.25 stars)
22. No Baggage by Clara Bensen (audio) (2.5 stars)
21. Ghosts by Dolly Alderton (audio) (4.5 stars)
20. A Day at the Office by Matt Dunn (4 stars)
19. Tar Baby by Toni Morrison (3.5 stars)
18. Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris (3.75 stars)
17. Perennials by Julie Cantrell (audio) (2.5 stars)
16. Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhous (4 stars)
15. Just a Heartbeat Away by Cara Bastone (audio) (3.75 stars)

Did Not Finish (YTD)
01. Death of Riley by Rhys Bowen
02. The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton
03. The Unsettled by Ayana Mathis (will try this one again at some point)
04. This Is My America by Kim Johnson (might try in print; did not enjoy audio narrator)

Editado: Fev 8, 2:55 pm




14. Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay (audio) (3 stars)
13. Intercepted by Alexa Martin (3.5 stars)
12. Go Back to Where You Came From by Wajahat Ali (audio) (3.5 stars)
11. Ruined by Sarah Vaughn et. al. (3 stars)
10. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (4.25 stars)
09. Day by Michael Cunningham (audio) (4.5 stars)
08. The Birdcage by Marcia Willett (2.5 stars)
07. London't Number One Dog Walking Agency by Kate MacDougall (audio) (4 stars)
06. The Summer of Katya by Trevanian (2.5 stars)
05. Let's Be Just Friends by Camilla Isley (audio) (2 stars)
04. Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly by Adrian McKinty (audio) (4.5 stars)
03. The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis (audio) (4.25 stars)
02. The Adults by Caroline Hulse (4 stars)
01. Shady Hollow by Juneau Black (audio) (3 stars)

Editado: Fev 8, 2:56 pm

My Ratings (revised, once again, as I continue the fruitless search for the perfect scale...)

5 stars = Perfect, for me
4.5 stars = Excellent read
4 stars = Good read
3.5 stars = Not a waste of time
3 stars = Some redeeming qualities, but I wish I’d read something else
2.5 stars = Didn’t work for me
2 stars = Why didn’t I DNF it?

(Anything below 2 stars is unlikely to be finished)

Fev 8, 2:56 pm


Fev 8, 3:02 pm

>4 katiekrug: Thank you! *smooch*

Fev 8, 3:02 pm

>4 katiekrug: Thank you, a pleasure to be here!

Fev 8, 3:09 pm

>5 richardderus: and >6 laytonwoman3rd: - Nice to see you both!

Fev 8, 3:19 pm

Happy new thread, Katie! Love the pictures of your freeloaders.

Fev 8, 3:31 pm

>8 curioussquared: - Thanks, Natalie!

Fev 8, 4:25 pm

Happy new thread!

Fev 8, 4:55 pm

I think they would be insulted by the term "freeloaders"! I'm sure they pay for their way with love and adoration, petting, licks and rubs all for free!

Happy new thread, Katie!

Fev 8, 4:58 pm

Happy new thread. Is Leonard in one of the those picture in a picture in a picture heading to infinity? How like a cat!

Fev 8, 5:25 pm

>10 foggidawn: - Thanks, foggi!

>11 DeltaQueen50: - They're too dumb to know what the word means ;-) But I wouldn't have them any other way...

>12 Helenliz: - Isn't that weird? I have no idea how it happened. Just like a cat to demand extra attention!

Fev 8, 5:32 pm

>1 katiekrug: Happy new thread! I haven't heard of Day by Cunningham. I'll have to check it out.

Fev 8, 5:38 pm

>14 ocgreg34: - It's a pretty recent release and a very good read.

Fev 8, 6:57 pm

Happy new thread, Katie!

To answer your Miss Scarlet and the Duke question: I'm mostly there for the relationship stuff, a little bit there just for Duke's beard, and the rest is for the mysteries, lol.

Fev 8, 6:59 pm

Happy new thread, Katie.

Fev 8, 7:44 pm

Love the pics of Leonard & Nuala!! Looks like they're have a lovely Thursday. Hope you are too :)

Fev 8, 7:52 pm

HAppy new one!

Fev 9, 8:46 am

>16 MickyFine: - Thanks, Micky!

That sounds about right for MSatD :)

>17 BLBera: - Thanks, Beth!

>18 RebaRelishesReading: - My Thursday was very good, thanks Reba!

>19 figsfromthistle: - Thank you, Anita!

Fev 9, 8:49 am

Happy New Thread, Katie. Congrats on finishing Theodore Rex. I don't think I ever got to the third one. Someday?

Fev 9, 8:53 am

TGIF! This week has felt kind of long, so Friday hits nicely :)

I had a lovely dinner with my friend, Kate. We shared two starters (fig toast and deviled eggs), and then I had the salmon, which was excellent and she had a crispy eggplant sandwich. We debated about getting dessert, but decided on another round of drinks instead. We had a good catch-up while stuffing our faces...

Today, I have a couple of errands I could run, but they aren't pressing, so I'll just see if I feel like going out or not today. If not, I have plenty of things I can do at home. Dinner tonight is mini meat loaves with roasted onions and potatoes.

I am closing in on the end of Tar Baby - I have about 90 pages left. It's been an uneven read for me, and I'm interested to see how it wraps up. The audio of Ghosts continues to be excellent.


Fev 9, 8:54 am

>21 msf59: - Hiya, Mark! I'm planning to read the 3rd one in a couple of months. I'm looking forward to it, as I think that part of his life will be very interesting.

Fev 9, 10:49 am

>22 katiekrug: The meal sounds lovely! The day has already felt many hours longer than it is possible for it to have contained. Spend the rest of Friday splendidly.

Fev 9, 1:19 pm

>24 richardderus: - It was delicious. I could have eaten about 4 more of the fig toasts. Just the right amount of goat cheese...

Fev 9, 1:22 pm

Re: Miss Scarlet and the Duke - I enjoy the mysteries but don't care about the solutions, if that makes sense

Fev 9, 3:15 pm

>26 norabelle414: - That does make sense. I'm still only in season 2, but some of the mysteries/investigations are interesting. I just find that they got solved a little too easily/patly, though it's kind of nice not having long, overdone story arcs which I tend to find annoying sometimes.

Fev 9, 9:43 pm

Happy New Thread, Katie. You are doing really well with your reading this year. I am watching the latest season of Miss Scarlet and the Duke, but I have the 5th episode to watch as of now. I've gotten hooked on a series on Netflix caled " Lupin " . It's in French with subtitle, and it's kind a crime caper thing, but more than that . I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it after the first episode, but now I am hooked.

Fev 10, 4:48 am

Leonard with the inset photo is cracking me up!

Fev 10, 8:13 am

>28 vancouverdeb: - Hi Deb! I've heard of Lupin but not watched it. Sounds like I should check it out.

>29 ursula: - Leonard is a constant source of amusement to us :)

Fev 10, 8:18 am

Happy weekend! It's going to be 60F today. WTAF?

Shortly after I woke up this morning, I got an ocular migraine, which wasn't the most pleasant way to start the day. It's gone now, thankfully. I checked my "log" and I hadn't had one since August; I'm glad they aren't too frequent.

The Wayne and I will be running errands today (Costco, Total Wine, maybe HomeGoods....). We'll probably get an early dinner out somewhere. So nothing very exciting going on today, but that's okay by me.

I finished Tar Baby (review to come), so have now read all of Morrison's novels (thanks to Laura for the inspiration!). My new (e-)print book is A Day at the Office, and so far it's a fast, engaging read. Still have Ghosts going on audio and still enjoying it.

Two episodes of s2 of 'Welcome to Wrexham.'

Fev 10, 8:18 am


Wordle 966 2/6



Fev 10, 9:10 am

Nice Wordling Katie, and congratulations on having now read all of Morrison's novels. I'm glad my project got you going ... I think? Ha. Enjoy your errand-running day!

Fev 10, 10:38 am

>33 lauralkeet: - Thanks, Laura! Yes, your project got me going to fill in the gaps. I think I had only read 3 when you started...

Fev 10, 11:48 am

>31 katiekrug: So sorry about the ocular migraine -- Hubby gets those sometimes and it isn't pleasant I know. Glad it left fairly quickly.

A day of errands -- sounds pretty much like we've having today. Hope it all goes well for you.

Congrats on that Wordle -- in 2!! :)

Fev 10, 12:09 pm

Happy new one, Katie!

Fev 10, 12:14 pm

Glad the ocular migraine passed quickly.

>32 katiekrug: Meanwhile it took me 5...

Fev 10, 3:51 pm

>35 RebaRelishesReading: - Thanks, Reba. It did leave fairly quickly but it came back for a bit. And I've been exhausted all day. Boo hiss!

Silver lining: The Wayne did the Costco run without me. And brought me back flowers :)

>36 drneutron: - Thanks, Jim!

>37 MickyFine: - They never last long, though this one came back, which has never happened before. But they leave me fuzzy-headed and tired the rest of the day. I'm about to go plop myself on the couch and do some comfort watching...

Fev 10, 4:16 pm

>32 katiekrug: W00T indeed!

Glad the eyegraine is gone and may the rotten thing stay that way.

Fev 10, 4:57 pm

Happy new thread!

Sorry about the ocular migraine and residual tiredness, but do enjoy relaxing and hope you feel more yourself tomorrow.

Fev 10, 7:59 pm

Happy new thread! I am sorry about the migraine. Enjoy your warm weather - we are socked in by snow again today.

