Obsidian Blue

Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!

16 Tasks of the Festive Season

Tasks complete, now going through again. 

 

 

 

 

Tasks completed in bold:

 

Task 1-Tasks for Día de Muertos and All Saint’s Day: create a short poem, or an epitaph for your most hated book ever.

 

Task 2-Tasks for Guy Fawkes Night: Post pictures of past or present bonfires, fireworks (IF THEY’RE LEGAL) or sparklers.

 

Task 2- Tasks for Bon Om Touk:  Post a picture from your most recent or favorite vacation on the sea (or a lake, river, or any other body of water larger than a puddle), or if you're living on the sea or on a lake or a river, post a picture of your favorite spot on the shore / banks / beach / at the nearest harbour.

 

Task 3-Tasks for Verteran’s Day/Armistice Day: Make, or draw a red poppy and show us a pic of your red poppy or other symbol of remembrance –OR– post a quote or a piece of poetry about the ravages of war. 

 

Task 3-Tasks for St. Martin’s Day: Write a Mother Goose-style rhyme or a limerick; the funnier the better.  –OR–Take a picture of the book you’re currently reading, next to a glass of wine, or the drink of your choice, with or without a fire in the background.  –OR–

Bake Weckmann; if you’re not a dab hand with yeast baking, make a batch of gingerbread men, or something else that’s typical of this time of the year where you live.  Post pics of the results and the recipe if you’d like to share it.

 

Task 4-Tasks for Thanksgiving Day: List of 5 things you’re grateful for –OR–

Post a picture of your thanksgiving feast; or your favourite turkey-day recipe.  –OR–

Be thankful for yourself and treat yourself to a new book and post a picture of it.

Bonus task:  share your most hilarious turkey-day memory.

 

Task 5-Tasks for AdventPost a pic of your advent calendar. (Festive cat, dog, hamster or other suitable pet background expressly encouraged.) –OR– “Advent” means “he is coming.”  Tell us: What in the immediate or near future are you most looking forward to?  (This can be a book release, or a tech gadget, or an event … whatever you next expect to make you really happy.)

 

Task 6-Tasks for Bodhi Day:  Perform a random act of kindness.  Feed the birds, adopt a pet, hold the door open for someone with a smile, or stop to pet a dog (that you know to be friendly); cull your books and donate them to a charity, etc. (And, in a complete break with the Buddha’s teachings, tell us about it.)  –OR– Post a picture of your pet, your garden, or your favourite, most peaceful place in the world.

 

Task 7-Tasks for Saint Lucia's Day: Get your Hygge on -light a few candles if you’ve got them, pour yourself a glass of wine or hot chocolate/toddy, roast a marshmallow or toast a crumpet, and take a picture of your cosiest reading place.

 

Task 8-Tasks for Las Posadas: Which was your favorite / worst / most memorable hotel / inn / vacation home stay ever?  Tell us all about it! –OR– If you went caroling as a kid: Which are your best / worst / most unforgettable caroling memories?

 

 Task 9- Tasks for Winter Solstice and Yaldā Night: Read a book in one night - in the S. Hemisphere, read a book in a day. –OR–Grab one of your thickest books off the shelf.  Ask a question and then turn to page 40 and read the 9th line of text on that page.  Post your results.  –OR–Eat a watermelon or pomegranate for good luck and health in the coming year, but post a pic first! Bonus task:  Read a book in one night.

 

Task 10- Tasks for World Peace Day: Cook something involving olives or olive oil. Share the results and/or recipe with us. –OR– Tell us: If you had wings (like a dove), where would you want to fly?

 

Task 10- Tasks for Pancha Ganapati: Post about your 5 favourite books this year and why you appreciated them so much. –OR–Take a shelfie / stack picture of the above-mentioned 5 favorite books.  (Feel free to combine these tasks into 1!

 

Task 11-Tasks for Dōngzhì Festival: If you like Chinese food, tell us your favorite dish – otherwise, tell us your favorite desert. (Recipes, as always, welcome.)

