Thursday, November 30, 2023

Some pictures from our trip to Tucson in late October....taken on my walks

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that we had gone to Tucson, Arizona in late October.  My husband had a work conference that he was attending and then we also decided to stay a couple of extra days after that for a short vacation - golf included, of course.  Ha! 

I didn't do much on this trip except walk around the resort property, stop by the Starbucks in the lobby for a drink and maybe a piece of pumpkin bread, watch people from the little corner of the huge lobby area that I found, and read 3-1/2 books.  After all the house selling, buying, moving, etc., it was exactly the time I needed to relax.  I'll leave you with a few pictures I took on my walks.  As you can see, some hills, lots of cactus, and some pretty blooms.  Deep breaths and relax!!


Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving, 2023!!


Wishing each person a day of 'peace, love, and joy'!  If you are celebrating Thanksgiving, Happy Thanksgiving, 2023! 

Monday, November 20, 2023

Here's how I encourage myself to 'push' my walking goals...rereading a favorite mystery series...hello, Cormoran Strike!

Now that we are a bit settled in our new location, I've been working on my 'health' journey again.  You know, I think I've finally realized that I'll never get to stop working on those goals and pursuits.  Yes, I should know that, but sometimes I feel like I think 'one day I'll reach all my goals and get to stop' - ha!  Probably not.  Anyway, the last few years have seen me mostly stabilize in the weight department.  Not a bad thing, but I had put back on some pounds and really, really want to get back to where I left off at my lowest point with Weight Watchers.  I was only about 12 pounds from the goal that my doctor and I  set.  So, back to in-person meetings (which were not available in Kerrville) and being a little more strict with my food choices.  Not crazy restrictive, but more thoughtful.  

Another thing I've continue to do, but not as regularly or for the longer distances is my daily walk.  I had really 'fallen off the wagon' in the last few months in that regard.  Yes, we've been busy and I was not sitting and doing nothing.  However, the heat this summer, the fact that Kerrville did not have an indoor walking track of any kind, and just making too many excuses meant that I am having to 'push' myself to build up my walks to the level they were before we moved.  I used to do about 3 miles most days (my goal was actually 3.1 miles or a 5K).  And that became my usual walk.  I attended yoga class twice a week and enjoyed that very much.  No yoga (or hardly any) for the last few years and walking only about a mile or so.  I am done with that.  Back to an indoor walking track and finding out that my previous yoga class and teacher are available again - yea!  Planning on starting back with the yoga in the new year.

I'm almost up to 2 miles walking and I have given myself the 'treat' of listening to a favorite mystery series for the second time - the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling).  There are 7 books in the series now and they are mostly very long.  I love the narrator's voice - perfect for this series - Robert Glennister.  I've now finished the first book, The Cuckoo's Calling, and am heading right into #2 - The Silkworm.  I used this incentive one time before and listened to all the J.D. Robb books.  Loved it.  I know - I'm a little weird, but whatever works, right?  Especially since the holiday season is upon us.  I'm not going to be too strict with my eating, I am going to be mindful.  So, below you will see my 'happy place'.  Take care and have a good week!


Thursday, November 16, 2023

Four upcoming books that I'm eager to read...one for each month including November

I want to share four to-be-published books that I'm wishing for in upcoming weeks.  One for each month, including this one.  I'm hoping to read more books than these, but my reading life has to have goals, right?  Ha!  I've read the first book by Nita Prose, read the two standalones that Stacy Willingham has written, and read the first book in Kelley Armstrong's Haven Rock series.  Jess Armstrong's book is a debut.  Fun indeed.  Here's the scoop:

The Mystery Guest by Nina Prose - publishes November 28th

Molly Gray is not like anyone else. With her flair for cleaning and proper etiquette, she has risen through the ranks of the glorious five-star Regency Grand Hotel to become the esteemed Head Maid. But just as her life reaches a pinnacle state of perfection, her world is turned upside down when J. D. Grimthorpe, the world-renowned mystery author, drops dead—very dead—on the hotel’s tearoom floor.

