Showing posts with label 2015 Reading Challenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2015 Reading Challenge. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
I got this orchid plant as a gift six years ago. Every year it has bloomed again because of the Mama, who took it over from the moment it came into the house. She doesn't feed it any special orchid food.  She just waters it and reminds me not to water it.

Today is ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and now headed by Roger Green and his helpers. Click here to read posts around today's letter O. 

If you've come from the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, my S post is over here.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Five Book Reviews for My 2015 Reading Challenge

I love reading books. Writing book reviews, not so much. I tell myself it's good for me to write them for my 2015 Reading Challenge. Discipline and all that. Of which, I have been finding the time to read for pleasure more regularly. Yay! for that. Boo! though, as a couple of the books I've read don't fit any category. This may mean another level of discipline—finding books that do match the challenge categories. I'll think about it.

Anyway, today, I give you four reviews. Just so you and the FCC know: Should you click on the Amazon links and happen to purchase anything there, Amazon may reward me with a bit of change.

A book with magic

As I read The Game by Laurie R. King, I traveled back to the Flapper Age, wandering around India with 60-ish Sherlock Holmes and his much younger wife Mary Russell.  The couple was sent there by Mycroft, brother of Sherlock, to find the 50-ish missing spy Kim O'Hara, the once-upon-a-time young boy about whom Rudyard Kipling wrote.  Sherlock and Mary disguise themselves as traveling Beduoins, who do a little magic show wherever they stop. Along the way, they are "adopted" by a young boy who helps them complete their mission. They eventually head to an Indian kingdom bordering Afghanistan that is ruled by a rather eccentric and cruel man who has ideas of taking over all of India.

The Game is the seventh of 13 titles in King's Russell and Holmes suspense series. This is the third one that I've read and it won't be the last. I just love how Sherlock and Mary roll their eyes as people fawn over Sherlock and ask about the stories that Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Watson wrote about him. I've never been interested in reading the Tales of Sherlock Holmes, even after enjoying the movies with Robert Downey, Jr. and watching the TV series Elementary every week. But, after finishing The Game, I now want to read Doyle's books.

A book based entirely on its cover 

Mrs. Kormel is Not Normal! by Dan Gautman is a fun, quick and easy read. It ought to be as it's the level between an easy reader and a middle school book. This book is part of Gautman's My Wierd School series, in which each title features one of the adults working at Ella Mentry School. Don't you just love the name of that school?

Mrs. Kormel is an Ella Mentry School bus driver who has her own secret language. When kids get on her bus, she greets them with "Bingle boo!" and when kids stand on their seats, Mrs. Kormel shouts at them to "Limpus kidoodle!" and they do.

The story is about the day that Mrs. Kormel and the kids go pick up a new kid somewhere off their normal route to school. Do they ever make it to school on time for show and tell, the math quiz, lunch, or the stuff after lunch?

A book from your childhood

Why did I let so many decades go by before reading Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue by Maurice Sendak? I love this very short tale that cuts to the chase so quickly, vividly, and, yes, enchantingly. The story is not unlike Aesop's The Boy Who Cried Wolf. That's all I'm saying.

A Memoir

I thought Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan was a novel when I checked it out at my local library. A few pages in, I realized it was a memoir. Corrigan has breast cancer and to her surprise she can only find comfort in her mom. She's surprised because Corrigan had one of those classic love-hate mom-daughter relationships when she was young. Corrigan tells us about that relationship and how she came to realize how much she was like her mother when she worked as a nanny as a young woman in Australia. Corrigan wrote about her memories with humor and love.

A book set in a different country

The Vanishing Thief is the first book in Kate Parker's series A Victorian Bookshop Mystery. I enjoyed it so much that after I finished it, I promptly searched the web for the next title, which ought to be in my mailbox in the next 10 business days.

The story is set in the latter years of the Victorian age in London. Georgia Fenchurch, the main character, owns a bookstore that she inherited from her parents who were murdered over 10 years ago. Georgia has vowed to find her parents murderer and, wouldn't you know it, after 10 years, she has sighted the murderer on a bus. Finding her parents' murderer is the subplot.

