Sunday, December 30, 2018

2019 Color Coded Implies Color Reviews

This is the place for "implies color" book reviews.

2019 Color Coded Any Other Color Reviews

This is the place for "any other color" book reviews.

2019 Color Coded White Reviews

This is the place for "white" book reviews.

2019 Color Coded Black Reviews

This is the place for "black" book reviews.

2019 Color Coded Brown Reviews

This is the place for "brown" book reviews.

2019 Color Coded Green Reviews

This is the place for "green" book reviews.

2019 Color Coded Yellow Reviews

This is the place for the "yellow" book reviews.

2019 Color Coded Red Reviews

This is the place to link up "red" book reviews.

2019 Color Coded Blue Reviews

Please link up your "blue" book reviews here.

2019 Read It Again Sam, Reviews

This is the place to link up reviews for the 2019 Read It Again, Sam Challenge. It will be up all year long.

Color Coded and Read It Again, Sam Wrap-Up Posts

This is the place to link up the wrap-up posts for both the Color Coded and Read It Again, Sam Challenges. I hope you all have had fun finding new books through the color prompts and/or revisiting old friends with Sam and Rick.

Follow the Clues: Present Your Evidence

Greetings, Vintage Mystery Challengers! Well, we're in the final days (hours) of 2017 and challenges are coming to a close. It's time to set the stage for wrap-up posts, prize drawings, and winners. The Follow the Clues Mystery Challenge requires you to present your evidence trail to the court. Below (in bold), you will find the qualifications for prizes from the original challenge post:

~All challengers who complete their level with readily explained clues will be eligible for an end-of-year prize drawing.

Bloggers: please put together a wrap-up post that details your Clue Trail and reminds us of your initial commitment and link it up below.
Non-Bloggers may give their Clue Trail in a comment below.

The link will be open through January 8, 2019 and the drawing will take place as soon as possible thereafter.

Monthly Key Word Wrap-Up

Well...2018 is almost a wrap--which means it's time to wrap-up our reading and our challenges before we slip into the New Year. Please link up your Monthly Key Word wrap-up posts below.

Mount TBR Final Checkpoint

Well, my fellow mountaineers, our 2018 climbing expedition is coming to a close and it's time to get ready for the Final Mountaineering Checkpoint. Where does the time go? I'm ready to hear how all our mountain-climbing team members have done out there on Pike's Peak, Mt. Ararat, Mt. Everest....whichever peak you've chosen. Checkpoint participation is absolutely voluntary and is not considered necessary for challenge completion.

For those who would like to participate in this checkpoint post, I'd like you to at least complete the first of these two things.  And if you feel particularly inspired (or generous about humoring me during the holiday season), then please do both.

1. Tell us how many miles you made it up your mountain (# of books read). If you've planted your flag on the peak, then tell us, take a selfie, and celebrate (and wave!).  Even if you were especially athletic and have been sitting atop your mountain for months, please check back in and remind us how quickly you sprinted up that trail. And feel free to tell us about any particularly exciting book adventures you've had along the way.
Having learned my lesson last year about being too ambitious, I set my sights on Mount Everest again in 2018. I planted my flag on the peak at the beginning of November and loaded my spaceship to see how far I'd get up Olympus this time. (I just can't seem to make it to that peak). Right now, I have managed 127 books and I hope to claim one more before the ball drops on New Year's Eve.

2. The Words to the Wise According to Mount TBR: Using the titles of the books you read this year, see how many of the familiar proverbs and sayings below you can complete with a book read on your journey up the Mountain. Feel free to add/subtract a word or two to help them make sense. I have given my titles as examples: 

A stitch in time...[saves] The Pink Camellia 
Don't count your chickens...[before] The Grub-&-Stakers Pinch a Poke
A penny saved is.... (a) Payoff for the Banker
All good things must come... Before Midnight 
When in Rome... I Capture the Castle
All that glitters is not... The Lacquer Screen 
A picture is worth a... Odor of Violets Case with Three Husbands  
When the going gets tough, the tough get... The Killing Strike
Two wrongs don't make (a)... Queen's Quorum 
The pen is mightier than.... A Holiday Yarn 
The squeaky wheel gets... (the) The Body in the Basket  
Hope for the best, but prepare for... The Hellfire Conspiracy 
Birds of a feather flock... Just Around the Coroner 

And what do you get for all that hard work? The Checkpoint will close at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, January 8. On Sunday I will crank up the Custom Random Number Generator and pick a winning climber. He or she will have the chance to add to their TBR stack via my gently-used book vault (prize list will be sent). This prize may count towards your 2019 TBR climb.