 

Bonus point for Melbourne Cup. 

 

Task 12-Tasks for Festivus: Post your personal list of 3 Festivus Miracles –OR–

Post a picture of your Festivus pole (NOTHING pornographic, please!), –OR–

Perform the Airing of Grievances:  name 5 books you’ve read this year that have disappointed you - tell us in tongue-lashing detail why and how they failed to live up to expectations.

 

Task 14- Tasks for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti: Find the sunniest spot in your home, that’s warm and comfy and read your book. –OR–Take a picture of your garden, or a local garden/green space in the sun (even if the ground is under snow).  If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, take a picture of your local scenic spot, park, or beach, on a sunny day.  –OR– The Romans believed that the sun god rode across the sky in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.  Have you ever been horseback riding, or did you otherwise have significant encounters with horses?  As a child, which were your favorite books involving horses? 

 

Task 14-Tasks for Quaid-e-Azam: Pakistan’s first leader – Muhammad Ali Jinnah – was a man, but both Pakistan and neighboring India were governed by women (Benazir Bhutto and Indira Gandhi respectively) before many of the major Western countries.  Tell us: Who are the present-day or historic women that you most respect, and why?  (These can be any women of great achievement, not just political leaders.)

 

Task 15-Tasks for Newtonmas: Take a moment to appreciate gravity and the laws of motion. If there’s snow outside, have a snowball fight with a friend or a member of your family.  –OR– Take some time out to enjoy the alchemical goodness of a hot toddy or chocolate or any drink that relies on basic chemistry/alchemy (coffee with cream or sugar / tea with milk or sugar or lemon, etc.).  Post a picture of your libations and the recipe if it’s unique and you’re ok with sharing it.

 

Task 16-Tasks for Kwanzaa: Create a stack of books in the Kwanzaa color scheme using red, black and green and post your creation and post a photo (or post a photo of a shelfie where black, red and green predominate).

BONUS task: Create something with your stack of books:  a christmas tree or other easily identifiable object.


Task 13-
Tasks for Christmas: Post a picture of your stockings hung from the chimney with care, –OR– a picture of Santa’s ‘treat’ waiting for him. –OR– Share with us your family Christmas traditions involving gift-giving, or Santa’s visit. Did you write letters to Santa as a kid (and if so, did he write back, as J.R.R. Tolkien did “as Santa Claus” to his kids)? If so, what did you wish for? A teddy bear or a doll? Other toys – or practical things? And did Santa always bring what you asked for?

 

 

Total points: 24

 

It's Thursday on Friday! Catch up on BookLikes know-how / BookLikes under maintenance note

Reblogged from BookLikes:

It's Friday but it feels like Thursday!

Due to technical difficulties our release post got delayed. Since it's possible to publish again, we wanted to let you know what's going on with the site.

 

As you may have noticed BookLikes was under maintenance for some time today and yesterday. Our team is still working on the site issues and some of the features are under review, therefore, you may experience some inconvenience while using them. We sincerely apologize for the temporary inconvenience. We're working on fixing all the problematic issues, including the Dashboard chronology.

 

In case of any questions or remarks, please mail Kate@booklikes.com and we'll be happy to help and support. 

 

In the meantime, please have a look at our previous posts where we shared the crucial tips for BookLikes bloggers. If you've missed out previous Thursday releases, here's your chance to catch up on some of them:

 

How to start a book blog

No matter whether you're a regular BookLikes visitor or a newbie, we hope you'll find these tips useful in your blogging adventure. Here's how to set up your book blog and make your first steps in the blogging community... read how to set up your book blog

 

 

6 ways to blog about books

Book blogging is awesome and it's even more fun if you can blog about books in different ways... read how BookLikes can help you blog about books in six different ways

 

 

