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Friday, May 29, 2020

And another week goes by...June is almost here!


Hello book friends!  I thought I would post this great chalk art picture because it kind of said 'June and summer!' to me.  I took this last fall at the Kerrville Chalk Festival, which I wrote about here.  I had such a good time at that festival and hope to get to attend again.  This year?  Who knows?  However, I'm certain that it will come around again when the time is right. 

I don't have much to tell other than to relate that another week has gone by.  You knew that, right?  Ha!  I did get my haircut last Saturday and it went very well.  Masks were worn by both of us.  She didn't even need to shampoo my hair as I had just done that.  She sprayed it with water, cut it short (very short at my request), did not blow it dry, we chatted a little, I paid and made an appointment for 4 weeks from now, and I went home.  It was lovely. 

Otherwise, I've been continuing my walking and yoga.  I've actually improved my 'time per mile' quite a bit.  Didn't really try to do that, but it's a nice benefit from walking every single day.  I'm usually pretty drenched in sweat by the time I get home, even on the cooler mornings.  I did notice that my rec center is open by appointment for use of the walking track and workout equipment.  It just became available this week.  I won't be going in quite yet, but I might consider it as summer advances.  What I can't conceive is walking/jogging with a mask on - I'll have to think about that.  Maybe early mornings outside would be OK even if they are muggy and warm.

Our mystery book group is going virtual for now or we'll be attempting to do that in upcoming days.  We're having a trial run this week to see how it goes and then will do a discussion of Where The Crawdads Sing the next week.  As the host, I'm a little nervous about it, but my husband will be around to help me if I need him.  Quite a few of the group have indicated that they will try to attend (we're doing invitation only).  I've attended the afternoon book group that I'm part of virtually and it went well.  It's not the same as sitting in a circle and sharing, but it's about the best we can do right now.  Who knows when libraries will be allowing meetings again? 

Hope everyone is doing well and has a good weekend.  Take care!   

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

One last post with what blooms in spring around our house...because summer is on the way

Hey book friends!  Hope all of you are well and enjoying a nice spring - it is spring most everywhere isn't it?  Here in Central Texas, we are winding down the 'spring' stuff.  Summer is right around the corner and heat and humidity are making my early morning walks not quite as comfortable as they were.  It was 97 yesterday afternoon and, though the temps will be trending down for a few days, those upper '90's will be more usual now.  Memorial Day weekend is typically a hot one in our area and often a very stormy holiday time as well.  We've had massive flooding in some years and tornadoes and other weather things that occur when a bit of cooler air bumps up against hot and humid air flowing up from the Gulf of Mexico.  Crash, boom - can you say thunderstorm?  We'll see how this year plays out.  Storms are possible.  In any case, I hope everyone will have a nice weekend.

What have I been doing differently?  Not much - ha!  I did go to the dentist this morning for a regular cleaning of my teeth.  The appointment was routine, but the steps that had to be followed at the dental office were multiple - but necessary.  Happily, all was well with my teeth and, though the hygienist used more 'old-fashioned' methods of cleaning, she was well protected and I felt very safe.  They were definitely taking hygiene seriously.  Maybe things will be a little more 'normal' when I go back in December.

I also have a hair appointment!  Wahoo!!  Now, I want to assure everyone that my hair stylist will also be taking things seriously and doing everything as carefully as she can.  She's also in a 'one-woman' shop.  Have you seen those places where hair stylists and other personal care workers can rent an individual salon?  That's what mine does.  I am her first appointment on Saturday and there are lots of rules, including wearing a mask and not blow-drying my hair.  It's so short that it only takes about 15-20 minutes to cut.  I won't be in there long and then she'll sanitize everything for her next client.  I'm going to tell her to whack it off very short, just in case the next time I can get in is longer than 4 weeks away.

Otherwise, life is about like normal or what has become normal.  I'll leave you with a few pictures of the spring 'colors' that are in my yard.  Many of them don't last all that long, so we have to enjoy them before they are gone.  And, no, I am not a gardener at all.  I have no idea what the names of the plants are, except the cactus.  Take care and maybe the next time I post, I might even talk a little about books!  What an idea!  Ha!










 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

A nice Mother's Day and a discussion of what societal behaviors might be different in the future...

Hello book friends!  In case you don't know, I do appreciate the updates and book reviews and pictures and memes and conversations that you all share each week.  I might not comment on everything, but I do enjoy hearing about life in other spots. 

