Checking On Ethereal!

Hello, at the beginning of October!  I am checking on Ethereal reading.  Because we run from February, I didn’t rush with the first post.  Suddenly, summer was here.  You must have vacationed and preferred the outdoors, isn’t that right?  We are Canadian prairie gardeners who savour our produce and constantly-blooming flowers!  I checked WordPress and Goodreads daily for comments, questions, or chat from all my dear subscribers.  I reply to activity that pops up.

Thanks to e-mails from Sue and Bev about not seeing comment boxes among the review pages, I belatedly discovered there are none!  I don’t know why that technical omission occurred.  If it hampered conversation, I am sorry.  There are comment boxes in the original challenge posts.  I wrote general articles that welcomed discussion:  about gardening and properly identifying the “cozy mystery”.  My articles and goings-on are open to all.

I am sorry I could not do a mid-year prize activity.  Because it’s a hard financial year and we are only about five per group:  would you mind if I held one year-end draw for all four reading challenges?  It so happens many are in my other groups.  Now:  a summary!


This group is dear because there used to be no place for all paranormal, spiritual, and mystical flavour.  There used to be none geared for adults, nor catering to ghosts.  I made a place for all magical, fantasy, and mystical content. More people need to hear about us.  I am eager to browse book possibilities in this category but don’t know if anyone besides me has used this group’s review page yet.  If you haven’t linked-up so far, I look forward to it.  If you are a non-reviewer who needs someplace to list your titles, the original sign-up post is fine.  I’ll see if the missing comment boxes can be reversed.  There is ample time to discuss our themes in more detail but I owed a catch-up summary.

The special news in this category, which I blogged about months previously, is that a decades-long search for exciting ghost literature is requited!  Since I became an adult I found non-cozy, non-horror ghost stories nearly non-existent, with a 30 year-old protagonist.  One part of the solution is that I do need to peek into the horror label to find these treats, which are not horrific but indeed the magical spiritual encounters I have sought.  The other answer is that too many authors really did think the fun stuff belonged to “young adults” but many more authors our sating our hunger for grown-up material of our favourite kind.  Wendy Webb, Karen White, and Mary Ellen Taylor are excellent.

My new favourite is Amanda Stevens!  Used copies of her graveyard architect series cannot go on sale fast enough!  Do you know of her?  They are the perfect books:  everything I have sought in adult mysteries!  Her heroine explores mysterious puzzles more than chasing a criminal, which is precisely MY KIND OF MYSTERY!  They ooze enchantment and suspense from the first page and are five-star calibre.  I love them so much (and they go on sale so slowly) that I tried to space out the two I obtained…  only to discover a mere two or three months went between them!  I found a standalone novel at a charity sale, called “The Doll-Maker” and wonder how little time will stretch before I open that story.  Who are your five-star authors?

The most surprising update is that last week, I reencountered a workplace friend who cherished knowing me years ago and hadn’t forgotten me either!  She was determined to be an authoress when I knew her and has succeeded. When sharing my relief that authors of grown-up ghost literature are beginning to emerge, she revealed that she is such a writer and has such a book slated for publication this January!  Keep your eye on J.H. Moncrieff!  I could not be happier to end that drought.  Today I find probably thirty titles from which to choose.  Next month, I hope to receive Amazon Canada gift certificates for my birthday!  :)

If you would like to reach me via e-mail, please be advised of a change:  RIEDELFascination[at]gmail[dot]com.

I feel gratitude, pleasure, and camaraderie for all of you reading this blog and commenting on my reviews.  Thank you for sharing a wonderful outlet of expression and acquainting me.  To my WordPress peers not involved in literature:  I will post general articles soon!

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Checking On Celtic Coasts!

Hello at the beginning of October!  It is time to check on the participants of my challenge quartet.  Because we run from February, I didn’t rush with the first post in the spring.  I thought I’d give folks a few months with their reading material but before I knew it, it was summer.  Then I thought people must be on vacation or focusing on the outdoors.  We are definitely gardeners and prairie Canadians who savour greenery and the heat.  Now that we are picking most of our produce but still blessed with constantly-blooming flowers….  it seems a surprise to find ourselves in the tenth month of the year!

Please know I have checked WordPress and Goodreads daily for comments, questions, or chat from participants and all of my dear subscribers.  I reply to any activity that pops up.  Thanks to e-mails from Sue and Bev about not seeing a comment box among the four review pages, I belatedly discovered that there are none!  I don’t know why that technical omission occurred nor how to fix it.  If that hampered conversation I am sorry.  There are comment boxes in the original challenge posts and I wrote a few general articles that welcomed discussion:  for example about gardening and properly identifying the “cozy mystery”.  I don’t label my articles as challenge discussions because we are so few that if the majority don’t jump in on them or other activities, no one does.  My general subscribers would think they didn’t qualify for the discussion so I leave my articles and activities open to all.  Let’s see if we reel in more members this winter.

Finances are tough this year, so I am sorry I could not do a mid-year prize activity as I had hoped.  I found participation low even the years in which more people had joined but again, this is something that a burst in numbers would eliminate.  Because it’s a hard-up year financially and we are also only about five per group:  would you mind if I held one year-end draw for all four reading challenges?  If that would disappoint you, please speak up but it so happens that many of you are in more than one group.  Now:  a short summary!


This is a new group I was excited to unveil this year and I am happy that a couple of new people came aboard and loyal returning challengers were thrilled with it too.  There is often a Scottish one going by one hostess or another but we needed something to cover all the Celtic countries.  Coincidentally I finally have fiction set in Wales, pleased it has somewhere to go.  I probably have as much Irish material as I do Scottish and am overdue to treat myself to Maeve Binchy again.  Having lost her recently at only my Mom’s age, I savour her with reverence.  She is my rarity;  general fiction without belonging to the paranormal or mystery.

