Pray For Forest Fire Evacuees.

Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and Northwest Territories have been enduring forest fires for weeks!  We send prayer, healing, and protection to our citizens!  May we never face a fire.  Each time it rains, I give thanks for the blanket of moisture.

Once, a new neighbour panicked about a rumour.  I prayed there would be no disaster.  It worked.  A grass fire was several towns away, not approaching us.  Before we knew that, our electricity blinked out.  I packed all night.  Since that day:  pet carriers for our kitties and treasured mementoes sit where they could be removed quickly.  A “What would you do” practice was not in vain.

Some dismiss how much belongings matter;  the same who quip “They’re in a better place” after someone died, instead of comforting the grief.  In a panic, brains race on autopilot.  The time to think is in advance:  where are your important things?  Make them handy and tell your household where that spot is.  Do you make CDs of photos?  Are photo albums and negatives in a plastic container, instead of cardboard?  The same for music records:  plastic tubs keep moisture out and are easier to carry.

Prince Albert National Park, SK
Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan

May those places receive rain quickly!  I hear the territories are something to see.  British Columbia has a heritage of dense forests and massive trees.  Alberta is gorgeous and holds dear memories.  Saskatchewan is our neighbour to the west and our prairie twin.  We are Canadians who are born here.  With smaller cities, far from oceanic attractions, we are thus less-visited ~ less popular.  We have a unique perspective that bonds us to our homes.

La Ronge Provincial Park, SKLa Ronge Provincial Park, Saskatchewan

Smoke from forest fires can be seen in the United States.  Even though we are nearer Ontario, Saskatchewan’s disaster has made our sky grey!  The threat is real and we feel for them daily.  Sunrise was a peculiar hue and smoke discoloured the moon!  Dear God, how bad it must be.

If the distance to south-eastern Manitoba made sense, we would willingly baby-sit evacuated kitties at our small house.  Do you have friends closer to those regions?  * Here are ways to help, like sending supplies.  We can all pray that the people and animals are safe.
Canadian sisters and brothers:  know that we care.

Trinity Church 1860, La Ronge, SK
Holy Trinity Church was built between 1854 and 1860.
It is the oldest remaining building in Saskatchewan.

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Gentle Spectrums 2014 Finale.

Happy Canada Day for July 1st!  How is everyone enjoying summer?  It is garden and flower-planting season for those of us who live in ‘hardiness zone 3′ regions but I’m going to get into a posting groove.  There are articles I’d like to write for blog readers and it’s time to play games with reading challenge participants.  I have watched all the links added to the review pages and reply to all comments but I invite everyone, challengers and subscribers, to interact.  :)  When I post, I like to do it right, so it takes me some time.  By now there is a lot to say.  Today, an easy date to remember, is the birthday of our very long-lived cat.  She got to be physically present with us for two decades and every July 2, we speak of her still, by saying:  Happy Birthday, Thumbelina!  Our Siamese turned a very happy fifteen years-old in June.  Well done, McCartney!

Shortly after, my Mom checked herself into the hospital due to chest pain.  This was the third time.  She dreaded the thought of bypass surgery, as anybody would:  when arteries to the heart are rebuilt to replace any that are blocked.  Open-heart surgery is only less serious than operations on the brain.  However she very bravely accepted the recommendation and all of a sudden, was granted a team to do it the next day.  It can be a five-month wait but a sharp cardiologist urged a specialist to fit Mom in right away.  It was a success and Mom is recovering at home.  She prefers that despite the nurses’ good care.  She kept giving away her hospital food to us, while sending my fiancé into the rain for things they didn’t serve, like bananas!

This is why posting was slow, along with summer weather having me outside more.  We have two flower projects to finish in the short period Manitoba gets.  Everything else is growing beautifully.  I’ll share pictures soon!  A February 28 end date for 2014 challenges was awkward, the premiering year of my trio.  We ironed that out for 2015.  It was to my pleasure that returning and new participants débuted our second run on February 1.  This is the last summary for 2014.  A winner for ETHEREAL was chosen seamlessly.  I hope she lets me know soon that her gift set arrived.  MY KIND OF MYSTERY was tricky, with a person who stopped blogging partway through the year.  It also happened that our GENTLE SPECTRUMS 2014 prize recipient required a redraw!

I chose a friend in Scotland but I believe she’s moving house.  I still look forward to touching base with her.  I can trade books with her – and all of you – any time.  The name we drew this time is someone who has returned for 2015 and who has never hesitated to keep adding book titles well past the minimum 10.  She was excited to be chosen for our GENTLE SPECTRUMS grand finale, so much that she wrote a post with the words:  “Winner winner, chicken dinner”!  That is what I call enthusiasm and that is my favourite trait about our member:  SUE in Utah, USA!  Even though it took me time to write it up for reasons like those shared herein:  congratulations!