I had a nice Mother's Day.  Got to talk with our daughter as she was on her way to work.  She used to do that all the time when she was in nursing school years ago and she's started calling to chat during that time period lately.  We've enjoyed it and I think she has too.  She and I discussed that we would have a nice lunch together one day.  I did open the door to find a big box that contained these flowers on my front porch a couple of days before Mother's Day.  So lovely and the colors were just so vivid and cheerful.  I think perhaps my son-in-law's mother probably found a similar gift as well.



My husband bought his mother an unusual gift and placed it on her front porch, while talking to her from way out in their yard - two big bags of nuts.  Ha!  She had told us that they were hard for her to find and a bit expensive, so he ordered her a bunch.  She won't need to get more for quite a while.  An unusual Mother's Day, but it was just fine. 

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I've been trying to stay away from all the 'news' except for an early morning check-in.  Still, some strange stories and behaviors from people.  Today I saw an article that wondered whether 'buffets' at restaurants would be a thing of the past.  It started me thinking about things that have changed a bit and being curious about what might become the new 'normal' after this time (if there ever is an 'after this time').  Here's are some things I suspect will stick around:

1.  Many people, especially older people, have learned that certain aspects of technology are not as user-unfriendly as they thought.  They have taken the step to get apps and learn how to video chat and order much more from online sellers.

2.  Taking the leap into grocery delivery or curbside and learning the ins and outs of that.  I know that many have had substitutions and items that weren't available, etc., but our local big grocery, HEB, has been doing the delivery/curbside for almost 3 years.  I used the curbside when my husband had surgery a couple of years ago.  My account can be set to accept substitutions or reject them and other tweaks as well.  I imagine that many people will continue with grocery delivery/curbside, at least part of the time.

3.  Many restaurants are finding that they are able to manage take-out, even if they are an upscale steakhouse or seafood place or if they hadn't done it much in the past.  Many are adding a way to order online and also order for pickup/delivery at a later time in the day.  Paying online is becoming the norm.  I do wish that all of these would have a way to tip as well.  In these days, I'm a generous tipper. 

4.  The online and video chat thing is also transitioning to many other service providers and I bet that will stick around.  I also think many people are more likely to try e-books, videos online, audiobooks, etc.  And people have learned that you can order almost any product online.

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As to what might not be as common in the future:

1.  Cruises - for me, I've never wanted to take a cruise and I don't see that changing.

2.  Buffet restaurants - those have been dwindling in recent years and I'll admit that I was never a big fan and won't want them in the future.  Remember the 'sneeze-guard' on salad bars.  Ick!

3.  Only working in an office or rather resistance by companies to have an option for people to work from home if their job involves sitting at a desk most of the time.  Same goes for schools, both K-12 and certainly at the college level.

4.  Shaking hands routinely or even giving hugs all the time.  Smiling and waving is the new hug! 

That might be all I can think of right now.  What do you imagine will be different or stay the same or never appear again?  I'm curious.  Hope you all have a good weekend!  We're supposed to get a bunch of rain - we need it, but....sigh.  Inside again.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Let's talk about early 20th century cooking and Donis Casey's Alafair Tucker mystery series...another 're-run'

Hello book friends!  Hope you are all well.  I'm doing another 're-run' of a post I wrote a long time ago.  Peach season will be coming in our area in a few weeks and so it got me thinking about peach ice cream.  Enjoy!

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I've mentioned before how much I like Donis Casey's mystery series that is set in early 20th century Oklahoma.  It tells of Alafair Tucker, her husband, Shaw, and their 10 children and extended family.  Alafair is a busy, busy mother, but she also is an inquisitive soul and has a tendency to run across situations that include bodies - dead bodies.

This author has put a lot of wonderful historical detail in these books and includes descriptions of both the setting and culture of the time.  Oklahoma of the early 1900's was an interesting place - to me anyway.  My mother's family was from that part of the world and I spent quite a lot of time in my childhood on summer visits to my great-grandparents' home.  My grandmother and her sisters would gather and they and my great-grandfather would talk about 'old times'.  I was a little mouse in the corner, always with a book, quietly reading and listening.  So, I remember quite a lot about the things that they talked about and the stories they related.

As I read this mystery series, the setting is vivid and the descriptions of life, including what they ate and how they tended to chores is reminiscent of my grandmother's tales.  Donis Casey includes recipes at the end of each book, as well as 'how-to's' on some chores.  In the first book, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming, the recipes include Josie's Peach Cobbler, Buttermilk Biscuits, Alafair's Meatloaf, and Pecan Pie.  There is also a description of 'The Drippings Jar' and how to make coffee.  The author reminds the reader to 'Be Forewarned:  These are not health foods.'  Ha!  Well, the people at that time worked awfully hard physically in their daily lives, and so I don't think they needed a Fitbit or Apple Watch to measure their steps or efforts.  I'm going to share how Alafair made coffee (I've already told all of you how much I love coffee).  And I'll tell you up front, I'm not changing over to this method - ever!


How To Make Coffee
      Alafair made coffee by putting 1/4 cup of ground coffee in the bottom of a tin coffee pot, filling the pot with water, and boiling it furiously for ten or fifteen minutes.  She knew the coffee was ready when a spoon stood up in the cup.  Coffee was usually drunk with two or three spoonfuls of sugar.  Cream was a matter of taste.  After drinking a cup of Alafair's coffee, one could go out and happily plow the south forty.  Sometimes one didn't even need a horse!


Honestly, my paternal grandmother made coffee just like that.  It was what she called 'stout' coffee.  And she would give me a tiny bit, with a lot of milk.



In the third book, The Drop Edge Of Yonder, we are treated to recipes for Fried Okra, Piccalilli (a sort of relish made with green tomatoes, onions and spices that my grandmother called Chow Chow), and Chicken and Dumplings.  We also learn how to iron a shirt.  Best of all, a recipe for Peach Ice Cream.  Here it is:



Peach Ice Cream

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups heavy cream

Puree four or five peaches, which Alafair would have made by mashing the flesh of the fruit through a sieve with the back of a large wooden spoon.  Sweeten the peaches with another 1/2 cup sugar if desired.

Mix sugar, salt, milk, and egg yolks in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until bubbles begin to appear around the edge of the pan.  Cool to room temperature.  Stir in the cream, vanilla, and peach puree.

Pour the ice cream mixture into the freezer can.  Fill the can only two-thirds full, to allow for expansion as the ice cream freezes.  Fit the can into the bucket, insert the dasher and put the lid on the can, then attach the crank.

Fill the freezer tub one-third full of ice, then alternate the rock salt and remaining ice, filling the bucket to the top of the can.  Use about four parts ice to one part salt.  Turn the dasher slowly until the ice partially melts and makes a brine.  Then crank rapidly until it's hard to turn the dasher.  How long this will take depends on the weather.  If you're lucky, the ice cream will set in ten minutes or so.  Or it may take half an hour.  Or it may not want to set properly at all.  It's all very mysterious.


So, do you have any memories of hand cranked ice cream?  My parents, my father in particular, loved homemade peach ice cream and we had it often.  By my time though, the freezer was an electric one.

If you're looking for a fun mystery series, pick up one of these and take yourself back a hundred years.  A fun summer pursuit that would only be improved by a dish of homemade peach ice cream!

Monday, May 4, 2020

And another week goes by...a new month, National Nurses Week and a visitor I wasn't all that pleased with...

Hello book friends!  Hope you are doing well, being sensible, and as content as you can be with whatever your life looks like at this moment.  I think I've said before that I feel a little like we're in a time loop or in the movie Groundhog Day.  Another day, another week, and another month and we are here with not too many changes.  My husband and I are doing fine, staying well, keeping in contact with family and friends.

We have now known two individuals in our area that have passed away with complications of this nasty virus.  One was a lady we went to church with years ago and who I had seen periodically here and there.  The other was a guy who had golfed with my husband both here and in New Mexico.  I'm so sad for both their families.  So hard to lose someone in any case, but without the usual comfort of memorials and funerals as we're used to them.

My reading is improving.  I'm going from book to book and enjoying what I'm reading.  We've started watching the new season of Bosch and also are watching Picard as we've been Star Trek fans from way, way back.  I'm still walking a lot in our neighborhood and doing yoga online.

Yesterday, I found another 'friend/not friend' in the front yard and I'm including the picture below.  Yes, it's a coral snake and they are indeed poisonous.  Not very big and pretty easy to spot with those bright colors.  It escaped beneath the rocks, but we'll be watching for it and I reminded a couple of neighbors that I saw on my walk about it being 'snake season'.  Some of their dogs are quite curious I've noticed and want to put their snouts into any hole or whatever.  I will say that these snakes do get rid of some rodents, which I'm not at all upset about.  Ha!




One last thing I'll share before I close.  Starting Wednesday, this is National Nurses Week, an event that comes around every year.  This year, it seems even more important to honor all our healthcare workers, along with other essential workers.  If you know a nurse, thank them this week or send them a card or a special treat.  We asked our daughter last night if we could send a bunch of goodies to her Labor & Delivery unit at one of our local hospitals.  She said they would be delighted to get some fun things and asked especially for hand cream and mints.  The PPE is a bit (or more than a bit) uncomfortable, especially after hours and hours.  I had a good time selecting a few things to make them feel loved.  Who doesn't need a little chocolate, right?  Ha!

Take care everyone.  Hope you all have a good week! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Places I've loved to be in the past and hope to be again sometime in the future...

Hello book friends!  Hope you are all well and safe and content as you can be right now.  My husband and I are doing fine.  We had some plans for later this year - trips, vacations, journeys.  Not sure if any of those will happen - probably not - however, it doesn't stop me from thinking about past places we've traveled and the memories are very nice.  Here are a few pictures of places I loved to be in the past and hope to be again sometime in the future.


Bandon Dunes, Oregon





Colorado Springs, Colorado





Ruidoso, New Mexico





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And, of course, the wonderful independent bookstores wherever you travel.  Here's a few I've loved.  Don't forget the independent bookstores in these days of change and closure.


Poisoned Pen - Scottsdale, Arizona



Tattered Cover - Denver, Colorado



Third Street Books - McMinnville, Oregon



Books Etcetera - Ruidoso, New Mexico



Friday, April 24, 2020

Book series suggestions for readers who like British crime shows - yes, another rerun...

Hello reader friends!  Hope this has been a not-too-bad week for everyone.  I know that my stress levels go up and down and all around these days.  I guess we're all working on that dilemma.

Once again, I'm dipping into past posts that I've written recommending certain books or series.  Maybe you'll find one that is 'new-to-you' that you'd like to try.  Here's book series suggestions for those who like to watch British crime shows.  By the way, I wrote this originally about 5 years ago and tried to update, but it may include things you've not heard of lately.  Enjoy!

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If you like British Crime Shows that are essentially police procedurals...like Midsomer Murders, Inspector Lynley or Lewis or even Wire in the Blood:

1. DI Jack Caffery series by Mo Hayder - I've only read the first two, Birdman and The Treatment and really liked both of those.  This series is a little, well maybe more than a little, gritty.  Set in London, at least to begin, Caffery is a damaged individual who brings his past along with him.  This gives him great insights into the criminals that he hunts.

2. DC Maeve Kerrigan series by Jane Casey - I've read the first 8 books and have the 9th here to check out soon.  The Burning is the first.  I really like Maeve's style and have enjoyed getting to know her colleagues as well.  Maeve is ambitious and getting used to a new DI, Josh Derwent.  A great series that I love. 

3. DC Lacey Flint series by Sharon (S.J.) Bolton - I've read all 4 books in Lacey's series.  Wish this author would write more of them, but she does mostly standalones these days.  Lacey is a little odd and her life has been interesting.  Her relationship with DI Mark Joesbury keeps me guessing.  The first book in the series, Now You See Me, which has a Jack the Ripper angle.

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If you like British Crime Shows but want your series set outside of Britain...try one of these:

4. DI Darko Dawson series by Kwei Quartey - Dawson works in Accra, Ghana, and that country's customs and procedures are an integral part of the books.  I've read the first book, Wife of the Gods, and discussed it with my mystery group.  Such an exotic setting by an author who is a native of Ghana.  Don't think that you'll be in Precious Ramotswe's territory.  Darko Dawson's world is a dangerous sort of place.  There are now 5 books in the series and the author has a new series featuring Emma Djan, a private investigator, also set in Accra.

5. Police Sergeant Gunnhildur Gisladottir series by Quentin Bates - Gunna the Cop is a police officer, a widow and a mother of two teens.  She resides in Hvalvik, Iceland.  I really liked the first book, Frozen Assets.  Gunna normally just deals with minor crimes, but then a body is found in the harbor.  This is a different sort of procedural with a woman cop who has to try to find a murderer and also deal with teenagers.  I believe the 7th book in this series will be coming out in late summer. 

