.

.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Spring Break...Back Soon-ish!



I'm going to take a break for a while from the blog.  I'll likely be back in mid-May.  We've got a couple of trips scheduled and some other things planned.  Just makes it easier to 'officially' sign off for a bit.  Don't have too much fun without me!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday - The Lying Game



Waiting on Wednesday was a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Although Jill is no longer hosting this event, I am continuing to post one soon to be released title each Wednesday that I can't wait to read.

I've really enjoyed Ruth Ware's books - all two of them - In a Dark Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10.  In fact, our mystery group will be discussing In a Dark Dark Wood at our April meeting.  And we'll be talking about why we think these types of books, the psychological thrillers, are so popular right now.  I was excited to find out that this author will have a new book coming out soon.  This week, I'm waiting on:




Publication Date:  July 25th

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be a human bone.

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tuesday - First Chapter - First Paragraph - Home



Each Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first part of a book that she is reading or thinking about reading.  This week I'm sharing:  Home by Harlan Coben.  I've enjoyed many books by this author, who writes gripping standalone thrillers, as well as the Myron Bolitar series and the Mickey Bolitar series for young adults.  I always loved Myron Bolitar, sports agent and ex-pro basketball player and it's been 5 years since we had a new Myron book.  Home is that book.  Oh, and don't forget Myron's friend and quasi-bodyguard/enforcer/very scary dude - Win.  I have a crush on Win.  I'm considering including this book in our mystery book group's schedule for the second half of 2017. See what you think:



     The boy who has been missing for ten years steps into the light.
     I am not one for hysterics or even feeling much of what might be labeled astonishment.  I have seen much in my forty-plus years.  I have nearly been killed--and I have killed.  I have seen depravity that most would find difficult, if not downright inconceivable, to comprehend--and some would argue that I have administered the same.  I have learned over the years to control my emotions and, more important, my reactions during stressful, volatile situations.  I may strike quickly and violently, but I do nothing without a certain level of deliberation and purpose.  
     These qualities, if you will, have saved me and those who matter to me time and time again.
     Yet I confess that when I first saw the boy--well, he was a teenager now, wasn't he?--I could feel my pulse race.  A thrumming sound echoed in my ears.  Without conscious thought, my hands formed two fists.
     Ten years--and now fifty yards, no more, separated me from the missing boy.


Blurb:

A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend?

----------------------------------------------

I always enjoy books by Harlan Coben.  He wrote 7 Myron and Win books and then decided to try something different - a standalone.  Since that time, his books have skyrocketed to fame.  I have missed Myron and Win though.  So happy to have another chance to catch up with favorite characters in this 11th book in the series.  It's why I love mystery series, you know - the characters and their lives - and the puzzles.  I think I've made my decision - Home will be on our mystery group schedule for July.  Have your read any books by this author?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

kay's week - 3.11.17



Did you know that tonight is the night to 'spring forward' into Daylight Savings Time (well, unless you live in Arizona or Hawaii or some US territories)?  Does it mess up your inner clock?  I think it does for me a bit, but not too horribly.  My husband is always delighted because this means that there is more daylight at the end of his work day and he can stop and hit golf balls or even play a few holes.  So remember, 'spring forward' tonight!


I've been reading...

I had a good reading week - 2 books in print and 1 on audio.  All were enjoyable.

I started with The Widow's House by Carol Goodman and I was pleased with it.  This book was published this week, but I had an advance copy.  I read Goodman's previous book River Road earlier in the year and liked it well enough, but her latest was full of Gothic goodies.  Set in the same area as the previous book, The Widow's House tells of a young couple, Jess and Clare, who move from New York City to be caretakers of Riven House, owned by their former college professor.  The house has a history of being haunted and the family is said to be cursed.  There are cries in the night, spooky apparitions, and the weather plays a big part in the story. The reader isn't sure if Clare, who is telling the tale, is quite right in her mind or if there are indeed supernatural goings-on.  I had a good time with this one and plan to read more of this author's books.

Meanwhile, I was listening to The Woman Who Walked Into the Sea by Mark Douglas-Home.  This is the 2nd in The Sea Detective series and it was narrated by David Monteath.  Set on the Northwest coast of Scotland, this book was lovely.  Cal McGill is an oceanographer and a unique investigator.  He studies sea currents and is able to predict where they might take anything that finds its way into the ocean.  This could be oil spills, other things dumped into the water or even a body.  In this book, Cal meets a young woman named Violet.  She has come to this area to discover what she can about her mother, Megan Bates, who abandoned Violet as an infant and then walked into the sea.  There is more going on in the small village of Poltown and secrets abound.  Someone or several someones have a vested interest in hiding what actually happened to Megan Bates.  I read the first book in this series last year and, though this one doesn't have a storyline that is as personal to Cal's life, I found it very interesting.  I look forward to trying the next in the series, The Malice of Waves, soon.

I was very happy to turn to another book that I've been looking forward to reading - Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger.  This is the latest in Unger's loosely connected series set in an upstate New York town, The Hollows.  And this continues the story of investigator Jones Cooper and renowned psychic Eloise Montgomery, who have helped many people find their 'lost' loved ones.  Ink and Bone introduces us to Finley Montgomery, Eloise's 20-year-old granddaughter, also gifted with the ability to see things that others can't.  A young girl, Abbey Gleason, has been taken from her family and her father and brother shot and left on a hiking trail.  Months pass with no clue as to what has happened.  Other girls have gone missing in the past and Finley finds herself connected to these tragedies in a way that her grandmother is not.  Is it time to pass the torch from Eloise to Finley?  Everyone that lives in this area knows - what The Hollows wants, it gets.  I've loved this series - part mystery, part supernatural, but not always in a way the reader expects.  As long as Lisa Unger keeps writing about The Hollows, I'll keep reading.