This clears me to write about our present activities.  There is an optional Goodreads group.  I created it because it is an easy forum for sharing pictures.  MY KIND OF MYSTERY has riddles, ETHEREAL has spiritual or Earthy topics;  GENTLE SPECTRUMS seems a natural mix for photography.  I have slow speed internet and photos would make blog pages hard to open.  However since each of my groups is small, it quickly became a place for news and conversations of all three.  Some friends and peers aren’t signed-up for any and are there to chat, especially about books.

You don’t need to be a part of GENTLE SPECTRUMS to lounge in that Goodreads group.  There’s a MY KIND OF MYSTERY discusison thread, I’ll do one for ETHEREAL of any of those members are there, and I’ve used it for unrelated buddy-reading.  The same goes for whatever I post that is group-related.  I always hope unassociated blog subscribers will share their two cents on any subjects.  Whatever I publicly post that is of interest, always invites any reader’s comments.  And blog subscribers, please know that some of my prize activities and draws will be open to all.  :)
Yours sincerely, Carolyn.

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My Kind Of Mystery 2014 Conclusion.

Hello readers!  May you have a happy summer!  I imagine there has been polite peeking for a post about how my other two RIEDEL challenges turned out our first year.  I’m a “better late than never girl”.  Here they are!  A post for “Ethereal” was made despite a February 28 closing date that I determined was awkward.  Even though no one took advantage of the extra month to fill in reviews, I thought we should let the 2014 groups clear out;  certainly before posting about the new sessions.  I did a recap in October, addressing details that might be unclear and invited guests to share how they were doing.

February closed with more members than we have this year but many guests rejoined this year and there are new faces that are a great pleasure too.  I didn’t advertise heavily for 2015 because I felt it more important to welcome keen people who would participate in events and share comments or reviews, than strive for quantity.  Ethereal and Gentle Spectrums have grown, which were smaller, so my whole trio is quite even in 2015.

The second reason I’m late reporting the outcome of My Kind Of Mystery is because there was confusion about the 2014 winner!  After my fiancé, Ron helps me draw a name, I like a reply and acceptance before making an announcement.  I found her blog gone but because she had commented, I was able to e-mail her.  I decided it was fair to award her because the rules say finishing a few books and showing some sort of participation – review entries or comments – was enough.  I chose Laura Pond, in Illinois, USA!  She is so surprised and happy about it, I’m glad about the choice.  I asked her to give us a plug through media she uses, such as Twitter or facebook and hope she says ‘hello’ in this post.  :-)  Congratulations, Laura!  She asked me to select a paperback or plant seed / postcard assortment and surprise her.

When I started, I really played with the concept of mystery.  I hid a secret portal on the 2014 sign-up page.  Members began to finish their commitment levels and exit before I hinted about it.  The extra touch was largely missed.  Have a look at it:  the little question mark, which reveals a higher level.  One did notice it and meet it:  Christine in Australia!  Good eye!  You aren’t missing any secret portals on the 2015 pages.  I could add one any time.  I’ll hint if I do.

Most finished their goals.  Everyone who tried any of the prize activities, so few last year, had my grateful appreciation.  I collected the reviews that were inputted, into a guest menu at the top of this blog.  Enjoy browsing it!  Last year’s A RIEDEL Clues are at the URLs below.  If you have ideas for riddles this year, an e-mail is always welcomed.  More people’s ideas are better than one.  :-)

My Kind Of Mystery 2014

Last, is to tell you from whence this book cover comes.  Margaret from England guessed it and so did Neeru,A Hot Cup Of Pleasure” from India;  even though she is new, not in the 2014 group!  It made me smile to see early eagerness to have fun with us.  This logo, for my first year of My Kind Of Mystery, comes from:  “AT BERTRAM’S HOTEL“, 1965, by AGATHA CHRISTIE!  Guessing the identity of our logos is worth an extra name in the bowl for the end of year prize.  Thank you:  all guests and everyone who read and commented on our posts along the way!

Bertram's Hotel Cover

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Meaning Of Music At The Core

I love such a wide variety of music, it is easy to find something in common with people.  I have always believed it amounts to much more than entertainment.  It is a fuse and amplifier of emotions.  Not solely ours but the very environment embracing us:  other mammals, other animals, and plants.  I consider home-sticking to a narrow music selection unwise, akin to limiting our emotions.  If we are feeling bold, energetic, elated, or soaring there is music that raises us to the highest heights our soul can fathom.  Celebratory music, loving music, music that spurs us on, or which sparks memories of something joyous.