7 tips how to write a book review

Book blogs are different but they do have one thing is common, they share book reviews. And this means you're letting us, the readers, enter into your heads. Which is great, we get to know your thoughts without the superpowers! Sometimes, though, some extra powers are needed to write a good book review.  We are curious what are your writing tips. Below we share several of ours plus several places on BookLikes to visit to add your reviews on BL... read how to write a book review on BookLikes

 

 

A-Z ways to arrange your bookshelf

Let's say it loud, a bookshelf in book lover's life isn't only a space to collect books. It's a space to show your reading personality, it's a place to praise your sweethearts. Your bookshelf is You. The way you arrange your bookshelf tells a lot about you. BookLikes bookshelf also offers a set of features which allows you to present your bookish personality with your book collection... read how to add books to your bookshelf on BookLikes

 

 

4 ways to give a shout out to a beloved title

If you're wondering how to praise a book and put it in the spotlight, the following BookLikes spots will come in handy... read how to highlight your favorite books on BookLikes

 

 

5 tips to show yourself as a professional reader, author, publisher

If you're a blogger, author or a publisher you can use your BookLikes book blog as an excellent companion to your other webpages and social media. Read five tips how to show off your brand with your BookLikes blog

 

 

How to add Facebook and Twitter widgets

No matter whether you are a writer, publisher or a book bloggers, it's important to present all possible information about your profession and links to your other webpages and other social platforms. Only then your readers will be able to look through your dossier and get to know you a little bit better. Recently we've shared some tips how to include all the professional information on your book blog and now we're moving to widgets, another great way of presenting your writings... read how to add social media widgets to your BookLikes webpage

 

 

BookLikes How-to: Advanced Shelving Options

If you still have any doubts how to +Shelf your books on BookLikes the following guest post should dispel all your doubts... read how to use +Shelf Advanced on BookLikes

 

 

Giveaways: win free books and give your titles away

If you have books to spare, want to promote and popularize you titles, give your books a second reading life, please do! With the giveaway program you can give the titles away as well as win ARCs and review copies right now... read how to add a giveaway and how to win review copies

 

 

BookLikes How-to: Housekeeping! or, Using the Mass Post Editor

If you’re a BookLikes veteran or new to BookLikes but with a huge import of data, you might, like me, look back at all of that history and think “I really need to clean some of those posts up” or “shoot, I wish I’d been using ‘x’ tag on all of those posts”, but then you imagine actually doing it, shudder to yourself, and find that sorting out your sock drawer suddenly sounds exciting.

 

OR, like I’ve been doing lately, you’ve gone to tag a post, see the mile long list of previously used tags and think to yourself “WHY do I have all those tags?... read how to do a clean up on your BookLikes blog 

 

BookLikes How to: book search tips

Searching books isn't always a piece of cake, especially with a never-ending virtual bookshelf and a catalog with multiple editions. Jenn, to the rescue with some handy tips for all BookLikers! ... read how to find a book on BookLikes

 

 

It's time for a reading challenge!

Some of you have already completed your 2017 reading challenge - big congratulations! This year is coming to an end but the reading challenge post will come in handy for your upcoming reading year. 

Remember that the next year is also about You and your books! Give yourself a me time with a new year reading resolution... read how to start a reading challenge

 

 

You can find more tutorial blog posts when you write tutorial in the search box and click Tags or simply click HERE

16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Task 3 (Second Time) - St. Martin's Day

Pic from my Kindle library

 

 

Sorry no wine. Just smart water to help me stay hydrated. My fever was almost 100 degreesearlier. Yuck!

 

Tasks for St. Martin’s Day: Write a Mother Goose-style rhyme or a limerick; the funnier the better.  –OR–

Take a picture of the book you’re currently reading, next to a glass of wine, or the drink of your choice, with or without a fire in the background.  –OR–

Bake Weckmann; if you’re not a dab hand with yeast baking, make a batch of gingerbread men, or something else that’s typical of this time of the year where you live.  Post pics of the results and the recipe if you’d like to share it.