A little project...

I decided to start a little project this week that I'd been thinking about.  I've shared that I've kept notebooks with almost all my reading choices detailed since 1993 - 24 years now.  I used to have a spreadsheet that I was able to update, manipulate and sort, but when my computer hard drive died late last year, my spreadsheet was gone.  I thought about recreating it, but decided it was too much work.  However, I have had occasions to wish that I could check where I left off in a series or determine if I had indeed read a book that I was thinking of.  I had not joined Goodreads in the past, as it seemed like just one more 'social' thing to keep up with.  However, this week, I joined and have started marking all those books 'read' and 'date finished'.  It will take me a while, but I can do this at my leisure and it's been very interesting actually seeing the covers of the books I read in 1993, 1994, etc., and not just a column in a spreadsheet.  I've found that I didn't even remember some of the authors, much less the books.  Do you 'do' Goodreads?  I think I'll like being able to sort and check what I've read again.


Personally...

My husband returned from his trip to Arizona last week having sat next to a guy who coughed all the way back to Texas.  And, yes, it was a cold that gentleman shared and we both were 'lucky' enough to get it.  Happily, it hasn't lasted too long.  I was able to attend a 'Friends of the Library' meeting on Monday and take the picture below before I went inside.  I've shown this little sculpture before.  It's a great one.  The kids who come to the library for storytime love it and you can often find moms standing around visiting and kids sitting near and crawling all over it.  I think that the flowers are wisteria and I also believe it's blooming earlier than usual.  Love the purple!  Have a great week - wishing all lots of reading and relaxing!


   

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday - Song of the Lion



Waiting on Wednesday was a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Although Jill is no longer hosting this event, I am continuing to post one soon to be released title each Wednesday that I can't wait to read.

I have been very pleased with Anne Hillerman's continuation of her father's acclaimed mystery series.  I loved the books that Tony Hillerman wrote with their spare, Southwestern settings and their wonderful Native American characters.  His daughter does him proud, and I also love the fact that she has put a large part of her focus on Bernadette Manuelito, wife of Jim Chee, and colleague of Joe Leaphorn.  This week I'm waiting on this author's 3rd book in her series:




Publication Date:  April 11th

A deadly bombing takes Navajo Tribal cops Bernadette Manuelito, Jim Chee, and their mentor, the legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, back into the past to find a vengeful killer in this riveting Southwestern mystery from the bestselling author of Spider Woman’s Daughter and Rock with Wings.

When a car bomb kills a young man in the Shiprock High School parking lot, Officer Bernadette Manuelito discovers that the intended victim was a mediator for a multi-million-dollar development planned at the Grand Canyon.

But what seems like an act of ecoterrorism turns out to be something far more nefarious and complex. Piecing together the clues, Bernadette and her husband, Sergeant Jim Chee, uncover a scheme to disrupt the negotiations and inflame tensions between the Hopi and Dine tribes.

Retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn has seen just about everything in his long career. As the tribal police’s investigation unfolds, he begins to suspect that the bombing may be linked to a cold case he handled years ago. As he, Bernadette, and Chee carefully pull away the layers behind the crime, they make a disturbing discovery: a meticulous and very patient killer with a long-simmering plan of revenge.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tuesday - First Chapter - First Paragraph - In Farleigh Field



Each Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first part of a book that she is reading or thinking about reading.  This week I'm sharing:  In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen.  This is a standalone book by an author that continues to win awards year after year for several of her mystery series - the Royal Spyness series, the Molly Murphy series, and the Evan Evans series.  Bowen, who is part of the group of women authors who blog at Jungle Red Writers, shared that this is a book she's been thinking of writing for many years.  When she first proposed it, she had an agent who told her that no one wanted to read about World War II.  Hmmm....see what you think (by the way, I'm skipping over the prologue and sharing a bit of the first chapter):




Bletchley Park
May 1941

     Lady Pamela Sutton stared at the dreary government-issued posters on the wall of her small cubicle in Hut 3.  Some of them cheerful exhortations to do one's best, to soldier on with a stiff upper lip, and others dire warnings about letting the side down.  Beyond the blackout curtains that covered the windows, dawn would be breaking.  She could hear the chorus of birds in the woods behind the hut, still chirping madly and joyfully as they had done before the war began and would keep doing after it ended--whenever that would be.  It had already gone on too long, and there was no end in sight.  Pamela rubbed her eyes.  It had been a long night, and her eyes were stinging with tiredness.  According to civil-service regulations, women were not supposed to work on the night shift with men, in case their morals were compromised.  She had found this amusing when the shortage of male translators meant that one of the girls had to do night-shift work.  'Frankly, I don't think my honour is in danger from any of the chaps here,' she had said.  'They are more interested in maths problems then girls.'
   

Blurb:

World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?

----------------------------------------------------------------

This book and synopsis reminds me of the TV series, Foyle's War.  I've been fascinated by anything and everything I hear about Bletchley Park, and I'm also intrigued by reading about the folks at home in Britain during WWII.  I read recently here on Jungle Reds that the people who were stationed at Bletchley Park had to sign an official secrets document that wasn't lifted until the 1990's.  So, many families had no idea of the work their loved ones performed during that time.  Also, noted here was Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, had a grandmother who was a Bletchley Park girl.  I'm looking forward to reading this book!  