There are songs we avoid, in a frame of mind we don’t wish to amplify, or because they clash jarringly with our mood;  like peppy melodies if we’re angry or low.  However the right airs and verses too, snap us out of unpleasant energy and shift us to a better place.  Occasionally, we don’t mind matching darker sentiments in music so we are understood in those moments and vent them out.  An “F-U song” to deal with an ex-flame, in lyrics or thrumming rhythm, can be therapeutic.  My own friend said her favourite musician saved her from the darkest period of illness.

These are reasons we personally resonate with songs, albums, or musicians at an intensity others don’t.  Memories of when music changed, acknowledged feelings, or marked a day truly attach to songs.  They absorb those moments and replay the emotions for us when we hear them.  This is the psychology, medecine, and magic at the core.  Upon the surface, apart from personal associations and vibrations of mood:  there are genres we love ahead of other styles and talent we admire.

Some of us are fans of individuals who time and again, inspire what we love about life.  We consider it a gift every time they compose a new album or go on tour.  When scientists claim mathematics are “the universal language”, I disagree.  I am a linguist but comprehend mathematics scarcely.  The tone music carries, however, is understood and reacted to…  by all.  The genres identify who we are, at heart if not in age.  The lyrics show where we are, in era or country.  United, the complete song is a portrait of every artist who composes it.

If You Love Me (Let Me Know)

If You Love Me (Let Me Know)” by Olivia Newton-John, 1974, reminds me powerfully of my paternal Grandparents!  I was a baby when it came out but it was popular for years and in some store, they picked up the 45 single.  They had the huge stereo furniture of their day:  those long armoires with space low down inside them and a wide lid that raises open, like a jewellery box.  The sound boomed from speakers in the wood and you could store records inside it.

I perused it and was astonished to find Olivia Newton-John.  Here were *Grandparents*, fond of western music…  and *they* had the 45 of a modern hit?  I admired this unexpected side of them and delighted in a song selection suited to me.  For a long while, I played that 45 every time we visited their home.  Thirty years later, when I hear it, I don’t fail to think of them right away.  I had the blessing of seeing Australia’s Olivia perform at last, in 2007.

Olivia Newton-John Evening

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Ethereal Grand Finale 2014!

Ethereal 2014

We have come to the grand finale of my group’s very first year:  ETHEREAL 2014!!!!
I’m pleased with my whole trio.  Each fufills something missing among challenges, or that I do differently.  We succeded!  There is no group like ours!  I’m most sentimental about this one:  because of my faith in spirituality and belief in the mystical.  What we dub ‘paranormal’ is normal indeed.  :)

In our pioneering year, we were 9.  I’d love to hear from my original group one last time, to tell me about why you joined my brand new theme.  I hope you enjoyed yourselves and experienced books you treasure.  As a first time hostess, I’m grateful for you and thank you, truly, for choosing me.

A few challenges touch on our themes;  a fantasy and a witch one, with staggering membership.  I imagine it’s due to describing themselves in one category:  “fantasy” or “witch”.  Please help spread the word that ETHEREAL encompasses both of those and more.  I’m happy my smallest group is larger in our new year.

*  2014 review pages are still open, should members wish to finish contributing reviews.


Ethereal Levels 2014


Most members didn’t notice events, because they weren’t subscribed.  I had to combine prize activities with “GENTLE SPECTRUMS”.  People are surprised to discover there’s fun taking place.  That’s a compliment.  Please watch for new content!  Information for previous groups is in my menu, “Challenge Updates“.  Look up top.  It is rewarding to receive comments, whether events are old or current!  :)  Here are the posts pertaining to ETHEREAL 2014.


The Stars Of Riedel Cards

Our eldest boys, McCartney and Spirit, with one of McCartney’s cards!


****  OUR GRAND FINALE! ****

I promised a grand finale prize winner would be drawn and did!  Without a connection to publishers:  why not beautiful gifts from home?  Hence the most eclectic prizes on the block!  Reading is so personal, in the event secondhand titles aren’t to taste, there are alternatives.  Plant seeds, my 8×11 photo prints, and for rare occasions:  cards from my own Canadian collection!


She runs “A Book Dragon’s Lair“.  She has accepted her position and will choose a gift soon.  Congratulations, Gina and I’m glad you are rejoining me this new year!

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Martenitsa Reaches Manitoba!


There is a celebration of spring and positivity for our new year, that is special because it is entirely Bulgarian.  It isn’t an event celebrated all over the place like many, perhaps because they are religious-based rather than culture-based.  However Bulgarians invite others to join them for MARTENITSA from March 1 to March 31!  It is about wearing and displaying red & white symbols:  for happiness, health, luck, fertility of yourselves, your homes, and your land each year.  We know about it because my very sweet friend, Nina, has shared her tradition with us from home!