 

16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Task 2 (Second Time) - Bon Om Touk

I went to Boston on vacation in September and had a good time exploring the city. I had a terrible time with the friends I met up with, but that's because they only wanted to drink and be insufferable after that. I ended up getting annoyed and went for a two hour run and got some great shots of the water surrounding Boston.

 

Enjoy!

 

View from my hotel looking at Charles River, Boston Massachusetts

 

 

Me taking a photo at Harvard Bridge after a run in Boston, Massachusetts

 

Harbor photo taken at Gloucester, Massachusetts

 

Tasks for Bon Om Touk: Post a picture from your most recent or favorite vacation on the sea (or a lake, river, or any other body of water larger than a puddle), or if you're living on the sea or on a lake or a river, post a picture of your favorite spot on the shore / banks / beach / at the nearest harbour.

 

Neverwhere

Neverwhere: Author's Preferred Text - Neil Gaiman

I enjoyed this after a bit. The first 30 to 40 percent I found slow. But the book picks up momentum and I liked how we get to see more of the London Below via other characters when we're not following the main characters of Richard and Door.

 

Richard Mayhew finds himself helping a young woman one night and it changes his life forever. Without realizing it, helping the woman named Door will cost Richard his life as he knows it when he finds himself pushed out of his reality. Being lost about what to do, Richard goes looking for Door and finds out about London Below.

 

I liked Richard though I found him to be a little slow on the uptake sometimes. But I think that Gaiman did a good job of having a readers see things through Richard's eyes.

 

This book is told in the third person, and we get to follow a number of characters around. We have the Lady Door, the Marquis, and a woman called Hunter who's the best hunter in London Below. When Door goes on a quest to figure out who killed her family and why these four characters end up going on a series of mini-quests.

 

I kind of like how Gaiman mixes history in this book along with some cultural significance to people who are from Britain.

 

The writing was good, but as I said above, the flow was off for me for a good portion of the book.

 

The setting was awesome and I found myself interested in finding out more about those who live in London Below.

 

The ending felt a bit anti-climatic to me. But all in all, this was a pretty good story.

Reading progress update: I've read 23%.

Neverwhere: Author's Preferred Text - Neil Gaiman

Trying to enjoy this, but honestly this is not grabbing me like most of Gaiman's books. So far there is too much unknown. I don't need things spelled out right away, but I am not even drawn to Richard, Door, or anyone else in this book at this point.

 

Image result for bored now gif

Not a Strong Showing by See

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane - Lisa See

Trigger warning: descriptions of infanticide 

 

I think that if Lisa See had cut down on some of the historical elements and developed her characters more I would have liked this. I do think that part of the problem was the overly abundant coincidences in this book. And I also think that the ending was written before the beginning. One of my professors used to tell us when we are writing, to not be so focused on the ending, but on the beginning and the middle. The ending was a great gut punch, the middle and ending of this book, not so much.

 

See focuses on the Akha people (the Akha are an indigenous hill tribe who live in small villages at higher elevations in the mountains of Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Yunnan Province in China). I bring that up, cause a casual reader may be confused by this (as I was at parts). I felt I had to do a lot of look up words/research while reading this book which I just wasn't in the mind-set to deal with at this time.

 

The main character is Li-yan (FYI I had to go and look that up since her real name is mentioned only maybe twice in the book, she is referred to as Girl [a good 50 plus percent of the book] or Tina [eh maybe 10 percent of the book] throughout the book.

Li-yan is the daughter of the village midwife and is expected to marry well and become a midwife as well. Her life changes though after a strange dream and then meets a young boy at the market.

 

Li-yan starts to see her people as backwards due to their traditions (parts of this story are very grim so be careful with reading this one). Li-yan realizes that she doesn't want to follow in her mother's footsteps and is going to do what she can to get placed in secondary and third schooling so she can be someone outside of her village. She also dreams of marrying a young boy from her school and having lots of children with him.

 

Li-yan's life gets off course though when she has a baby out of wedlock which means the baby should be put to death when born (not a spoiler, in synopsis) when Li-yan goes against tradition, she finds herself living a life outside of her village. 