6. Constable Molly Smith series by Vicki Delany - There are 8 books in this series, which is complete or so the author has told me.  I'd love to see more of them.  The setting - beautiful British Columbia and the little town of Trafalger - surrounded by mountains.  Molly "Moonlight" Smith is the daughter of two former hippies and has horrified her mother by becoming a police officer.  Her days are spent mostly dealing with tourists and local folks who stir up trouble.  However, occasionally, she gets to work with Sergeant John Winters and when Winters is involved, you can bet that the stakes are high.  The first book is In the Shadow of the Glacier

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If you like British Crime Shows but want a more historical perspective...try one of these:

7. Scotland Yard Murder Squad series from 1890's London by Alex Grecian - You might like this series if you liked the crime show, Ripper Street.  Set at the end of the 19th century, just after the Ripper killings, the first book is The Yard.  I love this time period and really enjoyed the first book.  It's atmospheric, filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of London in Victorian times.  Think there are 5 books in the series, but none since 2016.  I've only read the first.

8. Timothy Wilde, New York City copper series in the 1840's by Lyndsay Faye - Again, if you like crime shows set in the 19th century, like the TV show Copper, try this one.  The first book is The Gods of Gotham and it was also discussed by my mystery group.  A brutal time period.  Timothy Wilde starts out as a bartender and ends up a police officer at the beginnings of the New York City Police Department.  It's in a part of New York that is not gentrified at all.  Be prepared.  Three books in this series.

9. Maggie Hope series, a secretary turned MI-5 agent in 1940's London by Susan Elia MacNeal - Not exactly a police series, but if you enjoyed Foyle's War or Bletchley Park, you might want to try this lighter set of books.  Maggie Hope is an American who initially works for the Prime Minister, but moves on to more spy-ish work.  The first book is Mr. Churchill's Secretary and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  There are now 9 books in this series, the latest published in February. 

10. Claire Fergusson, an Episcopal priest, and Russ Van Alstyne, Police Chief, in Miller's Kill, New York series by Julia Spencer-Fleming - Again, this is not strictly a police procedural and is set in the present day, but if you've watched Grantchester, try this one - a melding of faith and police work.  I love, love, love this series.  The first book is In the Bleak Midwinter and 9th book was published just recently.  It's my intention to read this series from start to finish later this year.

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I'll give you one more, just because I love it.  And I'd love to see a TV crime show that would compare to it.  Set on the Jersey Shore with the best set of characters, great humor, and the most interesting fried foods:

11. John Ceepak and Danny Boyle series by Chris Grabenstein - Set in Sea Haven, New Jersey, with a boardwalk, fried Oreos and other strange fried things, games galore, tourists that sometimes murder each other, and Ceepak and Boyle - the best, best cops.  The first book is Tilt-a-Whirl and there are 7 more books in this completed series.  Read them and have a sunny, funderful day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Four books I might be interested in 'waiting' on...all to be published on May 5th

Hello book friends!  Hope you are well, safe, and being sensible about social distancing.  Also wearing your mask if needed.  Who would have thought that we'd be sharing those sentiments with friends and loved ones over and over?  Ah well, here's the scoop on a few books that have caught my eye recently and possibly made their way onto my endless TBR (it's truly endless - not even kidding!).  All four of these books have a planned publication date two weeks from now - May 5th.

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Ghosts of Harvard is the first novel by Francesca Serritella.  She is the co-author of several humorous essay collections with her mother, Lisa Scottoline.  I love Scottoline's books and that alone would get me to take a look at this one.




Cadence Archer arrives on Harvard’s campus desperate to understand why her brother, Eric, a genius who developed paranoid schizophrenia took his own life there the year before. Losing Eric has left a black hole in Cady’s life, and while her decision to follow in her brother’s footsteps threatens to break her family apart, she is haunted by questions of what she might have missed. And there’s only one place to find answers.

As Cady struggles under the enormous pressure at Harvard, she investigates her brother’s final year, armed only with a blue notebook of Eric’s cryptic scribblings. She knew he had been struggling with paranoia, delusions, and illusory enemies—but what tipped him over the edge? Voices fill her head, seemingly belonging to three ghosts who passed through the university in life, or death, and whose voices, dreams, and terrors still echo the halls. Among them is a person whose name has been buried for centuries, and another whose name mankind will never forget.

