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The Dead of Winter

by Peter Kirby

I feel a bit mixed about this book but that may be, in part, because I am not from Montreal and don’t speak French
The book is obviously in English, but many of the protagonists have French names – which were, for me, so similar that I found myself getting confused.
In real life they are no more similar than Sean and John, but for the unfamiliar ear, they sounded similar.

I have visited Montreal and liked that I got some of the references, but, from other reviews, it would seem I missed a lot of the charm of the book because I didn’t know so many of the references.

After all of that the story was pretty gripping and interesting. Five homeless people are found dead on Christmas Eve and rather than just write this off as a coincidence and kind of irrelevant considering who died, Inspector Luc Vanier decides to do a proper investigation.
And that opens a whole can of Catholic worms.

All sorts of sub-plots and nasty people emerge as he digs away, trying to get justice for those without voices.
A perfectly solid crime written with such a feel for the cold you may want to wear a jumper as Kirby brings the iciness into your reading space.


by James Patterson

I liked this book for many reasons
I liked the relationship between the women of the Women’s Murder Club.
I liked the gentle love story with all its twists and turns
And I really liked the crime and its investigation.

The crimes are quite gritty and I did pull my face a few times – nasty details make me feel yuck
The investigation reveals all sorts of twists and goes off in unexpected directions.
And just when you think you have worked it all out, you realise you haven’t.

This books keeps on going, right to the very end.
My first Patterson but not my last

Popsugar 2019

Additional reading challenge for 2019

2019 Popsugar Reading Challenge
1. A book becoming a movie in 2019
2. A book that makes you nostalgic
3. A book written by a musician (fiction or nonfiction)
4. A book you think should be turned into a movie
5. A book with at least one million ratings on Goodreads
6. A book with a plant in the title or on the cover
7. A reread of a favorite book
8. A book about a hobby
9. A book you meant to read in 2018
10. A book with POP, SUGAR, or CHALLENGE in the title
11. A book with an item of clothing or accessory on the cover
12. A book inspired by myth/legend/folklore
13. A book published posthumously
14. A book you see someone reading on TV or in a movie
15. A retelling of a classic
16. A book with a question in the title
17. A book set on college or university campus
18. A book about someone with a superpower
19. A book told from multiple POVs
20. A book set in space
21. A book by two female authors
22. A book with SALTY, SWEET, BITTER, or SPICY in the title
23. A book set in Scandinavia
24. A book that takes place in a single day
25. A debut novel
26. A book that’s published in 2019
27. A book featuring an extinct or imaginary creature
28. A book recommended by a celebrity you admire
29. A book with LOVE in the title
30. A book featuring an amateur detective
31. A book about a family
32. A book author from Asia, Africa, or South America
33. A book with a zodiac sign or astrology term in title
34. A book that includes a wedding
35. A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same letter
36. A ghost story
37. A book with a two-word title
38. A novel based on a true story
39. A book revolving around a puzzle or game
40. Your favorite prompt from a past POPSUGAR Reading challenge
41. A “cli-fi” (climate fiction) book
42. A “choose-your-own-adventure” book
43. An “own voices” book
44. Read a book during the season it is set in
45. A LitRPG book
46. A book with no chapters / unusual chapter headings / unconventionally numbered chapters
47. Two books that share the same title
48. Two books that share the same title
49. A book that has inspired a common phrase or idiom
50. A book set in an abbey, cloister, monastery, vicarage, or convent

First challenge for 2019

1. A book that was nominated for or won an award in a genre you enjoy
2. A book with one of the 5 W’s in the title (Who, What, Where, When, Why)
3. A book where the author’s name contains A, T, and Y
4. A book with a criminal character (i.e. assassin, pirate, thief, robber, scoundrel etc)

5. A book by Shakespeare or inspired by Shakespeare
6. A book with a dual timeline
7. 2 books related to the same topic, genre, or theme: Book #1
8. 2 books related to the same topic, genre, or theme: Book #2

9. A book from one of the top 5 money making genres (romance/erotica, crime/mystery, religious/inspirational, science fiction/fantasy or horror)
10. A book featuring an historical figure
11. A book related to one of the 12 Zodiac Chinese Animals (title, cover, subject)
12. A book about reading, books or an author/writer

13. A book that is included on a New York Public Library Staff Picks list
14. A book with a title, subtitle or cover relating to an astronomical term
15. A book by an author from a Mediterranean country or set in a Mediterranean country
16. A book told from multiple perspectives
17. A speculative fiction (i.e. fantasy, scifi, horror, dystopia)

18. A book related to one of the elements on the periodic table of elements
19. A book by an author who has more than one book on your TBR
20. A book featuring indigenous people of a country
21. A book from one of the polarizing or close call votes

22. A book with a number in the title or on the cover
23. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #1 Something Old
24. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #2 Something New
25. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #3 Something Borrowed

26. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #4 Something Blue
27. A book off of the 1001 books to read before you die list
28. A book related to something cold (i.e. theme, title, author, cover, etc.)
29. A book published before 1950
30. A book featuring an elderly character

31. A children’s classic you’ve never read
32. A book with more than 500 pages
33. A book you have owned for at least a year, but have not read yet
34. A book with a person’s name in the title

35. A psychological thriller
36. A book featured on an NPR Best Books of the Year list
37. A book set in a school or university
38. A book not written in traditional novel format (poetry, essay, epistolary, graphic novel, etc)

39. A book with a strong sense of place or where the author brings the location/setting to life
40. A book you stumbled upon
41. A book from the 2018 GR Choice Awards
42. A book with a monster or “monstrous” character
43. A book related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) [fiction or nonfiction]

44. A book related in some way to a tv show/series or movie you enjoyed (same topic, same era, book appeared in the show/movie, etc.)
45. A multi-generational saga
46. A book with a (mostly) black cover
47. A book related to food (i.e. title, cover, plot, etc.)