 

The writing is just okay. I think that other reviewers have noted that there is a lot of historical information in this one and there is. I think that See decided to do what she did with her "Shanghai Girls" books and decided to have a book that covers a lot of historical events. It just loses something I think in this telling when you have a character remarking on something that I don't think in the moment they would find to be momentous. 

 

Also, I have to say, that for how "backwards" the village where Li-yan is shown and their traditions, I had a hard time believing these same people would so willingly part with them.


I also hope you like reading about tea, cause this book includes every little detail about them and I got bored. I love tea! I just don't want to read pages upon pages about how it is picked, smelled, how it should be brewed, etc. 

 

I think that the book starts off pretty slow. We begin with Li-yan relaying a dream to her family and going tea picking. You don't get a good idea of what is even going on for a good 15-20 percent of the story. See jumps around a lot (enjoy that) and goes into 

Li-yan's family, her best friend's family and some (not all) of the villagers. We get historical dumps (that is what I am calling them) throughout the story by Li-yan or other characters. Nothing quite gels together. 

 

I think for me, the moment when I totally lost interest was when Li-yan realizes the man she gave up a lot for is not what she thought. I just had a hard time buying her realization considering she ignored everyone that tried to tell her about him before. 

 

I also hate how we jump over things that I think would have been interesting. 


The book jumps back and forth between Li-yan and her daughter. I think the book would have been stronger if both POVs would have been told in the first person. Instead we get first person POV from Li-yan and just excerpts from Li-yan's daughter via her mother, teachers, and even therapist at one point. I never got a chance to know her and I really didn't feel drawn to her as a character.

 

After the 25th coincidence (kidding, but not really) the book ends. 

SQUEE!!

The Book of Dust:  La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1) - Philip Pullman

Trying not to be a fangirl, but wow. This was so good. Not going to lie, I missed Lyra and Will. We do get baby Lyra though, so at least she's in the story. Just not talking and being her Silvertongue self yet. Seeing younger versions of Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter though was interesting. Since I know what comes, it gave me a good deal of pleasure of seeing Mrs. Coulter wrong footed. We follow two young people, Malcolm and Alice who do what they can to keep baby Lyra safe.

 

Philip Pullman offers these tantalizing details: “I’ve always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College, and in thinking about it, I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she’s grown up. This volume and the next will cover two parts of Lyra’s life: starting at the beginning of her story and returning to her twenty years later. As for the third and final part, my lips are sealed.

 

Look all I am saying is that I want Lyra and Will together. That's it. If I end up sobbing like a child again like I did when I finished "The Subtle Knife" Pullman and I are going to have some imaginary words.

 

We have two new young adult characters to follow. No they are not Lyra and Will. But I actually think I may have fallen more in love with them than the latter. We have Malcolm and Alice who end up being drawn to baby Lyra.


I think that both characters were very well developed. Though some pieces reminded me of "The Subtle Knife". We have another sexual awakening of sorts. You see a young boy and girl drawn together and willing to fight for each other after having an adventure. 


We also get to see familiar characters in this one. I already mentioned Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter, but there are some others I don't want to spoil about. 

 

I do think that there were a lot of characters to keep track of, but I didn't mind. Pullman writes them all quite well and they move in/out to the story. I do wish though we hadn't jumped between Malcolm and his goings on and another adult character as much (no spoilers). That took something out of the book for me. I know that Pullman is trying to set up the people for investigating dust and those who did not want to, but as I said, I think most readers are going to read "His Dark Materials" prior to this one, so you don't have to go into it as much. 

 

Volume 1 was really good. Though it starts off slow, the flow gets better and better and you will have your heart in your throat for most of the story. I was so worried about Malcolm and Alice until the very end. And even then I am worried, cause i don't recall these characters in "His Dark Materials" or if they are referenced I am too dumb to not have caught it when I did a quick skim read of the three books a few days ago.