Saturday, March 4, 2017

kay's week - 3.4.17



Hello bookish friends!  We are already into March and I'm finding it hard to believe.  Think we'll talk about a bit of weather at the end, so let's get right on into the books.


I've been reading...

I read four books this week, two in audio format and two in print.  I liked all four of them, though I did have some issues with one.

I listened to I See You by Clare Mackintosh on audio.  It was narrated by Rachel Atkins and she did a fine job.  This was a reread for me, as I had ordered a print copy from the UK last summer when it was first published there.  And then when so many were talking about it here recently, I decided I'd like to listen to it.  I've read Clare Mackintosh's first book, I Let You Go, as well.  I See You may not have quite as many twists and turns as I Let You Go, but for me, the idea that someone was watching you as you commuted, as you bought your morning coffee, as you went about your life - very disturbing.  Probably because it could happen to any of us.  I know that the UK has many more CCTV cameras than we do here in the US, but I think we are catching up.  And where there is technology, some nutcase will decide to use it for nefarious ends.  Zoe, the main character, was a little too apologetic to her family and friends for my taste, but she was also a pretty normal person.  I'll definitely be reading whatever this author thinks up next.

Nothing Stays Buried by P. J. Tracy is the 8th book in the Monkeewrench mystery series.  It will be published at the beginning of August, but I couldn't wait that long to read my advance copy.  Set in Minnesota, mostly in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, this series has wonderful characters - the Monkeewrench software gang and the Minneapolis Police Department detectives that we've come to know and love.  The previous book, The Sixth Idea, was a bit different and some, including me, were not quite as fond of it.  However, Nothing Stays Buried finds our beloved Grace, Harley, Roadrunner and Annie, Magozzi and Gino, back into the swing of things.  The MPD is trying to find a serial killer who leaves playing cards on the bodies and Monkeewrench is trying to help a small town sheriff solve the disappearance of a local woman.  Even Charlie the dog is included in the hunt.  Did I say that I love this series?  I think all Monkeewrench lovers will be delighted with this new book.

My next read was another advance copy, The Party by Robyn Harding.  This book will be published in early June.  Kim and Jeff Sanders throw a sweet-sixteen slumber party for their daughter, Hannah.  Kim is one of those mothers, you know the kind, who spends more time reading about and stressing over being the perfect mom and much less time actually trying to accomplish it.  Hannah is a good kid, but she wants to be part of the popular crowd.  We all know that in order for that to happen, compromises in 'good behavior' are often required.  At the party, Kim recites the 'house rules' to the girls, which are, of course, ignored.  A tragic accident happens and this family pretty much comes unglued in every way possible.  This book held my interest and had some twists and turns, but some parts seemed a little predictable.  I liked it, but I didn't love it.  Definitely falls under the 'domestic drama' category.

The last book I read this week was another on audio.  It was Entry Island by Peter May and I did a listen/read combo.  It was narrated by Peter Forbes and he did an excellent job with all the accents.  I have absolutely loved Peter May's trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland - if you haven't read it, you really should (starts with The Blackhouse).  Entry Island has two storylines - one with a current setting - a murder investigation in a small group of islands off the coast of Quebec, Canada.  The other story is historical - the mid-1800's as people are forcibly moved by local gentry from the Scottish Isles to Canada.  The two stories are connected loosely at the beginning and then the reader comes to understand that they are interwoven tightly.  Homicide detective Sime Mackenzie is the main protagonist, along with the wife of the murder victim.  The setting is incredibly vivid, both in Canada and Scotland.  This author has a way of writing about the Isle of Lewis that makes the reader want to jump on a plane and go there immediately.  I really, really enjoyed this book.  The setting, the characters, the stories.  Highly recommended.


Mystery Book Group...

Our mystery book group met on Wednesday evening and we had an amazing amount of people.  It probably helped that it was a 'potluck' meeting, but happily there was a lot of food, and we had a great time talking about books.  Our theme for March was 'Books published by the Poisoned Pen Press' and I was so pleased that the group members dove in with vigor.  It had been a bit tricky to discern which books in our library system were actually published by the PPP, but we got a little help from one member, Carol, who shared a way to sort through the catalog.  I had read five books that qualified and really liked four of them and had a bit of an issue with one.  Several members had tried more than one book and they took my advice of 'if it's not working for you, move on to the next book'.  A few of the authors mentioned were Kerry Greenwood (Phryne Fisher series), Donis Casey (Alafair Tucker series), Vicki Delany (Molly Smith series), Steven F. Havill (Posadas County series), and the British Library Crime Classics.  We also talked about Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries - TV adaptation of the Phryne Fisher books.  It's very good and on Acorn and Netflix.  Next month, we'll be reading Ruth Ware's In A Dark Dark Wood.


Personally...

I had a quiet week.  My husband was on a trip to Tucson and so I was in sole possession of the TV remote and the dinner menu.  I spent some time watching the first couple of seasons of Vera, which is based on the mystery series by Ann Cleeves.  I had a little bit of trouble at first with the accents (and I'm a seasoned British TV watcher), but I soon adjusted and liked the episodes I watched.  I saw the episode that was based on the book by Cleeves that I read a few weeks ago, Silent Voices.  A few changes were made, but it was a good adaptation.  I'll be reading more books in the series and also watching more of the TV show.

My husband texted me a picture from the golf course he was playing in Tucson.  He said that they had just been experiencing 'icy rain'.  I laughed and asked what he considered 'icy rain'.  He said 'sleet and ice pellets'.  I told him that he had to go all the way to Arizona to get 'icy rain', as we've had a very mild winter and none of that sort of stuff here.  It was actually quite a bit cooler in Tucson than it was in Central Texas.  That's not such an event, but it was interesting that they were getting more 'wintery weather' and we were not.  I'll leave you with the picture and hope that everyone has a great reading week!



                


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday - The Widow's House



Waiting on Wednesday was a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Although Jill is no longer hosting this event, I am continuing to post one soon to be released title each Wednesday that I can't wait to read.

I read one of Carol Goodman's books earlier this year, River Road.  I didn't love it, but liked it well enough.  When I saw that she had a new one coming out before long, I read the blurb and thought it sounded like a book I should definitely sample.  Crumbling estates, haunting figures...yep, that's for me.  This week, I'm waiting on:




Publication Date: March 7th

When Jess and Clare Martin move from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to their former college town in the Hudson River valley, they are hoping for rejuvenation—of their marriage, their savings, and Jess's writing career.

They take a caretaker's job at Riven House, a crumbling estate and the home of their old college writing professor. While Clare once had dreams of being a writer, those plans fell by the wayside when Jess made a big, splashy literary debut in their twenties. It's been years, now, since his first novel. The advance has long been spent. Clare's hope is that the pastoral beauty and nostalgia of the Hudson Valley will offer some inspiration.

But their new life isn't all quaint town libraries and fragrant apple orchards. There is a haunting pall that hangs over Riven House like a funeral veil. Something is just not right. Soon, Clare begins to hear babies crying at night, see strange figures in fog at the edge of their property. Diving into the history of the area, she realizes that Riven House has a dark and anguished past. And whatever this thing is—this menacing force that destroys the inhabitants of the estate—it seems to be after Clare next…

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tuesday - First Chapter - First Paragraph - A Shameful Murder



Each Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first part of a book that she is reading or thinking about reading.  This week I'm sharing the first paragraph of A Shameful Murder by Cora Harrison.  Set in Ireland, this is the first book in the historical mystery series featuring Reverend Mother Aquinas.  The second book, A Shocking Assassination, was published last fall.  See what you think:



     It was Reverend Mother Aquinas who found the body of the dead girl.  It lay wedged within the gateway to the convent chapel at St. Mary's of the Isle, jettisoned by the flood waters.  For a fanciful moment she had almost imagined that it was a mermaid swept up from the sea.  The long silver gown gleamed beneath the gas lamp, wet as the skin of a salmon, and the streams of soaked curls were red-brown just like the crinkled carrageen seaweed she had gathered from the windswept beaches of Ballycotton when she was a child.  Her heart beating fast, the Reverend Mother unlocked the gate and looked down at the sightless blue eyes that stared up from beneath a wide high brow at the blanched, soaked flesh of the cheeks and knew that there was nothing that she could do for the girl.  She bent over, touched the stone-cold face and then with a hand that trembled slightly she signed the forehead with a small cross.  The Reverend Mother had seen death many times in her long life, but in the young she still found it was almost unbearable.


Blurb:

Cork, Ireland. 1923. When, one wet March morning, Reverend Mother Aquinas discovers a body at the gate of the convent chapel washed up after a flood ‘like a mermaid in gleaming silver satin’, she immediately sends for one of her former pupils, Police Sergeant Patrick Cashman, to investigate.

Dead bodies are not unusual in the poverty-stricken slums of Cork city, but this one is dressed in evening finery; in her handbag is a dance programme for the exclusive Merchant’s Ball held the previous evening – and a midnight ticket for the Liverpool ferry.

Against the backdrop of a country in the midst of Ireland’s Civil War, the Reverend Mother, together with Sergeant Cashman and Dr. Sher, an enlightened physician and friend, seek out the truth as to the identity of the victim – and her killer.

----------------------------------------------------------------

It is interesting to me, as a frequent mystery reader, how many series have a member of the clergy as a protagonist.  Take a look at the list here on Stop You're Killing Me (a great website for discovering mysteries and stuff about them).  This series appealed to me not only because of the protagonist, but also the setting of 1920's Ireland.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

kay's week - 2.25.17



Happy last Saturday of February!  Shall we talk about the weather again?  Ha!  Well, in my part of the world, we went above 90 on Thursday.  I was outside scheduling some winter cleanup of our flower beds and replacement of a few plants that were in terrible shape.  After I came inside, I decided that I should have put on some sunscreen.  I was a little pink on my nose and neck.  I realized that I didn't even think about getting burned.  I know that some of you have had a new round of snow, but maybe it will quickly melt.  OK, enough about the weather.


I've been reading...

I finished three books this week, all in print, well, mostly.  My audiobook time has been a little bit limited, but I'm closing in on the finish line of my current listen.