 When Detective Stark, Molly’s old foe, investigates the author’s unexpected demise, it becomes clear that this death was murder most foul. Suspects abound, and everyone wants to know: Who killed J. D. Grimthorpe? Was it Lily, the new Maid-in-Training? Or was it Serena, the author’s secretary? Could Mr. Preston, the hotel’s beloved doorman, be hiding something? And is Molly really as innocent as she seems?

 As the high-profile death threatens the hotel’s pristine reputation, Molly knows she alone holds the key to unlocking the killer’s identity. But that key is buried deep in her past, as long ago, she knew J. D. Grimthorpe. Molly begins to comb her memory for clues, revisiting her childhood and the mysterious Grimthorpe mansion where she and her dearly departed Gran once worked side by side. With the entire hotel under investigation, Molly must solve the mystery posthaste. Because if there’s one thing she knows for sure, it’s that secrets don’t stay buried forever.


The Curse of Penryth Hall by Jess Armstrong - publishes December 5th

After the Great War, American heiress Ruby Vaughn made a life for herself running a rare bookstore alongside her octogenarian employer and house mate in Exeter. She’s always avoided dwelling on the past, even before the war, but it always has a way of finding her. When Ruby is forced to deliver a box of books to a folk healer living deep in the Cornish countryside, she is brought back to the one place she swore she’d never return. A more sensible soul would have delivered the package and left without rehashing old wounds. But no one has ever accused Ruby of being sensible. Thus begins her visit to Penryth Hall.

A foreboding fortress, Penryth Hall is home to Ruby’s once dearest friend, Tamsyn, and her husband, Sir Edward Chenowyth. It’s an unsettling place, and after a more unsettling evening, Ruby is eager to depart. But her plans change when Penryth’s bells ring for the first time in thirty years. Edward is dead; he met a gruesome end in the orchard, and with his death brings whispers of a returned curse. It also brings Ruan Kivell, the person whose books brought her to Cornwall, the one the locals call a Pellar, the man they believe can break the curse. Ruby doesn’t believe in curses—or Pellars—but this is Cornwall and to these villagers the curse is anything but lore, and they believe it will soon claim its next victim: Tamsyn.

To protect her friend, Ruby must work alongside the Pellar to find out what really happened in the orchard that night.


Only If You're Lucky by Stacy Willingham - publishes January 16th

Lucy Sharpe is larger than life. Magnetic, addictive. Bold and dangerous. Especially for Margot, who meets Lucy at the end of their freshman year at a liberal arts college in South Carolina. Margot is the shy one, the careful one, always the sidekick and never the center of attention. But when Lucy singles her out at the end of the year, a year Margot spent studying and playing it safe, and asks her to room together, something in Margot can't say no—something daring, or starved, or maybe even envious.

And so Margot finds herself living in an off-campus house with three other girls, Lucy, the ringleader; Sloane, the sarcastic one; and Nicole, the nice one, the three of them opposites but also deeply intertwined. It's a year that finds Margot finally coming out of the shell she's been in since the end of high school, when her best friend Eliza died three weeks after graduation. Margot and Lucy have become the closest of friends, but by the middle of their sophomore year, one of the fraternity boys from the house next door has been brutally murdered... and Lucy Sharpe is missing without a trace.


The Boy Who Cried Bear by Kelley Armstrong - publishes February 20th

Haven’s Rock is a well-hidden town surrounded by forest. And it’s supposed to be, being that it’s a refuge for those who need to disappear. Detective Casey Duncan and her husband, Sheriff Eric Dalton already feel at home in their new town, which reminds them of where they first met in Rockton. And while they know how to navigate the woods and its various dangers, other residents don’t. Which is why people aren't allowed to wander off alone.

When Max, the town’s youngest resident—taught to track animals by Eric—fears a bear is stalking a hiking party, alarms are raised. Even stranger, the ten-year-old swears the bear had human eyes. Casey and Eric know the dangers a bear can present, so they’re taking it seriously. But odd occurrences are happening all around them, and when a dead body turns up, they’re not sure what they’re up against.


Do any of these appeal to you?  Do tell...

Monday, November 13, 2023

Finally, an update...just before the holidays!