The main plot is finding a missing man who has managed to mingle with the upper class even though he is not. Georgia does her investigation as part of a secret group called the Archivist Society, which is known both by the London police force and the well-to-do. There are an interesting bunch of twists and turns to the tale, including the fact that the missing man has been blackmailing several upper class families. There is also a handsome duke who may have abducted the missing man and who is attracted to Georgia and she to him. He reminds me of the Beast in the Beauty and the Beast. Maybe they'll kiss in the next book.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

#3 Book Review for My 2015 Reading Challenge

On Sunday night, I read The Happy Hollisters, being that it was published in the year I was born (1953), a category in my 2015 Reading Challenge. The Happy Hollisters was the first of the 33 titles of the Happy Hollisters series written by Andrew E. Svenson, under the guise of Jerry West.

I had bought the book several years ago at our local thrift store on a whim, because I was born and raised in Hollister, California and now living in Hollister again. As a kid, I remember seeing the series at the public library, but I bypassed the Happy Hollisters for the Nancy Drew series. If I had known that the Hollisters solved mysteries, I may have become a fan way back when.

I like the Hollister kids, from 4-year old Sue, to 6-year old Holly, 7-year old Ricky, 10-year old Pam, and 12-year old Peter. Each character has lots of positive energy and common sense.  One of the things I like about the Hollister kids is how they feel bad after doing something wrong, apologize, and seek to make amends. I also like how the kids take care of each other.  For instance, when one of the older kids sees Sue playing near the lake, he tells her that she should not go near there without an adult. The more I think about the characters and theirs actions, the more I see how the author had unintentionally taught the readers about personal responsibility, self-initiative, courtesy, respect, and other positive values.

Okay, the plot. The story starts with the Hollisters moving to a new town where Mr. Hollister has bought a hardware/sports goods/toy store. All of the children's toys have been packed in the smaller of two moving vans that never arrives at their new home. Mystery #1: What has happened to the van?  When they find the van, it's empty, which leads to mystery #2: What has happened to their toys?  Mystery #3 is even bigger: Someone is coming into their new home every night. Who is the prowler? What does he/she want? How is he/she coming in?

All the Hollister kids are involved in unraveling the mysteries, with Peter and Pam taking the lead. In every chapter, something is happening, and it's not always about solving mysteries. For instance, in one chapter, the kids build a dog cart so that the Hollisters' dog, Zip, can give them rides. In another chapter, Pam and Holly go rowing on the nearby lake, loose their oars, and float to the island in the middle of the lake. There, Holly falls into quicksand and Pam quickly brainstorms ways to save her sister.

Reading this book got me into the mood to read more childrens' books. When I was at the library yesterday,  I picked up several books in the children's section. So, stay tuned for more children's book reviews.

Note: FCC and you need to know that the link leads to Should you click it and happen to purchase anything there, Amazon may reward me with a bit of change. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

#2 Book Review for My 2015 Reading Challenge

Thug Kitchen is written by Matt Holloway and Michelle Davis, who are 29-year-olds, hence I can cross A book written by someone under 30 off my 2015 Reading Challenge

If swearing bothers you, walk by this cookbook, because a lot of f-bombs and sh-words are dropped. The title had me open the cover at the bookstore, but it was the novelty of the cussing that drew me into flipping through the book. There was nothing new under the sun for me. I know how to roast garlic, for instance. But, what  impressed me was that the authors offered recipes like the ones I make up and not make again because I can't remember what I did. Maybe I cook like someone under 30.

I left the bookstore without the cookbook, but I kept thinking about the intriguing recipes such as ginger-mushroom summer rolls, cauliflower cream pasta,  spicy plantain chips, and lemony red lentil soup. A couple weeks later when I was choosing books online for my birthday gifts, I thought, "Why not?" I needed inspiration for making more vegetable dishes.