Even if you're not in the mood for a prize or if you got distracted by pretty scenery or side trails (library books, ARCs, what-have-you), I'd love to have you check in and tell us how your 2018 mountain climb went!

***Please note--Links are for Checkpoint posts only. Links that are not Checkpoint-specific will be removed--to make it easier for me to track a winner.

Just the Facts, Ma'am 2018 Final Wrap-Up

Greetings, Vintage Mystery Challengers! Well, we're in the final days (hours) of 2018 and challenges are coming to a close. It's time to set the stage for wrap-up posts, prize drawings, and winners. Below (in bold), you will find the qualifications for prizes from the original challenge post:

1. Challengers who complete the minimum six books from a single era will be eligible for a drawing at the end of the year for a book from the prize list.
2. Challengers who complete 12 or more books (either from the same era or at least six from each era) will also be entered in a separate drawing--for another chance to win, again for their choice of a book from the prize list.  

Please keep track of your progress and be prepared to submit a final wrap-up post or comment at the end of the year.

The wrap-up post (or comment) should include the title, author, and 1st pub date of each book as well as the item found.  When you post your wrap-up on the the Linky below, use your name and card fulfillment in the "name" slot to help me identify which prize drawing/s you are eligible for. Use the example which indicates the level attained. 

Bev (Gold 6-11)
Bev (12+)

If you do not blog, please use the same format to indicate your level and to list your books/items in a comment--be sure to include your name. The wrap-up post will be open until January 8, 2019 and the drawing will take place as soon as possible thereafter.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

You Read How Many Books?

hosted by Gina at Dragon's Lair

Guidelines are pretty simple. Choose a level to aim for and submit your list at the end. My reading has slowed down the past couple years, so I'm going for the Teen level (104 books) in 2019. Hopefully, I'll exceed that.... For full details and to sign up, click the link above.

My List:
1. The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W. E. Bowman (1/2/19)
2. The Winter Women Murders by David A Kaufelt (1/5/19)
3. Died in the Wool by Ngaio Marsh (1/7/19)
4. I Am Capatin Kirk by Frank Berrios (1/8/19)
5. I Am Mr. Spock by Elizabeth Schaefer (1/8/19)
6. An African Millionaire by Grant Allen (1/10/19)
7. Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L Sayers (1/12/19)
8. The Dead Shall Be Raised by George Bellairs (1/13/19)
9. The Murder of a Quack by George Bellairs (1/14/19)
10. A Whiff of Cyanide by Guy Fraser-Sampson (1/15/19)
11. The Haunted Man & The Haunted House by Charles Dickens (1/16/19)
12. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (1/18/19)

Mystery Reporter's Challenge 2019

Sponsored by Ellie at Dead Herring 
Thru Goodreads Group: The Challenge Factory

The challenge runs from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019.

Who? What? Where? When? How?
Why? – because it’s fun to read!

Read books that fulfill the various categories under the reporter's standard questions.

Cub Reporter complete:
Columnist complete:
News Anchor complete:
Editor complete:  

Newspaper Mogul complete:  

BONUS CATEGORY: Pulitzer Prize Winner (Newspaper Mogul plus Bonus Category) = 30 books COMPLETE:  

As in past years, my declared commitment will be for Cub Reporter and I can consider the challenge fulfilled at that level. My ultimate goal will, of course, be to try for all thirty books--but I can see some tricky ones on the list, especially since I want to fulfill all my challenges with books I own. Not sure I have any more books with people who with animals. We'll see... 