For our reading challenges:  do you prefer that I set target levels, or do you like them open and unlimited?  I removed them, except where I had already created fun diagrams, because I don’t want a scenario in which a member laments that they “didn’t finish”.  Our groups are creative places to share everything you DO finish!  :-)  How are you enjoying this new outlet?  Is it steering you towards Celtic authors and settings?  I always read something Celtic but have checked-off several new names this year.

It was a shame to dislike the first Ellis Peters novel but perhaps she grew less wordy in the next novel?  I have gathered a plethora of them!  I need to take the second Marion C. Beaton plunge.  I loathed “Death Of A Gossip” but was reassured her others are far, far better.  Thank goodness.  I’ll rip off that band-aid soon.  I also have a ton of her two series, even first-edition hardcovers.  Egads!

Three positive surprises were:  “Secrets Of The Lighthouse” by Santa Montefiore, “The Ghost & Mrs. Muir” by Josephine Aimee Campbell Leslie, and “Jewels Of The Sun” by Nora Roberts, surprisingly.  I don’t read romance!  It was the paranormal elements of all three that drew me.  Santa’s and Nora’s highly enjoyable stories depict Ireland and the late Josephine Aimee Campbell Leslie is Irish.  I seem to be tripping over an abundance of new Celtic-oriented authors and I am enjoying these journeys.

If you would like to reach me via e-mail, please be advised of a change:  RIEDELFascination[at]gmail[dot]com.

I feel gratitude, pleasure, and camaraderie for all of you in my groups, reading this blog, and commenting on my reviews.  Thank you for giving me a wonderful outlet of expression and for acquainting you.  To my WordPress peers not involved in literature:  I will post general articles soon!

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About gardening, from Manitoba!

Hello from the sunny spring of Manitoba!  How are you?

I enjoy thinking my readers are likely gardening now as Ron & I are.  To share a little about that with you:  we live in what is called “Hardiness Zone 3”.  It is a frost date scale that I’m unsure growers in tropical countries pay attention to:  do they?  The larger the digit, the warmer your region, thus we sit near the bottom.  However that has nothing to do with profusion of growth.  It is green all around us, trees nearly finished leafing, grass and dandelions already in their glory and perennial flowers and plants already flourishing.  Our last, telling bird arrivals have returned home too:  gold finches, hummingbirds, and Baltimore orioles.  When they are with us, by gosh:  it is summer!  I can thank Orioles at our window, for the last exceptionally beautiful photographs of our cat Love, with his brother Conan.

We can grow anything from spring to summer;  even through autumn, to a late winter arrival, as “annual plants”.  Soil affects pickier plants but is of little issue because standard soil can certainly be added and the right moisture maintained:  consistently moist, or dry and well-drained.  Our natural environment is prairie forestland and marshland, with semi clay and sand;  quite neutral and easy for garden plants.  The only vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers we could not grow would be those requiring longer growth spans than Manitoba’s period of warm weather has.  Otherwise the hardiness zone chart is for telling us that certain flowers and plants which might re-grow each year in other lands (hence “perennial”), are seasonal, annual beauties for us.

It also suggests when we might begin sowing.  If you consult this chart, you’ll see that these details come down to a region’s last frost date.  Ours is May 25th and has only just passed two days ago.  However this year has yielded an early, very warm spring for us, so we said “what the heck” and got started!  I am ecstatic that we are done all four of the food gardens we plant and are also finished planting three of our five flowerbeds!  There is a “flower hill” Ron & I created in our east field meeting the forest, which we switched to perennial flowers last year.  I already have the pleasure of seeing them rise but have soil to add, a little more weeding to do, an annual flowers to sprinkle on it.  Then there is a fresh, special, different tableau every year.

Lastly, I am half-finished the profusion of hanging baskets and flowerboxes I lavish upon both of our small dwellings;  our main house and our library / workshop a few steps away.  In Canada, there is an essential campaign urging people who haven’t so far grown a forest of flowers like we do, to do so now in order to restore our population of bees.  Food doesn’t grow without them and I imagine the United States should or does have a similar campaign.  If you can grow or put a few flowers out even in pots, this is the year to help North American bees surge.  I have found that sunflowers attract them like nobody’s business but all flowers get visited.

The one downside to my homeland, which has no dangerous reptiles, amphibians, or insects and receives no warm weather wind storms except a highly rare tornado, is our frost.  I am prepared to let my plants dry up and rest if winter is here for good.  A great grief and frustration is that I have seen half of November continue without snow cover but a few nights of frost can spoil things:  brief dips below 0 degrees Celsius.  These are a danger in September, even if the daytime highs are well above zero for a couple more months.  Can we whisk hanging plants inside and cover the outdoor gardens with blankets;  the food ones at least that are still growing?  You bet:  with everything we have!  Sheets, quilts, towels….  I have even grabbed pillowcases, hand towels and facecloths to fill gaps in.  Of course, they shouldn’t go more than about three days without peeking at the sun so if it is safe, or if it has been that long:  I uncover all of them.  If overnight frost is a threat, we protect our plants again.

I don’t excuse anyone or anything perishing before their time if there is anything I can do about it!  You certainly saw that when we were anguished to lose our four year-old white kitty, “Love”, on July 31, 2014.  I will be very sorry to acknowledge that I have missed him for two years.  But his remains are well-honoured and you can guess how.  Perhaps we might even grin about it:  flowers!  To honour our gorgeous cat, one of our sons and to make his resting place the least sad possible, we have made a flowerbed of it too.  At least 100 Marigolds bloomed upon it last year, which is special because it is his young Mother’s name.  He also has an orange Sister named Petal, so a token of her is always present too.  His Brother, Conan O’Brien is also, obviously orange!  Not least is his twin sister Angel Petunia, a white tabby like Love.  How our pure orange Marigold had two white children, I don’t know.