Martenitsi Tradition


We have exchanged red & white tokens, called “martenitsa” in singular, like the holiday.  We began yesterday to display and wear what she selected for us.  It was fun to shop for a custom we’d never heard of, to send as a gift and participate in an exchange that is completely new to us!  She mailed Ron & I extras to give away and we did;  so the tradition and quest for positivity in 2015 spreads to others.  I think of it as St. Valentine’s Day;  the way children exchange inexpensive tokens with everyone they know at school and with their families.  However my friend taught us two stories, each describing how this legend started.

Martenitsi, plural, must be available abundantly in Bulgaria.  I can tell you, the creativity it took was stimulating:  to think of suitable tokens from home and Canadian stores, for an occasion that doesn’t occur here!  I hope Nina is pleased with my solutions and if they didn’t arrive before March 1, that my mail is close to it.  We could start wearing, or try on other martenitsi any day in March, correct?  There are many.  We’re presuming we put one on after we’re bathed and dressed.  Unnecessary to sleep with them and everything, right?  She’ll let us know.  Now my readers may begin too.

Wear red & white trinkets, originally woven threads, until March 31….  or until you see a sign of spring.  This aspect reminds me of “Diwali”, the most sacred day for Hindus, Sikhs, Jain.  It’s a fast in October.  You may eat again after you have spotted the moon.  I’m glad for the month end alternative.  Signs of spring could be awhile in central Canada!  Thankfully they may include a returned bird, perennials budding;  as well as a stork.  (That especially won’t be appearing here)!  Ron thinks he saw pussywillows beginning to form.  However there was no way I was closing this nice new custom the first day we wear our Martenitsi threads!  We’ll watch for more signals!

Nina gave us wool-made traditional dolls too, which are prominently standing in our living room.  I love celebrating eclectic aspects of life with other people;  learning who they are and the way they live.  It’s been a long time since I discovered an occasion that was new.  How about all of you?  It isn’t often, is it?  Thank you for teaching me about your country, my friend and inviting us to your holiday.  “CHESTITA BABA MARTA, TO YOUR FAMILY, NINA AND EVERYONE!”
~Yours Truly, Carolyn & Ron~

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Loving Nimoy In Manitoba

Trek Whole Series

I have shared from time to time that I don’t care to read science fiction.  The elements that aren’t dreary:  love, family, friendship, compassion, and humour;  come from the actors who bring our beloved characters and worlds to life.  I *would* gladly read autobiographies of the actors and happen to have a few of them here at home.


I do enjoy watching select science fiction.  I’ve never been to a convention, I’ve never tried on a uniform, nor do I own Vulcan ears….  but I am a devoted, passionate Trekkie!  The kind who feels annoyed, if people reference Star Trek;  without familiarity beyond the first two series!

Nimoy Autograph

You are a FAN…  *if* you know “Deep Space 9“, “Star Trek Voyager“, and “Enterprise“.
I love them all!  Chris Pine’s new Star Trek films are excellent too and it does my heart good to look forward to more of them.

There’s no one more special:  as a character spanning decades, photographer / author / actor….  than Leonard Nimoy.  I am shocked to discover this humble, dignified, compassionate 83 year-old has passed away at his home today, from a respiratory condition.

I am saddened his time came to leave Earth and will miss him tremendously.  In this, I am definitely not alone.  God speed to you, Leonard, from me in Manitoba!  ~Carolyn~

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Language Effort, Learning Other Cultures

I take interest and heart in many directions:  animal rights, photography, recording personal history, gardening, flowers, music….  I study many of these seriously, on my own.  In fact I have long proposed that “an expert” should not be seen as ONLY a person graduating with a diploma in a subect.  Neither school nor university showed my potential correctly on pieces of paper!  If I had children, I would consider home schooling seriously.  Anything from not being an early bird, to an unfriendly or rigid teacher;  made it awkward to pose questions.  I limped through both and finished both.  Something present peers would not know, is that one of my fields of ‘formal’ study is in foreign languages!  I am an accomplished linguist and since the age of five months, I seemed to connect with language naturally.

It never matters to me which language music is in.  When I visit another country, I think it’s rightful courtesy to greet hosts in their language;  not expect them to acquiesce to ours.  Breeching a message that needs to get across is different but a visitor should always make an effort to say “hello”, “good-bye”, and “thank-you” in the places they are visiting.  I don’t want to see a world adapting everything into English across the board, or using only one country’s monetary currency.  Those who think that is easier, aren’t thinking of the other option:  to broaden ourselves with knowledge of other cultrues, instead of the mountain coming to us.  Why not learn scatterings of education from many mountains?  It’s a great deal of fun to learn how other people live and it’s so empowering, to speak secondary languages and beyond.