Hello my book friends!  How are you all and how has your fall been so far?  Have those that hadn't had much rain gotten some moisture and visa versa?  And how is your reading life progressing?  Holiday time is right around the corner.  Are you ready?  

I guess I should answer my own questions.  Well, I know I've been away for a bunch of this year and haven't posted much.  Sorry about that.  The last few months have been extremely busy for us.  I didn't share this before, but we have been moving back to the Austin area and are finally in our new home and mostly settled.  This is a decision that we had been considering and struggling with for a good part of this year.  It has mostly been due to some family issues and needs.  My husband's mother and stepdad are getting much older and we felt like we were just a little too far away to be helpful when the time comes that they will need more assistance.  So, we finished our renovation of our house in Kerrville, sold it, and bought a new-to-us house not far from the area that we moved from 2-1/2 years ago.  And we are settling in and are happy with our new place.  I share a picture above showing that some things never change when we relocate - there are always deer around.  Ha!  I took that picture this morning from our back porch.  We've laughed about new neighbors here telling us about deer and had we ever seen deer, etc., etc.  Yes, we've seen deer.  They have been frequent visitors to our last three houses and this makes #4.  We are always welcomed by these creatures.  

OK, next question - my reading life.  Well, it has been a bit or more than a bit slow in the last few months.  However, I have been very busy.  I suspect I will get more relaxed and able to concentrate on reading or listening to audiobooks in days to come.  I am back walking at an indoor track and hope to be back to yoga before long.  I'm also planning to return to the mystery book group that I loved so much when we lived here before.  And then there will be new activities I'm sure.  We'll see what the new year will bring.  

I'll also have a post about a recent trip we took to Tucson.  Yes, we moved into our new house and left just a few days later for a road trip to Arizona.  My husband had a work conference there and it had been scheduled long before we decided to relocate.  I tagged along and basically did nothing but walk around the hotel/resort area and read 3-1/2 books while there.  I've got some pictures to share of what I saw on my walks.  Otherwise, the holidays are coming and we will be hosting family again for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We look forward to that.  I'll try to share some upcoming books I'm looking forward to or something like that later in the week.  And try to get around to your blogs and do some commenting.  Know that you've been missed and not forgotten.  I look forward to talking books and life again with all of you!  Take care!

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Taking an 'official' blog break for a few weeks....

Hey book friends!  Hope you are all doing well and not melting in the summer heat like we have been here in Texas.  Wow, it's been hot here for a long, long time.  Maybe we'll have a cooler fall.  Speaking of fall, wanted to let everyone know that I am fine, but I've decided to take an official break for a few more weeks.  I'll try to be back here talking about books in a few weeks - maybe October or so.  Take care and I'll be around again before long.  Happy reading!  

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

It's July and we've been on a lovely vacation to Oregon...

Hello book friends!  Hope each of you are doing well and enjoying your summer.  Has it been hot where you are?  It certainly has been in Central Texas.  Whew!  We had August-type temps in June and they continue for the most part in July.  Here's hoping that August might revert back to the June-like temps we missed.  Oh, and a little rain would be helpful.

We've been on a lovely vacation to Coastal Oregon and had a great time.  We left Texas at 107 degrees and arrived at Bandon, Oregon to a range of low 50's to low 60's.  Yes, we took jackets because it did feel a little brisk for a bit.  The wind was up as well.  My husband loved the golf and I loved the walking trails.  The picture above is what was visible behind our room and, yes, I walked that trail you see there.

I took this picture on the walking trail in the woods at Bandon Dunes and I thought it was a curious shot.  Somehow it caught my eye.  Don't know if that tree was struck by lightning or what but it was odd.

There is a labyrinth in those woods that I've shown before a few years ago.  I did walk that labyrinth and here is a picture I took from the middle.  Have you ever walked a labyrinth?  What I will tell you is that the paths may not go just as you think.  Round and round, but also back and forth.  

This shot was taken further up the coast of Oregon in Depoe Bay.  We stopped for lunch and to see if we could spot a whale (we didn't, but we did see a seal).  Les, I bet you recognize this spot.