Our two elder kitties are happy and well.  McCartney Hendrix is fifteen years-old, until he welcomes his birthday next month and Spirit Penny is eleven until July.  Me?  I am forty-three years-old and about to pick up my first prescription glasses!  It is only small print reading that has gotten away from me:  this still amounts to excellent vision, doesn’t it?  It is alien to me and the optometrist I consulted was neither sensitive, reassuring, nor clearly informative the way I needed.  However I have heard that vision can literally be corrected and restored.  I think the function of glasses is not merely a magnifying glass to boost what you see.  I think they make sure that our vision strength does not dip anymore and might indeed restore what you had;  even if I have additionally heard that this does not pan out for everyone.

June will be special doubly:  for McCartney and Father’s day and because it will mark a full year of survival since Mom had bypass surgery!  She thought that she would live many years longer if she got through this year and she is doing that.  My parents had a very nice Mother’s day here, with our vegetarian home-cooked food and our vista of spring.  I believe that we are going to be treated to a year in which our plants will not perish without all the time they need to grow and bloom.  It had been my dream to see all of them finish growing and we succeeded last October and November, with a late winter and our blankets against cold nights.  This year we have an exceptionally good head start.  I will sign off to finish those flower baskets and boxes, hoping you enjoy my update and wishing all of you a joyous spring!

A post about this year’s four reading groups will be coming.  I enjoy sharing our progress and reassuring members we remain active.  On a separate subject:  I express sad condolences to the numerous citizens of Fort McMurray, Alberta for losing their homes to an awful forest fire!  I pray your entire families of people and animals are safe but personal possessions and sanctuaries are no small things.  I imagine plants are the last things on your minds.  If seeds were wanted, my prairie cousins need only ask.  Caddy Lake and Westhawk Lake, Manitoba:  I am sorry you were threatened by a serious and frightfully close fire.  I am glad to hear your homes, cottages, and you are safe.  Prayers, healing, and relief to all of our rattled Canadians.

Do you garden?  I started with apartment plants.  My parents gardened, which they are reprising shortly.  Mom’s living room is full of plants and we exchange.  We kept African violet shoots for at least thirty years, from her Mother!  I will write again to converse about what we are growing.  Food prices are a concern, thus we are glad we circumvent that for at least half of each year and share our produce with family.  Yours sincerely, Carolyn.


*  I am eager to get this new post out but will add pictures soon.  Early bird visitors, please return to view them.  :)

Posted in Canadian, Cats, Gardening / Plants / Flowers | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Definition Of The Broad “Cozy Genre”.

My blog celebrates its fifth anniversary!  Please enjoy the kitty photographs I share relating to the formation of RIEDEL Fascination.  My blog’s foremost purpose is to furnish a writer with a public place to write and invite conversations.  One of my first articles was an essay on the gothic mystery;  the standalone dominant fiction genre from the 1940s to 1990, replaced by “cozy mystery series”, in terms of mass-production.  Thankfully there are still “standard” and “gothic mysteries“.  I recommend starting with that article because it covers a lot of ground on the path today’s genre has taken, of which readers are likely unaware.

The natural segue leads me to an essay on “the cozy mystery”, in which my readership is as unpredicable as my bowling.  I am among the throngs owning these career-themed products, however I am not often enamoured by their quality.  I propose that “the cozy mystery” is derived of two types.  First, let’s settle the vagueness of its core!  I have never seen a more mislabelled genre, with authors like Agatha Christie lumped into it who do not belong, (not the Hercule Poirot suite) and any mystery with a pretty cover painted with the same brush.  A genre is defined by content.  I strongly recommend that we forget “Wikipedia” and the commonly-quoted “cozy” website, in favour of a fundamental definition we readers and reviewers agree upon!  If this core criteria matches your gauge of these books, we could clarify its definition once and for all and quote *this article*.

WHITTLED DOWN TO BASICS:  “cozy” refers to mysteries that aren’t gory or violent.  If they contain a murder (a crime is not necessary, nor synonymous with a mystery), we do not witness it.  A character encounters the aftermath.  Sexuality, unfortunately for adult readers, is watered-down and hinted at more than it is demonstrated.  This genre comes in the form of series that highlight a career:  a psychic, book collector, baker….  Plots are normally simple.  The usual blueprint is a body and a protagonist who does not rely on police to discover why.

Tone is as light as plot singularity.  Few of these series generate suspense;  these novels aren’t scary.  To the contrary they are pervaded by jocularity.  These things comprise the skeletal definition of a “cozy mystery”.  I loathe this diminutive term but imagine this title is going to stick.  I add lastly that novels of a “Nancy Drew” and “Hardy Boys” nature do not belong, with a youth demographic.  “Cozy mysteries” are for all intents and purposes, an adult genre.

SECONDARILY:  I have observed an expanded trait, submitted separately from the basic definition.  In the majority of cases, unfortunately there is also a spareness of quality.  There are exceptions I treasure and then hesitate to put in this category!  However the fact is, “cozy mysteries” do not tend to be the domain of the masterful writer.  This is why an avalanche of these novels tumbles forth every week, including the endless appearance of new authors;  or re-named ones who abound with ideas for yet another series.  If you can think of a new career theme, like a florist, and contrive a reason why an ordinary person would discover a corpse and enlist themselves to investigate its presence:  you have yourself “a cozy mystery”.  Quality writing, fascinating dialogue, brilliant plotting seldom factor into these carbon-copied productions and readers know that.  They simply love to knit, for example and are in it for the hobby.  If we possess the discernment between a masterful author and a trundled-out story, there is nothing wrong with that.