Since literature is my strongest hobby, or most regular activity;  I ought to apply my multilingualism to it more often.  I own an ample assortment of foreign language books, as well as translated works.  Here is a reading challenge to facilitate that, along with one to boost and reward my too-seldom forays into non-fiction too.  There is a lot of it I plan to read this year;  many books about treasures, legends, very odd laws pertaining to Canada, and inventions made by us.  I hope blog readers enjoy what comes out of this.
~     ~     ~     ~


I had fun with the titles, so the length evened out.  I will at least reach “A Conversationalist” again but hope to strive for “Carolyn Is Trilingual“!  :)  This is how I did last year.

Simply A Beginner  01-03
A Conversationalist  04-06
Carolyn Is Trilingual  07-09
I Am A Top Linguist!  10-12

The Lost Steps”  Alejo Carpentier  1953
“Astrology For Cats”  Traudl & Walter Reiner  1991
“Aesop’s Fables”  George Fyler Townsend  1846
(4) “The Setting Lake Sun”  J.R. Léveillé  2001
~ ~ ~ ~

The same as last year, I will finish enough for “Dilettante” but hope to reach higher.

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

“Cats Know Best”  Colin Eisler / Lesley Anne Ivory  1988
“Astrology For Cats”  Traudl & Walter Reiner  1991
“Selected Poems: The Vision Tree”  Phyllis Webb  1982
“Stars Near & Far”  Robin Dexter  1996
“Unsung Heroes Of The RCAF”  Cynthia J. Faryon  2003
“You Can’t Do That In Canada!”  Bev Spencer  2000
“Crazy Canadian Trivia”  Pat Hancock  2000
“Canadian Disasters”  René Schmidt  2006
“Dinosaur Hunters: Uncovering Hidden”  Lisa Murphy-Lamb  2003
“A Hill For Looking”  Martha Brooks  1982
“Sonnets From The Portuguese”  Elizabeth Barrett Browning  1850
“The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float”  Farley Mowat  1969
(13)  “The Street”  Mordecai Richler  1969

It turns out it will be a breeze to read many serious books this year.  I have been enjoying many of them already!  I find Canadian short stories and trivia in abundance, which is an especially nice education for us.

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One Hundred & Mount To Be Read

There are two categories by a lovely Canadian Métisse and a lovely Hoosier American that I love to do.  They encompass everything I read in one year.  The quantity of books and reviews I squeeze in by New Year’s Eve or shortly thereafter (Preferably after!  I go out and play!) exactly represents my reading  tally.  It’s an easy way to look at my literature year.  What I also appreciate greatly is, like my own three themes, these too are prize-giving women.  It makes a difference to have an outcome to which we look forward;  something to recognize what we do.

The subtle difference is Freda, here in Canada, merely wants you to strive for 100 books.  They can be absolutely anything.  Bev lays out very easy and higher achievements.  It’s a big deal that I nearly topped her maximum ‘mountain range’ of 150.  Despite the grief of our dear young cat passing away in a day, a cherished son;  I reached 138 books and reviews by New Year’s Eve 2014.  One rule is, selection should pre-date 2015 and shouldn’t be borrowed.

I am re-starting slowly, needing a break from constantly racing to read.  However a once infinitesimal one-hundred has become moderate.  It is possible to reach 150 this year, despite strolling out of the gate in unhurried enjoyment of scenery.  Since I insist all of my content makes a dent in “Mount To Be Read”, everything I list here fulfills both;  all genres and lengths too.




I declare level “Él Toro” for Bev, which are 75 books.  I’ve read these already!


(01) “The Palace Guard”  Charlotte MacLeod  1981
(02) “The Corpse In Oozak’s Pond”  Charlotte MacLeod  1987
(03) “Tempest In The Tea Leaves”  Kari Lee Townsend  2011
(04) “The Cat, The Quilt, And The Corpse”  Leann Sweeney  2009
(05) “Larceny And Old Lace”  Tamar Myers  1996
(06) “The Christie Curse”  Victoria Abbott  2013
(07) “The Cat Who Played Brahms”  Lilian Jackson Braun  1987
(08) “A Novena For Murder”  Sister Carol Anne O’Marrie  1984
(09) “Dyeing Wishes”  Molly MacRae  2013
(10) “Aunt Dimity Beats The Devil”  Nancy T. Atherton  2000

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Women & Diversity Of Literature

I was a guest when Valentina launched “Women” and look forward to a new one, from New Zealand.  I had my eye on the diversity theme because I support it whole-heartedly and own qualifying literature.  The first must is that groups I join mesh with what I have and intend to read.  With that in mind, I did not join the group I saw last year, whether or not it was the same one, because it targeted the ‘Young Adult’ genre!  What a shame!  That just isn’t subject matter that captivates interest at forty.

