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Saturday, February 4, 2017

kay's week - 2.4.17



Happy Saturday everyone!  Has your week been a good one?  Groundhog Day was Thursday.  What did you think about Punxsutawney Phil's forecast of '6 more weeks of winter'?  Yes, that's right - he saw his shadow and so winter will continue for 6 weeks.  Or so goes the theory.  We haven't really had a lot of winter here in Central Texas, but we have had lots of cedar pollen and mold (hence, allergies) and flu.  All of that can move right on along as far as I'm concerned.


I've been reading...

I read 4 books this week - again a mix of audio, print, read/listen.  I managed 15 books during January and I think my 'put your head down and focus on reading rather than social media' is working.  Ha!

I read The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent in print.  I had ordered it from the UK and think it will be available here next month - different cover, of course.  This was the first book I've read by this author, though I do have another one on the shelf.  It's about a woman, Fran, who lives with her husband and children in an old farmhouse in the English countryside.  The baby wakes and cries and she finds her husband gone from the bed.  She ends up finding him dead in a ditch on their property and so begins a twisty-turny story of her, him, the police, their pasts, their current acquaintences, and this creeeeepy house.  I got very annoyed with Fran, but I had to know what all was going on and so I persevered.  Part of the ending had me sitting with my mouth hanging open.  So there.  I was mega-surprised at one revelation.  I'll read the other book I have by the author, but I was so-so with this one.

I listened to The River At Night by Erica Ferencik, narrated by Joy Osmanski.  New narrator to me and she was good with this adventure tale.  Wini and three of her friends have taken a 'girls' vacation each year for a long time.  They've done various things, but this year they are going to Maine on a whitewater rafting trip.  This is so far outside Wini's comfort zone, she's a nervous wreck just contemplating it.  She goes along though and they begin their trip with the young man guide who accompanies them.  Horrible accident ensues and the women are basically stranded in the wilderness with no help, no provisions, no hope.  This was a pretty intense story and though it was a bit over the top, I found myself wondering what I would do in the same situation.  Of course, I wouldn't be in the situation because I would never, ever go on trip like that.  Reminded me of the movie that starred Meryl Streep, The River Wild - with a little bit of Deliverance thrown in.  If you get my drift.  I was caught up in the drama and enjoyed this one.

My next book was Silent Voices by Ann Cleeves.  This is the 4th Vera Stanhope mystery, but the first I have read.  I received the book and had it signed by the author at last spring's mystery conference.  I really, really enjoyed this book.  And have since acquired the 3 previous books.  I also want to watch the TV adaptation, Vera, but will wait on that for a bit.  I liked reading how Vera and her team solved the murder of a social worker that Vera herself discovers in the health club sauna.  There were lots of characters and it was plausible for many of them to be involved and several could have wished the woman dead.  Other than the constant harping on Vera's weight (must be part of her character story) and ugly clothes and weird cottage, this police inspector seemed well qualified and canny.  There was also quite a bit of humor tucked here and there - snarky humor.  I give this a thumbs-up and Ann Cleeves' books will become ones that I look forward to.

The last book I finished this week, Unreasonable Doubt, was a print/audio combination, narrated by Carrington MacDuffie.  This book is the 8th in Vicki Delany's series featuring Constable Molly Smith of the Trafalgar, British Columbia, Police Department.  I love this series and have read each and every book - and I'm now caught up again.  In Unreasonable Doubt, Walter Desmond, incarcerated for 25 years for a crime the courts now say he is innocent of, returns to Trafalgar to find out who really killed Sophia D'Angelo.  The police are not at all happy to see Walter, even though they know he's been exonerated.  The town has many residents that remember the crime and they don't believe the court.  Walter makes things tough for Molly, Sergeant John Winters, and the Chief Constable.  And then another woman is attacked (John Winters' wife, Eliza) and another.  Trafalgar is full of tourists and dragon boat races and upset people.  Things are about to get really complicated.  I loved this book.  Enjoyed it thoroughly.  Vicki Delany has branched out into cozies now, but I hope she'll still return to British Columbia to catch us up with the great characters in Trafalgar.


Mystery Book Group meeting...