Protagonist is a librarian: Murder at the 42nd Street Library by Con Lehane
Protagonist works with animals: 

Protagonist dabbles in the supernatural: Gaslight Grotesque: Nightmare Tales of Sherlock Holmes by J.R. Campbell & charles Prepolec, eds [Holmes takes on the supernatural]
Main Character is a dead person (ghost, skeleton, vampire, zombie…anybody who is dead): The Holmes-Dracula File by Fred Saberhagen
Protagonist is a youngster (25 yrs old or younger: Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden story

Animal in the title [NOT dog or cat]: The Serpent & the Scorpion by Clare Langley-Hawthorne
Title is at least 6 words: 

Color in the title:
A "food word" in the title: The Eel Pie Murders by David Frome
Weather element in the title: The Foggy, Foggy Dew by Charity Blackstock

Set in a small town: The Dead Shall Be Raised by George Bellairs (1/13/19)
Set in a big city:
Set in a B&B or hotel: The Cannibal Who Overate by Hugh Pentecost [hotel]
Set in a state beginning with letter "A": The Long Green by Bart Spicer [Arizona]
Out on foreign soil [not US or England]:

Set in the 1900s: The Murder of a Quack by George Bellairs [1942] (1/14/19)
Set during a competition: Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams [scavenger hunt]

Set in the 1800's: An African Millionaire by Grant Allen [1897] (1/10/19)
"Ticking clock" is involved [timing crucial to solving mystery]:
Set during winter:

(Method of Murder)
Poison: A Whiff of Cyanide by Guy Fraser-Sampson (1/15/19)
Gun/shooting: Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers (1/12/19)
Blunt object:
Rope/strangulation: Died in the Wool by Ngaio Marsh [asphyxiated] (1/10/19)

WHO - Not your typical protagonist [blind, deaf, wheel-chair bound, ADHD, Aspergers, etc): Death Knell by Baynard Kendrick [blind detective]
WHAT – Protagonist's first name starts with your 1st or last initial: Beverly Gray book
WHERE – Set in a school:
WHEN – Set during a storm:
HOW - Killed by Fire: Stewart Sterling Book

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Holiday Yarn: Review

A Holiday Yarn (2010) by Sally Golden Baum takes place, as one might guess, in the days leading up to Christmas. Mary Pisano has been hard at work turning her family's Massachusett's home (and her recent inheritance) into a charming Bed and Breakfast. All her friends in Sea Harbor have been encouraging and helping her--and she's so close to putting the finishing touches on it. But then she opens the house to her family--for the traditional clan gathering. Oh, not for holiday cheer exactly--but to go over the family finances and see how everyone has been taking care of their portion of the inheritance from the Pisano patriarch, Enzo Pisano. 

Mary's cousin, Pamela, is one of the few people who don't think a B&B is such a stellar idea. But then, Pamela doesn't seem to think any idea that she didn't come up with is all that. Pam stirs up trouble among her relatives and manages to ruffle feathers all over town. So, we really shouldn't be all that surprised when she's found dead of a gunshot wound--sprawled in a snowdrift outside the future B&B. Her murderer tried to make it look like suicide, but either forgot or never realized that their victim was left-handed. Planting the revolver in Pam's right hand was just their first mistake. And Nell and the Seaside Knitters are ready to pounce on other mistakes and hunt for clues to help Chief Jerry Thompson find Pam's murderer and keep the rumor mill from blaming Mary and her Bed & Breakfast for bringing a murderer to their town.