When I was eight, I was into Laura Ingalls, not colouring books.  When my thirteen year-old peers devoured “Sweet Valley High”, I was enthralled by the mild horror of V.C. Andrews.  Even ‘cozy mysteries’ annoy me.  They are for adults.  For pete’s sake, make the atmosphere edgier and put sex in the relationships!  I have little patience for reading ‘Young Adult’, except:  very old mystery books and the paranormal of any era. ———–

Pleased to find a grown-up group in diversity, I needed clarification on what it comprised.  The website they refer is verbatim what they copied!  Doesn’t enlighten us any more.  I didn’t get a reply via comment box and their e-mail address doesn’t work.  Come on, ladies!  Unclear definitions but I searched, to respect their vision.  I conclude “women” aren’t a category of diversity as-is.  I will choose scenarios in which they are in a non-traditional career, or societal role.  They have no ranks but recommend 12 books a year.  I have surpassed that this spring.  :)

I interpret this theme as not just minority races.  Alternative beliefs such as astrology and witchcraft;  unconventional careers such as nuns;  admirable life situations, like novels featuring single parents.  Of import to me is inclusion of non-traditional heroine demographics.  When I find protagonists of at least 40, I am pleased!  Short stature, curves above size 8 are also herein.  If hostesses disagree with any of this and let me know, it would mean they visited my blog page ~ which I would appreciate!

I have ideas:  David Handler, Juliet Blackwell but will take great interest in seeing what else I own that applies.  We have a large enough book collection, that it is in a small building next door!  Here is what I have finished so far, that I count;  with explanations.  Reviews are linked after I write each one.

1) “The Palace Guard”  Charlotte MacLeod  1981 *  A widow establishes her own boarding house in the early 1980s.

2) “Tempest In The Tea Leaves”  Kari Lee Townsend  2011 *  A young lady forgoes her parents’ wealth, to live and work as a psychic.

3) “The Cat, The Quilt, And The Corpse”  Leann Sweeney  2009 *  A fifty year-old widow solves mysteries.

4) “Larceny And Old Lace”  Tamar Myers  1996 *  A short, forty year-old, divorcée makes her own way in antiques.  Her 70 year-old Mom dates more than she does.

5) “The Christie Curse”  Victoria Abbott  2013 *  A graduate in rare books, avoids the criminality of uncles who raised her.

6) “A Novena For Murder”  Sister Carol Anne O’Marrie  1984 *  A retired nun solves mysteries.

7) “Death Of A Literary Widow”  Robert Barnard  1979 *  A secret is unearthed between two elderly ex-wives who have lived together.

8) “Astrology For Cats”  Traudl & Walter Reiner  1991 *  In the category of new age, although most belief systems are old!

9) “The Riddle Of The Lonely House”  Augusta Huiell Seaman  1935 *  Featuring a single Mother.

10) “Shattered Silk”  Barbara Michaels  1986 *  Starring a plus-size beauty, free and happy after divorce.

11) “Body Of Intution”  Claire Daniels  2002 *  Earning a living as a psychic.

12) “Fool’s Gold”  Juliet Blackwell  2013 *  A witch who solves mysteries.

13) “The Ghost Of Thomas Kempe”  Penelope Lively  1973 *  The ghost of an occult practitioner.

14) “Charmed”  Barbara Bretton  2011 *  A village of witches and supernatural creatures.

15) “A Vision InVelvet”  Juliet Blackwell  2014 *  A witch who solves mysteries.

16) “Greystones”  Antonia Lamb  1966 *  This story features a widower and his daughter.

17) “Murder On Location”  Howard Engel  1982 *  Featuring a detective Canadian Jew.

18) “The Unmasking Of ‘Ksan”  Eric Wilson  1986 *  A British Columbia Aboriginal race.

19) “Wish Upon A Unicorn”  Vicki Blum  1999 *  A world of fairies and other otherwordly beings.

20) “The Setting Lake Sun”  J.R. Léveillé  2001 *  The sexual relationship of a 21 year-old Métisse and an elderly Japanese.

21) “The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float”  Farley Mowat  1969 *  About the little-known Basque and Newfoundland people of the 1960s, in Canada’s eastern corner.

22) “The Street”  Mordecai Richler  1969 *  About Montréal, Québec Jews in the 1940s.

23) “Lament For A Lounge Lizard”  Mary Jane Maffini  2003 *  Featuring French Canadian village characters and silly sign rules! ———–

I sought to understand this concept too.  If all it took was any book by a woman, or with a heroine by any author;  it would be a piece of cake.  I primarily read female-centred literature.  However conversation with the retired New Zealand teacher (who also answered an age old question about how to pronounce “Edith Ngaio Marsh”), set me straight.  The answer still amounts to just about anything I read making the grade.  I will pay attention to noticeable growth in a female character and a taste of diversity:  strength in various circumstances and non-traditional roles.  These are sharing a post because many of the same books will suit all three themes.

