Sunday, January 2, 2022

Books 38-42

 The Institute by Steven King


In the middle of the night, intruders silently murder young Luke Ellis's parents and steal him away from his suburban Minneapolis home-an operation that takes less than two minutes.  Luke will wake up in a faraway room that looks just like his own, except there's no window.  And outside his door are several other doors, behind which are several other kids with very special abilities, who arrived at wherever here is in the me way Luke did.  They're all confined to the area known as Front Half, which is a good thing-no one ever  returns from Back Half.  Nevertheless, the incarcerated children are intended to serve, given that the staff is ruthlessly dedicated to extracting the force of their extranormal gifts.   Cooperation is rewarded and resistance is punished, brutally.  As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes increasingly desperate to somehow find a way out  and get help-even though no one has ever escaped from the living hell known as the Institute....

Being a Stephen King fan I wasn't disappointed in this book.  It is brutal and horrifying in the way that the children who are taken to the institute are treated.  the kids are all telepaths are telekinetic.  The people at the institute want to tap into these gifts, at any cost, but  find the tables turned on them

Daffodil by Alex Martin

Katy, a maidservant at Cheadle Manor, longs to escape her narrow life but events unfold slowly in her rural village. Jem Phipps has always loved Katy. His proposal of marriage rescues her from scandal but after tragedy strikes, Jem becomes a reluctant soldier on the battlefields of The First World War, leaving Katy behind, restless and alone. Lionel White, the local curate, has just returned from India bringing a dash of colour to the small village and offers Katy a window on the wider world. Only when Katy joins up as a WAAC girl does she finally break free from the stifling class-ridden hierarchies that bind her but the brutality of 20th-century global war brings home the price she has paid for her search. Through the horrors of WW1, she discovers only love brings freedom. In essence, Daffodils is a love story, whose tender heart is almost torn apart through this tumultuous time.

I enjoyed this book, only to find out at the end of the book that it was #1 in a series.  Hopefully I will come across more of the books as I did enjoy this one.

An Irish Country Family by Patrick Taylor

Before Dr. Barry Laverty joined Dr. Fingal O'Reilly's practice in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo, he was an intern, working long hours, practicing new medical techniques, falling in love, and learning what is most important for a family physician-the bonds of family, friendships, and human kindness.
Years later, in this lovely village where neighbours look after neighbours, Barry practices everything he has learned.  And while his own efforts to start a family with his wife, Sue, have been frustrated, the community around him couldn't be stronger as they work together to show their solidarity.
Shifting effortlessly between the two periods, Patrick Taylor continues the story of these beloved characters while vividly bringing the daily joys and struggles of this delightful Irish village to life.
Another good, light, quick read of life in an Irish village.

Ravenstone: The Complete Saga by M.S.Verish
-Legend of Ravenstone
-Curse of the Ravenstone
-The Hawk's Shadow
When a mysterious and manipulative wizard, learns the deadly relic know as the Ravenstone has been uncovered by a self-proclaimed regent known as the Priagent, he hastily assembles a group of mismatched travelers to steal and deliver it to safety. The unlikely company sent to retrieve it consists of Arcturus, an exiled politician with a fondness for wine, Kariayla, a winged slave girl on a quest for redemption, Jinx, an unlucky thief and his imp counterpart, and Hawkwing, the wizard’s personal spy, at the helm.
Distrust, secrets, and inexperience threaten to compromise the mission as the group is forced to travel in the company of the enemy. Doubt turns to the wizard who employed them on this precarious quest, and as the Priagent marches toward his goal, a second Cataclysm is imminent. Yet even he is driven by another—a darker force that has yet to reveal itself.
The Ravenstone's ominous Shadow obscures the fate of Secramore, and unless the threat is vanquished, none will be spared the curse of its darkness.
Even though this is two books and a novella I'm just counting it as one book. Once you get all the characters and their names sorted out in your mind this is a really good fantasy story.  The ending wraps up some loose ends but there are still some unanswered questions so it is very evident that there are more books to come.

Sisters of War by Lana Kortchik

Kiev 1941: Watching the Red Army withdraw from Ukraine in the face of Hitler's relentless advance, sisters Natasha and Lisa Smirnova realise their lives are about to change forever.
As the German army occupies their beloved city, the sisters are tested in ways they never thought possible.  Lisa's fiancĂ© Alexei is taken by the invading army, whilst Natasha falls in love with Mark-a Hungarian soldier, enlisted against all his principles on the side of the Nazis.
But as Natasha and Lisa fight to protect the friends they hold dear, they must face up to the dark horrors of war.  Will they be strong enough to overcome the forces which threaten to tear their family apart?
I did enjoy this book and it was a very quick, engrossing read. It is very sad for the most part with all the hardships the family have to go through. Ironically the ending was almost too happy if that makes sense.  I feel that in that era the outcomes wouldn’t be that great.

Well, that's the last of the books for 2021.  That's more books than I've read in one year since I've been keeping track.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

For Rachelradiostar!


I used ready made sweetened tart shells


1 cup brown sugar, packed

1cup corn syrup or golden syrup

6 Tblsps. margarine, softened

2 eggs

1 cup raisins

3 tsp. vinegar 

pinch salt

Cream sugar, syrup and margarine well.  

Add eggs, vinegar and salt.

Mix well.  I use a hand mixer to get it really frothy.

Place about 8-10 raisins in each tart shell.

Pour mixture into shells, about 3/4 full.

Bake at 375F for 20 mins.

Depending on size of tart shells this will make 12-18.