About halfway through the book,  I realized that Thug Kitchen is a vegan cookbook. I guess the cursing is a gimmick to get people to eat their vegetables.  Anyway, I can easily adapt many of the recipes to include eggs, cheese, or other animal protein if I want to. Maybe I will somewhere down the road.

Fruit salad smoothie, anyone? How about almond Caesar salad, or, perhaps, whipped cream made with coconut milk?

Note: FCC and you need to know that the link leads to Should you click it and happen to purchase anything there, Amazon may reward me with a bit of change.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

#1 Book Review for My 2015 Reading Challenge

Five days into the 2015 Reading Challenge, I can cross off my first item —a mystery of thriller. Whooo-hooo!

Queen of Hearts is the eighth book in the Royal Spyness Mysteries series by Rhys Bowen.  This is one of three mystery series that I look forward to reading the latest stories. Bowen's Royal Spyness Mysteries  is set primarily in London in the 1930s. The protagonist is Georgie, the great grandaughter of Queen Victoria. She would become queen should King George and the 33 heirs before her were to die all of a sudden. So, it's very unlikely.

Georgie's formal name is Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie. Her father, the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch, gambled all family's fortune away, so Georgie is broke. Because she's of royalty, she can't make a living for herself although she has tried. In the first book (and maybe the second, I can't remember), she secretly worked as a maid. Queen Mary likes Georgie and often sends for her to do some bidding, such as monitoring the behavior of the queen's son, the Prince of Wales, at a party in which Mrs. Simpson would be there. Georgie doesn't like to do it, but how can you say no to the queen.

In Queen of Hearts, Bowen does something different. Instead of basing Georgie's adventure around her royal family, Bowen has Georgie accompanying her glamorous stage actress of a mother to America, where her mom plans to get a secret divorce in Reno in order to marry her rich German lover. While crossing the Atlantic, Georgie's mom meets a fellow actress and her lover, the big-time movie director Cy Goldman. Both convince the mother to go to Hollywood to take part in Goldman's movie. The intrigue begins when an Indian princess' ruby is stolen and Georgie thinks she saw someone go overboard. Until the ruby went missing, Georgie learns that her boyfriend Darcy is on board to follow the trail of a thief for Scotland Yard.

The tension gets turned further up when Georgie, Mom, Goldman, Darcy, and a bunch of others stay at Goldman's fake castle on a hillside along the Pacific Coast. Goldman is killed and the killer is one of the guests. Was it Goldman's lover? His wife? One of the actors?  By the way, anyone who has been, or knows about, Hearst Castle will recognize it as the model for Goldman's castle. Garish rooms are decorated with historical furniture, carpets, and such; Olympic size pools grace the grounds; and giraffes and other exotic animals wander here and there.

This was not my favorite title in the series, but I enjoyed it. I got three-quarters through the book before I flipped to the last chapters to find out who the killer was. No harm done. The ending didn't make sense until I went back and read forward again.

Note: FCC and you need to know that the link leads to Should you click it and happen to purchase anything there, Amazon may reward me with a bit of change. 

Note: FCC and you need to know that because the link leads you to, and should you happen to purchase anything there, I may get a bit of change for my effort of referring you to the products available at Amazon.  - See more at:
Note: FCC and you need to know that because the link leads you to, and should you happen to purchase anything there, I may get a bit of change for my effort of referring you to the products available at Amazon.  - See more at:
Note: FCC and you need to know that because the link leads you to, and should you happen to purchase anything there, I may get a bit of change for my effort of referring you to the products available at Amazon.  - See more at:

Sunday, January 4, 2015

An Ultimate Reading Challenge has come up with an "Ultimate Reading Challenge" for 2015. It offers 50 suggested types of books to read during the year, such as a book your mom loves and a book you were supposed to read in school but didn't.  Here's the link to the challenge.

Since I can already check one book off the list, methinks I shall take up the challege.

A review of the book? Sure, I'll write one. Stay tuned.

Here's the challenge list: