Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween!! - And goodbye to R.I.P. XIII...

Wishing everyone a very Happy Halloween!  I took this picture a few years ago when my daughter and I visited Disney World in early October.  Disney does fall and Halloween decorating up right!  Hope you get no tricks and lots of treats!!

Today is the last day for R.I.P. XIII and I had a good time reading spooky books.  You can see my updated list with links to reviews here.  Hope this event will be around next year too. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Lethal White - Robert Galbraith

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

First Paragraph(s):

If only the swans would swim side by side on the dark green lake, this picture might turn out to be the crowning achievement of the wedding photographer's career.

My Thoughts:

Have I ever said how much I enjoy the Cormoran Strike books?  Well, I do love them and I was delighted to hear that #4 was coming.  Needless to say, it went on my list and I preordered the audiobook.  Robert Glenister narrates this series and he does a really excellent job.  Lethal White was no exception.  Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling, can really tell a story, whether it's about wizards or private detectives.  However, if you shy away from 'long' books, you might be reluctant to visit with Cormoran and Robin.  And you are missing out!  The audio is 22-1/2 hours long - ha!

Lethal White begins with the scene mentioned above, a wedding photography shoot.  You might wonder who was getting married.  Well, I'll not share that tidbit, but if you've read the first three books, then you will know.  I loved spending time with Strike and Robin and a couple of new operatives that have been hired because business is good.  They have several cases that appear and it's tough to keep everything covered.  Robin is still recovering from events that happened in the previous book and her home life is less than ideal.  Strike is typical Strike, though I do wish that he'd quit smoking.  I enjoyed the story, did figure out the killer, and wish the book cover hadn't included what looks like the TV adaptation characters.  There were a lot of other scenes that could have been used, in my opinion.  By the way, have you watched the TV version of this series?  I have not as yet.  I did recently acquire it on DVD (we don't have Cinemax).  We'll see how I like it.  And now the wait begins - book #5.  Write faster, J.K.!  A definitely recommended series.


"I seen a kid killed...He strangled it, up by the horse."

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike's office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.

Trying to get to the bottom of Billy's story, Strike and Robin Ellacott-once his assistant, now a partner in the agency-set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.

And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike's own life is far from straightforward: his new found fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been-Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much trickier than that.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Guilty Dead - P.J. Tracy

The Guilty Dead by P.J. Tracy

First Paragraph(s):

Gus Riskin sipped from a bottle of water as he surveyed Trey's living room.  What he saw infuriated and disgusted him.  The priceless Persian rug beneath his feet was filthy, pockmarked with cigarette burns and littered with the castoffs of a dissolute life: pizza and take-out boxes of indeterminate age now housed skittering colonies of roaches; empty beer bottles and martini glasses had drooled out their meager remains, leaving crunchy spots on the expensive silk pile; drug paraphernalia and detritus was scattered around the room like grotesque confetti.

My Thoughts:

The Guilty Dead is the 9th book in the Monkeewrench series, written by P.J. Tracy.  The author has been a mother and daughter, who penned these books together.  Sadly, the mother lost her battle to cancer almost two years ago.  This is the first book written solely by Traci Lambrecht, the daughter.  And it was a very good entry into this favorite series of mine.  My husband and I listened to it on a recent trip.  Our only quibble was the narrator had changed and that took a bit of getting used to.  We were familiar with a male narrator and the new one is female, Sarah Borges.  She did a good job though and we adjusted. 

The Monkeewrench books have a set of characters that include the Monkeewrench Software owners, Grace, Annie, Harley, and Roadrunner.  Plus, there are the cops, Leo and Gino and their colleagues.  Over the course of the series, this reader has come to love them all.  The Guilty Dead started out a little slow, but the story soon got moving and once the familiar people appeared, it was all good.  Each of the books tends to focus a bit more on the cop side or the software/hacking side.  In my opinion, this was a cop book.  Both my husband and I figured out the end game pretty early, but we enjoyed the ride.  As I said, I'm delighted that this series will continue and I look forward to more Monkeewrench books in the future.  A recommended series - start with the first book, Monkeewrench.   