My favourite authors, in this genre, exemplify a gratefully-appreciated pallet of exceptions!  JULIET BLACKWELL pens a witch series containing the most creative mystery of all:  stories that do not feature a crime!  Some characters were villainous for other reasons;  dilemmas of a paranormal nature for instance.  Canada’s LYN HAMILTON too, did not always depict crimes and even when they occurred, her premises focused on archaeological legend and mystique.  In subject matter, Canada’s CHARLOTTE MACLEOD is admittedly as “cozy” as it gets.  It is her creative situations and literary skill that set her apart.  She is one of those authors with such an elevated calibre of eloquence;  it dawns on us that our vocabularies aren’t as vast!  Her way with words enthralls me by itself.  I get very pissed off if anyone automatically dismisses an author’s writing as “fluff”, because a lighter atmosphere places their premise under this heading.  Writing talent needs to be considered with open eyes, on an author by author basis.  CHARLOTTE’s writing is exceptional.  JULIET’s subject matter can be dark.  Neither of them are “fluff”.

For this reason, it has occurred to me that “the cozy genre” comes in two forms.
An author or series might receive this categorization because their mysteries aren’t very complex, their subject matter indeed light, and writing prowess not very high.  It is another “found a body” mystery, with a career backdrop slid into place, like a hastily-changed theatre production.  Same scenario, different coffee shop, right!?

ALTERNATIVELY, we have seen that it is possible for a superb author, with more compelling subject matter, to fit this genre because sexuality, gore, and violence are toned-down.

When there is a skilful author, heavy subject matter, and impressive plot complexity:  I call it a “STANDARS MYSTERY“.  Depending on its style and not necessarily age, it might also be defined:  a “CLASSIC MYSTERY“.  This is where I feel Agatha Christie’s “Hercule Poirot” series belongs.  The detective’s personality might be amusing and infinitely familiar to us but Agatha’s vocabulary was astounding.  Her plots wove in unprecedented directions, some of the situations gruesome, and characters have perished on-stage.  This series should most certainly not be called “light” or “simple”.  Does this make better sense, after defining genres at the bare bones level?

I caution against this mistake with pretty covers.  A cute cover does not equal “a cozy mystery”.  CLEA SIMON is a stark example because her chief topic is cats:  a loveable topic to me without question.  Her subject matter however, is too dark for this label.  The opener of one series contained a a threat of sexual assault.  Her character was also in danger of ingesting drugs at a night club.  This novel discussed the mistaken stigma of hoarding and execution of stray animals was threatened!  THERE IS NOT ONE “COZY” THING ABOUT ANY OF THIS.  Unfortunately, most people would categorize Clea’s series this way.

There is the fundamental definition of this genre and its two forks:  quality authorship with light subject matter, or simple writing altogether.  I hope I have guided readers on how to gauge content on an author by author basis.  “Cozy” writing cannot automatically be called “fluff”, no more than all series with eyecatching covers can be compounded into this genre.  Please always consider that there are “gothic“, “standard“, and “classic” mysteries too.

For fun:  which series or authors have you found mislabelled?  DAVID HANDLER is another.  The crime backgrounds are horrible and dialogue is adult.  JASMINE GALENORN’S ghost mysteries are dark and sexuality, hardcore.  Not our usual tea shop owner!

All of my reviews are in the menu called “Mine“, above.  If we have read the same books, I would love to see your reviews.  Mystery and other readers are certainly invited to my four groups:  like My Kind Of Mystery!

Posted in Book / Novel / Literature, Language / Grammar / Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments


A subject that has prompted me to a post is something I noticed on the Oscar awards show.  I seldom watch.  Sad, dreary films that tend to win are no more what I watch than what I read.  I understand dismal emotions are tough portrayals worth recognizing.  Fun, fantastical films that spark imaginations in a happier way, like the upcoming “Ghostbusters III”, don’t get on the bill.  I watched this time because my spouse was.

I was pleased for the lovely woman JENNY BEAVAN, winning her second Oscar thirty years apart, as BEST COSTUME DESIGNER of the year.  She was responsible for the “Mad Max:  Fury Road” costumes.  Dystopia isn’t my thing but I applaud her.  I see articles about disapproving of her casual outfit but that is not what I am speaking of.  Her acceptance was nice, at a reasonable length.  In closing she very briefly and respectfully added, as I remember:  “I think “Mad Max” is prophetic because what it depicts could happen.  We need to take care of our world to make sure that doesn’t ever happen“.  How many of you observed the same thing I am relating?

What was rude and appalling is that the instant JENNY BEAVAN politely, briefly said she had one thing to add and was clearly closing a reasonable speech:  the Academy awards personnel blared music!  Goodness, she wasn’t saying anything convtraversial and she only proceeded for one more very polite and important sentence!  There was no soapbox, it wasn’t about politics, it is the nicest, gentlest cautionary remark about the environment I have ever seen.  If only everyone were so brief and calm on this subject.  People are ruffled about “Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy” getting cut off by the Academy, which was inappropriate too.  Good on you for speaking up, Ms. Chinoy!  Nobody appears to be talking about the same happening to JENNY BEAVAN at her brief addendum;  therefore I am writing about it.

A remark arose that was more appalling than the Academy’s rude, unnenecessary censorship attempt.  Thankfully I did hear JENNY BEAVAN.  Joy Behar of “The View”, did not.  She declared:  “Leonardo DiCaprio was the only one who said anything of substance”.  I could have slapped Joy Behar.  The same woman who snubbed nurses for representing themselves with stethescopes, only to find this is part of their equipment.  I dislike “The View”, since Rosie O’Donnell’s departure for a family crisis.  I channel-flipped on February 29, after I show I did watch, had closed.

I was appalled that Leonardo DiCaprio’s longer acceptance speech was not curtailed.  He launched into more assertive climate change cautions and warnings.  Please know my objection has nothing to do with his win.  It was a Canadian story that his film told.  Additionally, he spoke on a subject I support:  safeguarding our environment.  My question is, why did the Academy solely approve hearing from him?  I am certain Leonardo would agree and would like his peer to be heard as well.  He plodded on less gently than JENNY BEAVAN, at greater length, and possibly made the point less well than she did.  But it is not Leonardo DiCaprio the Academy interrupted by blaring music over him.  Why not?  Because he is a larger celebrity?  Was the music-blarer touchy early in the show and lax when it was nearly ended?  This was appalling.  Joy Behar is obviously one who missed the costume designer’s well-meaning message.

