Thursday, January 5, 2017

Birth Year Reading Challenge 2017 - Progress & Reviews


Here we are, tracking those candles for the 2017 version of the Birth Year Reading Challenge. Sign-up is now closed.) This is going to be fun!

Please keep me updated on how you're doing (reviews and reactions would be nice, even if just 1-2 sentences). I'll post your progress and light your candles as quickly as possible.

Debbie at ExUrbanis (book list pending)

Nan at Letters from a Hill Farm (sign-up post): 2 candles
1. The Franchise Affair - Josephine Tey (review)
2. Taken at the Flood - Agatha Christie (review)

Bev at My Reader's Block (sign-up post): 14 candles
1. Spice Island Mystery - Betty Cavanna (review)
2. Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-Fifth Street - William S. Baring-Gould (review)
3. Coffin's Dark Number - Gwendoline Butler (review)
4. Death with Blue Ribbon - Leo Bruce (review)
5. The Fennister Affair - Josephine Bell (review)
6. The Invisible Intruder - Carolyn Keene (review)
7. The Shivering Sands - Victoria Holt (review)
8. Blind Man With a Pistol - Chester Himes (review)
9. Death Cracks a Bottle - Genneth Giles (review)
10. The Mystery of the Talking Skull - Robert Arthur (review)
11. Murder at Mount Holly - Paul Theroux (review)
12. The Golden Bird: Folk Tales from Slovenia - Vladimir Kavčič (review)
13. I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today - Dr. Seuss (review)
14. Ubik - Philip K. Dick (review)

Becky at Becky's Book Reviews (sign-up post): 5 candles 
1. Freight Train - Donald Crews (review) (26 p.)
2. Rain - Robert Kalan & Donald Crews (review) (32 p.)
3. Pancakes for Breakfast - Tomie dePaola (review) (32 p.)
4. Kolyma Tales - Varlam Shalamov (review) (508 p.)
5. Beauty - Robin McKinley (review) (256 p.)

Rebecca (book list pending)

Rebecca Olds (book list pending)

Tina (sign-up in comments here): 1 candle
1.  Death in Berlin - M.M. Kaye (review in comments)

Neer at A Hot Cup of Pleasure (sign-up post): 1 candle
1. The Hog's Back Mystery - Freeman Wills Crofts

The Book Dragon at Book Dragon's Lair (sign-up post)

Sahar Siddiqi  (sign-up in comments here): 1 candle
1. Drown - Junot Diaz (review in comments)

Pamela Green (book list pending)

Becca at Complete and Utter Poppycock (sign-up post): 9 candles
1. Sleeping Murder - Agatha Christie (review in comments)
2. Slapstick - Kurt Vonnegut (review)
3. The Omen - David Seltzer (review)
4. Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang - Kate Wilhelm (review)
5. In the Frame - Dick Francis (review in comments)
6. Roots - Alex Haley (review)
7. Deus Irae - Philip K. Dick (review in comments)
8. The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank - Erma Bombeck (review in comments)
9. Man Plus - Frederik Pohl (review)

Sarah Durham (book list pending)

Sejal (book list pending)

James Leah at Insane Journal (sign-up post)

Barbara Fisher at March of Time Books (sign-up posts 1 and 2): 2 candles 
1. Five Go Off to Camp - Enid Blyton (review)
2. The Sea of Adventure - Enid Blyton (review)

Carolyn at Riedel Fascination (sign-up post)

Andrea Inghilleri (book list pending): 3 candles
1. Dear Nobody - Berlie Doherty (review in comments)
2. Wilderness Tips - Margaret Atwood (review in comments)
3. The Kitchen God's Wife - Amy Tan (review in comments)

J.G. at Hotchpot Cafe (sign-up post) (host: not eligible for prizes): 1 candle
1. The Flame Trees of Thika - Elspeth Huxley (review)

88 comments:

  1. I've reviewed two picture books so far. (Both in my tbr pile already.) Freight Train and Rain both illustrated by Donald Crews.

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    1. Noted! They look like adorable books.

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  2. So, I read my first birth year book: Death in Berlin by M.M. Kaye. It's been on my TBR for two reasons: 1. Many years ago, I loved The Far Pavillions and have her 3-volume autobiography on my nightstand and 2. I was born and raised in Berlin, so this mystery held added interest. Unfortunately, it was the latter aspect that greatly influenced my enjoyment (or lack thereof) of this book. Although she'd been to postwar Berlin just a few years prior to writing this book, Kaye gets so many of the names of places wrong that it just plain annoyed me out of any pleasure I might have had in the story, which is light, but probably something I would otherwise have breezed through. Of course this was written prior to the internet, but really, I expect an author to have done research and then double-check that research. Clearly that did not happen here.