Gregory Norwood is Minnesota’s most beloved philanthropist, and the story of his son’s overdose was splashed across the front page of all the papers. When a photojournalist sets out to get a candid shot of the highly successful businessman on the one year anniversary of his son’s death, he’s shocked to find Norwood dead with a smoking gun in his hand. The city is devastated, and Minneapolis detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are called in to handle the delicate case. It should be open and shut, but something is not right. Norwood's death is no suicide.

With no suspects and an increasing tangle of digital evidence that confounds the Minneapolis Police Department’s most seasoned cops, Magozzi calls on Grace MacBride, Monkeewrench Software’s founder and chief computer genius and the soon to be mother of their child together. She and her motley crew of partners begin to unravel connections between Norwood’s death and an even larger plot. Norwood wasn’t the first, won’t be the last, and by the end, may be just one of many to die.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Bookish Nostalgia - October 2018

Welcome to Bookish Nostalgia for October 2018.  I've kept records of books I read for over 25 years and I enjoy looking back through my reading journals to see what I was reading 5, 10, 15, and 20 years ago.  Let's see what I remember about what I was reading in those years:

October 1998 - Charlie's Bones by L.L. Thrasher - I'm quite certain that I found out about this book on the DorothyL Listserv.  Wonder if that still exists?  This author only had a few books published - there's a second 'Charlie' book.  I remember enjoying this one a lot.  In it, Lizbet wants a swimming pool in her backyard and Charlie shows up when the digging commences.  However, Charlie can only be seen by Lizbet - he's a ghost - and he wants her to solve his murder.  Perfect October read.  I notice that it's available on Kindle Unlimited and I may just read it again.

October 2003 - Shore Lights by Barbara Bretton - I'm fairly sure that I first read this author when I went through my Harlequin Romance phase.  Many authors started out with that publisher and then moved on over the years to other publishers and even other genres (note Tess Gerritsen).  Anyway, I don't remember much about the story, but I do actually remember that cover.  When I went looking, I noticed this one and am sure it was the original.  A sweet love story that is actually available on Kindle Unlimited as well. 

October 2008 - People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks - I can't remember if I read this book with the afternoon book group I moderated at the library in 2008 or if I read it after the group discussed Year of Wonders by this author.  All I know is that I loved this book.  I really need to reread it.  The story of the Sarajevo Haggadah, an early Jewish religious book that was illustrated, and the book's journey through time and place.  It was fascinating and like no other book I'd read at the time.  Did I say that I really need to read this again?  Will definitely do that.

October 2013 - The Missing by Jane Casey - I have loved the Maeve Kerrigan crime series written by this author.  This book is Casey's debut novel and it's a standalone.  Plus it's not available in e-book format even now.  I remember reading it after I read the first Maeve Kerrigan book, The Burning, because I was afraid I had missed something.  However, that wasn't the case.  Might be a bit hard to find now.  Another book I ought to try again perhaps.  Or maybe she could just write another Maeve book - soonish!!


And so we end this month's Bookish Nostalgia.  Hope you'll join me again next month to see what November books I remember from my journals.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Guppy Book of the Month - Murder Gone Missing - Lida Sideris

Guppy Book of the Month

Welcome to the next 'Guppy Book of the Month' post!  I'm very excited about highlighting the books that I'll be receiving as part of my special Live Auction win at Malice Domestic 30.  Each time I receive a book, I'll tell a bit about it and also a bit about the author.  No promises as to when I'll get it read and my thoughts shared, but if it looks great to you, check it out at your local library or bookstore.  Some of these books will be debuts and some will be from authors already established.

2nd in the Southern California series

Newly minted lawyer Corrie Locke has taken a vow of abstinence. From PI work, that is. Until her best friend Michael finds his bully of a boss stabbed in the back after confronting him earlier that day. Michael panics, accidentally tampering with the crime scene...which could lead the cops to Michael instead of the real culprit. He turns to Corrie to track down the killer. She doesn't need much coaxing. Her late great PI dad taught her the ropes...and left her his cache of illegal weaponry. 