JENNY BEAVAN said it first.  Simply, amiably, calmly, respectfully:  “Mad Max” has the capacity for being prophetic, so let’s take care of our world.  I applaud this two-time Oscar-winning woman.  Did you catch her nice message through the censor attempt, as I was glad to?  Why do you think that rude moment has gotten missed?  How many of you managed to hear and appreciate what she had to say?

Jenny Beavan's Award 2016

Posted in Film / TV / Entertainment, Public Issues | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

RIEDEL Fascination’s Anniversary!

Five and a half years ago, Ron & I moved to this country town because our apartment complex would stop accepting pets after renovating.  Our cats, McCartney (15 today) and Spirit (11 today) are our lives, our sons.  Promising to help animals more when I had a house:  I welcomed young, pregnant Marigold as a foster one month in.  Her children – and ours – were born four days later:  ANGEL, LOVE (gone a year from heart failure), PETAL, and CONAN.  They are the loves of our lives, five years old now and Marigold, six.  Two metamorphosed into the happiest family of seven kitties I have ever known and I miss our seventh dearly.

Love on March 3, 2014.

As soon as our kittens were born, I told the shelter they needn’t bother enlisting me to foster.  I would keep all of them (and spay all of them of course) right here, where the infants were born.  Even Marigold had never entered the shelter but had been driven to a meeting place and given to me after being checked by a veterinarian.  I would reinburse that check-up fee and not one of them would ever see a cage.  To my shock and stress, instead of leaping at six instant homes;  the shelter was reluctant to wipe our family from their “to cage” list.  They were never officially with the shelter, could stay together, which is exceptionally rare;  and no one would love them more than Ron & I.  But because we believe in giving them air and exercise outside, this city shelter fought me.

For two months we had no one over, nor hung photographs in our new home, because we needed desperately to convince these stubborn people we would cherish our cats.  I had always wanted a blog.  I am a writer.  Five years ago, today, I suddenly had something very important to talk about and unload from my soul.  Even though I run reading groups, RIEDEL Fascination was always meant for any subject that matters to me.  My first article was published five years ago on this day, February 11, 2010!  I discussed the sinister feeling, that well-intentioned rules could have deprived five cats from the world’s best Father and Mother, had we not put our feet down and fought.  They have the right to go outside:  supervised, in daylight.



Winter Feline Parade

Familar? A portion of this extraordinary memory became my RIEDEL Fascination banner!  For the first time, I am showing you our whole photograph, today!


On the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” today, she ran a humorous segment with videos about how dogs allegedly welcome their people with more enthusiasm than cats.  She did not have a video of all of the faces that greet Ron in the window:  EVERY DAY THAT HE ARRIVES HOME from work.  By the time he opens the door, they are standing upon a ledge, couch edge, and on the floor at his feet.  Those at eye level reach up with arms to hug him, tap him with a paw, and meow at him eye to eye.  Not all cats are aloof.  Our babies have always been excited to show their love for us and are very tactile and chatty.

My New Family, Sept 2010

I love to chat too.  Every time you leave me a comment, even better than pressing the “like button”;  I feel like it is a present and I am thrilled!  I want to be read, I want to start conversations, I am very glad to know you.  So to you, subscribed to me and everyone who ever reads my words:  thank you!  I share my blog’s fifth anniversary with you today.  May our words keep flowing and be reciprocated!  Yours gratefully in central Canada, Carolyn.

Carolyn & The Four, Nov-20-2010

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My winners in 2015!

I announced this news in my tiny Goodreads sister group but it is time my blog had a nice post about the outcome of my 2015 reading group draws. I look forward to having comments recorded for posterity, as I always do. Here are my groups’ winners of 2015! I hope all of these folks return this year. The good Lord knows we need them, this dry membership year. ;) Congratulations to all of three of these guests.

The winner of Gentle Spectrums is KRISTI!  She lives close to Canada, in Illinois, USA.  Her blog is called “Books And Needlepoint”.  It is lovely that Kristi belonged to two of my 2015 challenges.  She is finializing her choices from among my prize lists.  I am pleased and curious about her selection of a previously banned but highly-awarded Manitoba classic:  “A Jest Of God” by our own Margaret Laurence.

The winner of My Kind Of Mystery is KARI!  Her blog is “Know It Not So Much” and she has been in at least two of my groups since I started, which means a great deal.  She let me choose her prizes, with a little guidance.  They left Manitoba just ahead of a blizzard.  LOL!  I am sure the treats will love living with her technologically-sound family in California, USA.

The winner of Ethereal is LuAnn!  She belonged to all three of my 2015 groups, with her blog “Back Porchervations”.  She is a home school Mom in Kentucky, USA.  She won an unusual prize.  For 2015, a sweet person I acquainted from Malaysia offered her talents for that group’s gift.  LuAnn had a choice of a numerology or tarot reading, from Hazellie!  It will be fun to hear what she picked and how she enjoyed it.

Thank you, Hazellie, for having joined ETHEREAL 2015.  I hope you return to Canada.  Offering us this prize along with your membership, was a boon to our group and generous of you.

My Kind Of Mystery 2015

Honourable mention goes to Neeru!  A warm and enthusiastic player from India, who has been in all three of my reading themes, she identified this mystery book that was our logo!  It is:  “The Black Dudley Murder” by Margery Allingham in 1929!  This gave Neeru an extra entry into our year-end prize.  Well done.  :)  Neither of us liked the book but what a colourful, enchanting, moody cover.  Please do browse our book reviews, for previous years and our new sessions.  My menus are at the top of this blog.

