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 great interest and heart in many directions:  animal rights, photography, recording personal history, gardening, flowers, music….  I can’t name them all.  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 Tin Flute”  Gabrielle Roy  1947
“The Road Past Altamont”  Gabrielle Roy  1966
“Wildflower”  Gabrielle Roy  1970
“The Secret Supper”  Javier Sierra  2004
“The Hidden Mountain”  Gabrielle Roy  1961
~ ~ ~ ~


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


“Dinosaur Hunters: Uncovering Hidden”  Lisa Murphy-Lamb  2003
“Made In Canada”  Bev Spencer  2003
“Canadian Disasters”  René Schmidt  1985
“On The Way Home”  Laura Ingalls Wilder  1962
“West From Home”  Laura Ingalls Wilder  1974

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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 believe this is the second-last post, for joining other folks’ groups.  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 their blog asks you to consult, is verbatim what they wrote and not enlightening!  I asked if “women” in general represent diversity.  I didn’t get a reply via comment box and their e-mail address doesn’t work.  Come on, ladies!

My conclusion is “women” aren’t a category of diversity.  I will choose scenarios in which they are in a non-traditional career, or societal role.  Additional examples of any gendre are:  physical or mental affliction, minority races, other-than-Christian religions, and transitioned or same-gendre sexual orientation.  I have ideas:  David Handler, Juliet Blackwell, Ellen DeGeneres’ non-fiction 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!


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 primarily compete in reading challenges with prizes.  I’ve teased our Italian hostess about her maximum level being far 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 written by women.  I omit women & men teams, like Joyce & Jim Lavene (who are J.J. Cook) and male authors who are cryptic, or 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!

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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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Lucky 15, Poetry, Food!

I reserved January to heal from ‘group-finishing burnout’.  I urge hosts to avoid December 31, when I am soaking in Christmas and visiting friends.  When I felt like reading in this new year, it wasn’t at a competitive, quantity-gulping pace and I wasn’t signed-up anywhere.  I love matching my subjects with creative categories but needed to run hog wild a while;  entirely choosing books I am excited to read best.  I imagine many of my participants will sign-up this month, now that my own trio has resumed for their year.  My reading challenge extravaganza – joining those hosted by other people – continues with the following three.



I seldom write or read poetry but this group, with a very warm, appealing photograph, asks little.  One anthology would be accepted and I believe we are permitted to count our quantity of poems from within any book.  I will be reading the Spanish-translated Octavio Paz for certain.  I am familiar with his name from university days, where I studied Hispanic culture extensively and was happy to find his collection at a bargain.  Last year I read two works of highly local, independently-published poetry, so surprising my tastes and tendencies in this category is not out of the question.



Grab that book with more than 500 pages. You know you can do it!

Just purchased a book lately? Read it now!

Read a book from someone else, or a library. Don’t make the owner wait forever for you to finish it.

Read a book that has been there more than a year. It’s time for you to appreciate it.  :)

Whether a birthday gift, or a surprise from someone special, don’t hold back. Open the book and start reading it now.

Ever buy a book so cheap you don’t really care about the content? Now find out whether it’s really worth your cents.

Pick a book from your shelf which has your favorite colour for its cover! Is it pink, red or black? You decide.

Read a book that has been written by an author whose first initial is the same with you.

Read one (or more!) books that belong in a series, it can be trilogy, or tetralogy, or anything.

Read a book that’s been written by a writer whose gender is different from your own.

Ask someone else (a friend, your spouse) to pick a book from your TBR pile.  Whatever they choose for you, just read it.

Grab a book from your shelf that you bought because you fell in love with the cover. Is the content as good as the cover?

You’ve never read this author. Who knows? Maybe he/she will become your new favorite author!

Read a book with one word for its title (number is allowed as long as it’s consisted of one word;  2, 11).

Read a book that has setting you’ve never visited – would like to. Could be real places or fictional!


I wish this logo were more dynamic and larger so the colours had an effect, or that it at least changed every year.  I love choosing the header photos for my themes from year to year, with the excitement of a big reveal.  However this group with a single concept is well-frequented and I enjoy it.  There is no a plethora of bakery and restaurant-related fiction in today’s market and three I foresee are the next volumes from Ellen Crosby, Yasmine Galenorn, and Laura Childs.  I disliked Laura’s second volume in the teashop mysteries but have high hopes of liking other ones better.  Yasmine’s teashop and ghost one was good but there were areas of improvement.  The same goes for Ellen’s, although I liked her wine country mystery best of all.  Stay tuned for the outcome of visiting these writers again!

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For my 2014 début groups.

February 1st is here!  This is an address to my three reading challenge groups that débuted in 2014:  Ethereal, My Kind Of Mystery, and Gentle Spectrums.  Whether you met your goals, contributed reviews to our database, played the games, and delighted me with comments:  thank-you for being here.  When we put energy into organizing a party, we’d like people to attend!  :-)  To have even this small quantity of guests, the first time I ran the groups I created, was a relief and pleasure to me.  An FAQ about closing off follows.