This was a nice, middle-of-the-road cozy mystery. With more emphasis on cozy than on mystery--it is a comfortable little book about good friends in a small town who knit and eat and, apparently, occasionally solve murder together. [After all, this is book four of a series that currently has 13 entries...] The characters show a nice, diverse slice of small-town life without being cardboard cutouts or stereotypes. It was also refreshing to have a theme-based [knitting] cozy where the theme didn't overshadow the whole book. The knitting references were worked into the story carefully and it didn't feel like they were shoe-horned in. The mystery isn't terribly complicated, but that was all to the good for me--it's a busy time of the year and it was nice to settle down with an easy, charming little mystery. ★★

[Finished 12/24/18]

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Challenge Complete: Official 2018 TBR Pile

I finally managed to get Thank You, Jeeves read--which means I have finished all 14 books (including alternates) for Adam's Official 2018 TBR Pile Challenge. I'm so glad Adam found the time to sponsor this one again--it's one of the few challenges I do where I have to lock myself in for certain books. It helps me focus a portion of my reading for the year.

 Here's my list with review links:

1. Act One, Scene One--Murder by A. H. Richardson (2016) [1/30/18]
2. Thank You, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse (1933) [12/22/18]
3. Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett (1929) [11/12/18]
4. Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner (1942) [3/30/18]
5. Rear Window Story Collection by Cornell Woolrich (1942) [5/9/18]
6. Murder at Midnight by C. S. Challinor (2014) [7/23/18]
7. The Hellfire Conspiracy by Will Thomas (2007) [6/1/18]
8. Then There Were Three by Geoffrey Homes (1938) [4/30/18]
9. Women Sleuths by Martin H. Greenberg & Bill Pronzini, eds (1985) [7/21/18]
10. Gun in Cheek by Bill Pronzini, ed (1987) [6/27/18]
11. The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson (1889) [4/3/18]
12. With Blood & Kisses by Richard Shattuck (1941) [2/23/18]

1.  I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (1948) [8/5/18]
2. Payoff for the Banker by Frances & Richard Lockridge (1945) [3/15/18]

Thank You, Jeeves: Review

Bertie Wooster is (big surprise) cheerfully causing trouble. This time he disrupts his home life with a banjo. He's recently discovered this delightful instrument and is determined to master it. His dedicated but untuneful playing cause his neighbors to complain to the building manager and he's given an ultimatum--either he ditches the banjo or he and the banjo must go. He opts to go. When Jeeves finds that Bertie plans to move the household to a cottage in the country so he can practice in peace, he regretfully submits his resignation. Next thing we know, Bertie is staying at one of his friend Chuffy's cottage (Chuffy being a Baron with a huge estate and loads of land, random cottages, and no money) and Jeeves is up at the manor house as Chuffy's valet.

Further shenanigans ensue when Bertie's ex-fiancee, Pauline Stoker, shows up with her rich papa who is interested in taking the estate off Chuffy's hands and filling them (Chuffy's hands) with money in exchange. Chuffy promptly falls in love with Pauline and she with him, but of course the path of true love is strewn with problems. Will Bertie be willing to sacrifice another bit of his reputation to see his friend happily married with a land deal in the bargain? And more importantly, will he ever give up the banjo and get Jeeves back into his service where he belongs?

So...a few years ago (when this blog was young), I started on a little P. G. Wodehouse reading jag. I read several of his Blandings Castle books and one non-series book and, for the most part, I thought they were hilarious. I've watched several of the Jeeves & Wooster episodes with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie...and, for the most part, I thought those were hilarious too. While I was on my reading jag, I (as I'm wont to do) also went on a buying binge and scooped up Wodehouse books whenever they came my way. 

Well...apparently my funny bone isn't tickled in the same way as it was about seven years ago. Or I'm just not in the right frame of mind for Bertie Wooster's silliness. I mean to say, it all started out okay. I was smiling over Bertie's efforts to play the banjolele (as he calls it) and how he annoyed the neighbors and even drove Jeeves to leave his employment because of his enthusiastic practicing. But then the humorous bottom just fell out. I wasn't appreciating the bucolic country setting. I didn't think much of Bertie's plan to help his friend Chuffy get the girl--by kissing her himself. And most of the supporting characters weren't as fun (or funny) as I remembered Wodehouse characters being from my previous experiences. Jeeves, of course, is marvelous (and saved the book for me) with his wide knowledge of literature (a quotation for every occasion) and his fantastic way of smoothing all that is ruffled, pouring just the right amount of oil on troubled waters, and unobtrusively orchestrating everything towards a happy ending. ★★

I've got other Jeeves books on the TBR pile...I think I'll put them off for a bit. Maybe my Wodehouse funny bone will come back.