My first read was A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell and I think it's a debut novel.  It was an advance copy and will be published on March 21st.  Stephanie is a young widow and stay-at-home mother to kindergarten-age son, Miles.  She also has a 'mommy blog' that she writes to give herself an outlet for adult conversation.  Emily and her husband, Sean, are both executives in Manhattan and have a young son, Nicky.  Even though Emily works and Stephanie does not, the mothers have become close because their sons are best friends.  They share time together while the kids play and do favors for each other as they can.  One day, Emily asks Stephanie if she minds picking up Nicky at school.  Emily will return later in the evening for her son.  Only she doesn't.  Stephanie texts and calls and hears nothing.  Sean is on a business trip and so Stephanie eventually calls him for info and she also calls the police.  And then a body is found.  Seems like a simple story, but it's not.  Who is telling the truth?  This was another in the current trend of 'domestic thrillers'.  And it was pretty good.  Told from various points of view, I was fooled more than once.  I'll be watching for what this author comes up with next.

I next did a read/listen of Deadly Descent, the first book in the Lottie Albright mystery series by Charlotte Hinger.  Lottie Albright is a historian in Western Kansas.  She is fascinated by old stories, newspapers, diaries, any family treasures that speak to a way of life in the past.  She's head of the local Historical Society, but must answer to a board of directors and deal with small town issues.  Her twin sister, Josie, is a psychologist in Eastern Kansas and she thinks Lottie is wasting her time in a small town, married to a 'dirt farmer'.  There is a murder, of course, the sister of a prominent local woman.  It turns out that the victim is the aunt of Brian Hadley, who is running for the senate.  Lottie is his local campaign manager and the solution to the murder lies in old family secrets.  And then there is another murder.  Lottie is afraid that Brian's campaign will be ruined and calls on her sister to help her sleuthing.  OK, I liked the idea of this book more than the book itself.  I am interested in 'old stories' and historical tales that relate to present-day events.  I like 'cold case' mysteries.  My problem was that I didn't like Lottie very much - found her meddling, annoying, and she was constantly crying or sobbing.  I felt bad about my reaction as this is a book published by my favorite Poisoned Pen Press.  Sigh.  Guess you can't love them all.  I know that many enjoy this series, so it was just me.  That being said, I probably won't continue to read it.

I then picked up a book that was way outside of my usual wheelhouse - in some ways.  Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel is also a debut book, one of a trilogy.  The second book, Waking Gods, will be published on April 4th.  This book was sort of sci-fi, sort of political thriller, sort of conspiracy book.  It was many things.  And it was told in interviews, diaries, documents - I love books told in 'interesting' ways.  Rose is 11 years old and is riding her new bicycle near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls into a giant pit.  Way below ground level, Rose waits until she is rescued by local firemen.  There is a turquoise light all around her and it's found that she is sitting in the palm of a giant hand - a metal hand.  Rose grows up to be a physicist and she works on a secret project - figuring out about the giant hand and also discovering if there are more body parts for what some surmise might be a giant metal creature.  Now, if this reminds you of Optimus Prime or superheroes or Star Wars - well, yes, to all of them.  I don't think I'll say much more, but I was captivated.  There are other characters that the reader bonds with, some that are nameless.  I'm very excited to read the second part of the story.  I think this would and probably will make a great movie.  Sign me up!  This would probably be really good on audio and it might be the next one I select when my husband and I travel somewhere together.  I think he'd like it too.


Personally...

I had a dental appointment this week - just a cleaning - however, I'll have to return in a couple of weeks for a filling on a tooth that has a crack.  This tooth already has a filling and I'm not terribly optimistic that it won't turn out to need a crown.  We shall see.

As I said, it's time to get the yard in shape and trimmed before all the plants start into serious spring growth.  I heard on the news this week that Texas is having an early blooming of our wildflowers due to a very mild winter and some good rains.  I know I've seen the redbud trees in bloom.  I tried to look for some bluebonnets to photograph, but I haven't seen any yet.  We are right on the cusp of spring though.  Since we've had temps in the 80's and over 90, our air conditioning is back on and it's unlikely it will be turned off until late in the year.  Such is life in Central Texas.  But the warmer weather means that the snakes will be out, the bugs will be coming, and I'm really hoping that the annoying bird does not build a nest on my front porch light again this year.  My husband thinks he's solved the problem there.  We'll see.

Since I couldn't find any wildflowers this week, I'll leave you with some of the pictures I took a couple of years ago at the Wildseed Farm in the Texas Hill Country.  Love these fields of flowers!  Have a good week!








   

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday - Nothing Stays Buried



Waiting on Wednesday was a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Although Jill is no longer hosting this event, I am continuing to post one soon to be released title each Wednesday that I can't wait to read.

P. J. Tracy (Patricia and Traci Lambrecht) is a mother/daughter writing team that authors the Monkeewrench mystery series.  It's a series that I've loved over the years.  Sadly, Patricia passed away this last December, but Traci will be continuing the series on her own.  This week, I'm waiting for the 8th book in the series:




Publication Date:  August 1st

When Minneapolis homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are called to a crime scene in a heavily wooded city park, everything about the setting is all too familiar. And when they discover a playing card on the victim's body, their worst fears are confirmed—there’s a serial killer operating in the city for the first time in years.

Across town, Grace MacBride and her unconventional partners at Monkeewrench Software find themselves at both personal and career crossroads. Weary of the darker side of their computer work for law enforcement, they agree to take on a private missing-persons case in a small farming community in southwestern Minnesota.