Fev 10, 9:25 pm

>39 richardderus: - Thanks, RD!

>40 bell7: - Hi Mary! I spent much of the afternoon veging (vegging?) on the couch. And now I'm about to toddle off to bed rather early. Hoping tomorrow is a bit more productive!

>41 AMQS: - We might get snow on Tuesday, though not enough to sock us in. I do not approve of our current unseasonable weather...

Fev 11, 2:12 am

Sorry about the migraine, Katie. I have had ocular migraines as well, but knock on wood, it's been quite a few years since I have had one. They seem to run in my family. The first time I had one, I was out shopping and could see well enough to drive home. So I called my sister, described the symptoms, and came and got me ,and told me she got them too. Turns my dad got them too, as well as my brother, but he got the full migraine, with auru , headache and vomiting. Thankfully he has outgrown them. I had touch of vertigo today - I did get the dog out for walk, but I spent a great deal of my day sleeping too. Here's to better days ahead.

Fev 11, 7:56 am

>43 vancouverdeb: - Thank you, Deb. I usually get 2 or 3 a year - it had been six months since my last one. I only got one while driving once, and I was able to pull into a parking lot and let it pass. Interesting that they run in your family. The first time I got one, I had no idea what it was, and I thought I was going blind or something. Very scary!

Fev 11, 8:00 am

Morning, all. I'm feeling much better this morning, after a pretty good night's sleep (and doing practically nothing from the late afternoon until bedtime yesterday!). I'm planning to run to the grocery store in a little bit, and I'll start the laundry when I get home. I also want to make some cookies today. We'll be watching the Super Bowl this evening, mostly for the ads and as an excuse to eat snacks :-P I'm sort of rooting for KC to piss off all the misogynists who lost their minds over Taylor Swift...

I read a decent chunk of A Day at the Office yesterday, but did no listening, so I'm hoping to spend at least a little time with my puzzle and audio book today.

Some old episodes of 'Only Connect,' the last two episodes of s2 of 'Miss Scarlet and the Duke' (I'm now mostly watching for the Duke as Eliza annoys me a bit), and the first two episodes of s1 of 'Sex Education,' which is fun.

Fev 11, 8:55 am

>45 katiekrug: I'm sort of rooting for KC to piss off all the misogynists who lost their minds over Taylor Swift...

Me too!

Fev 11, 11:43 am

>46 richardderus: - I don't think we're alone :)

Fev 11, 11:50 am

Tar Baby by Toni Morrison

I finished this book 2 days ago and have been thinking about what to write about it, and I'm coming up empty. I don't think I fully "got" it, and I didn't find it nearly as compelling as almost every other work of Morrison's I've read. It started very slowly for me, and even once it became a bit more engaging, I just couldn't find that I cared about any of the people or relationships depicted in it.

Morrison's usual themes of male-female, female-female, black-white, black-black relationships in all their complexity were present, as was her incredible prose. The characters, though, remained inscrutable to me, and some of her narrative choices prevented me from fully sinking into the story.

All that said, I'm not sorry I read it, as there is always something worthwhile in reading Morrison. I would rate this at the lower end of the spectrum of her novels (along with God Help the Child).

3.5 stars

Editado: Fev 11, 12:07 pm

My ranking of Toni Morrison novels, from "worst" to "best." My ratings scale has changed so much over the years that what I originally rated these is pretty meaningless, so I've group them roughly into 3-3.5 stars, 4 stars, 4.5-5 stars.

God Help the Child
Tar Baby
A Mercy


Song of Solomon
The Bluest Eye

Fev 11, 12:00 pm

Glad you're feeling better! Ooh, Sex Education -- it's a really fun show. I still need to watch the last season but I really enjoyed the first 3.

Fev 11, 1:04 pm

>48 katiekrug: nice groupings. You inspired me to look at my ratings:

3-3.5 stars
Tar Baby

4 stars
God Help the Child
The Bluest Eye

4.5 stars
Song of Solomon
A Mercy

But if you asked me why, for example, Sula and The Bluest Eye were 4 stars and A Mercy was 4.5, I couldn't tell you. I'm sure I had my reasons at the time. I'm not sure it matters; I'm just glad to have read them all.

Fev 11, 5:12 pm

>38 katiekrug: Gold star on the Wayne's chart for that!! Glad to note you slept well last night and feel better today.

Fev 12, 1:09 am

>49 katiekrug:, >51 lauralkeet: Now I have to go and look at mine.

Fev 12, 1:14 am


A Mercy
Tar Baby

The rest were all 4.5 or 5 star reads. I think the ones with the highest ratings were ones that I read more than once...

Fev 12, 3:59 am

Thanks to you and others for your ratings of Toni Morrison's novels, Katie. I'm ashamed to say that I've only read two of her works, Beloved and Song of Solomon, but both were brilliant, and I will catch up with the rest of her books over the upcoming years.

I'm also glad that the Chiefs won, as I'm Team Taylor (which naturally hates Team Microphallic Misogynist MAGAts), and because of both brothers and their mother I'm also Team Kelce. You also have to acknowledge Patrick Mahomes's greatness, whether you like him (I do) or not, IMO.

Fev 12, 8:58 am

>50 curioussquared: - Hi Natalie! I've only watched 2 episodes so far, but I'm hooked!

>51 lauralkeet: - Interesting to see your ranking, too, Laura. I have a feeling mine would change after some re-reading, but that's not in the cards anytime soon. Maybe someday :)

>52 RebaRelishesReading: - Thanks, Reba!

>53 BLBera:/>54 BLBera: - Thanks for sharing that, Beth. You and Laura ranked Jazz and Love lower than I did - I don't remember much about either one. I just looked, and I gave Jazz 3.75 stars (rounded up to 4 - I now round down when I give quarter stars...). This is why my LT star rankings are only good for a general idea of what I felt about a book...

>55 kidzdoc: - Oh yes, Darryl, you must read more. Not a bad book in the bunch.

I don't mind Mahomes, personally. And he's a brilliant player for sure.

Fev 12, 9:01 am

Checking in on the new thread, Katie! I hope you have a marvelous Monday!

Fev 12, 9:07 am

And it's Monday again...

We had a very chill day yesterday, during which I spent some quality time with my books, as well as getting the usual Sunday "chores" done and making cookies. The football game was pretty boring to start but got interesting. Entirely too many god/religion/cult ads for my taste (ok, I think there were 4 but ugh...). There were a couple of amusing ads, but overall nothing really stuck out.

Today is an at-home day until this evening when I'm going to a friend's birthday dinner at a new-to-me place. Apparently, they have trivia on Mondays, so we'll be playing. Fun fact: I have 3 straight nights of trivia this week (yes, TW and I are going to play on Valentine's Day because we are *that* nerdy...).

I'll be finishing up A Day at the Office today, and hope to get a good chunk of time with my audio, too.

Taylor Swift making MAGAt heads explode. Good times!

Fev 12, 9:07 am

>57 alcottacre: - Hi Stasia!

Fev 12, 9:21 am

I haven't read all of Morrison's novels yet, but these are my rankings of the ones I've read. Also, a good example of how I rank depending on my expectations, i.e. A Mercy was certainly better than a lot of books I rank at 3.5 but compared to Morrison's other novels, I ranked it a 3.5. This makes me want to pick up another Morrison novel.

5 star:
Song of Solomon

4 star:
The Bluest Eye

3.5 star:
A Mercy

Fev 12, 10:00 am

>60 japaul22: - Jennifer, I have a hard time with ratings, too, in terms of my expetations, enjoyment vs. "worth," etc. And I'm always tinkering with my ratings scale, so a 3.5 star book now is different from one a few years ago...

Fev 12, 10:35 am

>56 katiekrug: You are right, Katie. I went by the ratings I gave the books at the time, but I don't remember much about Jazz and Love, for example. I think, at least in my case, the books I read more than once got higher ratings because I got more from them on second or third readings.

Fev 12, 10:40 am

Hiya, Katie! I was sort of going for the 49ers, but didn't care all that much. It was fun to see how excited/intense Taylor got at critical moments, and Mahomes is certainly in the elite category of quarterbacks even at a young age.

Re: Toni Morrison I've only read a few but I've rated them:

4.5 stars
Playing in the dark: whiteness and the literary imagination
Song of Solomon
Recitatif (short story)

5 stars
Beloved - this was on my most recent reread for my book club, where I definitely appreciated it more than I did when I read it in college as an English major

I own but have not yet read:
The Bluest Eye
A Mercy

Fev 12, 10:59 am

>58 katiekrug: Taylor Swift making MAGAt heads explode. Good times!

Awomen! I LUUUV that they won, and the MAGAts are trying to spin it bad. I think they are pathetic little crybabies even more than I used to think. Enjoy the triviation!

Fev 12, 12:07 pm

>62 BLBera: - That makes sense about re-reading, Beth. The only one I've read more than once is Beloved and the first time was in high school and the second just last year...

>63 bell7: - I also rated Recitatif pretty highly, Mary. I haven't read anything but that short story and the 11 novels.

>64 richardderus: - Crybabies for sure. About so much...

Thanks re: trivia!

Fev 12, 12:18 pm

I'm enjoying the Toni Morrison ratings discussion! Jennifer made a great point about rating a book as it compares to all books, or just Morrison's books. I *think* I rated vs. all books, or at least I wasn't conscious of rating a book as compared to her others. That's why I rated A Mercy so highly, but I agree it's no Beloved.