Outdo Yourself Challenge

The Outdo Yourself Challenge is sponsored by Corinne at Everyday Gyaan. The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more in 2019 than you did in 2018. There are various levels (see below). 

You can move up a level as often as you’d like but no moving down. Remember, the idea is to challenge yourself.
Books can be any format (print, ebook, audio).
Books can be any genre (fiction, nonfiction, romance, mystery, etc.).
Novellas that are 100 pages in length (give or take), as well as full-length novels, will count for this reading challenge.
Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed. 

For full details click the link above.

Getting My Heart Rate Up: read 1–5 more books (or 250–1,499 more pages) 
Out of Breath: read 6–10 more books (or 1,500–2,749 more pages) 
Breaking a Sweat: read 11–15 more books (or 2,750–3,999 more pages) 
I’m on Fire!: read 16+ more books (or 4,000+ more pages)

I used to participate in this one regularly, but I kept outdoing myself till I felt like I just couldn't go any higher. And then middle-age (or something happened) and my reading speed dropped. But this year I seem to be going crazier than usual with challenges [I've already got 30 and 2018 isn't even over yet]. If I'm going to meet all those challenges, then I'm going to have to read more books. We'll see if signing up to Outdo myself will help motivate me. Just to be safe, I'm going to start with Out of Breath and aim for at least 134 books in 2019. 

1. The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W. E. Bowman (1/2/19)
2. The Winter Women Murders by David A Kaufelt (1/5/19)
3. Died in the Wool by Ngaio Marsh (1/10/7)
4. An African Millionaire by Grant Allen (1/10/19)
5. Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers (1/12/19)
6. The Dead Shall Be Raised by George Bellairs (1/13/19)
7. The Murder of a Quack by George Bellairs (1/14/19)
8. A Whiff of Cyanide by Guy Fraser-Sampson (1/15/19)
9. The Haunted Man & The Haunted House by Charles Dickens (1/16/19)
10. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (1/18/19)

Resist Reading Challenge

What is The Resist Reading Challenge?

***Update: Magic Resists has decided not to host after all. Unless she objects, I'm going to hang on to her Bingo card and use it for reading prompts for a little resistance-reading of my own.

In her original post, she left our goals to our own judgment. I've got my eye on at least two books that I'd like to read in 2019 (including Michelle Obama's book Becoming). In order to make it a challenge, I'm going to commit to four books. I hope to do more--but if I do four I will be able to claim the challenge as complete. I'm also going to use the Bingo card categories to help direct my choices. If I manage a bingo, that will be a bonus!

My Book List:

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Colour Scheme: Mini-Review

Possibly Spoilerific....Read at your own risk if you have any desire to read Ngaio Marsh's mysteries.

So...the last time I read Ngaio Marsh's Colour Scheme (1946), I gave it a very unenthusiastic two stars. Unfortunately, I have to report that I still don't think much of it. If you'd like a review that goes a bit more in-depth, then please see my earlier review (HERE). This time around, I'd just like to reiterate what a very long wait we have for A. the murder and B. for Alleyn to show up. And it's not like first-time readers are going to know that it's Alleyn when he does show up. Other than, obviously, the series says that it's all about Inspector Roderick Alleyn. When he does show up, there isn't the usual investigation. Quite honestly, most of the detective work goes on off-stage and the only point where alibis and what-not are examined is when the household gathers for a little pow-wow while the local police are off collecting clues or some such thing. 

The best thing about the book is the way Marsh brings Maori culture and people into the story without making a major production of it. It's just there, so to speak, and the reader absorbs it along the way without having to think about it or be distracted by it too much. Her descriptions of the countryside is particularly good as well. And I do like the characters of Dikon Bell and Barbara well s Barbara's uncle, Dr. Akrington, and his bickering relationship with his brother.