They return to the scene of the crime, but the body's missing. Racing against time, Corrie dredges a prestigious Los Angeles college in pursuit of clues. All she finds are false leads. Armed with attitude and romantic feelings toward Michael, Corrie dives into a school of suspects to find the slippery fugitive. Will she clear Michael's name before he's arrested for murder?

From Lida's website:

Like her heroine, Corrie Locke, Lida worked as an entertainment attorney for a film studio. Unlike her heroine, she wasn’t blackmailed into investigating the suspicious death of a co-worker. Lida has written numerous magazine and newspaper articles, a poem or two, and a teleplay. She shares her home with her family and an assortment of rescue dogs and uppity chickens.


I met Lida at Left Coast Crime in Phoenix a couple of years ago.  At that time, her first book, Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters, was newly published.  I think that she was part of a New Author event and I thought I'd like that debut book.  I bought it for my Kindle soon after, but it is unread as yet (story of my life).  Happily, I now have the second book, so I will be delighted to read not only the first but also the second.  I love the saying at the top of Lida's website regarding her heroine, Corrie - She swore she'd never turn into her P.I. father.  But that was before she ran over the body.   If that doesn't pique your interest...well, let's just say that it did mine.  Ha!

Thanks so much to Lida for sending me Murder Gone Missing along with a bookmark and a pen.  I'm all set for some great reading!  My very best wishes for great success with your writing, Lida!  Hope to see you again at another Left Coast Crime - maybe in San Diego in 2020?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday - The Liar's Child

I'm posting a 'soon to be released' book on Wednesdays.  These will always be books that I am particularly looking forward to.  I'll be linking up to 'Can't-Wait Wednesday' hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and plan to take part in this each week.

The book I'm featuring this week is one I'm really looking forward to.  I met the author at Left Coast Crime in 2016.  I was delighted to see her and talk with her about her previous book, The Good Goodbye, which I enjoyed very much.  However, it's been a while, and so I'm glad to see a new book by Carla Buckley.  This week I'm waiting on:


Publication Date:  March 12th

On the outskirts of North Carolina’s Outer Banks sits The Paradise, an apartment complex where renters never stay long enough to call the place “home”—and neighbors are seldom neighborly. It’s ideal for Sara Lennox, who moved there to escape a complicated past—and even her name—and rebuild a new life for herself under the radar. But Sara cannot help but notice the family next door, especially twelve-year-old Cassie and five-year-old Boon. She hears rumors and whispers of a recent tragedy slowly tearing them apart.

When a raging storm threatens then slams the coastal community, Sara makes a quick, bold decision: Rescue Cassie and Boon from the storm and their broken home—without telling a soul. But this seemingly noble act is not without consequences. Some lethal.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Skeletons in the Attic - Judy Penz Sheluk

Skeletons in the Attic by Judy Penz Sheluk

First Paragraph(s):

I'd been sitting in the reception area of Hampton & Associates for the better part of an hour when Leith Hampton finally charged in through the main door, his face flushed, a faint scent of sandalwood cologne wafting into the room.  He held an overstuffed black briefcase in each hand and muttered an apology about a tough morning in court before barking out a flurry of instructions to a harried-looking associate.  A tail-wagging goldendoodle appeared out of nowhere, and I realized the dog had been sleeping under the receptionist's desk.
     Leith nodded towards his office, a signal for me to go in and take a seat, then followed me, plopping both briefcases on his desk.  He leaned down to pat the dog and pulled a biscuit out of his pants pocket.  'Atticus,' he said, not looking up.  'My personal therapy dog.  Some days, he's the only thing that keep me sane.'

My Thoughts:

I met Judy at one of those 'author speed dating' events last year, held at the Malice Domestic Convention.  We talked a bit before we were inundated with authors sharing 2 minutes about their books.  I saw her again at this year's Malice Convention and remembered that I wanted to try one of her books.  I'm finally making good on that desire, mostly because she has just had the second book in this 'Marketville Mystery' series published.  That book is called Past & Present and I hope to read it before long.  It's a tough job to try as many mystery series as possible and then keep up with them - someone has to do it though - ha!