– – – ->  { Skip this summary, to choose from my 2015 groups! }  <- – – –


We faced a huge loss July 31.  Our cats aren’t pets to Ron & I.  They are our children.  One died at age 4, a happy boy never unwell until that day.  Condolences mean the world.  Chatting, seeing reviews come in were a balm for this traumatizing shock too.  We miss Love hourly but find happiness in other things:  the rest of our kitties, enthusiasm for my 2015 groups, friendships…  Southern Manitoba has awakened to -31 C today but I am thinking about flowers and gardens to sow in the spring!  Lastly, it’s time to see how everything is going for you.


Our first year finishes February 28th.  We conclude on February 1st in 2016.  Members with me since our premiere may switch their reading material to 2015 challenges now, if they like.  I’ve seen on sign-up blogs that some are counting January reads.  Doesn’t bother me ~ just saying I saw.  LOL!  Our year runs from February because December is too hectic.  I’m thinking about Christmas, visiting, food, shopping, and New Year’s Eve.  It isn’t the time to cram reading and reviews.  Thus you have ample time to finish yours but if you want to tailor your lists to match the mainstream, it all works out just fine.


Some haven’t done reviews and I hope it wasn’t inability to find those pages.  A bizarre glitch occurred with buttons, I suspect from a change at “Blenza” that is incompatible with WordPress.  However they are in the same place.  You merely had to click the usual space and they work.  I added the word “linky” below those hard-to-see spots.

Many were unaware your efforts have a place to go:  a review menu at the top of this blog!  Rather than challenge pages floating away from year to year, ours have a purpose.  Browse what members read and see how many submitted the same books.

If you’re busy, or keen to focus on 2015;  reviews aren’t mandatory.  I simply want you to know all challenge pages and information can ALWAYS be found, among my blog’s menus.  All riddles and contests are gathered in those menus but folks may not have looked.  I posted an FAQ for all three challenges a few months ago.  Again, they may have been missed.  This is a handy summary and thank-you in one.

If you would like to drop off reviews:  those pages are additionally linked in this post (paragraph one, where I name our groups) and have been linked to the main, sign-up page since the beginning.  If you’re done, or ready to know what’s next either way;  here we go!  :)


I introduced a point system.  It’s at the bottom of each review page, in the FAQ posts, and challenge update menu but still got missed.  That’s all right!  Look in any of those spots now.  They are an easy way to reward everyone for signing up, those who met their goals, and also those who surpassed them.

All you need to do is comment with your point tally, on any of our 2014 challenge pages.  I’ll see it no matter which one it is.  However in the event this post gets missed too, I’ll put one name in the bowl for everyone who joined me, for the premiere of the RIEDEL Challenge trio.  I know many don’t revisit pages after they’ve signed up.  We’re working our way around that in 2015!  A post for our new year will follow.


On February 28th, I will put names in a bowl, based on the point tally you give in a comment (or one on your behalf).  I will draw a grand finale winner for each 2014 reading challenge!  Winners will have a chance to reply and say they are pleased.  Then I’ll e-mail a prize selection.  Thank you all again, for helping my groups launch for the first time.  May we all be healthy and blessed this year!
Sincerely, Carolyn – your hostess.

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Global, Africa, World Travel

All of these themes are related to nations.  I invite readers to check in on my progress with them.

I tune my reading choices to Kerrie’s wonderfully-organized group first!  South America and Australasia are challenging for me but last time, I trebled all but for one book.  I’ll finish Alejo Carpentier this year and ace the mission this time!  Here’s hoping she doesn’t mind a South American poetry book to help me fulfill that tricky continent.  Join us, to ensure Kerrie keeps renewing this very well done theme.



This will be easier than a glance might suggest.  With a 5-book minimum:  we may read African-born, residing, subjects, or settings in literature of any kind.  All the hostess asks is that 3 are by African-born / residing authors.  I have a ton of qualifiers on my plate:  Lyn Hamilton’s next volume in archaeological mysteries, two series by Egyptologist Elizabeth Peters, there is Natasha Mostert, Margaret Laurence’s time with her husband abroad, and a book of African fables.


This is a nice one by a German hostess, who is flexible with her locations.  Many participants are building a Google map but I’m going to set that aside until I know slow internet can handle it.  I am welcomed to list books with country locations here.  I believe multiple settings per book are generally permitted by challenges of these types.


I’m putting this group at the bottom because it’s the perpetual variety.  We may choose to see what we make of it in one year, or more years.  It started in 2014 and we are invited to count countries we have already traversed beyond that scope.  This activity is not as daunting as it might look either because flexibility is the way of this one as well.

When I have time to go through previous reading for standout places:  I will add those review links, along with my new ones.  Everything I review may be found in my top menu too.  Please enjoy browsing it because it is for you.


Our dear, young Lovey passed away exactly six months ago (July 31, 2014).  Here’s to you always, our bright energetic boy!  With love forever from your Mom, siblings, and everyone else.
Love, Top Of King Shelf

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