This year’s new MY KIND OF MYSTERY logo is very whimsical.  I would be thrilled and impressed with anyone who solves it.  We could use many more participants in the 2016 session, which now comprises a quartet of themes.  Let’s cheer our winners and wish this year’s participants a fun time.  :)

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Non Fiction And Translation

I need to refresh my skills but one thin blogosphere friends might not know about me, is that I am an accomplished linguist.  I don’t merely mean with animals.  :)  Languages are something I have always taken to with ease.  As a tiny child, I was already enthralled to make friends of other cultures.  The rare time Ron & I travel, it is our pleasure to honour host countries by doing our best to use their language.  We don’t do everything the Romans do though.  ;)  We request vegetarian food!

Pertaining to Canada, a good portion of my reading has turned to non-fiction.  Michael J. Fox’s memoirs are a must;  exceedingly well-written with a vocabulary surpassing mine visibly and hilariously engaging all at once.  I love details about Canada, be it history or autobiographies of authors, like Margaret Laurence.  A special favourite are true ghost records from individualized regions of our country.

For the third time, I’m linking my non-fiction and translation reading material with these groups.  This year:  I seriously urge Jen to visit my post and grace it with a comment from her, being hostess and all!  I don’t conside challenges without prizes a waste, if I have the pleasure of the hostess reading my contributions.  :-)  Check back for the literature I add to both places.


Just A Beginner 01-03  ~  A Conversationalist 04-06
Carolyn Is Trilingual 07-09  ~  A Top Linguist! 10-12

I will reach “Conversationalist” level for certain.  Let’s see how many more translated works I read.  A few might be in their originating languages.  :)


“The Tin Flute”  Gabrielle Roy  1947
“The Road Past Altamont”  Gabrielle Roy  1966
“The Hidden Mountain”  Gabrielle Roy  1961
“Wildflower”  Gabrielle Roy  1970
“The Secret Supper”  Javier Sierra  2004
“One-Hundred Years Of Solitude”  Gabriel García Márquez  1967


Dilettante 01-05  ~  Seeker 11-15
Explorer 06-10  ~  Master 16-20

I see I have already cleaned up the “Dilettante” level.  There will be many more.


(1)  “Lucky Man”  Michael J. Fox  2002
(2)  “The Kids Canadian Bird Book”  Pamela Hickman, Heather Collins  1995
(3)  “Let’s Go! The Story Of Getting From There To Here”  Lizann Flatt, Scot Ritchie  2007
(4)  “Eyes Of An Angel, Spirit Guides, Reality Of Love”  Paul Elder  2005
(5)  “Andrew Goes Fishing In Manitoba”  Carol & Kristin Szuminsky, Jack Brown  2008
“Made In Canada: 101 Amazing Achieve”  Bev Spencer  2003
“Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw”  Will Ferguson  2004
“Bathroom Book Of Canadian Trivia”  Angela C. Murphy  2005
“The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be”  Farley Mowat  1957
“Owls In The Family”  Farley Mowat  1961
“The Prophet’s Camel Bell”  Margaret Laurence  1963

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7 Continents & Africa

7 Continents 2016

It is my pleasure to meet Dorothee, whom I look forward to knowing as I participate in “7 Continents“.  You see immediately she is a strongly-connected hostess, answering all of her guests’ comments.  I read that she is a cancer survivor;  awful for anyone of any age to face.  It is special for me that she is German.  This is one country of my heritage I have not seen yet.  Even though I only speak and read the language mildly so far;  I always feel there’s something magical about befriending a German, right in the country.  It is as if German friends bring a stronger piece of the heritage to me.

A very happy benefit is, as a third generation Canadian RIEDEL:  I will get a break from misspellings and mispronunciations of my name!  In German-speaking countries, it is common;  the opposite of my constantly-correcting experience here!  Go on, English-speaking friends:  guess how these six little letters are supposed to be pronounced.  The goal of 7 Continents is easy on the surface:  only 7 books from each continent, with permission to replace the seldom lived-in Antartica.  That can be a book in which there is travel between any continents.

My rule is that I always draw my literature from our library.  With about 3,000 unread books here at our home – I have not counted – I can fulfill any requirements.  I will see if something connects with Antarctica.  Dorothee’s twist, to challenge us, is that authors be from the continents.  That’s a little trickier than selecting any old book depicting a country but I can do it and will keep adding literature that applies!  It is my way to keep surpassing limits all year, with whatever I find.  Please revisit my post to see the list I build.


The Kids Canadian Bird Book”  Pamela Hickman, Heather Collins  1995  (Canada)
The Union Street Bakery”  Mary Ellen Taylor  2013  (United States)

The Wyndham Case”  Jill Paton Walsh  1993  (England)
“The Hills Is Lonely”  Lillian Beckwith  1959  (Scotland)
“Central Line”  Maeve Binchy  1978  (Ireland)

“Secret Of The Samurai Sword”  Phyllis A. Whitney  1958  (Japan)

“The Forgotten Garden”  Kate Morton  2008  (Australia)

“The Midnight Side”  Natasha Mostert  2000  (Africa)

“One-Hundred Years Of Solitude”  Gabriel García Márquez  1967  (Columbia)

“The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax”  Dorothy Gilman  1971  (USA to Bulgaria!)


Kinna is a lovely, popular advocate of African and women’s literature, in Ghana.  I am rejoining her a second time, in eagerness to exceed the four books I contributed last year.  She asks for five books pertaining to Africa, with a request that three be written by Africans and not merely depicted there.  That is her twist that challenges me but drawing literature from our home library, I can do it!

Below, I will build a list of everything about Africa that I read in 2016.  It is always my intention to keep on reading beyond minimum instructions.  I must have other African-born authors but will read more by Natasha if need be.  It is handy that Margaret, from my province, lived in Africa with her husband for a few years.  Between the two, we have Kenna’s African-born literary content.