Skeletons in the Attic had a perfect name for another entry into my R.I.P. XIII reading list and I did enjoy it.  Callie Barnstable, who's also named 'Calamity Doris', has inherited a house from her father.  The book begins with Callie in her father's lawyer's office learning some very unexpected things about her Dad, not the least of which is what he wanted her to do for the next year.  She knows that her mother left them when she was a young girl.  What she didn't know was that her father was trying to find out what happened to his missing wife.  Callie goes to Marketville to check out the house and discovers a literal 'skeleton in the attic'.  As she meets neighbors and makes a few friends, she's investigating both her parents and their parents as well.  Will she solve the mystery?  Well, you'll have to read this fun series beginner for the answer.  The ending was surprising, though a little abrupt.  I'm hoping we learn more in the next book and I'll be picking up that one before long.


Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville—a house she didn’t know he had. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.

Callie’s not keen on dredging up a thirty-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who hopes to expose the Barnstable family secrets herself. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?

Monday, October 22, 2018

Burial Rites - Hannah Kent

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

First Paragraph(s):

They said I must die.  They said that I stole the breath from men, and now they must steal mine.  I imagine, then, that we are all candle flames, greasy-bright, fluttering in the darkness and the howl of the wind, and in the stillness of the room I hear footsteps, awful coming footsteps, coming to blow me out and send my life up away from me in a gray wreath of smoke.  I will vanish into the air and the night.  They will blow us all out, one by one, until it is only their own light by which they see themselves.  Where will I be then?
     Sometimes I think I see it again, the farm, burning in the dark.  Sometimes I can feel the ache of winter in my lungs, and I think I see the flames mirrored in the ocean, the water so strange, so flickered with light.  There was a moment during that night when I look back.  I looked back to watch the fire, and if I lick my skin I can still taste the salt.  The smoke.
     It wasn't always so cold.
     I hear footsteps.

My Thoughts:

Burial Rites was the book selected for our mystery group read in October.  Those are usually 'Gothic'-type reads, but though this book would fit in that category, it's a bit different.  And I'm actually writing my thoughts before the discussion so I'm not sure how it will go over with the group.  I know that I was highly impressed with it, Hannah Kent's debut novel.  The language and imagery are really beautiful and lyrical.  Haunting, even.  It is certainly not a typical historical mystery, but it fits well enough.  Set in the early 1800's in rural Iceland, this story tells of the last person to be executed in that country, Agnes Magnúsdóttir.  Hannah Kent did a lot of research on the time, the people, all of it. 

Agnes is placed with a farming family to await her death, and the family is given no choice about taking a convicted murderess into their home.  Naturally, they are reluctant, afraid, horrified.  A young priest is sent also to help Agnes come to grips with her fate.  As he and Agnes talk, the rest of the individuals gradually hear her story.  Sigh.  Did she kill her master?  If so, why?  If not, why was she convicted?  Time passes as all await the order for execution to arrive.  The reader gets to experience descriptions of life at this time and in this place.  It's brutal, for the most part.  Not always though.  There are good things as well.  I was very caught up in the story.  It doesn't move very fast, but as I said earlier, the language is gorgeous.  So, regardless of whether this fits for a mystery book group discussion, I'm so glad that I read it.  And it is definitely recommended.  Hannah Kent has a second book out, The Good People.  I want to try it and I'd love to know if others have enjoyed this book - please tell!


Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Trust Me - Hank Phillippi Ryan

Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan

First Paragraph(s):

Using one forefinger I write on the bathroom mirror, drawing through the steamy condensation left by the shower.  This morning's number is 442.
     Four hundred forty-two days since the car accident that destroyed my family.  The crash that took Dex and Sophie from me.  The numbers disintegrate as I write them.  They melt into watery tears, then disappear.
     I would give anything, anything.  I would do anything.  Longing--unbidden, unwanted--hits me hard as I look at my reflection.  We make those offers every day, filling in our own personal blanks.  If you make this happen, we promise, I'll give up drinking.  Or speeding.  Or whatever.  If only you'll give me what I want, I'll be a better daughter.  A more reliable husband.  A more devoted wife.
     Make my wish come true, and I'll do...anything.