Fev 12, 1:36 pm

>66 lauralkeet: - I agree about the discussion, Laura! Sometimes I think I should just change my ratings to Didn't Like, Liked, Loved....

Fev 12, 3:00 pm

To totally change the subject, have you seen the Cardi B Super Bowl ad for lip gloss. I read the article on NPR this morning. It is hilarious.


Fev 12, 3:10 pm

>68 BLBera: - I saw the ad during the game and didn't think much of it, but the explanation in the article makes it make more sense :)

My favorite ad was the J-Lo/Ben Affleck Dunkin' one...

Fev 12, 3:45 pm

And how about that bizarre Robert Kennedy, Jr, ad?

Fev 12, 3:56 pm

>70 drneutron: - I'm sure his family, most of whom have already disavowed his campaign, will really appreciate him co-opting the legacy like that. I belive it was an original JFK campaign ad...

I just looked it up and apparently he has apologized to his family and said he had no involvement with it. IT was run by a PAC associated with him and by rule, they can't coordinate with the campaign (*wink wink nod nod*).

Fev 12, 4:10 pm

I've started my 'Memorial Read for Julia' for February - Broken Harbor by Tana French.

Fev 12, 5:03 pm

>72 katiekrug: Oh, nice. I'm a fan of Tana French. Have you read any other Dublin Murder Squad books?

Fev 12, 5:34 pm

>72 katiekrug: - Yep! I've read the first three, so this was next up for me and seeing that Julia rated it highly gave me the impetus to read it now :)

Fev 12, 10:06 pm

Stopping by to say hi, Katie. I confess I didn't watch the Super Bowl and I have not read any books by Toni Morrison. Maybe one day for Toni Morrison, but I'm not a fan of watching sports, other then a few things on the Olympics, like gymnastics, skiing, - very little really.

Fev 12, 10:09 pm

>75 vancouverdeb: - Hi Deb! Sports aren't for everyone, but I can watch almost any of them :) I'm looking forward to the Olympics this summer.

Toni Morrison is always a worthwhile read, but she does require focus - something I don't always have in my reading time.

Fev 12, 10:10 pm

I'm back from my friend's birthday get-together and looking forward to SNOW tomorrow! We are in the 4-6" band - the perfect amount as far as I'm concerned. Enough to make it feel special and to make things pretty, but not so much that it's really onerous to deal with...

Fev 13, 1:19 am

Hoping you hit the snow sweet spot.
4 inches sounds like a lot to me though!

Fev 13, 8:28 am

>77 katiekrug: I mind the wind more than the snow, because I do not have to be out in it but the wind is reaching inside. Sure looks pretty out the window!

Enjoy the peaceful reading day.

Fev 13, 8:55 am

>78 Helenliz: - Oh, we are!

Pfft. 4" is nothing (that's what she said!).

>79 richardderus: - Thankfully, we don't have any wind here really. I do worry about the heavy, wet stuff bringing down power lines, though...

Fev 13, 9:05 am

View off the back deck. (And once again, I have an inset of the picture in the upper left corner. WTF? It's not like that in the original so it must be related to uploading it to LT. So weird!)

Morning all! I was skeptical of our weather forecast - living near the coast, it's often unpredictable, but we appear to be in the predicted 4-6" band. At the rate it's coming down, if it doesn't stop soonish, we'll be closer to the high end of the prediction, if not over it. The school district declared a snow day, which I think is great. Some districts (NYC for one) just moved to remote learning, which is so lame. Kids deserve a day off (as do teachers; my bff is a teacher at a Catholic school and they follow the NYC Board of Ed in scheduling, so she still has to teach and is none too pleased about it...)

So it will be a quiet day here. I'm hoping the snow ends mid-afternoon or so, and that trivia isn't cancelled. If it is, we'll scrounge in the freezer for dinner, since I have nothing planned.

Last night's outing was reasonably fun. I only knew a couple of people there, and I had to remind myself that not everyone takes trivia as seriously as I do ;-) The food was okay. It was at a pizza and beer place, and unsurprisingly, the wine on offer was not great...

I'm not very far into Broken Harbor but it's great so far (unsurprisingly). I might finish up the audio of Ghosts today. It's been very good.


Fev 13, 9:07 am

Wordle 969 3/6



Fev 13, 9:56 am

>81 katiekrug: I am jealous, Katie. We have had so little snow here this weird winter.

Fev 13, 10:00 am

Fev 13, 10:06 am

Hi - we have about 6 inches so far and it's really beautiful. Chiming in with love for Tana French! She has a new one coming out in March, a sequel to the last stand-alone The Searcher. All of her books tend to be quite long, but they're so good that it never bothers me.

Editado: Fev 13, 12:25 pm

Interesting about school closures. Kate’s partner Tyler teaches at a Quaker school in Brooklyn and he has a snow day. None of that remote learning nonsense for the Quakers lol.

Fev 13, 11:26 am

Our county had the first five snow days in any given year as virtual school and then off on any days after that, but there was such an uproar about having to do virtual school on snow days that we are now back to traditional days off when there is snow. And also apparently when there isn't! My kids had a two hour delay today and all we got was a wet, snowy rain. Nothing stuck to the roads at all. Oh well, I like that they got to sleep in!

Fev 13, 11:29 am

>83 BLBera: / >84 Helenliz: - Up to 7.5" now!

>85 vivians: - I haven't read any of French's non-Dubin Murder Squad books yet. I do have a couple in the stacks, though.

>86 lauralkeet: - The Quakers know where it's at!

>87 japaul22: - A sleep-in is always welcome. I just think kids in the climate-appropriate places should experience the joy of a snow day :)

Fev 13, 11:32 am

Still snowing, but I think it's lightening up. We just did some shoveling - it's so wet and heavy, we decided to do a first pass rather than dealing with the possibility of 8+" all at once. We (really TW) also did our neighbor's driveway, and then she shooed us away before we tackled the sidewalk and steps because her son-in-law was going to come and take care of it. Scored some neighbor points, though!

Fev 13, 12:49 pm

>81 katiekrug: Your view from your deck is lovely!! We haven't had any snow this year. I like getting a little bit -- enough for a snow day or two but not enough to disrupt life too much since Seattle is so bad at plowing and nobody here (me included) knows how to drive in the stuff. Plus we have way too many steep hills. Totally agree on the remote learning nonsense. Snow days are magical and should be preserved!!

I hope you enjoy Broken Harbor! I read that one last year and have The Secret Place on the docket for this year. French is so, so good.

Fev 13, 1:18 pm

>90 curioussquared: - I was the same about snow when I lived in Dallas, though I could drive in it, having grown up in the Northeast. Ice was another matter, and most winter weather in Dallas was of that variety...

I love that our town just announced they were turning on the lights at the local park with the big sledding hill at dusk and would leave them on until 9pm so the kiddos could sled. I'm tempted to go myself, but I don't have a sled :)

Fev 13, 1:20 pm

Our final total was 7.5" of snow. It's much less peaceful now, as everyone is out shoveling and snowblowing. Ah, well. We should be good to go for trivia, assuming our street gets plowed. No sign of one yet. They'd better not come right before we have to go and leave a pile at the end of the driveway...

Fev 13, 2:56 pm

>91 katiekrug: You can make a sled by putting cardboard in a kitchen trash bag and duct-taping it closed. If you're feeling fancy, add a pillow. I believe in you! (or make TW do it for you...)

Fev 13, 3:04 pm

>91 katiekrug: And boo to remote learning on snow days. Love that they are turning the lights on for more sledding time! So fun. : ) Enjoy your snowy day.

Fev 13, 5:04 pm

Distance learning for the younger kids seemed like it was an unqualified disaster during COVID

Yes give them a snow day once in a while they'll be fine, sez me.

Editado: Fev 13, 5:22 pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Fev 13, 5:05 pm

To someone whose country grinds to a halt with a light dusting of snow, that sounds like an awful lot of snow.

Fev 13, 5:16 pm

>91 katiekrug: Your snow day sounds and (from the photo) looks wonderful. I was also thrilled when we had snow last month. I wouldn't want to have to deal with snow all winter long but a few days a year is perfect! Enjoy! (and good luck at trivia if you go)

Editado: Fev 13, 5:24 pm

>93 norabelle414: - Duly noted for next time, Nora :)

>94 Berly: - Thanks, Kim!

>95 magicians_nephew: - Totally agree, Jim.

>96 magicians_nephew: - Oooh, duplicate post...

>97 Helenliz: - I understand, Helen. It's all relative.

>98 RebaRelishesReading: - I do like to have some snow in winter, too, Reba, but I wouldn't want to have to deal with it all of the time...

ETA: And yes! We are going to trivia. Street has been plowed and they managed not to dump a bunch in front of our driveway :)

Fev 13, 7:46 pm

Well, I have two puzzles arriving on Thursday, Katie! Oh, I am looking forward to them. They are both by Ravensburger and both favourite puzzle artists of mine. No thanks to snow.

Fev 14, 8:24 am

>100 vancouverdeb: - I am doing a Ravensburger now - a Canadian seaside one! I confess, I don't love Ravensburger, as I don't feel like the pieces fit together as well as some other brands, but I got this one in a local swap.

You may have seen on IG that I recently got 4 new puzzles in the mail. Looking forward to them!