Does she share Eric’s illness, or is she tapping into something else? Cady doesn’t know how or why these ghosts are contacting her, but as she is drawn deeper into their worlds, she believes they’re moving her closer to the truth about Eric, even as keeping them secret isolates her further. Will listening to these voices lead her to the one voice she craves—her brother’s—or will she follow them down a path to her own destruction?

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Caroline B. Cooney is probably a name you might recognize from the many Young Adult books she's written over the years, such as The Face On the Milk Carton.  This is not a YA book, but instead a tale set in a retirement community.  Sounds interesting to me!




When Clemmie goes next door to check on her difficult and unlikeable neighbor Dom, he isn't there. But something else is. Something stunning, beautiful and inexplicable. Clemmie photographs the wondrous object on her cell phone and makes the irrevocable error of forwarding it. As the picture swirls over the internet, Clemmie tries desperately to keep a grip on her own personal network of secrets. Can fifty years of careful hiding under names not her own be ruined by one careless picture?

And although what Clemmie finds is a work of art, what the police find is a body. . . in a place where Clemmie wasn't supposed to be, and where she left her fingerprints. Suddenly, the bland, quiet life Clemmie has built for herself in her sleepy South Carolina retirement community comes crashing down as her dark past surges into the present.

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The next book is by Kimberly McCreight.  I read another by her, Reconstructing Amelia, and liked it a lot.  Might have read another, Where They Found Her.  This new one sounds good as well.




Lizzie Kitsakis is working late when she gets the call. Grueling hours are standard at elite law firms like Young & Crane, but they’d be easier to swallow if Lizzie was there voluntarily. Until recently, she’d been a happily underpaid federal prosecutor. That job and her brilliant, devoted husband Sam—she had everything she’d ever wanted. And then, suddenly, it all fell apart.

No. That’s a lie. It wasn’t sudden, was it? Long ago the cracks in Lizzie’s marriage had started to show. She was just good at averting her eyes.

The last thing Lizzie needs right now is a call from an inmate at Rikers asking for help—even if Zach Grayson is an old friend. But Zach is desperate: his wife, Amanda, has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their Brooklyn brownstone. And Zach’s the primary suspect.

As Lizzie is drawn into the dark heart of idyllic Park Slope, she learns that Zach and Amanda weren’t what they seemed—and that their friends, a close-knit group of fellow parents at the exclusive Brooklyn Country Day school, might be protecting troubling secrets of their own. In the end, she’s left wondering not only whether her own marriage can be saved, but what it means to have a good marriage in the first place.

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Last is a book that I read about on Wendy's blog, Musings of a Bookish Kitty.  I'm not much of a sci-fi reader, but occasionally one of those books sounds interesting to me.  Goldilocks is one of those books. 




Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.

It's humanity's last hope for survival, and Naomi, Valerie's surrogate daughter and the ship's botanist, has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity like this - to step out of Valerie's shadow and really make a difference.

But when things start going wrong on the ship, Naomi begins to suspect that someone on board is concealing a terrible secret - and realizes time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . .

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What do you think?  Any of these sound appealing to you?  Or feel free to tell me about another book that will be coming out soon that you're 'waiting' for. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

My Favorite Couples in Mystery Series - yes, it's a rerun...

Hello book friends!  Hope you are all well, safe, and wearing your masks!  As I've been doing read/listens of J.D. Robb's Eve Dallas and Roarke mystery series, it made me think of this post I did a few years ago about my 'Favorite Couples in Mystery Series'.  So, I decided to share it again to give a few ideas to those of you who might be searching for something to read.  You see which couple comes first....ha!

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I've decided to talk about my 'Favorite Couples in Mystery Series'.  Some of these are partners or friends or 'more than friends' or married.  Some have moved through those steps.  Yes, there can be a bit of romance in crime novels!

I worried a little bit about spoilers here, but honestly, if you read many of the blurbs for these ongoing series, you'll get the idea about the couples.  And, as I said above, many of them moved through several steps before they got to the true 'couple' status.  I read many mystery series because I enjoy visiting the characters over and over and finding out what is next in their lives.  Sometimes, love is next.

1.  Eve Dallas and Roarke - J.D. Robb - Eve is a homicide lieutenant in the New York Police.  Roarke is an ex-criminal who has more money than he knows what to do with (billions).  50 books in the series.  Naked in Death is the first.

2.  Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache - Louise Penny - Armand is with the  Sûreté du Québec and he's held several positions over the course of the series.  Reine-Marie is a retired librarian.  They are a lovely, lovely couple who anchor these books through the storms.  15 books in the series.  Still Life is the first.

