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February and March 2021: Reading Recap

Well, go figure.  The first quarter of 2021 is already behind us, never mind that I’m still having to remind myself on occasion to write “2021” instead of “2020” … (and we’re even a week into April already, but let that go). Anyway, since I never got around to doing a “February in review” post, […]

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Literature Reviews

S.J. Rozan: China Trade

A monumental shout-out to Hobart, aka The Irresponsible Reader, for bringing this series to my attention by reviewing some of its installments in the good old BookLikes days.  I know that I am shamefully late to the party, but now that I’m finally here, I’m here to stay. China Trade is the first book of […]

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Literature Reviews

Anna Katharine Green: The Leavenworth Case

Sigh.  Can you believe that in my Golden Age mystery quest I actually acquired three different editions of this book … only to be but marginally entertained by it?  Oh well. The Leavenworth Case was one of the first-ever detective novels, even predating Sherlock Holmes by almost a decade … and it was written by […]

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Blog Literature

2020 in Facts and Figures

I already posted my main 2020 in Review and Looking Ahead to 2021 posts a while ago — only on my new blog (separate post to come) –, but I held back on my 2020 reading statistics until the year was well and truly over.  And for all my good intentions when posting my mid-year […]

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Fun and Games Literature

Favorite Rainy Day Reads

24 Festive Tasks: Door 5 – Bon Om Touk, Bonus Task: List / tell us about your favorite rainy day reads. I suppose it only takes one look at my list of read books this year to determine my favorite rainy day books, as 2020 was essentially one extended rainy day: Golden Age mysteries and […]

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Fun and Games Literature

Favorite Fictional Societies and Ingredients of a Well-Functioning Real Society

24 Festive Tasks: Door 3 – Saturnalia, Task 2: Saturnalia was originally a celebration in remembrance of the “Golden Age” of Graeco-Roman mythology, ruled over by Saturn (Kronos in Greek), and during which humanity existed in a utopian state of innocence, living off nature’s bounty without having to work. Name a book describing / set […]

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Cooking - Food - Drink Fun and Games Lifestyle Literature

Donna Andrews: The Gift of the Magpie … and Yule Candles, Candy, and Other Christmas Cheer

24 Festive Tasks: Door 1 – Winter Solstice (Yule – Dōngzhì – Soyal – Yaldā Night), Book, Task 1 and Bonus Task #2: Book: Read a book that takes place in December, with ice or snow on the cover, where all events take place in a single day or night, that revolves around the solstice, […]

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Fun and Games Literature

Barbara Neely: Blanche on the Lam

24 Festive Tasks: Door 7 – International Human Rights Day, Book: Read a book featuring a strong female character (or characters), by an author from any minority group, a story about a minority overcoming their oppressors, or revolving around the rights of others either being defended or abused, a book set in New York City, […]

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Cats Fun and Games Lifestyle Literature Reviews

2020: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

We’re still a month away from the end of the year, but my reading will probably consist mainly of Christmas books in December, and I hope and pray that life won’t come up and throw anything else at me in the final month of the year, either.  So I might as well post my “Year […]

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Fun and Games Linked Items Literature Reviews

Book Characters Turning Over a New Leaf

24 Festive Tasks: Door 4 – Japanese Culture Day, Task 2: Japanese Culture Day was first held in 1948, to commemorate the announcement of the country’s post-war constitution on November 3, 1946, which was to make a new start for Japan.  Which book did you read this year where someone was searching for or starting […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Ellery Queen: Calamity Town

24 Festive Tasks: Door 14 – Diwali, Book: Read a book about a homecoming or set in India or with Indian characters.   Murder and other mischief follows on the foot of a young man’s return to his home town, to marry (after all) the girl he’d jilted at the altar a few years before. […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Julie Smith (ed.) & Various Authors: New Orleans Noir

This year’s final bingo book: an anthology of mystery short stories set in New Orleans, by some of the Big Easy’s best-known crime writers.  As is usually the case with such compilations, some of the entries struck more of a chord with me than others, but taken together, they definitely conveyed an image of how […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Patricia Highsmith: Ripley Under Ground

This year’s Halloween Bingo buddy read — thanks again to Christine, BrokenTune and Lillelara for the fun of reading this book together!  Somehow, that seems to be the way Patricia Highsmith’s books are enjoyed best … Though I have to say, while I struggled with Strangers on a Train, I’m getting a complete and total […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Alice Hoffman: The River King

This was, incredibly, my first taste of Hoffman’s writing — in hindsight, I’m wondering whether I should have started with her Practical Magic books after all (but then again, I might be wondering about the same thing in reverse — i.e., whether I should have started with this book — if I had).  Either way, […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Sharyn McCrumb: The Ballad of Tom Dooley

Just as the Medieval Murderers series has, over the years, become my go-to series for “Relics and Curiosities”, Sharyn McCrumb’s Ballad series is my go-to series for the Southern Gothic bingo square.  I’ve enjoyed all of the books from that series that I’ve read so far; none more than The Ballad of Frankie Silver.  This particular […]

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Cats Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Halloween Bingo 2020: The Rest of the Game and Wrap-Up

Sooo, that’s another bingo game behind us already!  Many thanks to our game hosts for successfully moving the game from BookLikes to a new venue and organizing one heck of a game despite that venue’s built-in limitations.  I had a great time and would only have wished I could have participated more throughout the game […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Aimee and David Thurlo: Second Sunrise

Native American police procedural meets vampires, witches and werewolves.  To give the authors their due, I guess with skinwalkers being a key part of Navajo mythology, it’s a proximate thought to capitalize on the past decade(s)’ vampire craze and go full tilt supernatural / paranormal, and the sequence of events that turns our protagonist into […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Halloween Bingo 2020: The Second Week (+1 Day)

Posting this on Monday instead of Sunday again … oh well. I guess after a near-phenomenal first bingo week it was only to be expected that the second week would not be quite as fabulous. Mind you, I’m not complaining — my card is coming together nicely, and none of the books I read this […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Michael Connelly: The Night Fire

My bingo pre-read and a very welcome return to Los Angeles — or at least, the version thereof that constitutes the world of Connelly’s characters, which however only ends up making the city a major character of its own in addition to the humans living in it. Harry Bosch may not officially be a cold […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Halloween Bingo 2020: The First Week (+1 Day)

This year’s Halloween Bingo started a lot more promising than last year’s with a strong joint entry in Michael Connelly’s Bosch and Ballard series, and in fact, not one of the books I read earned less than a four-star rating — with the standout being Nicholas Blake’s The Beast Must Die, which turned out to […]

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