We had our monthly mystery book group meeting on Wednesday evening and enjoyed time together discussing John Hart's Redemption Road.  This was the first book of his that I've read and I talked about it a bit in my weekly report last Saturday.  The group as a whole was positive about it, but the story was a little grim for some.  Several tore through it quickly, not being able to put it down (and it's a chunkster).  Several others had to put it down from time to time as they absorbed the horrible crimes that were part of the tale.  Horrible crimes and evil and sacrifice and goodness and caring for others.  We watched a short video of the author being interviewed and he said that his inspiration for writing came from authors like Pat Conroy.  I felt that the reader could see that influence in the beauty of the language and how the story was told.  John Hart - a real Southern writer - able to tell a horrific story in a strangely beautiful way.


Personally...

I had a bit of a busy week - two lunches out with friends that I enjoyed very much.  Volunteering at the library twice - book group meeting and shelving books on Friday.  I finished our taxes and got my house cleaned up.  We're going to our usual small group Bible study on Sunday evening, even though it is Super Bowl time.  We don't really have a 'dog in this hunt' since Dallas was beaten.  If you're rooting for the Falcons - good luck.  I'm not a big fan at all of the Patriots, so small luck to them.  Ha!  I'll leave you with a picture I took last year in New Mexico - you can just see a rainbow between the trees.  Rainbows are hopeful, yes?  Take care everyone!  




52 comments:

  1. While I really like the Vera Stanhope series, some of the books concentrate too much on her appearance, and I find it a little distracting. I've enjoyed all of Delaney's Molly Smith books, I liked this one partly because my son-in-law participated in dragon boat races. :)

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    1. I thought those dragon boat races sounded interesting and fun to watch.

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  2. You had a good week reading four books and going out too - and cleaning the house! You put me to shame. I did manage to finish 2 books this week and had a book group meeting on Tuesday. Most of us didn't like the book though, but we did have a good discussion.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the Vera book - there are lots of other good books by Ann Cleeves to read. Happy reading!

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    1. Always good to have book group discussion and it seems to me that when the book is not necessarily a favorite, the talk is more lively. Looking forward to the Cleeves books. And actually, the cleaning was done by my cleaning ladies. They come twice a month. I handle the in-between.

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  3. Living in snow country I was not surprised by Phil's forecast :) Sounds like you had a nice week. I don't really care who wins the game. We're staying home so it will probably be on but I'll have a book in my hands.

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    1. I totally understand, Mary. Always nice to have a 'book in hand'. LOL

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  4. You did have a busy, and fun, week! I'll be interested to see what you think when you watch Vera after reading the books. There are a few series I really like better on tv than in books - Morse for instance.

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    1. I'm not a big fan of Morse or haven't been for the couple of episodes I've watched. Not sure why. We'll see how it goes with Vera. May be summer or even later before I try them.

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  5. 6 more weeks of winter sounds about right for my area. We've had snow as late as May, so I'm not going to complain about 6 weeks. :) It helps that we're going to be in the 50s this coming week.

    Wow! Four books in one week is great. I'm listening to one, reading another at work (on my breaks) and reading one at bedtime. I may finish one of them (A Place at the Table) this weekend, but the other two are quite long, so it'll be a while.

    A creeeepy house and a so-so reaction to The Loving Husband makes me think it's not for me. I don't do well with horror anymore. A friend reviewed The River at Night and had the same thoughts about Deliverance as you. I'm undecided about this one. However, I'm sold on the Vera series. I want to read the books and watch the show. They sound great and my mom is a big fan, too.

    You had quite a busy week! I finally got all our tax docs ready to go to our tax man, so that's a load off my mind. I've just started shredding old tax docs from the 80s and 90s! I'm certainly not a hoarder, but I have a hard time getting rid of this sort of thing. We're also going to go through all our books once last time before we move. Busy, busy! Have a great week, Kay!