The plot of "The Book of Dust" is about a young boy, Malcolm, and innkeeper's son (I got a great hoot at connecting that with Jesus/inn/etc. who finds out that a baby is living with a group of nuns nearby. Malcolm becomes instantly enthralled with the baby (called Lyra) and her tragic story that most people are not supposed to know about (though everyone does). That would have to be the funniest part of this book to me. People keep mentioning secrets here and there, but it did feel like most of the characters knew about things that they should not have. I think that may have made for a more interesting book if things were slowly revealed. But I bet Pullman figured most of us have read "His Dark Materials" so it's not like it's going to be a shocking reveal to us.

 

The world building in "The Book of Dust" was really good. We get to see an earlier Brytain that has some similarities to our world, but does not. There is a terrible story about a man called St. Alexander that was appalling. And I swear reminded me of someone else historical, but was too busy/lazy to look it up. How this man and his actions trickles down to a secret group of children that reports on teachers, parents, etc. gives more power to the Consistorial Court of Discipline was appalling to see. I can see at times why Lord Asriel was hell-bent on breaking the hold the Church had on the world that "His Dark Materials" inhabitants. 

 

The ending was very good and links up nicely with the story we were told about how Lyra comes to be at Jordan College. Now can't wait for part two where we find Lyra supposedly 20 years later after the events of this story. I already read "Lyra's Oxford" to just get a nice taste of Lyra and Pan when she's 15. I wish it had been longer.

 

 Image result for his dark materials gif

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane - Lisa See

Really boring with too many coincidences to be believed. I generally like much of See's work, but this whole book felt off. We rushed through too many events to skip ahead to an unrealistic ending. 

Reading progress update: I've read 50%.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane - Lisa See

It's an interesting story, but not feeling that engaged with it. The storyline has dragged so far for me.

16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Task 13 - Christmas

Without fail my family's Christmas traditions stayed the same until my parents passed away. 

 

We always put the tree up after Thanksgiving. My Dad got a fake tree one year and we all rebelled. It had to be real. When we got older, my brothers and I would set it up, and decorate it though cause my dad wasn't strong enough at that point to go hauling around a Christmas tree.

 

The whole house would smell of pine and I would come home everyday after school and sniff it.

 

After three days we would decorate the tree. Lights first, and checking that all the lights worked. And then the Christmas decorations would go on next. My mom kept every handmade decoration we made, plus always buy new balls each year.

 

Before I knew Santa wasn't real, presents only appeared from our grandparents and other relatives. The week before my brothers and I would write a list to Santa and my mom would explain she would mail it to Santa Claus later. Kids, we have no idea :-)

 

My dad would always ask was I good his year and I would be honest. I was good, but could be better, and would think Santa would understand why I kept trying to smother my younger brother.

 

We would wish for snow, cause without it, it didn't feel like Christmas. The night before we put out cookies and milk and worry Santa couldn't get in cause we had no chimney. My dad explained Santa was magic and could get in anywhere. 

 

We would watch A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and any other Christmas movie we had on VHS back then recorded and go to bed. 

 

We end up trying to stay awake and get yelled at if we didn't sleep Santa wasn't coming.

 

And then every Christmas day at 7 am we start knocking at our parents door asking them to get up so we can see what Santa Claus brought. Rule was we were not allowed to set food downstairs til both parents were up. My mom would put on coffee and start making breakfast. And then we could open presents as we got our pictures taken.

 

Even though I live alone now I still will put out a small Christmas tree after Thanksgiving and smell the scent of pine in the house everyday! I also still watch the same Christmas cartoon shows and go to bed. Rule is we can't open presents til Christmas day, so my brothers and sister will require a photo check everyday to ensure I haven't been opening things. 

 

 

Tasks for Christmas:  So. many. options.  Post a picture of your stockings hung from the chimney with care, –OR–Post a picture of Santa’s ‘treat’ waiting for him.  –OR– 

Share with us your family Christmas traditions involving gift-giving, or Santa’s visit. Did you write letters to Santa as a kid (and if so, did he write back, as J.R.R. Tolkien did “as Santa Claus” to his kids)?  If so, what did you wish for?  A teddy bear or a doll? Other toys – or practical things? And did Santa always bring what you asked for?

 

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

The Book of Dust:  La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1) - Philip Pullman

So good.

 

It was great to red about two kids who do what they can to keep baby Lyra safe. We all read how Lord Asriel found her and brought her to Jordan College when she was a baby. Now we get to read how she got there. 

 

I'm curious about what Volume 2 could be though. 

Reading progress update: I've read 35%.

The Book of Dust:  La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1) - Philip Pullman

Happy to be back in this world. 

16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Task 15 - Newtonmas

 

 

I got the mix from World Market along with the marshmallow snowflakes. The rum from my libation tables :-)

 

You only need two teaspoons of the cocoa mix with hot but not boiling water. I always add in a splash (okay two) of the rum and than add in the cocoa. Place snowflake in as soon as you finish stirring. Depending on what kind of mood I am in I will switch out rum with vodka whip cream and maybe add in just a sprinkle of sugar if I don't have marshmallows.

 

 

Tasks for Newtonmas: Take a moment to appreciate gravity and the laws of motion. If there’s snow outside, have a snowball fight with a friend or a member of your family.  –OR– Take some time out to enjoy the alchemical goodness of a hot toddy or chocolate or any drink that relies on basic chemistry/alchemy (coffee with cream or sugar / tea with milk or sugar or lemon, etc.).  Post a picture of your libations and the recipe if it’s unique and you’re ok with sharing it.

 

16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Task 16 - Kwanza

I used mostly Stephen King books for this task.

 

 

And I decided as a homage to try to make a rose for the bonus task.

 

 

 

Tasks for Kwanzaa: Create a stack of books in the Kwanzaa color scheme using red, black and green and post your creation and post a photo (or post a photo of a shelfie where black, red and green predominate).

BONUS task: Create something with your stack of books:  a christmas tree or other easily identifiable object.

 

Great Female Sherlock & Watson Cozy Mystery

Poison in Paddington (A Cozy Mystery) (Cassie Coburn Mysteries Book 1) - Samantha Silver

So good. I really enjoyed this, but wish it had been a but longer. And I Hought that parts of Cassie's backstory we're  a bit confusing. This is why I gave it five stars, but did not favorite it. 

 

The first book in the Cassie Coburn mystery series (there are four books in this series) follows Cassie after a life changing accident changes her prospects of being a surgeon. Cassie movies from San Francisco to London to get over her depression that still lingers since her accident.  After a bike of her gets stolen she has a hilarious meet up with a French woman named Violet Despuis who is a private detective helping out the London police. Violet takes an interest in Cassie after using her deduction skills on Cassie. Cassie finds herself intrigued by Violet since she has nothing else to do. The duo team up when Violet investigates a supposed serial killer case.

 

I really liked Cassie a lot. The similarities to Dr. Watson were great, but Silver did her own spin on it. I stead of going to war and suffering from a gambling problem, we have Cassie suffering from depression and an addiction to fast food. And Silver doesn't treat her like a bumbling partner to Violet. Cassie gets increasingly better at deductions with Violet a very good teacher. 

 

Violet was interesting, but we don't learn much about her except she's estranged from her family. 

 

I was confused about Cassie's backstory too. She mentions her father, but her mom was a single mother. I thought initially her father died, but another sentence I read made it seem like he abandoned the family. Also Cassie comes into a huge amount of money due to her accident. So her being a cheap skate about lodging (she initially stayed at a hostel) didn't feel real. 

 

The writing was good and I thought the flow was great. The book moved quickly. I wasn't that interested in Cassie's love interest either. That part ruined the book a bit since it turned it into a more mainstream romance book. 

 

The final clues that lead to the guilty party was great. 

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