“The Midnight Side”  Natasha Mostert  2000  (Born in Johannesburg)
“The Prophet’s Camel Bell”  Margaret Laurence  1963  (Lived in Somaliland)
“The Cow-Tail Switch & Other West African Stories”  Harold Courlander  1947
“Secret Of The Tiger’s Eye”  Phyllis A. Whitney  1961  (Cape Town)
“The Mummy Case”  Elizabeth Peters  1985  (Egypt)

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Gothic Fiction 2016

Gothic Fiction 2016

I occasionally encounter reading groups that are right up my alley and which my own circles have been offering since 2014.  Even though “ETHEREAL” used the word “gothic” every year but this one, beginning on February 1….  it got missed by the audience that belongs with us!  :)

I am very happy to acquaint Diana Leigh.  It sounds like she might join “MY KIND OF MYSTERY” too;  also created with gothic mystery in mind.  Why wouldn’t everyone, who loves this stuff?  I might offer gothic paperbacks as prizes!  They are treasures to acquire.

I’d like to bring attention to a short essay I wrote three years ago.  When referencing websites that describe what “gothic mystery” is:  there are none better than the one I wrote!  Please visit it here.

Diana Leigh makes her theme easy by not sticking to books labelled “gothic”.  She welcomes us to let the feel of our reading be our gauge and so, I shall.  Please stay tuned for the material I will list, including reviews I hope you read.

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100+ In 2016


More and more, I am choosing challenges with hostesses who reward participation. So many closed crisply after new year’s eve and I spent days tallying them.  It became clear some were a waste of time.  More than not offering a prize incentive, I didn’t think the hostesses would read the posts I spent valuable holiday time filling in.  I wondered why I was bothering.  “The thrill of finishing” is insufficient.  I could do that on my own.  Hosting takes more attention and heart, than pasting a logo and thinking of a name.  I am happy to rejoin Freda because she makes doing so rewarding!

She will welcome me by visiting this post, answers comments at her blog, and is a warm Canadian I am happy to support.  Speaking of which, it is year three for my groups, girl!  :-)  The most special thing, which I cannot fathom making time to accomplish as a Mother and new wife, is looking at our reviews.  She reads all of mine!  The “helpful” button at Amazon Canada is never gladder than when she visits.  I am an author-in-training who carefully polishes 300-word reviews.  It’s my guess this is why I get away with some brief children’s literature.  I do the same full-fledged review for every book.  To be read – my articles at my own blog, as well as my reviews – is the number one gift to me.

This post will show everything I read all year.  Please give the last linky page a day or two after new year’s eve.  Nine of my books were left out.  I hated telling friends “I’m too busy with ‘reading challenges to visit during the last week of the year”.  That isn’t right.  Better still, I’m encouraging hostesses to begin in February.  I go right until the end, to push the number of books I read and review every year.  I broke 150!  My goal is to see if I maintain that with greater ease this year.  :)  Thank you for caring about our entries, Freda.  I am happy to return!


(1)  “Lucky Man”  Michael J. Fox  2002
(2)  “The Kids Canadian Bird Book”  Pamela Hickman, Heather Collins  1995
(3)  “The Sunflower’s Gift”  Ann Marie Brezovski, Patricia Trudeau  2014
“Let’s Go! The Story Of Getting From There To Here”  Lizann Flatt  2007
“Eyes Of An Angel, Spirit Guides, Reality Of Love”  Paul Elder  2005
(6)  “Andrew Goes Fishing In Manitoba”  Carol, Kristin Szuminsky, Jack Brown  2008
(7)  “The Wyndham Case”  Jill Paton Walsh  1993
(8)  “Feint Of Art”  Hailey Lind  2006
(9)  “The Union Street Bakery”  Mary Ellen Taylor  2013
(10)  “Ghost On Black Mountain”  Ann Hite  2011

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Mystery Tally & Cover Of 2015

My Kind Of Mystery 2015 guests:  have you identified this book cover, author, and year for an extra entry into our year-end prize draw?  There are no e-mails yet, so here are the hints I promised and they might as well be blunt.  ;)

My Kind Of Mystery 2015

This cover is gorgeous but I did not feel that way about its contents.  You might have seen me reading it at Goodreads.  I discussed disliking it in my mystery update post recently, on January 5.  That’s as blatent as hints can get.  All you have to do is revisit my last few books of 2015 in a Goodread’s shelf, or scan our mystery close-out post.  Heck, if you knew my books were listed in reading order, one could just check the list right here.  ;)  This is an English, female author no longer living.

Full Mystery Levels

I finished 75 mystery-related books.  Remember:  we include it all.  Phyllis A. Whitney’s excellent tutorial about how to organize ourselves to become authors helped me very much and is advice I will always remember!  Stephen King’s discussion about what horror is and how it works differently over time and via various mediums, was remarkably educational.  I gleaned far more from it than I imagined, not caring for horror but certainly applying the information to spooky moments and suspense.  Would you believe I had it on a shelf at least twenty years?  This is how it is with most of my hardcover Stephen collection.  I am reading each in that queue very occasionally.

From time to time someone opens a mystery or gothic-type group, missing mine or simply eager to do their own thing.  There is the longstanding vintage niche, the cozy niche, and an excellent gothic hostess for 2016, whom I am going to join.  Now for the third year:  there is no group like ours;  none encompassing the scope we do.  I am happy about filling that spot in our community and am determined that more clue into us.  If you enjoy the heart that goes into my circles, please help people find them.


Here are the top 6 books I treasured reading this year!
They exemplify the unique reach of “My Kind Of Mystery”.  These would not all suit other groups.  These reinforce how glad I am that our special twist works.

1.  Guide To Fiction Writing  (Genuinely helpful to my stalled manuscript)
2.  The Haunting Of Maddie Clare  (A fantastic, award-winning Canadian)
3.  The Tale Of Halcyon Crane  (Atmospheric, new Minnesota author)
4.  The Boarded-Up House  (100 year-old masterpiece!  Free as an e-book)
5.  The House On Tradd Street  (Such rare treasure-hunting for grownups!)
6.  Secrets & Mysteries Of The World  (I loved covering these mystical places).