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    1. Okay, your first candle is burning! I'm glad you're off to a good start, even with the erros. They would have bothered me, too.

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    2. Oops, I meant "errors." (How ironic.)

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  3. I finished Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie. It's a Miss Marple mystery. I like Christie and this was another fun one with lots of suspects and misleading clues. But Miss Marple was never my favorite. And when she told someone in the book that it was clear if you just thought about it and refused to tell them what she had figured out I was as frustrated with her as the character was. I wanted to yell at her for being smug. But that was probably because, like him, I didn't know what she was talking about.

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    1. I put up your candle, Becca. And I agree with you: the smugness would have gotten old for me, too!

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  4. I just posted about a book on my blog http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-franchise-affair-by-josephine-tey.html

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    1. Yay! Your candle is burning brightly. Glad you were able to double this up for another challenge, also.

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  5. Another one down. And this one was actually on my original list. Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut. My review is here:
    http://completepoppycock.blogspot.com/2017/01/slapstick-review.html

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    1. You're all set! I have yet to read any Vonnegut but I know I will get around to him eventually.

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  6. Hi

    As you know I have chosen the year 1933 for the challenge. Now there is a collection of short stories by an author published in that year but the stories had been published during the twenties in various journals. I just wanted to know whether this collection will count for the challenge or not.

    I am also preparing a list of three for the Dread and Read Challenge. It is taking time as I can't make up my mind about the three most dreaded books on my shelves:)

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    1. A collection published in your chosen year definitely counts! Prior publication of the stories doesn't matter.

      Looking forward to seeing what you choose to "dread." :-)

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    2. Thanks Jane.

      And here's my first candle: The Hog's Back Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts.

      http://inkquilletc.blogspot.in/2017/01/review-hogs-back-mystery.html

      Delete
  7. I read "Drown" by Junot Diaz. To be honest, I didn't really like it. There just wasn't anything likable about any of the characters, and I just didn't care for them. For example, Yunior has an abusive father who isn't all that nice to his mother either; few pages later and we time-skip to where Yunior nonchalantly hits his girlfriend. I don't think any of the characters have done anything even remotely decent in ths book (minus the mother, but then she kind of just stopped doing much of anything for the rest of the book)

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    1. Well, that sounds pretty disappointing. But at least you got a candle for it!

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  8. I read The Omen by David Seltzer. It isn't something I would normally read so I was surprised I liked it. I'm not running out to get the other books but it was good. My review is here:
    http://completepoppycock.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-omen-review.html

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    1. How nice to hear this, Becca! That's one point of the BYRC--pushing the reading envelope--so I'm very glad it worked out for you. Candle burning!

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  9. I finished book 2 last month and just put up my book report:
    http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2017/02/taken-at-flood-by-agatha-christie.html

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    1. You're all set, Nan. I'm off to read your report now, knowing it will be a good one!

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  10. I accidentally posted my review on the original Birth Year post. Here's my first candle: https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2017/02/spice-island-mystery-review.html

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    1. No problem, Bev. One candle, coming right up!

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  11. I finished Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm. Another one that was not on my original list. I'm going to get to the list eventually, maybe. The review is here:
    http://completepoppycock.blogspot.com/2017/02/where-late-sweet-birds-sang-review.html

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    1. Thanks, Becca! One more candle for you! And no worries about the original list. I'm sure you'll get to it--or not! :-)

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  12. I've reviewed two books in February.
    R, My Name is Rosie 188 pages.
    Hickory 42 pages.

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  13. Ok, so I have another one that is not on my list. I have read In the Frame by Dick Francis. It had some quirky characters and some twists and turns. But I think what I liked about it was the tone of the book. It was written in a sort of off hand manner because the main character didn't seem to think he was doing anything extraordinary even though he was. And somehow that made the dramatic scenes when they came more impactful.
    As for my list... I'm reading Roots. I'm almost done. And that one is on my list. I told you I'd get to it. :)

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    1. No worries about listed versus not listed books--and congrats on finishing another one. Candle in place!

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  14. I have finished Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty (1991) 160 pgs

    Review:
    I am the same age "Dear Nobody" would be if she were a real person. Though its great that Helen wrote letter to get her feelings out, I think some things are just better left unsaid. I also did not like the resolution between Helen and Chris, even though storyline did shed light on what really happens in these situations. Teen pregnancy does not only affect the couple, it effects their entire family. The story took place in a time where having a baby out of wedlock, and young, was starting to not be looked at in such a bad light. As her mother describes from her own childhood, kids who were born out of wedlock were singled out and made to be ashamed for being "bastard" children.

    I think the world is gong to continue to evolve in matters like teen pregnancy, but I think the root of this story will always stay true. It takes a village to raise a child, and not all people are ready for the commitment. However, responsibility is responsibility and both parties should share in this responsibility equally.

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    1. This sounds like a book that provides a lot of food for thought, and an interesting example of how society's views may change over time. Thanks for the review. Your first candle is glowing!

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  15. I read two books in February for this challenge:

    http://blbooks.blogspot.com/2017/02/hickory.html
    Hickory by Palmer Brown (42 pages)

    http://blbooks.blogspot.com/2017/02/r-my-name-is-rosie.html
    R My Name is Rosie. by Barbara Cohen. (188 pages)

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  16. Hello again! Here is book #2!

    Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood - 1991 (288pgs.)

    Wilderness Tips is a collection of short stories surrounding the theme of life. Sometimes life does not always go according to plan, and each of these stories characterizes a handful of different types of people in the world. I think the key behind these stories is to remember everyone has their own problems behind the scenes, no matter how picture perfect their lives may look on the outside.

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    1. Sounds like a great choice, Andrea. Second candle burning!

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  17. My latest review is Pancakes for Breakfast:
    http://blbooks.blogspot.com/2017/03/pancakes-for-breakfast.html

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    1. What a cute book! (Candle added!)

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  18. Hi J.G, I've just finished reading Five Go Off to Camp by Enid Blyton my reviewe is here http://marchhousebookscom.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/five-go-off-to-camp.html

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    1. Nicely done, Barbara! Your first candle is burning brightly!

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  19. Replies
    1. Thank you! We definitely have fun with it.

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  20. Finished my second book!

    Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood (1991) - 288pgs

    Wilderness Tips is a collection of short stories surrounding the theme of life. Sometimes life does not always go according to plan, and each of these stories characterized a handful of different types of people in the world. I think the key behind these stories is to remember everyone has their own problems behind the scenes, no matter how picture perfect their lives may look on the outside.

    I enjoyed a few of these stories, but others were hard to stay interested. Once I began enjoying one of them, the story was over. Maybe I am just not a "short story reader."

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    1. Thanks, Andrea. (Sorry it took so long for me to light your candle. Computer woes.)

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    2. No problem! I submitted this a second time because I assumed the first time didn't actually send. I' new to this blog! lol

      Thank you! :)

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  21. Finished Roots! My review is here: http://completepoppycock.blogspot.com/2017/03/roots-review.html

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    1. Well done! Sixth candle bright and shining.

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  22. Here's my second candle: https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2017/04/nero-wolfe-of-west-thirty-fifth-street.html

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    1. Whoops, the delay is my fault for not moderating quickly enough. All good now and thanks for your patience, Bev.

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  23. Finished book 3!

    The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan (1991) 420pgs


    The secrets between Winnie and her daughter Pearl put a heavy strain on their relationship. However, Auntie Helen's news about her health will change their world. Pearl finally discovers the hardships her mother went through during the war in China, how her parents met, and a sad truth about herself.

    Amy Tan did an excellent job with portraying the strained relationship between an immigrant and her Americanized daughter. I feel that I can somewhat relate as my own mother is an immigrant. Of course she did not suffer events similar to Winnie, though who knows what secrets I will never know myself. This is a great novel that will make you laugh, cry, and gain more compassion for immigrants and refugees.

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    1. Congrats on candle #3! Sounds like you enjoyed this one!

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  24. Replies
    1. Got them! Candles burning enthusiastically!

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  25. I have a candle! Finally! The Flame Trees of Thika was a lovely read. It has certainly aged well. Here's my take: http://hotchpotcafe.blogspot.com/2017/04/a-missing-piece.html.

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  26. I've read and reviewed Kolyma Tales It's my longest book yet at 508 pages.

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    1. I enjoyed your review of this difficult book, Becky. Maybe it was a blessing not to care too much? (Candle burning!)