Motivated  01 – 05 Savvy  06 – 10 Classy  11 – 20 Go-Getter  20 – 30 Fearless  30+ ———–

I decided to compete in challenges with prizes.  I’ve teased our Italian hostess about her maximum being too low.  However I’ve made exceptions, such as groups hosted by ladies with whom I am friendly.  Thus I am re-joining Valentina thrice:  dropping off all books by women.  I omit male authors posing as women:  E.J. Copperman and “Miranda” James!  I read 102 women authors last year, so this will be a walk in the park!

(01) “The Palace Guard”  Charlotte MacLeod  1981
(02) “The Corpse In Oozak’s Pond”  Charlotte MacLeod  1987
(03) “Tempest In The Tea Leaves”  Kari Lee Townsend  2011
(04) “The Cat, The Quilt, And The Corpse”  Leann Sweeney  2009
(05) “Larceny And Old Lace”  Tamar Myers  1996
(06) “The Christie Curse”  Victoria Abbott  2013
(07) “The Cat Who Played Brahms”  Lilian Jackson Braun  1987
(08) “A Novena For Murder”  Sister Carol Anne O’Marrie  1984
(09) “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)  “Cats Know Best”  Lesley Anne Ivory  1988
(13)  “The Wishing Tree”  Ruth Chew  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) “Fool’s Gold”  Juliet Blackwell  2013
(18) “Selected Poems: The Vision Tree”  Phyllis Webb  1982
(19) “Tom’s Midnight Garden”  Philippa Pearce  1958
(20) “The Ghost Of Thomas Kempe”  Penelope Lively  1973
(21) “When Midnight Comes”  Carol Beach York  2002
(22) “The Mystery Of The Other Girl”  Wylly Folk St. John  1978
(23) “Stars Near & Far”  Robin Dexter  1996
(24) “Shadows At The Fair”  Lea Wait  2002
(25) “Whose Body?”  Dorothy L. Sayers  1923
(26) “The Mystery Book Mystery”  Wylly Folk St. John  1976
(27) “Charmed”  Barbara Bretton  2011
(28) “A Vision InVelvet”  Juliet Blackwell  2014
(29) “Greystones”  Antonia Lamb  1966
(30) “Unsung Heroes Of The Royal Canadian Air Force”  Cynthia J. Faryon  2003
(31) “You Can’t Do That In Canada!”  Bev Spencer  2000
(32) “Crazy Canadian Trivia”  Pat Hancock  2000
(33) “Dinosaur Hunters:  Uncovering The Hidden Remains Of Canada’s Ancient Giants”
Lisa Murphy-Lamb  2003
(34) “Wish Upon A Unicorn”  Vicki Blum  1999
(35) “A Hill For Looking”  Martha Brooks  1982
(36) “Sonnets From The Portuguese”  Elizabeth Barrett Browning  1850

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Pairing Word Games With Titles

One type of ‘reading theme’ I avoided,  is word games.  Bingo style is popular but I want to read any quantity about Canada, Ireland, England, Victorian, classic literature.  Not fuss with cover contents, whether it’s an award-winner, or a specific province.  My goal is to match fun categories with books I already own;  facilitating rather than excluding, outlets to read more of them.  This led to my group “Gentle Spectrums“, a way to be creative that is flexible.  However once I tried games, I found my reading varied enough to fulfill many groups’ criteria.  It’s enjoyable to stretch my mind in some sort of challenge, without doubting I’ll meet it!

This game is a new idea and I like it!  I will wrack my brain, shelves, even novels I have already read to see what fits.  But it will be easy and I can take longer than a year to achieve it if I wish.  What you are doing is accommodating each letter, in the words from every month.  A letter within a title is hunky dory if you don’t have a title’s first letter.  Gina:  presumably I may substitute another letter in titles?  I have read so many starting with ‘C’, the months have run out of them.  Or I may alternate letters in titles, beginning with letters not in the names of months?

Mentally and literally sifting through my shelves for books that work, truly is the most fun part for me!  Stay tuned to see what I achieve in one year!  I will continue building upon this post if I need longer.

J  ()  A  ()  N  (“A Novena For Murder”)  U  ()  A  ()  R  ()  Y  ()
M  ()  A  ()  R  ()  C  (“The Corpse In Oozak’s Pond”)  H
A  ()  P  (“The Palace Guard”)  R  ()  I  ()  L  (“Larceny And Old Lace”)
J  ()  U  ()  L  (“The Lost Steps”)  Y  ()
A  ()  U  ()  G  ()  U  ()  S  ()  T  (“Tempest In The Tea Leaves”)
O  ()  C  (“The Cat, The Quilt, And The Corpose”)  T  ()  O  ()  B  (“The Cat Who Played Brahms”)  E  ()  R  ()
D  (“Dyeing Wishes”)  E  ()  C  (“The Christie Curse”)  E  ()  M  ()  B  ()  E  ()  R  ().