Our 2015 review pages will be open another month at least, should you review later, when you have time.  If you are keen to start with 2016:  it doesn’t matter to me if you introduce what you’re reading now and finish in December.  I will be pleased to see you rejoining me.  A post and an e-mail is all you need this year (or an e-mail with a Goodreads shelf, if you don’t blog).
Thank you for making our groups the bright, friendly community they are!


(1) “The Palace Guard”  Charlotte MacLeod  1981
(2) “The Corpse In Oozak’s Pond”  Charlotte MacLeod  1987
(3) “Tempest In The Tea Leaves”  Kari Lee Townsend  2011
(4) “The Cat, The Quilt, And The Corpse”  Leann Sweeney  2009
(5) “Larceny And Old Lace”  Tamar Myers  1996
(6) “The Christie Curse”  Victoria Abbott  2013
(7) “The Cat Who Played Brahms”  Lilian Jackson Braun  1987
(8) “A Novena For Murder”  Sister Carol Anne O’Marrie  1984
(9) “Dyeing Wishes”  Molly MacRae  2013
(10) “Aunt Dimity Beats The Devil”  Nancy T. Atherton  2000
(11) “Mystery Of The Piper’s Ghost”  Zillah K. MacDonald  1954
(12) “Death Of A Literary Widow”  Robert Barnard  1979
(13) “The Half-A-Moon Inn”  Paul Fleischman  1980
(14) “The Riddle Of The Lonely House”  Augusta Huiell Seaman  1935
(15) “Shattered Silk”  Barbara Michaels  1986
(16) “Body Of Intution”  Claire Daniels  2002
(17) “House Of Dark Shadows”  Robert Liparulo  2008
(18) “Fool’s Gold”  Juliet Blackwell  2013
(19) “Tom’s Midnight Garden”  Philippa Pearce  1958
(20) “The Ghost Of Thomas Kempe”  Penelope Lively  1973

(21) “When Midnight Comes”  Carol Beach York  1979
(22) “The Mystery Of The Other Girl”  Wylly Folk St. John  1978
(23) “Shadows At The Fair”  Lea Wait  2002
(24) “Whose Body?”  Dorothy L. Sayers  1923
(25) “The Mystery Book Mystery”  Wylly Folk St. John  1976
(26) “Charmed”  Barbara Bretton  2011
(27) “A Vision In Velvet”  Juliet Blackwell  2014
(28) “Greystones”  Antonia Lamb  1966
(29) “Murder On Location”  Howard Engel  1982
(30) “The Unmasking Of ‘Ksan”  Eric Wilson  1986
(31) “The Lost Treasure Of Casa Loma”  Eric Wilson  1979
(32) “The Missing Chums”  Leslie McFarlane  1928
(33) “Lament For A Lounge Lizard”  Mary Jane Maffini  2003
(34) “Gold Digger”  Vicki Delany  2009
(35) “Too Hot To Handle”  Mary Jane Maffini  2007
(36) “The Sayers Swindle”  Victoria Abbott  2014
(37) “The African Quest”  Lyn Hamilton  2000
(38) “Deadly Appearances”  Gail Bowen  1990
(39) “Witchery Hill”  Welwyn Wilton Katz  1984
(40) “The Castle In The Attic”  Elizabeth Winthrop  1985

(41) “The Witch Lady Mystery”  Carol Beach York  1976
(42) “Look For Me By Moonlight”  Mary Downing Hahn  1995
(43) “Spinning In Her Grave”  Molly MacRae  2014
(44) “How To Tail A Cat”  Rebecca M. Hale  2012
(45) “Watcher In The Woods”  Robert Liparulo  2008
(46) “Danse Macabre”  Stephen King  1981
(47) “Guide To Fiction Writing”  Phyllis A. Whitney  1982
(48) “A Haunting Is Brewing”  Juliet Blackwell  2014
(49) “Too Many Secrets”  Betty Ren Wright  1997
(50) “The Cat, The Professor, & The Poison”  Leann Sweeney  2010
(51) “Advent Of Dying”  Sister Carol Anne O’Marie  1986
(52) “Secrets & Mysteries Of The World”  Sylvia Browne  2005
(53) “Murder Buys A T-Shirt”  Christy Fifield  2012
Lost Treasures, True Stories Of Discovery”  Larry Verstraete  2006
(55) “Artifacts”  Mary Anna Evans  2003
(56) “The Chardonnay Charade”  Ellen Crosby  2006
(57) “Murder Under Cover”  Kate Carlisle  2011
(58) “The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax”  Dorothy Gilman  1970
(59) “Murder Sees The Light”  Howard Engel  1984
(60) “The Haunting Of Maddie Prue”  Alfred Silver  2000

(61) “Fruit Of The Poisoned Tree”  Joyce Lavene  2006
(62) “Murder At The Mendel”  Gail Bowen  1991
Girl Sleuth, Nancy Drew & The Women Who Created Her”  Melanie Rehak  2005
(64) “The Boarded-Up House”  Augusta Huiell Seaman  1915
(65) “The Girl Next Door”  Augusta Huiell Seaman  1917
(66) “Poisoned Petals”  Joyce Lavene  2007
(67) “A Killer Plot”  Ellery Adams  2010
(68) “The House On Tradd Street”  Karen White  2008
(69) “The Night Of Four-Hundred Rabbits”  Elizabeth Peters  1971
(70) “Waiting For Willa”  Dorothy Eden  1970
(71) “The Haunting Of Maddy Clare”  Simone St. James  2012
(72) “The Tale Of Halcyon Crane”  Wendy Webb  2010
(73) “The Mystery Of The Stone Tiger”  Carolyn Keene  1963
(74) “Hunting For Hidden Gold”  Leslie McFarlane  1928
(75) “The Black Dudley Murder”  Margery Allingham  1929

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