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  27. JG: I think I may have missed giving these to you:
    Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-Fifth Street: https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2017/04/nero-wolfe-of-west-thirty-fifth-street.html

    Coffin's Dark Number by Gwendoline Butler: https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2017/04/coffins-dark-number-review.html

    Death with Blue Ribbon by Leo Bruce: https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2017/04/death-with-blue-ribbon-review.html

    That should bring me up to four candles. I have one more that I just finished (The Fennister Affair by Josephine Bell)--review coming soon.

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    1. Nope, I have been lax in my moderation duties. So sorry! All better now, and thanks for your patience and resubmitting. Everything should be on fire now. :-)

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  28. And the most recent (Candle #5): https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-fennister-affair-review.html

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    1. Got it! Five candles it is! Thank you, Bev.

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  29. So, I have not been keeping up with things. I have read a few since my last post here and will try to get them all up in the next few days. For now I'll just do one. I finished Deus Irae by Philip K. Dick. It explores the place of religion in life and the definition of a god. It's a post apocalyptic story so it's no surprise that it is dark and slightly chaotic but there is humor. There is a lot of introspection and pondering deep questions. There is nothing wrong with any of that but I didn't like the book. It was just uninteresting to me. Which is unfortunate since this is one that I picked out right away and was looking forward to reading.

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    1. Philip K. Dick is a very imaginative writer but it sounds like this one just wasn't for you. Too bad it was such a disappointment. At least you got a candle for it!

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  30. Candle #6: The Invisible Intruder by Carolyn Keene https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-invisible-intruder-review.html

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    1. Okay, you're good to go with candle #6! Glad you had a nice walk down memory lane with this one.

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  31. Candle #6: The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-shivering-sands-review.html

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    1. This sounds like an enjoyable book with a lot of atmosphere. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Sixth candle up and burning!

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    2. Correction: *Seventh* candle up and burning!

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  32. Hi there, I've just added another candle (it took a while!) http://marchhousebookscom.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/the-sea-of-adventure-and-another-candle.html
    Thanks Barbara

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  33. #8 Blind Man With a Pistol by Chester Himes https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2017/05/blind-man-with-pistol-review.html

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    1. With candle #8, that's quite a light you've got there! Well done, Bev!

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  34. I was sure I left a comment last week but I can't see it so will leave it again just in case.
    I've just added another candle at http://marchhousebookscom.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/the-sea-of-adventure-and-another-candle.html Hope it's OK. Barbara

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    1. So sorry, Barbara. We have been traveling and I missed your earlier comment. Your second candle is up and ablaze now, and this sounds like it was a fun book to read. Thanks for your patience and the gentle nudge.

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  35. Sorry, I wasn’t nudging you (honest) I thought Blogger had done a funny as it sometimes does. :)

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    1. No problem even if you did! Nudges are always appreciated; they help me prioritize!

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  36. Candle #9: Death Cracks a Bottle by Genneth Giles https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2017/05/death-cracks-bottle-review.html

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  37. Candle #10 The Mystery of the Talking Skull by Robert Arthur https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-mystery-of-talking-skull-review.html

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  38. And...Candle #11 Murder at Mount Holly by Paul Theroux https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2017/05/murder-in-mount-holly-review.html

    One more on the way as soon as I get the review done.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Candle #12 The Golden Bird: Folk Tales from Slovenia by Vladimir Kavčič
    https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-golden-bird-review.html

    ReplyDelete
  40. I have two to report:
    First is The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank by Erma Bombeck. It was fun. Some of the stories are dated. And alot of them were about life in the suburbs so they were hard for me to relate to. But I found them funny more often than not.

    Second is Man Plus by Frederik Pohl. My review is here:
    http://completepoppycock.blogspot.com/2017/05/man-plus-review.html

    I'm still running behind so I have a few more I hope to post soon. I'll catch up eventually, I hope. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your two new candles are shining brightly, Becca.

      I remember when Erma Bombeck was all the rage among not-quite-liberated housewives (like my mother), but I can certainly see how her books might not have aged well. Ditto for another author popular around the same time period: Peg Bracken.

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  41. My 1969 Dr. Seuss Book (that isn't really long enough for a full candle...): https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2017/05/i-can-lick-30-tigers-today-mini-review.html

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  42. I reviewed Beauty by Robin McKinley
    http://blbooks.blogspot.com/2017/05/beauty.html

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    Replies
    1. Your Candle #5 is burning now!

      Delete
  43. And another: Ubik by Philip K. Dick: https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2017/06/pkd-its-not-you-its-me.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Candle #14 is up. You've got a nice blaze going there!

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