Fev 14, 8:31 am

Happy Valentine's Day (or just regular old Wednesday)! We came in 5th of 15 teams at trivia last night. Hoping for a better result tonight at a new trivia location. And we are playing AGAIN tomorrow night at a local brewery. Love exercising my brain muscles :)

I have a few errands to run today, plus some admin things to take care of. I'm going to try to knock off All The Things this morning, but we'll see how I do.

I finished the excellent Ghosts on audio yesterday. I really enjoyed it. Comments/review to come. I started This is My America on audio but I don't love the narration, so I might switch to something else. Broken Harbor continues to be very good.


Fev 14, 9:18 am

>102 katiekrug: Good result triviating last night! May tonight be just as good a result.

I saw this and thought it might amuse your word-humor-enjoying self

Fev 14, 10:22 am

>31 katiekrug: Dropping in to catch up. Hopefully your migraine has eased off. They are definitely not fun!

>48 katiekrug: This looks to be a good read. I will check to see if the library has a copy.

>81 katiekrug: Nice picture of the snow. I hope trivia is not cancelled and that you do well.

Happy mid week!

Fev 14, 10:37 am

>103 richardderus: - Cute cartoon :)

>104 figsfromthistle: - Hi Anita - thanks for catching up with me.

The ocular migraines never last long, thankfully. All is well now.

Tar Baby was good but definitely not the best Morrison, and probably not the best place to start if you've not read any of her works.

Trivia was not cancelled and we did okay (see >102 katiekrug:).

Happy Wednesday to you!

Fev 14, 10:38 am

Change of plans - I decided not to run errands today. I have to take Nuala to day care tomorrow, so that will get me out of the house on the early side, and I'll just take care of all of them then. So a relaxing rest of the day at home for me today :)

Fev 14, 11:00 am

A Day at the Office by Matt Dunn

A bit convoluted (so much miscommunication and so many assumptions!) at times, this was ultimately a fun Valentine's Day rom-com about five people who work for an internet start-up in London. Sophie loves Nathan, who organizes the office's annual Anti-Valentine's Day outing. She works for Julie, who loves Mark, who loves her back, only neither is sure of the others' feelings. And Calum is getting ready to meet the woman he's been matched with on a dating site for the first time. As the day unfolds, we see how these five people approach the quandaries of modern-day love and dating. It's not great literature, but it was an often-funny, sweet but not treacle-y read.

4 stars

Fev 14, 11:09 am

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

At first, I thought I was listening to a Bridget Jones-esque romantic comedy about a woman in her early 30s looking for love. And that would have been fine, because I like those kinds of books just fine. But this turned into a much more thoughtful, bittersweet story of a woman looking to hold on to connections - with her father who is suffering from dementia, with her old friends whose lives are changing with marriage and parenthood, and with the man she met through a dating app who seemed perfect until he wasn't.

The parts of the book about Nina and her father are beautifully done and made me tear up at times, though I don't have any personal experience with losing a loved one to the cruelty of dementia. And I loved Nina's relationships with her friends, including her ex-boyfriend. The chapter where she attends his fiancee's hen do is very funny. There are a lot of funny moments and some great, humorous dialogue, but the novel is concerned with weightier issues, and Alderton handles them well. It was a truly satisfying read.

4.5 stars

NB: I think this would have been closer to a 4-star book, but the audio narration was so good, it raised it a level.

Fev 14, 2:35 pm

How is your snow doing? Weather reports looked like it would be pretty deep at your house but a photo of NYC in the paper today (not so very far away after all) looked like there wasn't much at all.

Fev 14, 4:54 pm

>109 RebaRelishesReading: - We had 7.5" and there still a good covering on the ground, but I'm not sure how much as I haven't been out today :)

Fev 15, 1:57 am

>108 katiekrug: Sounds good! Glad you got a day at home and bunched the errands in for tomorrow. Hope the snow is pretty and not troublesome. ; )

Fev 15, 7:52 am

>111 Berly: - Hi Kim! No issues with the snow. It's supposed to be a bit warmer today, so I expect it will soon disappear...

Fev 15, 7:52 am

Hi Katie! How are you doing?

Fev 15, 7:57 am

We came in FIRST at trivia last night! This made up for my not-so-stellar meal :) It was all rom-com movie trivia and a good mix of easy stuff and some more challenging questions. It was a new-to-us format and we liked it pretty well. We will go back to see what their "regular" trivia is like.

Speaking of trivia, we are playing again tonight - our regular Tuesday host is doing a session at a local brewery, so we are going to team up with a friend and go to that. They don't serve food but there are a bunch of restaurants around so we'll order something and pick it up on our way in. I'm thinking Lebanese, but might go Asian of some sort instead. Decisions, decisions!

This morning, I plan to take Nuala to day care and then run a bunch of errands (PO, picking up Nuala's heartworm prevention med, groceries, etc). That should leave the afternoon free. I have a couple of phone calls to make which I've been putting off, so maybe today will be the day I get them done?

I abandoned This is My America on audio and started No Baggage in its place. Still really enjoying Broken Harbor in (e-)print.

Still nothing

Fev 15, 10:09 am

Congrats on the trivia win! We still have lots of snow on the ground and in piles, but the roads are fine. Now just waiting for temps to go up!

Fev 15, 10:25 am

>114 katiekrug: Brava for y'all's first! Have a wonderful time at the brewery tonight, and I am envious of your good-reading streak...mine has been ~meh~-minus for a few days. Cycles are annoying on the down side.

Fev 15, 12:32 pm

Glad the snow isn't being a problem and CONGRATS on winning trivia. Hope you do well again tonight.

Fev 15, 12:43 pm

Woohoo, congrats on the trivia win! I also love that you guys are doing a trivia marathon this week 😂 Nerds. (Me, too.)

Fev 15, 2:57 pm

Well done clever clogs both.

Fev 15, 3:29 pm

>115 vivians: - Thanks, Vivian!

We still have a bunch of snow on the ground, too. It's colder today than I expected - not much melting going on...

>116 richardderus: - Boo to meh reading. But at least it makes us appreciate the good 'uns that much more, right?

And thanks re: trivia!

>117 RebaRelishesReading: - Thank you, Reba. The friend we are playing with is very good, so I have high hopes for our result tonight :)

>118 curioussquared: - I told TW that I wanted 5 days stright of trivia, so we may play Trivial Pursuit tomorrow night. *nerd solidarity fist bump*

>119 Helenliz: - Thanks, Helen. There were only 5 teams playing, but a win's a win!

Fev 16, 2:02 am

Congrats on winning the Trivia contest, Katie! We had a cooler day today, around 6 C, and tonight it is around 0 Celsius, but no snow expected. We rarely get snow, thanks goodness.

Fev 16, 7:42 am

>121 vancouverdeb: - Thanks, Deb! We might get a little bit of snow overnight tonight, but that's not unusual for us.

Fev 16, 7:47 am

Another trivia victory last night! We had 3 perfect rounds and only dropped 6 points. Good times.

Today is Agenda-Free Friday, the best day of the week. I might go get a pedicure, but we'll see. There is also a new breakfast/lunch place opening around the corner today, and I might go pick up lunch as a Friday treat. The menu is very small but the cheesesteaks look amazing...

Other than that, I'll spend time with the books. And I might work on organizing my reading nook a bit. Sausage and pepper pasta for dinner.

I'm loving Broken Harbor which is so well written and well-paced. I'm less enthused about No Baggage, but I should finish it up today.

Again, nothing.

Fev 16, 7:51 am


Wordle 972 X/6


Fev 16, 8:04 am

I'm glad you're still enjoying Broken Harbor, Katie. And I feel your pain with Wordle. I'm heading in the same direction and decided to take a break.

Fev 16, 8:16 am

>125 lauralkeet: - I hope you have more luck than I did, Laura!

Fev 16, 8:23 am

>123 katiekrug: Cheesesteaks!! Oooo take pictures please!

>124 katiekrug: That rots!

*smooch* for your unstructured Friday.

Fev 16, 9:22 am

>127 richardderus: - I'll try to remember to take a picture :)

Fev 16, 10:04 am

Puzzle update... my most recent completions. All 1000 pieces.

Fev 16, 10:58 am

>123 katiekrug: Congratulations on two trivia wins, Katie!

>124 katiekrug: Run out of luck? :-(

>129 katiekrug: Lovely puzzles.

Fev 16, 11:34 am

>126 katiekrug: It helps a lot if you're lucky with the starting word(s). On the other hand, your three perfect rounds in trivia are pure knowledge. Congratulations!

Fev 16, 12:05 pm

I LOVE agenda-free days. Enjoy your Friday. You are a puzzle maniac!

Fev 16, 1:19 pm

>130 FAMeulstee: - Thanks, Anita!

Way too many word possibilities for sure...

>131 RebaRelishesReading: - My started word wasn't too bad, as it gave me 3 letters. But ooof.

Thanks re: trivia! It helped playing with our friend, Alyssa, who is strong in areas we aren't.

>132 BLBera: - I do love me some puzzles (and audiobooks)!

Editado: Fev 16, 1:31 pm

Congrats on the Trivia wins!!! And the puzzles. Not so much on the Wordle. ; ) Now I'm scared to try today's....!

Phew! Got in 5. Totally lucky -- the ending could have been anything.

Fev 16, 1:32 pm

Excellent trivia run.

Fev 16, 1:57 pm

>124 katiekrug: I got Wordle in 6 today, but I felt how close I was to missing it. And I had a really similar solving pattern. Sorry!