As the violence accelerates in Minneapolis, Magozzi and Gino soon realize their killer is planning to complete the deck, and they enlist Monkeewrench to help stop the rampage. As a baffling tangle of evidence accumulates, the cops and Monkeewrench make the unlikely connections among a farmer’s missing daughter, a serial killer, and a decades-old stabbing that brings them face-to-face with pure evil.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tuesday - First Chapter - First Paragraph - Missing, Presumed



Each Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first part of a book that she is reading or thinking about reading.  This week I'm sharing the first few paragraphs of Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner.  This was my July selection from Book of the Month last year and I'm just getting around to reading it or considering reading it.  The first book in a series featuring Manon Bradshaw, member of the Cambridgeshire Police Force.  Based upon the first few paragraphs, I'm sold.  See what you think:



     She can feel hope ebbing, like the Christmas lights on fade in Pound Saver.  Manon tells herself to focus on the man sitting opposite, whose name might be Brian but could equally be Keith, who is crossing his legs and his foot bangs her shin just where the bone is nearest the surface.  She reaches down to rub it but he's oblivious.
     'Sensitive,' his profile had said, along with an interest in military aircraft.  She wonders now what on earth she was thinking when she arranged it, but then compatibility seemed no marker for anything.  The last date with a town planner scored 78 percent--she'd harbored such hopes; he even liked Thomas Hardy--yet Manon spent the evening flinching each time his spittle landed on her face, which was remarkably often.
     Two years of Internet dating.  It's fair to say they haven't flown by.


Blurb:

At thirty-nine, Manon Bradshaw is a devoted and respected member of the Cambridgeshire police force, and though she loves her job, what she longs for is a personal life. Single and distant from her family, she wants a husband and children of her own. One night, after yet another disastrous Internet date, she turns on her police radio to help herself fall asleep—and receives an alert that sends her to a puzzling crime scene.

Edith Hind—a beautiful graduate student at Cambridge University and daughter of the surgeon to the Royal Family—has been missing for nearly twenty-four hours. Her home offers few clues: a smattering of blood in the kitchen, her keys and phone left behind, the front door ajar but showing no signs of forced entry. Manon instantly knows that this case will be big—and that every second is crucial to finding Edith alive.

The investigation starts with Edith’s loved ones: her attentive boyfriend, her reserved best friend, her patrician parents. As the search widens and press coverage reaches a frenzied pitch, secrets begin to emerge about Edith’s tangled love life and her erratic behavior leading up to her disappearance. With no clear leads, Manon summons every last bit of her skill and intuition to close the case, and what she discovers will have shocking consequences not just for Edith’s family but for Manon herself.

--------------------------------------------------------

Have you read this one?  It's been out for a bit, so some probably have.  You know, it's passages such as the one above that make me so delighted that I never had the 'opportunity' to do Internet dating.  I suppose for some it works out well, but I've heard some pretty awful tales.  And yes, this is indeed a police procedural, so there will be a body and a crime.  The 2nd book in the series, Persons Unknown, will be published here in the US on July 4th.  

Saturday, February 18, 2017

kay's week - 2.18.17



Hello everyone!  Hope you've all had a 'good enough' week and will have a relaxing couple of days this weekend.  Bet it might be a 3-day weekend for some with President's Day on Monday.  We got some rain this week - thunder woke me up one night, and finally, finally there is other pollen in the allergy report besides cedar pollen.  Sorry for the ash and oak pollen sufferers.  However, that means that my trials are coming to an end with allergies, until the fall anyway.


I've been reading...

I read three books this week - two were advance copies of books that have yet to be published, both on my Kindle - and one was an audio - a reread of a series that I intend to make my way through this year.

The Trophy Child is the newest book by Paula Daly and it will soon be published - March 7th, I believe.  I've read and enjoyed a couple of other books by this author - Just What Kind Of Mother Are You? and Keep Your Friends Close.  I liked The Trophy Child and recognized a couple of repeating characters from other books.  One was a police sergeant named Joanne and another was Joanne's aunt, Jacky.  There is also a character that is the kind of person everyone loves to hate - a 'tiger mother' named Karen.  There is a blended family and kids that are left out or left alone mostly, but also a kid that is the 'trophy' child.  Karen is determined that her younger child be given every advantage, every lesson, every skill, every thing and this all works until Bronte, the child, disappears.  And then things get strange.  Lots of drama and even a murder.  If you read it, let me know what you think.

The next book I read is by Hallie Ephron and entitled You'll Never Know, Dear.  What do you think about that cover?  Creepy doll, huh?  This book will not be published until early June, but I couldn't wait to read it.  Hallie Ephron (and yes, she is the sister of Nora Ephron) writes standalone mysteries that contain a lot of suspense and thrills.  The setting is South Carolina, which gives a gothic feel to the book.  In it, two little girls, sisters, are playing outside and the older one, Lissie, runs off after a puppy.  The younger sister, Janey, is gone when Lis returns, along with her handmade doll.  The girls' mother, Miss Sorrel, had made both girls a doll, unique to them.  No trace is ever found of Janey for over 30 years.  In the present day, Miss Sorrel advertises for information about Janey's doll, something she has done for many years on the anniversary of Janey's disappearance.  This year, a young woman brings a doll to show them, thinking it might be the advertised missing doll.  As the story unfolds, old secrets are revealed and everyone's lives are in danger.  What did happen to Janey so long ago?  If you like gothic stories, this is a good one.  Enjoyed it thoroughly and will be reading more of this author's books.