Friday, December 17, 2021

3 days

Day 1
Shortbread cookies and cranberry chocolate shortbread cookies

Day 2

Matrimonial squares, cherry squares and brownies

Day 3

Butter tarts, fruit/chocolate tarts, cherry coconut tarts.

Also made 6 dozen chocolate covered macadamia nut  clusters but forgot to take a picture.
There was a time I would have made all that in one day but the hip and knee say that was then this is now, lol.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Before & After

 The three day project.  Not crazy about the putting up or the taking down but I love the in between!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Books 33-37

 The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

When high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School.  In April 1999, while Caelum is away, Maureen finds herself in the library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed.   Miraculously, she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma.  When Caelum and Maureen flee to an illusion of safety on the Quirk family's Connecticut farm, they discover that the effects of chaos are not easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.
I was so glad when I finished this book.  It was 700+ pages that would have been much better if it had been under 400 pages.  I felt my eyes glazing over in parts, willing myself to get this damn book finished.  

His First His Second by A.D. Davies

Meet Detective Sergeant Alicia Friend. She’s nice. Too nice to be a police officer, if she’s honest.
She is also one of the most respected criminal analysts in the country, and finds herself in a cold northern town assigned to Donald Murphy’s team, investigating the kidnap-murders of two young women—both strikingly similar in appearance. Now a third has been taken, and they have less than a week to chip away the secrets of a high-society family, and uncover the killer’s objective.
But Richard—the father of the latest victim—believes the police are not moving quickly enough, so launches a parallel investigation, utilising skills honed in a dark past that is about to catch up with him.
As Richard’s secret actions hinder the police, Alicia remains in contact with him, and even starts to fall for his charms, forcing her into choices that will impact the rest of her life.
I definitely enjoyed this book, it kept me engrossed to the end. It's quite a complex detective story set in Leeds, Yorkshire.  Various plots going on at the same time with several interesting characters. Lots of twists and turns and quite surprising at the end.

The Seclude Village Murders by Shelly Frome

From a small secluded village in Connecticut to the English Countryside, readers are taken on a roller coaster of events and quirky characters as amateur sleuth Emily Ryder tries to solve a murder that everyone thinks was an accident.
For tour guide Emily Ryder, the turning point came on that fateful early morning when her beloved mentor met an untimely death. It's labeled as an accident and Trooper Dave Roberts is more interested in Emily than in any suspicions around Chris Cooper's death. For Emily, if Chris hadn't been the Village Planner and the only man standing in the way of the development of an apartment and entertainment complex in their quaint village of Lydfield, Connecticut, she might have believed it was an accident, but too many pieces didn't fit.
As Emily heads across the pond for a scheduled tour of Lydfield's sister village, Lydfield-in-the-Moor . . . she discovers that the murderer may be closer than she thought.
The above blurb pretty well says it all.  Lots of quirky characters and unbelievable happenings.  It was a quick read, which was good, but I don't think I'd read another book by this author.

One by One by Ruth Ware

Getting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps doesn't sound like the worst problem in the world.  Especially when there is a breathtaking vista, a full-service chef and housekeeper, a cozy fire to keep you warm, and others to keep you company.  Unless that company happens to be eight coworkers...each with something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide.
I sole this short review from Goodreads as it really says it all. I did enjoy the book, maybe because of the setting and how everyone was trapped.
The story seems to move along quickly in some ways but slowly in others. There is a lot of reflection on Erin's part, as she tries to understand the dynamics of the guests and how frumpy Liz even fits in with the rest of the company employees. There is some action but then there is sitting around, as people wonder if they are ever going to be rescued. At some point we know "who done it" and have to see if they are going to do it again. 

Pieces Of Her by Karin Slaughter
Andrea knows everything about her mother, Laura.  She knows Laura has spent nearly her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle, Georgia; she knows Laura's never wanted anything more than to lead a quiet, normal life; she knows Laura's a kind, beloved speech pathologist; she knows Laura's never kept a secret.
But Andrea's life is upended when a visit to the mall is shattered by an act of horrifying violence that reveals a completely different side of Laura-a cool woman who calmly faces down a murderer.  It turns out that before Andrea's mother was Laura, she was someone completely different.  For nearly thirty years she's been hiding from the woman she once was, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her.  But now she's been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.
To save her mother, Andrea embarks on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother's past.  Andrea knows that if she can't uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for her mother-or her.
At the diner Andrea sees a side of her mother she's never seen before. So does the rest of the world as cell phone video goes viral.  Before she knows what is happening Andrea is on the run with only a list of instructions her mother gave her to follow. The story flips back and forth between 1986 and present day, 2018. The life that Laura led in 1986 was very different to 2018 but it may be catching up to her now.  A good read. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

It must be that time of the year again!


All the decorations at one of the malls.  They also put up a huge Christmas tree.  It must be 30 feet high, but it was only half way assembled when we were there.
We've had real deer on our street everyday this week and my next door neighbour told me that she had a bobcat on her deck looking through her kitchen window a couple of days ago.  There have been reports of several in the neighbourhood lately.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Nothing New

 So here it is, November 1st, -11C and cold.  It snowed on Friday so we will probably have snow on the front lawn (faces north) until May!!  It never gets the sun, and we look at the houses across the street and not a trace of any snow.  

Halloween yesterday.   We saw quite a few kids on the street, don't know where they were all going but we only had 10 come up to the house.  No little ones, all about 10-13, all very polite and in costume.  There were no events at the community centres or the shopping malls, maybe they were going over to the school grounds, no idea.

One of the houses in the cul-de-sac across from us had a party Saturday night.  We counted 11 cars there.  So much for the rule of only two fully vaccinated households can come together with a maximum of 10 people!!