One last picture from my walking in Gleneden Beach where Salishan is located.  It was a misty, foggy morning and quite beautiful.  As I said, cool temps and not quite as windy here.  Very peaceful.  A great time was had by both of us.  And then we came back to the heat.  Ah well.  It's summer.  This is Texas.  What I will say is that people are definitely travelling again and the airports and flights were jammed.  I don't much like flying anymore.  Too many people!

My reading has been going well, but not too many books read.  I have picked up and read the first two books in C.J. Box's Joe Pickett series.  I also read the first book in Paul Doiron's Mike Bowditch series.  Both of these have game warden protagonist's that also solve crimes.  We watched the first season of the TV adaptation about Joe Pickett.  My husband has read and kept up with both of these series, so I finally got around to trying them.  I'll continue with both I think.  I've reread a couple of books, but I'm just taking my time and going the way the mood strikes.  Oh, I also read the latest Lady Sherlock book by Sherry Thomas and enjoyed that one.  

We have trip planned to New Mexico in August and will be going to Austin for a few days next week to see family and for a couple of other appointments.  Just trying to relax and enjoy the summer of 2023.  Hope you do as well.  I'll check back around in a few weeks and appreciate those of you who still remember that I'm here!  Take care!

Friday, June 9, 2023

Hello June...and another four books I'm looking forward to...

Hi book friends!  Hope you are all doing well and enjoying these early days of summer.  Our area has been surprisingly cool for temps and damp with some moisture.  Loving it!  However, I think we're about at the end of these lovely things.  Each morning when I go out to walk, I try to remember to be grateful for lots of things.  Those include temps in the 60's (in June!!!) and fresh air because it might have rained a bit overnight.  

I've been having a good time catching up on a few mystery series that I had fallen a bit behind on.  Those include J.D. Robb's Eve/Roarke books and also Ann Cleeves' Vera series.  I have been attending a few book group meetings at our library, but (whispering) I haven't been reading the books.  Just attending the discussions.  I always have a good time regardless, though I do think some consider that a bit odd (the not reading the book part).  Ha!  It's always great to talk about books, right?  We were able to visit family in Austin over Memorial Day weekend and had a good time and our daughter and son-in-law have recently been here to see us.  We have vacations upcoming and I tried a yoga class here that I've been meaning to (enjoyed it a lot).  I also found and went to the closest 'in-person' Weight Watchers meeting to my area.  I did have to drive 30+ miles, but it was nice to get encouragement on my health journey from members and also to give it in return.  Maybe life is getting back to a new 'normal'.

I want to share four more books that I'm 'waiting on'.  Two will be published in August and two in September.  They are all on my radar and I'm eagerly anticipating them!  Here's the scoop:

Mrs. Porter Calling by A.J. Pearce

From the author of the bestselling “jaunty, heartbreaking winner” (People) Dear Mrs. Bird comes a charming and irresistible novel featuring plucky aspiring journalist Emmy Lake as she navigates life, love, and friendship in London during World War II.

London, April 1943. A little over a year since she married Captain Charles Mayhew and he went away to war, Emmy Lake is now in charge of “Yours Cheerfully,” the hugely popular advice column in Woman’s Friend magazine. Cheered on by her best friend Bunty, Emmy is dedicated to helping readers face the increasing challenges brought about by over three years of war. The postbags are full and Woman’s Friend is thriving.

But Emmy’s world is turned upside down when glamorous socialite, the Honorable Mrs. Cressida Porter, becomes the new publisher of the magazine, and wants to change everything the readers love. Aided by Mrs. Pye, a Paris-obsessed fashion editor with delusions of grandeur, and Small Winston, the grumpiest dog in London, Mrs. Porter fills the pages with expensive clothes and frivolous articles about her friends. Worst of all, she announces that she is cutting the “Yours Cheerfully” column and her vision for the publication’s future seems dire. With the stakes higher than ever, Emmy and her friends must find a way to save the magazine that they love.

Heartwarming, funny, and joyfully uplifting, the third novel in the Emmy Lake Chronicles is a moving tribute to friendship and overcoming adversity.


