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.
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.
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.
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.
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!