Karen O

Fev 16, 4:01 pm

>134 Berly: - I'm glad I didn't scare you off of Wordle today, Kim :)

And thanks re: the trivia and puzzles!

>135 Helenliz: - Thanks, Helen. I think I am officially trivia-ed out (for this week anyway)!

>136 klobrien2: - No biggie, Karen. Tomorrow begins a new streak...

Fev 16, 4:09 pm

No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering by Clara Bensen

I had high hopes for this one, but it was a total miss for me. In her early 20s, Clara is recovering from a major breakdown when she meets Jeff, a college professor and avid traveler. Shortly after they begin dating, she agrees to accompany him on a trip - a ticket to Istanbul and one back to Texas from London are the only guide posts. She also agrees to travel without any baggage, except for a purse. What follows is a 21-day journey of oh-so-earnest but super shallow self-discovery, told in enough psychobabble crossed with faux spiritualism to excite Oprah.

I love books about travel, especially memoirs, but neither the author nor Jeff are interesting enough (despite their best efforts and yes, they are the kind of people who yearn to be unique and special) to merit a couple hundred pages. Jeff, especially, just seems like an ass hat, one of those people who thinks he's super quirky and fun but is really just annoying and self-centered.

So yeah. No.

2.5 stars

Fev 16, 4:13 pm

>124 katiekrug:, >125 lauralkeet: I ended up with a Wordle fail. First time in a verrry long time. Boo hiss!

Fev 16, 4:58 pm

Woohoo, trivia win again! Love the puzzles.

Fev 17, 12:04 am

I love the puzzles, Katie! All of them are gorgeous! I especially love the circular one. I have done several, by Eeboo and Ravensberger, but they have just been 500 piece puzzles. Sorry about the Wordle skunk. I think it was a skunk for quite a few people. I managed to get it.

And thanks, Poppy is back to pretty much 100 % today. And we found a wet food she really likes. She has to have wet food for 2 weeks, since they had to pull a molar.

Fev 17, 8:49 am

>139 lauralkeet: - Aw, bummer!

>140 curioussquared: - Thanks, Natalie!

>141 vancouverdeb: - That circular puzzle was a bear. I had to rely a lot on the letters on the back of the pieces to give me an idea of where they went...

Wordle in 4 today.

Glad Poppy is feeling better! Our cat is very picky about his food, but Nuala will eat anything :)

Fev 17, 8:55 am

Happy weekend, folks! It's lightly snowing here - I woke up to a fresh couple of inches on the ground. My best friend and I had plans in the city today but I'm not sure either one of us will feel like trudging in. We're supposed to check-in with each other at 10:00 to decide. If we end up canceling, I'll just have a quiet day at home, with some shoveling thrown in for fun.

Yesterday was uneventful. I didn't go for a pedicure because I was on stand-by to drive my neighbor to and from a doctor's appointment. She didn't end up needing me, but it kept me home in case I got the call. We watched some TV after dinner and that was Friday.

Broken Harbor is so good! On audio, my new one is Perestroika in Paris which is good in the early going.

This week's University Challenge, two episodes of 'Welcome to Wrexham' (I really love when they focus less on the football and more on the community and its history - last night I learned about the Gresford coal mine disaster), and an episode of 'Miss Scarlet and the Duke.'

Fev 17, 10:56 am

I did like Perestroika in Paris, a fun read.

Fev 17, 11:00 am

All this snow in February is lovely but I did gripe at the universe the other day about where this was in December when I wanted it, lol.

Whether you end up trekking into the city or staying in, I hope it's a lovely day!

Fev 17, 11:09 am

>144 BLBera: - I'm hoping to spend more time with it this afternoon, Beth.

BTW, I mailed that book to you on Thursday...

>145 MickyFine: - We finked out on going into the city, so it'll be a cozy day at home - we might venture out for early dinner :)

Fev 17, 11:11 am

Hi Katie! How are you?

Fev 17, 11:12 am

>145 MickyFine: It's time for my favourite snow fact. In the UK, a white Easter is statistically more likely than a white Christmas.

Have a nice cozy day

Fev 17, 12:01 pm

>147 Owltherian: - Fine, thanks.

>148 Helenliz: - That is interesting, Helen! I believe I heard somewhere that Colorado's snowiest month is April... ?

Fev 17, 2:26 pm

>148 Helenliz: That is fascinating, Helen!

>146 katiekrug: Yay for being cozy!

Fev 17, 5:47 pm

Hope you enjoyed your day whatever you decided to do, Katie. Crocuses are blooming here but it has been know to snow on them.

Fev 17, 8:05 pm

>129 katiekrug: I really like the round puzzle

>143 katiekrug: If we end up canceling, I'll just have a quiet day at home, with some shoveling thrown in for fun. I checked the dictionary and under fun, shovelling snow was not there ;)

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Fev 17, 9:41 pm

>150 MickyFine: - Nothing beats cozy :)

>151 Familyhistorian: - It was a mostly stay-at-home day, Meg. No sign of spring blooms here!

>152 figsfromthistle: - Thankfully, the snow was not too wet and heavy and there was only a few inches, so we made short work of it :)

Fev 18, 8:02 am

It's a cold (20F) Sunday morning here, but at least there's sun...

Yesterday was pretty relaxed, and I enjoyed the cozy day. We went out for an early dinner to an Irish pub, where I got excellent potato leek soup and an Irish toastie. After we got home, we played 'Balance of Power,' which I lost and then watched some TV.

This afternoon, we are meeting another couple at an escape room. I've never done one, though the other three have. Looking forward to it! We might get a drink afterwards but will play it be ear. We should be home in time for a quiet evening in.

Still loving Broken Harbor and Perestroika in Paris.

The first episode of 'Death and Other Details.'

Fev 18, 9:03 am

>154 katiekrug:

I hope you love Death and Other Details as much as Tomm and I do. It's fabulous.

Fev 18, 9:07 am

>154 katiekrug: Escape rooms are quite The Thing, so it will be interesting to hear what you end up thinking of the experience. I hope it ends up being fun.

Fev 18, 9:31 am

I admit I've heard of Escape Rooms but don't really understand what they are, so I eagerly await your update on this experience! Have a fun day.

Fev 18, 9:38 am

>155 scaifea: - Great gif!

We reallye njoyed the first episode. Now I just need to get TW to commit to watching it regularly... It's sometimes difficult to get him to watch things all the way through.

>156 richardderus: - Are they still The Thing? They've been around a while now. TW did one for the first time a few months ago and thought it would be super lame but he had a great time.

>157 lauralkeet: - I have only the vaguest idea of how they work, to be honest. I'll be sure to report back :)

Editado: Fev 18, 11:59 am

Have fun with the escape room; do report back.

Thanks for sending the book!

Fev 18, 2:49 pm

>149 katiekrug: This is true, Katie. One year we had snow on the last day of school is very late May.

Fev 18, 5:26 pm

>159 BLBera: - See report below!

>160 AMQS: - That is crazy, Anne!

Fev 18, 5:37 pm

We had a really nice afternoon with our friends, Alice and Ed. The escape room was so much fun, and we beat it with just under 5 minutes to go. The one we did had a Jersey Devil theme/story, but the details of that weren't really important. Basically, you have to solve a series of puzzles to open locked boxes/drawers/doors to get more clues to solve more puzzles. You get some hints from the "Game Master" occasionally via a video monitor, but the GM can also talk to you through speakers (they are monitoring your progress via audio and video feeds the whole time), so if you're on the right track but really stuck, they can provide extra hints. (I kind of want to learn how to be a a Game Master now.) I really enjoyed it (I love puzzles!) and the four of us made a good team - I was good at word puzzles and decoding messages, TW was good at pattern-type puzzles, Ed and Alice had a lot of experience with escape rooms... Anyway, a fun time and I highly recommend going to one if possible.

After the escape room, we went to a hole-in-the-wall Chinese noodle place a few miles away. Ed and Alice run a Jersey-centric food and music blog/IG account, so they know all these cool little places. We had to wait for a table - there were only about 10 in the whole place, which was in a non-descript strip mall off of a highway. There was a window into the kitchen where you could watch a guy making the noodles by hand, and the restaurant was full of Chinese-speakers - a sure sign that it was the real deal. The Wayne and I shared a scallion pancake, and then I got spicy ground pork over noodles; TW got spicy shredded pork and peppers with noodles; Ed got shrimp friend rice, and Alice got beef tendon soup. TW and I ended up switching ours because the ground pork dish was way too spicy for me. I like spicy food, but no way could I have eaten much more than a few bites despite being pretty hungry. And I managed my chop sticks without embarrassing myself - WIN!

Now we're just chilling at home; I'm about to hit the couch with a glass of wine and Broken Harbor.

Fev 18, 5:41 pm

Sounds like an excellent outing! Enjoy the chill at home time after the peopling. :)

Fev 18, 10:30 pm

>163 MickyFine: - It was a great day, Micky. Really nice to do something different for a change (I am very much a creature of habit/routine...) :)

Fev 18, 10:39 pm

My giant bowl of noodles from Shan Shan Noodles in Parsippany, NJ.... *slurp*

Fev 18, 10:45 pm

And in other food news, this is for Richard who requested a picture of the cheesesteaks we had for lunch on Friday (see >123 katiekrug:):

I got the "old school" cheesesteak which was thinly sliced steak with onions and CheezWiz. Unpictured is TW's "new school" version with Cooper's cheddar and onions. Both were good, but the new school had more flavor and I'll get that one next time...