The only audio book that I got through this week was In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming.  This is a reread for me and it's the first book in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery series.  It was narrated by Suzanne Toren.  The only thing that bugged me a bit about it was the 'Southern' accent that the narrator used for Clare.  Sigh.  I didn't like that too much.  This series, which now has 8 books, is set in upstate New York.  Clare is an Episcopal priest and Russ is the chief of the Miller's Kill Police.  In the Bleak Midwinter begins with Clare discovering an abandoned baby on the steps of her church.  She and Russ try to find the child's parents, which is a difficult task.  The weather is cold and there is more than one murder.  Clare has not been a priest for very long and she's still finding her way in this new town.  The characters are believable and the setting is very vivid and cold, cold, cold.  I'm planning on reading this whole series this year, hoping that Julia Spencer-Fleming will have a new book for us before long.


Personally...

I missed a book group meeting on Tuesday afternoon, but I hadn't read the book anyway.  I did do my volunteer shift at the library yesterday.  And below, you can see what I received for Valentine's Day.  I love Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream and don't buy it very often these days.  It just hit the spot. Hubby got his own pint of some vanilla caramel thing.

I got a haircut on Thursday, from a different hair stylist that usual.  My normal hair stylist is being treated for breast cancer and had a mastectomy a couple of weeks ago.  She's doing well, but I did miss her.  The fill-in stylist was very nice, but after she cut my hair (which is very short), she kind of combed it all forward and I felt like I kind of looked like George Clooney in his earlier ER days.  Needless to say, I came home and washed my hair again and put it back the way I like it.  Ha!  My stylist is supposed to be back at work next month.  I hope so, though I do hope she takes her time with her recovery.

Have a good week, all.  Just say to yourself - SPRING IS COMING!  It is, you know.  Now to see if there is any of that Ben & Jerry's left...

    

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday - Down a Dark Road



Waiting on Wednesday was a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Although Jill is no longer hosting this event, I am continuing to post one soon to be released title each Wednesday that I can't wait to read.

Another favorite ongoing mystery series that I love is written by Linda Castillo.  The main protagonist is Chief of Police Kate Burkholder from Painter's Mill, Ohio, deep in Amish country. This is a unique and interesting series.  I'm excitedly waiting on the 9th book:




Publication Date:  July 11th

Eight years ago Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. He was a "fallen" Amish man and, according to local law enforcement, a known drug user with a violent temper. Now King has escaped, and he’s headed for Painters Mill.

News of a murderer on the loose travels like wildfire and putting Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team of officers on edge. A nightmare scenario becomes reality when King shows up with a gun and kidnaps his five children from their Amish uncle’s house. He’s armed and desperate with nothing left to lose.

Fearing for the safety of the children, Kate leaps into action, but her frantic search for a killer leads her into an ambush. When King releases her unharmed, asking her to prove his innocence, she begins to wonder whether the police are hiding something, and she embarks on her own investigation to discover the truth.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tuesday - First Chapter - First Paragraph - Buttercream Bump Off



Each Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first part of a book that she is reading or thinking about reading.  This week I'm sharing the first few paragraphs of Buttercream Bump Off by Jenn McKinlay.  In honor of Valentine's Day, please note the lovely cover of this book, the 2nd in McKinlay's Cupcake Bakery mystery series.  I defy you not to wish for a luscious cupcake after looking at the covers on the books in this series.  Yum!  Oh, and don't forget to scroll down.  I've included a few 'real' pictures of cupcakes made by my daughter, who is a master cupcake baker, though she's never had to deal with murder.  See what you think about this one:



     'You need to get to the corner of Fifth Avenue and Scottsdale Road.  Now.'
     'Angie?' Melanie Cooper barely recognized her business partner's voice through her sleep-induced haze.  'What's going on?'
     'Fifth and Scottsdale,' Angie DeLaura repeated.  The phone went dead.
     Mel glanced at the cell phone in her hand then at her alarm clock, which read 6:57.  A phone call this early in the morning had better mean Angie's car had been stolen or was on fire.
     She heaved off her comforter and rolled out of bed.  Mel didn't like mornings on the best of days, but in January, even in Scottsdale, Arizona, it surely was a crime to be dragged out of bed before the sun, especially without a cup of coffee to chase away the morning chill.  Still, Angie had been her best friend for more than twenty years.  She wouldn't have called if it wasn't important.
     That thought got Mel moving.  She grabbed a thick-hooded sweatshirt and tugged it on over her flannel pajamas.  She could feel the static raise her short blonde hair up, and she imagined she looked like a troll doll on a bad-hair day, without the cute belly button.  She jammed her feet into her slip-on sneakers and grabbed her keys.


Blurb:

Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura's Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery is gearing up for Valentine's Day with a couples cooking class.

Meanwhile Mel's mother has her first date in forever. Unfortunately someone ices Baxter Malloy on their first date.

Now Mom's a suspect, and Mel and Angie need to find time around frosting to dig into the man's shady past and discover who served him his just desserts.


---------------------------------------------------------

Happy Valentine's Day!  I read this book several years ago and enjoyed it thoroughly.  It includes humor, murder, family drama, cupcakes and recipes.  What recipes you might ask?  Well, how about 'Kiss Me Cupcakes' (mint chocolate chip), 'Orange Dreamsicle Cupcakes', 'Cupid's Bliss Cupcakes' (white chocolate and raspberries), plus frostings to match each.  And to tempt you, here's some of my daughter's creations.  Sorry I can't send them to everyone!  I bet there's a cupcake bakery in your area.  What are you waiting for?


Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream
 Frosting and Fondant Flower


Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes


Peppermint Hot Cocoa Cupcake


Butter Pecan Praline Cupcakes




Saturday, February 11, 2017

kay's week - 2.11.17



Happy second Saturday of February!  Hope you are all staying warm and staying well!  Winter kind of seems to have skipped us here in Central Texas.  We had record highs this week - upper 80's.  February is a little early for that, in my opinion.  And half of the people I know are currently sick, have just been sick, or are feeling like they might be sick soon.  Flu has run rampant everywhere.  I volunteered at the library yesterday and they had more than one staff member out with illness.  Plus, every person that was looking for materials in the library seemed to be coughing or blowing their noses.  'Tis the season indeed.


I've been reading...

I finished three books this week and abandoned one completely.  More about that later.  Two were in print, one was on audio, and the DNF - also audio.

Brooklyn Bones by Triss Stein turned out to be an interesting read.  It's the first in the Erica Donato series that currently has three books - a 4th will come out in August of this year.  Erica, the protagonist, is the mother of a teenage girl, a native of Brooklyn, a widow, an urban historian working on her Ph.D., an intern at a museum, and a reluctant mystery solver.  In other words, she's busy.  While having her house renovated, a skeleton of a young woman is discovered behind the walls.  Erica's daughter, Chris, is helping the contractor with the renovation and is actually the one who makes the discovery.  Chaos ensues.  And bad people keep showing up to threaten Erica, who has no idea what is going on.  There was humor and some interesting New York lore.  I liked it a lot.  I'll be continuing with the next book in the series, Brooklyn Graves, soon.

Meanwhile, I listened to Sarah Pinborough's new thriller, Behind Her Eyes.  Bet you've heard something about this one, right?  It was narrated by several people, Anna Bintinck, Josie Dunn, Bea Holland, and Huw Parmenter.  I'm not going to say much about the storyline other than that it's gripping.  Truly gripping.  Told from several viewpoints, Louise, David, and Adele, the reader/listener thinks they have figured things out (or not) and then...no.  I have a feeling this is going to be a book that people either like/love or hate.  A lot has been mentioned about the ending.  Hmmm....I will say that I had my suspicions or something regarding it had crossed my mind, but I was surprised to be mostly correct.  I'll be curious to hear what others think.  Did I like it?  Well enough to think about reading other books by the author.  The audio was well done.  

My next book in print was Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.  This is my first book by this author and I had read several reviews about it from other bloggers in recent months.  The one that tipped me over the edge was Susan's (Bloggin' 'bout Books).  Susan and I have similar tastes in a lot of books and our reactions are often close to the same.  So, I dove in.  I guess this could be regarded as a thriller, but it seemed very much on the sci fi side to me.  Jason Dessen is a physics professor with a family that he loves, wife and teenage son.  He's abducted, asked if he's happy by a man in a mask, injected with something, and then he wakes up to find that he isn't married, his son doesn't exist, and he's a genius inventor.  What????  Well, there's a lot more that happens.  And I was just along for the ride.  Had no idea what would come next.  Will I read more books by Blake Crouch?  Um...yes!  Did anyone read this author's Wayward Pines trilogy or see the TV adaptation?  I have not, as yet.

Now to the book I abandoned.  And if you read or listen to this book, you might really like it.  I absolutely did not.  It's The Girl Before by J. P. Delaney.  I used an Audible credit for this one and got over halfway through it.  It was narrated by several (and well done): Emilia Fox, Finty Williams, and Lisa Aagaard Knudsen.  Again, I think it's going to be a book that is liked or loathed.  The story of an architect, a property, One Folgate Place, and two women who live in the house - one before and one after.  The owner has an extensive list of questions for any tenant and many, many, many rules.  Emma is the before tenant and Jane lives there after.  Emma is dead.  Jane is curious.  OK, there is a character that is hugely controlling and quite, quite odd.  I got to the point where I could not listen to any more about that character.  It also started verging into a 50 shades kind of thing.  You guys know that I can handle a lot, but sometimes, I just say 'NO'.  So, I stopped listening and actually returned it to Audible for a refund of my credit.  And I'm glad.  If you read this, I'll be curious as to what you think.  Ron Howard is going to make this into a movie.  Little Opie.  Ha!


Library Friends Meeting...

I attended my first 'Friends of the Library' meeting on Monday.  Filled out my paperwork, greeted several that attend the book group for that library and settled in to see what this 'Friends' group was about.  It was fun.  This group runs a 'twice-a-year' book sale that I've attended.  It a good one and they sell a lot of books.  I asked a few questions at the meeting and we'll see how they feel I can help out in the future.  They are just beginning to sell some collectible books online and I shared that I've a bit of experience with that.  I told them I also have accounting skills.  I look forward to becoming a part of the 'Friends' and raising funds for a local library.


Personally...

A nice week.  We're going to dinner tonight with our daughter and son-in-law.  We try to do that every few weeks to catch up with them and their lives.  They picked the restaurant this time and the daughter made the reservations.  Ajo is a 'New American' food restaurant with lots of healthy farm-to-table selections.  Maybe a little more brussels sprouts and kale than I would prefer (I know they are healthy, but I'm not a big fan!).  I'll find something good to eat though.  If I'm 'over the moon' about my dinner, I'll share about it next week.

It's squirrel and skunk season here in Central Texas.  Critters everywhere.  I snapped a shot of this little guy the other day, climbing on a tree by our garage.  I will not get this close to a skunk to take a picture.  They are around though - we can smell them.  Take care and have a good week!