I aced this pair of challenges last year, by new Mom, ‘Kimberley’.  I sought permission to substitute the March category in “Monthly Motif”, because I am blessed with an abundant collection and don’t borrow or go to libraries.  Other than that change, I will again ace these puppies as is, with delight.

Bird, Girl, Ever, Silence, Bad, Truth, End
Key, Water, Lie, Chase, Heir, Once
Kind, Face, Power, City, Blue, Night, To
Dream, Prince, Long, Wind, Rose, The, Rock
Ash, Road, Thief, Bend, In, Far
My, Together, Whisper, Win, Soul, Sleep
Sun, Unto, Energy, Fate, High, Look
Fall, Boy, Glass, Heart, Lost, Now
Colour, Touch, Life, Day, How, Sweet
Ghost, Home, Beach, Away, Test, Number
Rise, Holiday, And, Little, Call, Dark
Space, Mirror, Over, Flower, Trap, Cold


It is my pleasure to rejoin the full pair.  I have permission to switch May “Libraries Or Borrowing” with a novel featuring a library.  I have built a vast enough collection of literature, that libraries made no sense for me, even when I lived in a town that had one.  I didn’t imagine Kimberley saying no;  we aren’t competing for prizes.  It was a courtesy query.  Q;-)=

A book with a movie based off it.  See the movie or listen to the audio book.
A book with recognition or a literary award.
“The Christie Curse”  Victoria Abbott  2013
A genre you’ve never tried or are least familiar with.
“The Lost Steps” Alejo Carpentier  1953  (A classic, translated from Spanish).
A mystery, or a book in which a truth must come out.
“A Novena For Murder”  Sister Carol Anne O’Marie  1984
I am substituting libraries for a library-themed novel.
Takes place in a country outside yours, or by an author outside your country.
“Larceny And Old Lace”  Tamar Myers  1996  (She was born in the Congo)!
The main character stands up for themself, for something in which they believe.
“The Palace Guard”  Charlotte MacLeod  1981
The future, another planet, another dimension, an unknown world.
Animals as main or supporting characters.  The animals play a role.
“The Cat, The Quilt, And The Corpse”  Leann Sweeney  2009
Ghost stories, the paranormal in general, fantasy creatures – it’s up to you!
“Keeper Of The Castle”  Juliet Blackwell  2014
A book published before 2000 you’ve wanted to read, or set before 2000.
“Street Of The Five Moons”  Elizabeth Peters  1978
A series to finish, or enjoy the next book in a series you have begun.
“The Sayers Swindle”  Victoria Abbott  2014

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Gothic And Historical!

These are what I call image-provoking banners!  Honestly, I want to call this:  “post of the gorgeous headers”!  They would draw my eye to those blogs if I weren’t already keen on their content.  Gothic mystery and paranormal literature, fictional or not, are closest to my heart in the whole spectrum of categories in the world.  I wrote a good piece about gothic mystery some time back.  I relate that this was the mainstream genre until 1990, largely in standalone novels, that career-themed ‘cozy’ series are today.  Perhaps you would enjoy my article here.

I didn’t find a group dedicated to this subject at the time I looked, which is part of what led to creating my own groups:  Ethereal and My Kind Of Mystery.  If content has nothing legitimately paranormal, gothic literature fulfills that ambiance for me;  secrets, hidden corridors, antique or ancient artifacts, riddles and clues to unravel…  I prefer suspense to humour with my paranormal fare.  The too RARE authors still providing this FOR ADULTS, have my gratitude!



Goodness gracious:  this is the most natural category of literature for me to read!  Since I have been buying bagfulls of gothic standalone stories, since the cottage town of my childhood;  I foresee no problem blazing through twenty this year.  It will be my pleasure to return to them, between other subjects and of course the ambiance of gothic mystery endures in modern fiction too.  I see Barbara Michaels, Robert Liparulo, and other authors slipping into place splendidly.


Challenge 1:  05  Books
Challenge 2:  10  Books
Challenge 3:  20  Books



Modern works published over fifty years ago, turn historical from our vantage point.  I additionally enjoy a great deal of genuinely historical fiction.  The topic was new to me until I did this first challenge only a few years back.  I’ll select a goal from each group’s levels shortly.  I always add titles along the way, I have found to fit the bill.  Do re-join me at this post frequently to see how I am faring!  My reviews will also be gathered in the menu header of my blog, above.


The following book titles fulfill the challenge criteria of both historical groups.

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