After That Night by Karin Slaughter

Will Trent and Sara Linton are back in an electrifying thriller featuring GBI investigator Will Trent and medical examiner Sara Linton from New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter.

After that night, everything changed . . .

Fifteen years ago, Sara Linton’s life changed forever when a celebratory night out ended in a violent attack that tore her world apart. Since then, Sara has remade her life. A successful doctor, engaged to a man she loves, she has finally managed to leave the past behind her.

Until one evening, on call in the ER, everything changes. Sara battles to save a broken young woman who’s been brutally attacked. But as the investigation progresses, led by GBI Special Agent Will Trent, it becomes clear that Dani Cooper’s assault is uncannily linked to Sara’s.

And the past isn’t going to stay buried forever . . .


The Raging Storm by Ann Cleeves

Ann Cleeves—New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows—returns with The Raging Storm, the extraordinary third installment in the Matthew Venn series.

Fierce winds, dark secrets, deadly intentions.

When Jem Rosco—sailor, adventurer, and legend—blows into town in the middle of an autumn gale, the residents of Greystone, Devon, are delighted to have a celebrity in their midst. But just as abruptly as he arrived, Rosco disappears again, and soon his lifeless body is discovered in a dinghy, anchored off Scully Cove, a place with legends of its own.

This is an uncomfortable case for Detective Inspector Matthew Venn. Greystone is a place he visited as a child, a community he parted ways with. Superstition and rumor mix with fact as another body is found, and Venn finds his judgment clouded.

As the winds howl, and Venn and his team investigate, he realizes that no one, including himself, is safe from Scully Cove’s storm of dark secrets.


The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith

The brand new installment in the highly acclaimed international bestselling series, featuring Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott, written by Robert Galbraith, a pseudonym of J.K. Rowling.

(And, oddly enough, that is all the info I can find about this new Cormoran Strike book.  I think it might not be as long as the previous book, The Ink Black Heart, but it still runs over 900 pages.  So, no description and no cover.  Surprises to come!)


Hope this will give you some books to consider for August and September.  I'll be around again at some point to tell of what I've been reading or what I plan to read.  Enjoy your June!!

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Four books coming out this summer that I'm looking forward to reading...

Do many of you remember that weekly event entitled 'Waiting On Wednesday'?  I don't think it's available any more except for bloggers who do their own weekly post.  Tina from Tina Says... still posts her picks each week and I always watch for the book she shares.  There may be more.  I used to share books through that as well, but I haven't done it for quite a while.  Anyway, I have several books being published this summer that I'm 'waiting on..'.  Here are four of them (and I reserve the right to share more in upcoming days - ha!).

The first two books are coming out on June 20th and Ruth Ware pens one and Sarah Stewart Taylor the second.  The second set of books will be published on July 11th and the authors are Linda Castillo and Carol Goodman.  Here's the scoop on all four:

Zero Days by Ruth Ware

Hired by companies to break into buildings and hack security systems, Jack and her husband Gabe are the best penetration specialists in the business. But after a routine assignment goes horribly wrong, Jack arrives home to find her husband dead. To add to her horror, the police are closing in on their only suspect – her.

On the run and out of options, Jack must decide who she can trust and how far she’s prepared to go. Can she figure out the truth, before her pursuers find her?

International bestseller Ruth Ware returns with this adrenaline-fueled thriller about a woman in a race against time to clear her name and find her husband’s killer.


A Stolen Child by Sarah Stewart Taylor - #4 in the Maggie D'arcy series

After months of training, former Long Island homicide detective Maggie D’arcy is now officially a Garda. She’s finally settling into life in Ireland and so is her teenage daughter, Lilly. Maggie may not be a detective yet, but she’s happy with her community policing assignment in Dublin's Portobello neighborhood.  When she and her partner find former model and reality tv star Jade Elliott murdered—days after responding to a possible domestic violence disturbance at her apartment — they also discover Jade's toddler daughter missing. Amidst a nationwide manhunt, Maggie and her colleagues must look deep into Jade’s life—both personal and professional—to find a ruthless killer.