Fev 18, 10:46 pm

Some day I will stop talking about food, but today is not that day.

Fev 18, 11:03 pm

Hi Katie, I enjoyed catching up here - congrats on the Trivia wins. The Escape Room sounds like fun but even better sounding is that big bowl of noodles!

Fev 18, 11:22 pm

Never stop talking about food! Sounds like it was a lovely day 🥰

Fev 19, 1:08 am

Sounds like a great day, Katie. An escape room and a dinner out!I'm also quite a creature of habit.

Fev 19, 6:56 am

Thanks for explaining how the escape room worked! That does sound like fun. It helps to know there's a Game Master overseeing things, I could start feeling anxious if I felt like stuck with no way to get out.

The noodles look fabulous!

Editado: Fev 19, 7:28 am

>72 katiekrug: I am currently listening to one of my 'memorial reads for Julia' too, The Backworlds by M. Pax. I must say that I am not impressed. I am also reading Ella Minnow Pea in her honor at some point this month as well. At least I know that I will like that one as this will be a re-read.

>73 lauralkeet: Count me in with Laura as a Tana French fan.

>108 katiekrug: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Thanks for the review and recommendation, Katie!

>162 katiekrug: The escape room sounds fun! I have played several escape room type board games, but not done the actual thing yet.

I love the pictures of the snow! I wish we would get some here. . .

Fev 19, 7:24 am

Este utilizador foi removido como sendo spam.

Fev 19, 7:36 am

>162 katiekrug: Sounds like a fantastic day!

Escape rooms have been around for a while but I have not tried it out yet. I have a group of friends that go on a regular basis so perhaps next time I will go with them. Sounds like a lot of fun.

>165 katiekrug: Looks delicious.

Have a great Monday!

Fev 19, 7:44 am

>166 katiekrug: *drool*slobber*

It looks deVOON. I think the bun is always the telling part...not *too* toasted but not pale and soft outside.

>165 katiekrug: hand-made noodles are a truly different experience from dried ones. Quite a faff to make, but the results...!

Lovely Monday to you, Mme Katie.

Fev 19, 8:40 am

>168 DeltaQueen50: - The noodles may have been the highlight of the day, LOL.

>169 curioussquared: - Yeah, I probably won't stop talking about food :)

>170 vancouverdeb: - It's nice to break the routine occasionally, Deb.

>171 lauralkeet: - Without the Game Master, we would have just been standing there at times, twiddling our thumbs :-P It's a fun activity - maybe give it a try the next time Kate and Julia are home, or you visit them.

>172 alcottacre: - I'd like to try an escape room board game, Stasia. Any recs?

>174 figsfromthistle: - You should definitely give it a try sometime, Anita.

>175 richardderus: - The nread was very good!

I don't plan to try my hand at making noodles myself - that's what restaurants are for. I know my limitations :D

Fev 19, 8:45 am

Last night, we played cards and then watched some TV. I forgot today is a holiday, not that it makes much difference to me. The Wayne plans to work anyway, so it'll just be a regular Monday here. I need to go to the grocery store and start the laundry. That's about all that's on the agenda.

Vegetarian Mexican lasagna for dinner tonight.

I might finish up Broken Harbor today, but definitely by tomorrow. I had no audio time yesterday, so I'll spend part of the afternoon with Perestroika in Paris.

An episode each of 'Death and Other Details' and 'Welcome to Wrexham.'

Fev 19, 9:56 am

>177 katiekrug: Mmm, Mexican lasagna. My mom has a recipe for it that requires a springform pan - is yours also that ambitious?

Fev 19, 10:00 am

>178 MickyFine: - Heavens no! It's just a regular baking dish :)

I've not made this before, so I'll report back and share the recipe if it's any good.

Fev 19, 10:47 am

The escape room and the meal sound like fun, Katie. I love finding out-of-the-way places to eat.

Fev 19, 11:01 am

>172 alcottacre: Several. It kind of depends on what theme and difficulty level you might like. There are almost 700 escape room type games listed on Board Game Geek: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamefamily/36900/category-escape-room-games/linke...

Fev 19, 11:26 am

>180 BLBera: - We do, too, Beth. Ed and Alice are a great source of recommendations for us. I don't really understand folks who only ever go to chain restaurants, but that might be my food snobbery showing ;-)

>181 alcottacre: - Welp, that's overwhelming. *quickly closes browser window*

Fev 19, 4:11 pm

Glad you escaped the escape room. We did some a few years ago on a work away day, it was fun to do.

Fev 19, 6:41 pm

>124 katiekrug: I also said this on Laura's thread but I have several friends who had their streak ended by the Feb 16 Wordle. Too many choices....

Skimming through....
The cheesesteak looks delicious.
I read Broken Harbour in 2020 and gave it 4 stars. I have a couple more by her to read. Definitely a fan.
I have never done (is that even the right verb?) an escape room. I think I would enjoy it if I was with the right humans.

Fev 20, 7:41 am

>183 Helenliz: - I'm looking forward to doing it again!

>184 EBT1002: - Today was also almost too many choices for me, but I got it in 5 :)

I need to go back to the cheesesteak place and try their breakfast sandwiches. Appropriately, the shop is called Wake & Steak.

I'm also a Tana French fan.

You should definitely do an escape room, Ellen.

Fev 20, 7:43 am

Happy Tuesday!

Yesterday was good - I accomplished what I wanted to and had quality time with the books.

Today, I need to make some phone calls (ugh) and then I plan to get a pedicure in the afternoon. Trivia tonight!

I have about 30 pages left in Broken Harbor. In my younger days, I would have powered through last night to finish it, but I value sleep more these days :) Also still enjoying Perestroika in Paris on audio.


Fev 20, 7:47 am

Hi, Katie. Thanks for keeping my thread warm while I was away, tromping around the French Quarter. I think my liver is glad we are home.

I am so glad you are loving Broken Harbor. I think I consider that my favorite one in that series. I remember that being a nail-biter to the end.

Fev 20, 8:45 am

Tuesday. Weird how one of those seems just to have happened, yet here we are again at a different one. What the heck is up with that?!

Triviate well tonight, and hoping you continue the top-performing streak.

Fev 20, 9:28 am

>187 msf59: - New Orleans can be a dangerous place for one's vital organs....

BH is definitely keeping me on the edge of my seat as I approach the end!

>188 richardderus: - Stupid time, just keeps moving forward. How dare it?

Thanks re: trivia. We'll do our best :)

Fev 20, 9:49 am

>182 katiekrug: Yeah, even I was overwhelmed by it too. I would recommend that you check out either the Exit series or the Unlock series.

Here are a couple of examples from each series:

Fev 20, 10:22 am

>190 alcottacre: - Thanks, Stasia!

Fev 20, 10:23 am

Two excellent books on sale for e-readers today: The Jaguar's Children and The Underground Railroad. Only $1.99 each!

Fev 20, 10:50 am

>177 katiekrug: Waiting to hear about your Mexican lasagna..... I made something similar last week but I didn't use a recipe. The goal was to clean out my pantry so it was just layers of canned things (refried beans, black beans, enchilada sauce, tomatoes) with corn tortillas (and an astounding amount of cheese, of course). It was good and served its purpose, but the flavor was not as refined as I assume a recipe would be.

Editado: Fev 20, 11:06 am

>193 norabelle414: - Oops! Thanks for the reminder, Nora.

It turned out pretty well; as usual, I tweaked it a bit for more flavor (added a diced jalapeno, used way more cumin than it called for, doubled the garlic, added some shakes of chipotle hot sauce...).

This was the recipe I used: https://www.thespruceeats.com/vegetarian-enchilada-casserole-with-black-beans-33...

My only real complaint is that it didn't hold together well - the veg and beans didn't mush together like I expected. Next time, I might cook them together longer, or add a bit of refried beans to help. The Wayne liked that the peppers and onions still had some bite to them, so I have to be careful not to overdo it next time.

I will also char the tortillas before layering them. Putting them in raw made them a bit chewy in the end, and they didn't have any flavor. Also also, I will add spices other than just cumin - maybe some chipotle and/or ancho pepper to add more depth to the flavor. The nice thing about the recipe is that it seems very forgiving of changes. I also want to try it with meat some time...

(Probably more info than you wanted/needed!)

Fev 20, 11:09 am

Hi Katie.

I got today's Wordle in four but it was definitely a dangerous trail I was on. It could have gone on for a while.

I'll go purchase a copy of The Jaguar's Children. I've had it on my wish list for a while.

Fev 20, 11:11 am

>195 EBT1002: - Hi Ellen. TJC is a harrowing, but worthwhile read. It has stayed with me over the years.

Fev 20, 11:23 am

>194 katiekrug: Pretty similar (and no, not more information than I wanted!). I think putting a thin layer of salsa on the bottom of the pan and on the layers of tortillas helped make them flavorful; charred also sounds good.

Fev 20, 11:38 am

>197 norabelle414: - That's a good idea about the salsa. I'll make a note for when I try it again.

Charring tortillas over the gas burners gives me a very odd sense of satisfaction :)

Fev 20, 11:58 am

>129 katiekrug: I'm super into that round one! (and even more so after seeing you said you needed the help of the letters on the back - I like 'em tough!)

>162 katiekrug: Huh, that does make the escape room sound more fun than I would have guessed it would be. I've been vaguely curious. Also mmmm scallion pancakes!

>185 katiekrug: Wake & Steak hahahaha! I don't usually love puns/plays on words for restaurants but that one did make me laugh.