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    1. I'm not surprised that your mom is a Vera fan. I do know that she and I share some book likes. Laughing about your tax docs from so long back. Yes, I understand, but really, you can let them go. Ha! And probably good to go through your books again. Just think about packing and moving so many. Let me tell or remind you, books are heavy and you can't use very big boxes. There are bookstores and libraries where you are going. In my experience, Oregon has really, really good libraries. We won't even mention their bookstores - um...Powell's. LOL

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    2. Me, too with Les' mum!! And it is killing me to think of them culling their books. I already wrote Rod about it on his blog. I would leave the furniture and take the books.

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  6. We haven't had much winter either and will happily take six more weeks of what we've had.

    I haven't even thought about our taxes yet.

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    1. I'm kind of a go-getter about the taxes. I know this. It's the accountant in me - which was my former profession eons ago. I'm kind of picky about all of that. Ha!

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  7. We never really have much of a winter here. Temps have been in the 70s this week, so I guess our winter is pretty much over.

    THE LOVING HUSBAND sounds interesting enough. I'm interested enough to give it a go. THE RIVER AT NIGHT definitely seemed over the top for me. I found it really far-fetched. As for the Vera Stanhope books, I need to read them. I really like the Ann Cleeves mysteries I've read so far.

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    1. Yes, you don't even have to explain your winter weather to me. It's why we visit your part of the world at this time of year. I kept thinking that THE RIVER AT NIGHT would make a decent movie.

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  8. Nice post, fun to read! We (except son) don't follow sports on tv anymore-- but I do put out platters of yummy food/snacks for Super Bowl for our family, just because, and son enjoys making the night a bit more special.

    I read The Last Child by John Hart when it came out. Trying to remember how I felt about it-- since it's not too vivid in my memory, I guess I'd say "good". Not sure I want to read Redemption Road... sounds depressing.

    You reminded me I have the next Vicki Delany on my Kindle, yay! Not caught up, I'm only up to book #4-- Negative Image-- but I really enjoy this series, so I need to pick it up asap. How could I forget about it? Don't care much for her other series, though unfortunately. Like with Elly Griffiths... I hesitate to start Zig Zag Girl, just because it's a different time period and type of MC. I learned about Molly Smith and Ruth Galloway from your blog :) and I thank you so much because these are up there with my absolute favorite series to read!

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    1. So glad I passed on my love of Elly Griffiths and Vicki Delany to you. And apparently, John Hart is writing a sequel of sorts to THE LAST CHILD, to come out next year. Just FYI.

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  9. A good week all round! I'm glad you enjoyed The River at Night, since I won a copy of it in a giveaway. And I'm also glad you liked Ann Cleeves since I'm hoping, finally, to try one of her books soon!

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    1. I really did like Cleeves characters. Not really surprised. I thought I probably would.

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  10. I enjoyed seeing the interview with John Hart. It explained how and why he wrote what he did. I often read books and think "how did they come up with that?"

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    1. Yes, it was a good little interview for less than 4 minutes. :-)

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  11. I do love your weekly posts Jill - I have watched the TV adaptions of Vera but not read any of the books, although there are some on the TBR which I keep meaning to get to... sounds like there was a mixed reception to Redemption Road which isn't altogether surprising and you want a variety of opinions for a book group anyway...

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    1. Kay I'm so sorry I don't know why I wrote Jill!

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    2. Ha! I was reading the first comment and thought - who is Jill? And then laughed. Cleo, I have done the same thing. But I'll answer to Jill if you like. LOL

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  12. I love a creepy house even though Fran was annoying. I'll have to check out The Loving Husband. I've been curious about the Vera series both tv and book-wise. I think I'll have to give the books a try soon. And thanks for the reminder to get back to the Molly Smith series! I've really enjoyed the ones I've read but it's been awhile. Have a great week!

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    1. It's my pleasure to remind you of Molly Smith!

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  13. When you get around to watching Vera you're in for a treat. Brenda Blethyn is simply wonderful in the role. What a good reading week you've had!

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    1. Yes, I got the idea that Ann Cleeves was very pleased with Blethyn's portrayal of Vera.

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  14. I'll be adding those first two to my list, the first for the ending alone :)

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  15. Enjoyed reading your thoughts, Kay. The first two books have been on my list the moment I've seen them around... I'm still waiting for my copy of The River at Night to arrive but so far Book Depository hasn't sent me an email notification about the delivery yet.