An Evil Heart by Linda Castillo - #15 in the Kate Burkholder series

On a crisp autumn day in Painters Mill, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder responds to a disturbing call. An Amish man has been killed with a crossbow and abandoned on a dirt road. Aden Karn was only twenty years old. Who would commit such a heinous crime against a young man whose life was just beginning?

From an upstanding Amish family, Karn was well liked and looking forward to getting married. But as Kate delves into his past, she hears whispers about a darker side. What if Aden Karn wasn’t the wholesome young man everyone admired? Sensing an unspeakable secret no one will broach, Kate pursues every lead with a vengeance. All the while, her own wedding to Tomasetti draws near…

The case spirals out of control when an Amish woman comes forward with a horrific story that pits Kate against a dangerous and unexpected opponent. When the truth is uncovered, Kate comes face to face with the terrible consequences of a life lived in all the wrong places.


The Bones Of The Story by Carol Goodman

The twisty locked-room mystery from two-time Mary Higgins Clark Award–winning author Carol Goodman, about a group of former classmates trapped on their college campus—with a murderer among them.

It’s been twenty-five years since the shocking disappearance of a female student and the distinguished Creative Writing professor who died while searching for her. The Briarwood College community has never forgotten the double tragedy. Now, the college President is bringing together faculty, donors, and alumni to honor the victims from all those years ago.

On a cold December weekend after the fall semester has ended, guests gather on the vacant campus for the commemoratory event. But as a storm descends, people begin to depart, leaving a group of alumni who were the last ones taught by the esteemed professor. Recriminations and old rivalries flare as they recall the writing projects they shared as classmates, including chilling horror stories they each wrote about their greatest fears.

When an alumna dies in a shockingly similar way to the story she wrote, and then another succumbs to a similar fate, they realize someone has decided at long last to avenge the crimes of the past. Will the secret of what they did twenty-five years ago be revealed? Will any of them be alive at the end of the weekend to find out?


I think I've read almost all the books that each of these four authors have written.  They are each on my 'excited to see a new book' list.  Will you be trying any of these when they come out?  And do you have other authors with new books to come that I should check out?  Let me know!

Saturday, May 13, 2023

An early 'Happy Mother's Day' to everyone and, no, I haven't disappeared completely...ha!


I'm stopping by for a minute to wish everyone out there 'HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!'  My own mother, greatly loved, greatly missed, has been gone for almost 13 years.  However, I am still so very grateful for the love, kindness, and caring she shared with me - her oldest adopted daughter.  She was truly the best!

No, I've not disappeared completely and, yes, I've been reading your posts and thoughts even though my commenting has been almost nil.  Sorry about that.  I seem to go through these periods of not feeling 'inspired' or whatever about keeping up with this blog.  I don't seem to be able to let it go, however.  Do you think that blogging is winding down?  I heard a comment on a podcast recently that said that 'blogging' was not something that younger people wanted to deal with or keep up with.  Quicker things that take less time are more in favor or so it was said.  Ah well.  I notice that several of us post less than we did, but I think for me, blogging 'seasons' come and go.  What do you think?  Are we 'winding down'?  

What's going on with me?  Well, today, I am helping out with and attending a 'mystery writers panel' at my local library.  Three mystery authors will be talking to us and to each other about their craft of writing mysteries.  I will definitely be back next week at some point to share a few pictures and tell about what they talked about.  The three authors are Skye Alexander (who lives here in Kerrville), Laura Oles (from Austin), and K.P. Gresham (also from Austin).  More to come on this!

I won't make this post too long today and that way I'll have more to share in upcoming posts.  However, I'm grateful for over an inch of rain we got last night.  We can definitely use it!  Also, almost all our house renovation is completed and we were able to have family come a couple of weeks ago to take a tour and share our new area.  That was a lot of fun.  Our daughter and son-in-law came last weekend and we had a great time with them.  We've got a couple of trips planned for summer and one planned in the fall.  Life goes on and it's been pretty good lately.  I'll talk more about reading and book groups later.  

Hope everyone has a good weekend!!  See you soon!