Currently, this is my lowest-rated Marsh book. I'm on a mission to reread her novels (most of them as part of the Ngaio Marsh Reading Challenge this year and next on Goodreads), so we'll see if any others disappoint me in the future. ★★

{It may seem hard to believe...but , and this is definitely a spoiler, the method of murder really is in the title.}

The Official 2019 TBR Pile Challenge

I'm so glad that Adam from Roof Beam Read is hosting the Official TBR Pile Challenge on a regular basis again. This is one of the first challenges I did when I started blogging and I love the ones that help me knock out some of those books that have been sitting around for a while.

Here's the main point: If you join Adam's challenge, then you will sign up to read 12 books from your TBR list. You're allowed two alternates just in case you can't finish a book for whatever reason. Each of these books must have been on your TBR list for AT LEAST one year and none of the books may have a publication date of 1/1/18 or  later.

For the full run-down of the challenge details, click on the link above, read the rules, and join me in my quest to reduce the teetering stacks.

Here's my list:

1. An African Millionaire by Grant Allen (1897) [1/10/19]
2. Final Curtain by Ngaio Marsh (1947)
3. The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Warren Adams (1862)
4. The Man Born to Be King by Dorothy L, Sayers (1943)
5. The Barrakee Mystery by Arthur W. Upfield (1929)
6. Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter (1909)
7. Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal (2012)
8. The Lover by Laura Wilson (2004)
9. Dr. Fell & Other Stories by John Dickson Carr (1947)
10. Miss Agatha Doubles for Death by H. L. V. Fletcher (1947)
11. And Hope to Die by Richard Powell (1947)
12. The Fate of the Immodest Blonde by Patrick Quentin (1947)

13. The Two-Pound Tram by William Newton (2013)
14. The Cream of Crime: More Tales from Boucher's Chest by Jeanne F. Bernkopf (1969)

Monday, December 17, 2018

Birth Year Reading Challenge 2019

Well...I failed miserably at J.G.'s Birth Year Reading Challenge for 2018. I took advantage of the option to read from the birth year of a family member and had high hopes to read 13 books from my mom's birth year (1947). Yeah...that didn't happen. So far I've got four done and might get a fifth (but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you....). So, I'm going to give 1947 another try. I'm going to be a bit more conservative for 2019 and say that my challenge goal will be six books. Hopefully, I'll manage more than that, but if I make six then I will be able to claim the challenge as complete.

Books still remaining on the TBR pile from 1947:

The Bells of Old Bailey by Dorothy Bowers
Dr. Fell & Other Stories by John Dickson Carr
Dark Interlude by Peter Cheyney
The Rose & the Yew Tree by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
With Intent to Deceive by Manning Coles
The Angry Heart by Leslie Edgely
The Velvet Fleece by Lois Eby & John C. Fleming
Miss Agatha Doubles for Death by H. L. V. Fletcher
The Lady Regrets by James M. Fox
The Case of the Lazy Lover by Erle Stanley Gardner
The Clue of the Runaway Blonde/The Clue of the Hungry Horse by Erle Stanley Gardner
The Whispering Death by Roy Vickers
By Hook or By Crook by Anthony Gilbert
Close Quarters by Michael Gilbert
He Didn't' Mind Danger by Michael Gilbert
They Never Looked Inside by Michael Gilbert
A Night of Errors by Michael Innes
San Francisco Murders by Joseph Henry Jackson
A Halo for Nobody by Henry Kane
Prelude to a Certain Midnight by Gerald Kersh
Death of a Doll by Hilda Lawrence
Final Curtain by Ngaio Marsh
The Shadowy Third by Marco Page
The Riddles of Miss Withers by Stuart Palmer
Miss Withers Regrets by Stuart Palmer
And Hope to Die by Richard Powell
The Restless Corpse by Alan Pruit
The Fate of the Immodest Blonde [aka Puzzle for Pilgrims] by Patrick Quentin
Murder at the Mardi Gras by Elisabet M. Stone
Silver Wings for Vicki by Helen Wells
Cold Bed in the Clay by Ruth Sawtell Wallis