3.  Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe Emerson - Elizabeth Peters - Amelia is an Egyptologist and Emerson is an archaeologist in late 19th and early 20th century England and Egypt.  A very devoted and 'equal' couple.  20 books in the series.  Crocodile on the Sandbank is the first.

4.  Daisy Dalrymple and Alec Fletcher - Carola Dunn - Daisy is a well born woman who becomes a journalist in the 1920's.  Alec Fletcher is a Detective Inspector with Scotland Yard.  23 books in the series.  Death At Wentwater Court is the first.

5.  Alafair and Shaw Tucker - Donis Casey - The Tuckers own a large farm in rural Oklahoma in the early 1900's.  They have 10 children.  Alafair is the sleuth, with Shaw to keep her grounded.  10 books in the series.  The Old Buzzard Had It Coming is the first.  The author has started a new series that features one of the Tucker's daughters, Blanche.  There is one book so far.

6.  Deborah Knott and Dwight Bryant - Margaret Maron - Deborah is a district court judge in Colleton County, North Carolina.  Dwight is a deputy sheriff in the same county.  Deborah has a very large family - 11 older brothers - and her father was a bootlegger.  20 books in this now completed series.  Bootlegger's Daughter is the first.

7.  Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne - Julia Spencer-Fleming - Clare is an Episcopal priest and Russ is the Chief of Police in Millers Kill, New York.  Their relationship is complicated and goes through many stages over the course of the stories.  9 books in the series.  In the Bleak Midwinter is the first.

8.  Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James - Deborah Crombie - Both Duncan and Gemma work for Scotland Yard.  He is a Detective Superintendent and she is at first his Detective Sergeant.  Her career progresses over time.  18 books in the series.  A Share in Death is the first.

9.  Thomas and Charlotte Pitt - Anne Perry -  Set in Victorian times, Thomas is a police inspector and Charlotte is his well-born wife.  Charlotte's family and social connections are often valuable in solving the crimes that Thomas investigates.  32 books in this series.  The Cater Street Hangman is the first.  Additionally, Thomas and Charlotte's son, Daniel, now has his own series with 3 books.

10.  Kate Burkholder and John Tomasetti - Linda Castillo - Kate is the Chief of Police in Painters Mill, Ohio, which has a significant Amish population.  Tomasetti is an agent with the state police.  11 books in the series.  Sworn to Silence is the first. 

There are many more couples in mystery series, but these are the ones that come to mind first.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Two books I'm waiting on...The Split by Sharon Bolton and Have You Seen Me? by Kate White

Hello book friends!  Hope you are well and safe.  Today I'm going to mention two books that I'm waiting on and both are scheduled to be released on April 28th.  I've read several books by each of these authors and enjoyed them.  Therefore, these are on my list.  Take a look:




Publish Date:  April 28th

The remote Antarctic island of South Georgia is about to send off its last boat of the summer – which signifies safety to resident glaciologist Felicity Lloyd.

Felicity lives in fear – fear that her ex-husband Freddie will find her, even out here. She took a job on this isolated island to hide from him, but now that he's out of prison, having served a term for murder, she knows he won’t give up until he finds her.

But a doctor delving into the background of Felicity and Freddie's relationship, back in Cambridge, learns that Felicity has been on the edge for a long time. Heading to South Georgia himself to try and get to her first is the only way he can think of to help her.

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Publication Date:  April 28th

On a cold, rainy morning, finance journalist Ally Linden arrives soaked to the bone at her Manhattan office, only to find that she’s forgotten her keycard. When her boss shows, he’s shocked to see her—because, he explains, she hasn’t worked there in five years.

Ally knows her name, but is having trouble coming up with much beyond that, though after a trip to the psychiatric ER, she begins to piece together important facts: she lives on the Upper West Side; she’s now a freelance journalist; she’s married to a terrific man named Hugh. More memories materialize and yet she still can’t recall anything about the previous two days. Diagnosed as having experienced a dissociative state, she starts to wonder if it may have been triggered by something she saw. Could she have witnessed an accident—or worse—had something happened to her?

Desperate for answers, Ally tries to track where she spent the missing days, but every detail she unearths points to an explanation that’s increasingly ominous, and it’s clear someone wants to prevent her from learning where those forty-eight hours went. In order to uncover the truth, Ally must dig deep into the secrets of her past—and outsmart the person who seems determined to silence her.