    I enjoyed Redemption Road and agree that it was a dark and grim book. Still I thought it was quite well written.

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    1. Good to know, Melody. I do think that we read many of the same books. Have a good week!

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  16. Love the picture! Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks! Hope yours is good as well!

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  17. I love the sound of ALL four books that you finished this week! But especially The River at Night- I am really looking forward to that one. It sounds like you had a really great week of reading- I hope that this one goes just as well for you!

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    1. I did have a good week in reading and am glad that I communicated that. Not sure I'll get as many read this week, but I'm moving right on along. Hope the same for you!

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  18. I love rainbows so thank you for the picture and yes I do think they are hopeful. Can't help but smile when you see one! What a great reading week. I can't wait to read the Christobel Kent book. I've read several of her other books and have found them quite enjoyable. Hope you are enjoying the weekend Kay!

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    1. I'm curious about the other Christobel Kent books that you've read. I went and looked and see she has written a series set in Florence? Had no idea. The other book I own by her is THE CROOKED HOUSE.

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  19. All of your books sound good. Have a great week!

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  20. Beautiful Rainbow! Thanks for sharing that photo. It looks like you had a great week. Taxes are next up on my list of things to do. I fell asleep during the 4th quarter of the game - I thought it was pretty much over. I couldn't believe the outcome!

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    1. Yes, I checked the score before I went to bed and then woke up this morning and said 'WHAT?'!! Guess it was meant to be.

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  21. I'm very intrigued by your assessment of Hart's novel; I may need to add this one to my list, even if it does take up quite a bit of time. Oh, that ball game last night! Whew! Like you, I'm a huge Cowboys fan (my whole life); however, I usually root for whoever is playing against the Patriots - ha! What a night; I stayed up too late. Hope you have a great week!

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    1. Tara, there are some very intriguing themes in REDEMPTION ROAD and some very evil people. As I said, some of our group tore through it quickly and some had to put it down over and over because of the brutal crimes. One member got to page 15 and stopped. Many talked about his command of language and description. I know that he reminded me of not only Pat Conroy, but also Greg Iles.

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  22. My daughter was so excited that the ground hog saw his shadow and we will be getting six more weeks of winter. I just want more rain. I don't care which season it comes in.

    I really need to re-commit to spending less time on social media. I'm much happier when I do.

    I hope you have a great week, Kay! Happy reading.

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    1. And my daughter heard about it and got on Facebook and complained to Mr. Phil himself that Texas had had very little winter and were we going to get any this year! I told her that she had probably jinxed us - we'll have record cold or record heat this month. LOL

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  23. Glad you enjoyed the audio River at Night, I hope to get to it soon. Redemption Road was on my favorite list last year, so glad it turned out to be a good club read/discussion.

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    1. REDEMPTION ROAD worked very well for the book group. Hope you enjoy THE RIVER AT NIGHT. It's pretty exciting!

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  24. Wow - you had a great week! Four books plus all your activities sounds exhausting, but fun. I envy your mystery book club. It must be so much fun to focus on a good mystery every month with other mystery lovers.

    I am a huge Vera fan - the TV version. I haven't read any of Ann Cleeves' books yet, BUT that is about to change. Our library just bought six of her novels. I'm so excited about that even though none of them are in the Vera series. I'm glad you enjoyed the book. I'll be curious to see what you think of the actress who portrays the Vera character.

    Thanks for the rainbow picture and your message of hope. It's a beautiful picture. Have a great week ahead.

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    1. We have had a very good time with the mystery group. We read a wide range of mysteries and also do themes and authors. It's a delight of my life. I'm betting I'll like the TV Vera.

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  25. Good for you for finishing your taxes! That's still waiting for us and I am hoping to wrap it this month because I don't like to delay it. Redemption Road is reminding me of Jo Nesbo's books - those are also so grim and crime-heavy that it's hard to read them sometimes.

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    1. I can see the similarity to Nesbo's books, though I'll confess that is an author and series that I have yet to experience. It's on my list. As to the taxes, I'm a little compulsive about that. It's the accountant in me, which was my first profession. LOL

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!