Fev 20, 12:09 pm

>199 ursula: - i'm assuming shipping costs to Germany are a bit high or I'd send it to you!

I think you might enjoy an escape room. There are all different kinds. I was probably lucky to have such a good one as my first experience.

The Wayne groaned at the name :-P

Editado: Fev 21, 8:17 am

We had a great night at trivia - came in 2nd of 18 teams after being dead last with only 2 points after the first round (each of the 5 rounds is worth 20 points). I had shrimp tacos with chips and guacamole for dinner. We are playing trivia again tonight at a different place, so I don't have to worry about making a mess before Maribel comes to clean tomorrow morning.

Today, I am going to see 'American Fiction' at the artsy cinema one town over. Afterwards, I plan to try a new to me deli for lunch. I'm thinking matzoh ball soup and a smoked whitefish salad sandwich...

No other plans for the day!

I finished Broken Harbor and Perestroika in Paris yesterday and really liked both of them. New books are At the Edge of the Orchard (print) and You Say It First (audio).


Fev 21, 8:33 am

>201 katiekrug: Congrats on the trivia success! Ooohhh, matzoh-ball soup for lunch! Yummy. One of my favorites, which I get about once a fortnight here...they could do it weekly and I would be happy, though others really whine about it.

Enjoy American Fiction.

Fev 21, 10:28 am

>202 richardderus: - Thanks, RD!

Fev 21, 10:35 am

Nice result in the trivia.
Hope tonight's is good.

Fev 21, 10:40 am

Broken Harbor by Tana French

Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad mysteries are multi-layered, thoughtful, and beautifully written. I've loved all 4 that I've read and I'm not sure I could pick a favorite, but Broken Harbor might be it. In this one, Detective "Scorcher" Kennedy and a newbie detective take on the case of a murdered family (only the wife survived) in one of the run-down housing developments that sprung up during Ireland's transient economic boom of the early 2000s. The setting is important, and it becomes almost a character. The atmosphere is creepy and unsettled and adds a lot to the reading experience.

I don't want to say too much more, but French's writing is propulsive and she handles several threads of the story deftly. I was slightly let down by one aspect of the ending, but still highly recommend the novel.

4.25 stars

"Over time, the ghosts of things that happened start to turn distant; once they've cut you a couple of million times, their edges blunt on your scar tissue, they wear thin. The ones that slice like razors forever are the ghosts of things that never got a chance to happen."

Fev 21, 10:41 am

>204 Helenliz: - Thank you, Helen!

Fev 21, 12:05 pm

>205 katiekrug: Great review - totally agree!

Fev 21, 12:27 pm

>205 katiekrug: superb review, Katie. It brought it all back for me. Three cheers for Tana.

Fev 21, 12:44 pm

>205 katiekrug: Yay, Tana French. I don't think this one was my favorite just because I liked the main character a little less, but I still loved it.

Fev 21, 3:00 pm

>207 vivians: / >208 lauralkeet: - Thanks, Vivian and Laura! I find her books difficult to review.

>209 curioussquared: - I vaguely remembered him from a previous book as a jerk, though the specifics escape me. I thought this book did a great job at "explaining" him and making him a fully realized, damaged person.

Fev 21, 3:04 pm

I cannot recommend this movie highly enough. It was so, so good. I think a lot of you who care about writing and publishing and hearing under-represented voices will find it worthwhile. There is A LOT to chew on.

(I didn't get lunch afterwards, so no report on the noshery. I'm seeing another film next week at the same theater and will go then :) )

Fev 21, 9:48 pm

>211 katiekrug: I will check this out.

Broken Harbour sounds good. I did enjoy the book by French that I read.

Thanks! The book arrived today.

Fev 22, 1:37 am

I've had Broken Harbour in my TBR for some years now, Katie. I'll have to move it up the pile.

Fev 22, 6:56 am

>212 BLBera: - Beth, I think you'd love it!

BH is part of a series, but I don't think you have to read the 3 others before it (heresy, I know!). What French have you read?

Glad the book made it!

>213 vancouverdeb: - It's a good one, Deb!

Editado: Fev 22, 7:01 am

Happy Thursday! It's Cleaning Lady Day for me - the best day of every fortnight :)

While Maribel is doing her thing, I'll be trying to bring some order to the chaos of my desk. This usually involves stacking things and moving things to the bed (my office is also our guest room). *sigh*

In the afternoon, I'll hit the grocery store for dinner fixings (sesame ginger chicken in the air fryer, green beans, and jasmine rice). We are supposed to get a little rain today, but if it holds off long enough, I'll go for a walk before getting the groceries at the big park nearby. And I still need to make those phone calls...

I'm really enjoying At the Edge of the Orchard. And so far, so good with You Say It First.


ETA: I almost forgot! We came in first at trivia! There were only 5 or 6 teams, but whatever...

Fev 22, 7:23 am

You guys are on a trivia roll! Maybe I'm mis-remembering, but it seems like you're always coming in first or second now. Fun!

Good luck with your desk organizing today, and the dreaded phone calls.

Fev 22, 8:36 am

>216 lauralkeet: - We've had a good streak, but I don't expect it will last!

Fev 22, 8:51 am

>215 katiekrug: First! That is great! Staying on the roll...yay for the all-conquering Krug trivia steamroller.

Fev 22, 10:16 am

>218 richardderus: - Thanks, RD!

Fev 22, 10:20 am

Perestroika in Paris by Jane Smiley

A lovely little fable about a horse who escapes her stable outside Paris and journeys to the city, where she makes friends with a stray dog, some birds, and a rat. She is eventually "adopted" by a lonely little boy who hides her in his great-grandmother's house. Not a lot happens, but I really enjoyed this tale of interdependence, community, and friendship.

4 stars

Fev 22, 10:59 am

the only Jane Smiley I have ever tackled was A Thousand Acres which i liked well enough.

The horse in Paris books seems a good one. Seems out of Smiley's wheelhouse, a little.

Curios about escape rooms but have never tried one. One of these days. Judy and I are both pretty good at puzzles so maybe . . .

Fev 22, 11:03 am

>220 katiekrug: Adding that one to the BlackHole. I have only read one of Smiley's books, Moo, and I did not care for it overmuch, but I am willing to give her another shot.

Fev 22, 11:08 am

>221 magicians_nephew: - I've read a smattering of Smiley - she varies widely in the kinds of book she writes. I've read a satire, some historical fiction, a psychological "thriller, etc...

I think you and Judy would enjoy the escape room experience!

>222 alcottacre: - As I noted to Jim just above, she writes in a lot of different styles. I adored Moo when I read it in college, but I don't think it's a typical Smiley. I'm not sure she has a "type."

Editado: Fev 22, 11:39 am

I've got seven (7) Tana French novels in the stack. Have yet to read a single one. Uh oh.

Jane Smiley occupies considerable footage in those stacks. I've read A Thousand Acres and Moo. Liked both. The thing about Smiley, in my opinion, is that she stretches, trying humor as well as tragedy, family sagas, Iowa stories. She's even written a bio of Richard's fave, Charles Dickens. Not much samo samo in her repertoire. I should carve out a spot for her in 2024's reading. (ETA: What you said in >223 katiekrug:. Duh!)

Kudos to the trivia royalty.

Editado: Fev 22, 1:35 pm

Nice quizzing. A win's a win.
The library has a couple of Smiley's books, also Tana French, but not #1 in the series... How much does it matter to start at #1? Not saying the mild obsession about order will let me start anywhere else, but you never know.

Fev 22, 2:16 pm

>224 weird_O: - Better get on with it re: those French novels, Bill!

I admire Smiley's ability to write so well in so many different ways.

Thanks re: trivia!

>225 Helenliz: - Thanks, Helen!

The Dublin Murder Squad series is interesting in that it doesn't follow one character through multiple books. So #1 featured two detectives and then #2 featured only one of them; #3 featured a different one and the "star" of #4 only made a brief appearance in #3. So yeah. I really don't feel like they have to be read in order, but I understand the compulsion :)

Fev 23, 7:58 am

TGIF! Plans for today are to get breakfast sandwiches at the new place around the corner, and in the afternoon, I'll hit the wine store. We are having another couple over for pizza and a game night tonight. Should be fun.

Not much else to report. I wasn't very productive yesterday (bad Katie) so have just moved all those To Dos to Monday's list, since I don't like having non-fun things on the agenda on Fridays :)

I'm almost done with At the Edge of the Orchard, which has been a solid historical fiction read. The audio of You Say It First is no great shakes but decent company while I puzzle.

Two episodes of 'Death and Other Details' but I might have to re-watch the second one, as I kept nodding off :-P

Fev 23, 8:14 am

"New Orleans can be a dangerous place for one's vital organs...." LOL. Still nursing mine.

Hooray for Broken Harbor. I think that one is my favorite of the series. I got tired of French in her last few books. I also want to see American Fiction.

Fev 23, 10:07 am

I read #2 and then #3 of the Dublin Murder Squad. Didn't make any difference, there were some references to the first one in #2 but I didn't feel like I'd missed anything.

Fev 23, 11:01 am

>228 msf59: - BH and Faithful Place are probably my two favorites of the 4 I've read.

I think you'll really enjoy 'American Fiction.'

>229 ursula: - Good to know, Ursula! Did you like them? I think #2 is the weakest of the first 4 but I still thought it was a good read.