48. A book that was a finalist or winner for the National Book Award for any year
49. A book written by a Far East Asian author or set in a Far East Asian country
50. A book that includes a journey (physical, health, or spiritual)
51. A book published in 2019
52. A book with a weird or intriguing title


by Andy Mulligan

An interesting mix of issues and concerns are included in this book.
Boys who live on a trash dump in some unnamed country find a bag with money and a key in it. When the cops arrive the next day to ask if anything like that has been found they realise they have something of value.
And so begins their thrilling adventure.

For me what mattered more was the look at society and its woes. From kids living on trash heaps to the idea of volunteer workers and what their motivation is, right through to corrupt politicians and a brutal police force, Mulligan touches on it all.

I found this book very readable and surprisingly thought provoking.

Born a Crime

by Trevor Noah

The audiobook of this is just perfect – read by Trevor Noah

Noah tells harrowing stories of his life but with humour and an easy accessibility. Rather then detract from the seriousness of what he is relaying, his casual easy tone makes it feel like a friend is telling you a story. And that personalises it all and makes it real.

This book is part commentary on apartheid, part tribute to his mother and part astounding stories of the past of a man we all think we know because we see him on television. That he landed up not dead and/or a criminal is quite amazing all things considered.

This book opened my eyes to so much of what was going on in South Africa, and still does. But never once did I feel lectured to. Noah is eloquent, funny, profound and real.

Wonderful book – read it! Or listen to it

Water for Elephants

by Sara Gruen

What a wonderful story this is
I loved how it moved from the past to the present, telling Jacob’s stories with such tenderness and love.
A gentle book with many harsh edges, told with compassion but not schmultz

Jacob runs away, by accident really, to the circus when tragedy strikes his family. This book tells of the three months he spent as the circus vet, falling in love with animals and people alike, feeling emotions never felt before and connecting with real people, both good and bad.

Jacob is a likable character as a young man, and as the old man telling the story he is incorrigible and stubborn. I loved that one of his nurses got him, saw him for who he really was instead of the grumpy old man all the other staff at the nursing home saw.

The book had me having waves of emotions and i dreaded the end as I hurtled towards it. So many ends were possible but the one Gruen used was just perfect.

A beautiful written, emotionally engaging, wonderful tale

Fight Club

by Chuck Palahniuk

I have seen the movie so I knew something of what was at the crux of this story but that didn’t decrease my enjoyment of it at all.
In fact, I quite enjoyed knowing what was what and observing how Palahniuk actually told the reader a long time before the reader worked it out.

The social commentary of this book remains relevant – the existence of Fight Clubs is not outside the realms of possibility. Blue collar workers wanting to befoul white collar lives; fighting to feel; pain and machismo being the great levelers between men – these are not unfamiliar concepts in life in 2018. As such, this book has not dated at all – sadly

I love the dark satire of this book – and now plan to watch the movie again

a solid 4/5

by Cleary Wolters


This is the autobiography of the real Alex Vause, she of sidekick in Orange is the New Black fame.

Wolters is upfront and honest about what she did in terms of drug smuggling and getting other people to smuggle drugs but I found her sense of ‘I am not a real criminal’ rather annoying.

You smuggled heroin – that’s a real criminal. That’s an awful thing to do and while you may never have shot anyone, you killed people.

As an add-on to Orange is the New Black I quite enjoyed this book but as a stand alone book it was pretty thin.

2 1/2 out of 5, maybe 3 cos I am fascinated by drug memoirs.


Fly Away

by Kristin Hannah

Not my usual kind of read, but I really quite enjoyed this book.
I am not sure what genre it would fall in but I imagine it sitting comfortably along with Picoult and Keyes.
The idea of this book – dead people and women in comas communicating – is exactly why I don’t read these kinds of books, but Hannah manages to do it in this book in a way that is touching and believable rather than schmultzy and silly.

I got completely caught up in how all the members of the extended family dealt with the blow they are dealt. Some irritated me, others created a surge of empathy and sadness that had me blinking hard; some I completely understood while others seemed exactly the opposite of what I would do.
But all read as reasonable with the content of each character and their space in the story.

This book is about love and redemption, about good intentions and poor decisions. It’s about relationships and how all of them matter, not just romantic ones. And it is about how each of us has a place we come from, a history that determines so much of who we are and what we do – and we can never know the total of someone’s start, so we should judge their present gently.

I stayed up late reading this book, and stayed in bed a little too long in the morning finishing it.
A good 4/5 from me which would easily, I think, be a 5/5 for fans of this genre.