Fev 23, 11:20 am

Enjoy game night...although the guests might not enjoy being trounced by the Gruesome Twosome of victorious gamers. All that triviation is great practice.

Fev 23, 11:25 am

>231 richardderus: - Nah, we're playing some weird strategy game set in post-Napoleonic Europe. No trivia involved :)

Fev 23, 12:28 pm

>232 katiekrug: Not Diplomacy, by any chance?
We have that, although he lost the rules years ago. When he tried to explain it to me he managed to leave most of it out...

Fev 23, 12:34 pm

>233 Helenliz: - Not Diplomacy (though I thing TW has that one...?). Tonight is Balance of Power.

Fev 23, 1:17 pm

>233 Helenliz: You can access the rules in several places on line, including a pdf from Hasbro.

Fev 23, 2:42 pm

>235 laytonwoman3rd: - Linda is helpful as always!

Fev 23, 4:19 pm

I think my favorite French books so far are In the Woods and Faithful Place. I'm hoping to pick up The Secret Place soon.

Glad you liked Perestroika in Paris -- that one is on my list to get to soon!

Fev 24, 7:49 am

>236 katiekrug: If I ever disappear I want Linda3rd to be the one on the case...she understands how to find information better than anyone else I know. If we did not know better I would bet cash money she was a librarian.

Cloudy weekend glory, Katie.

Fev 24, 8:40 am

>237 curioussquared: - I remember really liking In the Woods but it's been so long since I read it, I don't recall much about it. I do know I recommended it to my boss when I ran into him in a bookstore on my lunch break one day and he was looking for something to read on vacation. He loved it and his whole family ended up reading it :)

PiP is a fun one. Not twee or anything, which I worry about with animal stories...

>238 richardderus: - Yay for Linda!

Have a good weekend yourself.

Fev 24, 8:46 am

We had fun last night with our friends - ate too much pizza and played 'Balance of Power' in which The Wayne came in last, which made me giggle ;-) They left around 11pm and I quickly loaded the dishwasher and toddled off to bed. They brought a cherry cheesecake danish for dessert, and I am looking forward to having some with my coffee shortly.

Not sure what I'll get up to today. I'd like to tackle one of my organizing projects, but we'll see. We have lots of leftovers for dinner.

I finished At the Edge of the Orchard and started The Body in the Dales. Still listening to You Say It First on audio.


Your visual treat for the day was on the appetizer menu of the pizza place we ordered from, and I couldn't resist trying it:

Spaghetti and meatballs wrapped in dough and baked. It was okay, but not something I'd order again, despite my love of all things carb-y :)

Fev 24, 8:49 am

And my last puzzle finished: The 12 Days of Christmas. 1000 pieces from Cobble Hill. This one is a keeper.

Fev 24, 8:51 am

So many of your puzzles are so beautiful! Do you mount and hang any of them?

Fev 24, 9:37 am

>242 japaul22: - I don't. I already have a pile of framed stuff I have yet to hang on the walls here (we moved in 2019!); also, I like re-doing some favorite puzzles and others I use in our local swap group on Facebook to get new-to-me ones :)

Editado: Fev 24, 11:09 am

>238 richardderus: That's the nicest thing anyone has said about me in a long time, Richard. Thank you. Please do NOT disappear, nonetheless.

Fev 24, 10:47 am

>241 katiekrug: That is a lovely puzzle.

Fev 24, 10:54 am

>244 laytonwoman3rd: *smooch*

Not to worry, my desire to disappear has itself disappeared.

Fev 24, 11:21 am

>245 BLBera: - It was fun to put together, Beth.

Fev 24, 11:30 am

Your Friday night sounds fun, Katie, and that's a cool puzzle too. Enjoy your possibly productive day.

Editado: Fev 24, 11:48 am

>241 katiekrug: That is gorgeous! It’s like twelve puzzles in one—hard to get bored with that!

Karen O

No wonder I especially loved this puzzle: it’s a quilt! (I have been known to do a bit of quilt-making). I went right away to get a copy. If I can wait, it would make an excellent Christmastime solving event for my family. Thanks for the posting!

Karen O

Fev 24, 11:42 am

>239 katiekrug: It's been a long time for me too, but I do remember being totally sucked in on a plane and just dead to the world until I was done, which is always a sign of a good book for me ☺️

>241 katiekrug: Ooh, that's a pretty puzzle!!

Fev 24, 11:50 am

>248 lauralkeet: - Hi Laura! We did have a good time, but I'm somewhat peopled out now :)

>249 klobrien2: - That's great, Karen! I hope you enjoy the puzzle.

>250 curioussquared: - That's definitely a good sign :) My standout airplane read was Into Thin Air, which I basically read straight through flying from Dallas to London.

Fev 24, 2:36 pm

Definitely sounds like a fun night. I enjoy games and puzzles but Hubby is totally not interested so it rarely happens (pretty much only when we have both of the "big" grandkids in house).

Hope you have a quiet, time-for-yourself kind of day.

Fev 24, 4:28 pm

Games night sounds like a resounding success.
>235 laytonwoman3rd: hmm. That might be interesting to see how accurately he managed to describe the rules he did remember.

Fev 24, 10:25 pm

>252 RebaRelishesReading: - Hi Reba - it was a good time. I hope we can do it again soon.

My Saturday ended up being pretty good, thanks.

>253 Helenliz: - I think it was! Everyone seemed to have a good time, at least :)

Ontem, 3:42 am

Love the puzzle, Katie! It’s really cute. Great colours.

Ontem, 5:55 am

>205 katiekrug: I am a fan of Tana French. So far everything I have read by her has not disappointed. I have not started the Dublin Murder squad series yet.

>215 katiekrug: Congrats on coming in first place! You seem to be consistently doing well.

>241 katiekrug: Wow! I love that puzzle. Looks like a cozy quilt.

Ontem, 8:39 am

>255 vancouverdeb: - It was fun to put together, Deborah. I'm keeping it to do again some day.

>256 figsfromthistle: - I haven't read anything but her DMS series, Anita, but I have The Searcher on my shelf.

We've been having a nice run at trivia, but these things rarely last!

Glad you like the puzzle :)

Ontem, 8:44 am

How is it already Sunday?

We had a nice low-key day yesterday. The Wayne did some gardening prep, I did some meal planning and freezer inventory, and spent time with my books. We went out for an early dinner (spicy crab roll for me) and then relaxed at home.

Today, I'll do laundry but don't need to go to the grocery store, which is nice. I also plan to keep working on cleaning up my office; plus there are books to be read/listened to. I am almost done with my current puzzle...

Red beans and rice with smoked sausage for dinner.

I'm nearing the end of You Say It First on audio so will need to pick a new audio soon. The Body in the Dales is just okay so far. It's a quick read, but the writing is kind of flat.

I finally watched this week's 'University Challenge' and my favored team won. Then I watched two episodes of 'Miss Scarlet and the Duke.' The second one was annoying because there was no Duke. Boo!

Ontem, 8:56 am

I like that UC team too. This season has been fun to watch so far.

Red beans and rice sounds tasty, Katie. I haven't made it in ages and I think I used a Zataran mix. Do you have a favorite recipe?

Enjoy your day!

Ontem, 9:04 am

>240 katiekrug: That wrap sounds delicious to me - sorry it didn't live up to expectations. Carbs are my downfall - I could live on bread, pasta and cake.

Ontem, 9:10 am

>259 lauralkeet: - Birkbeck might be my favorite team, but I am bad at remembering teams week to week, so that could change :)

No recipe - I'm using Zatarain's!

>260 vivians: - It wasn't bad, just not as good as I was hoping for. Same about carbs!

Ontem, 9:44 am

>261 katiekrug: I do so love Zatarain's mixes! The delight that is dinner chez vous is something to look forward to, since it requires no trips out. Enjoy the reading day!

Ontem, 11:13 am

>262 richardderus: - Thanks, RD!

Ontem, 11:20 am

At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier

This is the kind of historical fiction I love: strong sense of time and place, interesting characters, and the opportunity to learn about something new. In this one, Chevalier has created a fascinating character in Robert Goodenough who flees his family's farm in Ohio in 1838 after tragedy strikes. He grows up with the young nation and almost embodies the idea of Manifest Destiny - continually moving westward and expanding his horizons. Most of the story is about his time in California where he assists a tree and plant collector who sends specimens to England. There is a bit of heavy-handed metaphor in the story about apples and sin, and some of the plot details beggar belief, but overall, this was an engrossing read. Chevalier rarely disappoints.

4 stars

Ontem, 11:27 am

>264 katiekrug: I've read and enjoyed her novels before, but I don't think I've read this one. Good reminder to get back to her work!

Ontem, 12:33 pm

>264 katiekrug: I don't think I've read this Chevalier, Katie. It does sound good. It's been a while since I've read anything by her, and I have enjoyed her books.

Ontem, 3:29 pm

>265 japaul22: / >266 BLBera: - I think I've read all of Chevalier's novels but two at this point. I find they vary widely in quality, but I haven't read a "bad" one yet.

Ontem, 3:34 pm

You Say It First by Katie Cotungo

My tolerance level for YA books is pretty low. They have to be something special to not annoy me. I wouldn't say this one was special, but it didn't annoy me as much as I initially feared. Yes, there is some angst and too much back-and-forth, will-they-won't-they nonsense, but it also had some important things to say about being true to one's self; the effects of death, divorce, and alcoholism on families; and class differences and assumptions.

3.5 stars