My Thoughts:

Trust Me was one of the 'Guppy Book of the Month' selections that I received and I was so excited to have it.  I've read more than one positive review and was quite eager to check out this first standalone book by Hank Phillippi Ryan.  There are two mothers in Trust Me - one a journalist who is tasked to write about another mother - that one accused of killing her daughter.  Not a pleasant subject at all.  Plus, Mercer Hennessey, the journalist, is recovering emotionally from losing her own small daughter and husband in a tragic car accident.  Mercer is not in the best place in her head, but she needs to work and this is her task.  The book is divided into sections, the first of which is the trial of Ashlyn Bryant.  Mercer is caught up in viewing that trial - did Ashlyn do it or is she being framed?  It's a bit difficult to talk more about this tale without giving away too much, so that's all I'll say about the plot.

I was very interested in where this story would venture.  Most compelling and, honestly, a bit nutty at times.  Who do we believe?  Is Mercer reliable as she filters everything through her own grief?  At one point I was sure I knew.  And then I didn't.  I was very annoyed with the characters more than once.  Again, I thought I had things figured out.  I did not.  And so it went.  This way and that and then upside down.  So, was I happy at the end?  Yes and no.  Do I think that Hank Phllippi Ryan created a story that you'll want to try?  Yes, I do.  Do I consider this one a thriller?  Yes, if your definition is 'unputdownable'.  I'm happy to know that another standalone is in this author's future for next summer.  And now I have some time to catch up with her backlist.  This book is recommended - TRUST ME...ha!


An accused killer insists she's innocent of a heinous murder.
A grieving journalist surfaces from the wreckage of her shattered life.
Their unlikely alliance leads to a dangerous cat and mouse game that will leave you breathless.
Who can you trust when you can't trust yourself?

There are three sides to every story. Yours. Mine. And the truth.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

House of Echoes - Brendan Duffy

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

First Paragraph(s):

December 23, 1777

Dearest Kathy,
     It is over now, sister, but for how long?
     From our window I still see the Drop.  I see the fields and forest where we once played.  I can still see our brothers tumble in the grass and hear the elder tree whistle as the wind tears through its branches.  However, I know in my heart that it is all gone.  It is gone and it still not return in this life.
     I am cold, Kathy.  I see my breath and I cannot feel my feet, but I do not care.  Not even fear is left in my heart.  Fear has departed with hate and anger, and hope has been a stranger for longer still.  Now there is nothing left but me, and I cannot face my reflection.

My Thoughts:

I've had House of Echoes on my Kindle since 2015 - unread until now.  As I was looking for books that might work for fall reading and R.I.P. XIII, I ran across the audio that was available from my library.  I decided to try this debut novel which blends horror and mystery and thriller all into one.  The audio portion was narrated mostly by George Newbern with the help of Allyson Ryan.  I liked this story set in upstate New York.  It had hints of Stephen King and a few others as well.  I think it has mostly been compared to King's book The Shining, but it reminded me more in many ways of his made-for-TV mini-series, Storm of the Century.  There is a family that moves to the area where the husband's grandmother was born.  They need a fresh start and decide to purchase a large property and turn it into an exclusive inn.  Each member of the family has had some problems, but they are hopeful that the future will be brighter.  Maybe not...

I was really caught up in this story.  Brendan Duffy drew me in and I wasn't sure if Ben, the husband and father, was reliable or not.  Caroline, the wife, seemed more than a little stressed or maybe just in need of mental health therapy.  The young boy, Charlie, has been bullied at a previous school and so enjoys the freedom to roam the forest and discover new things.  However, he runs across some strange tracks and doesn't share everything with his parents.  Bub, the baby, is the only normal one.  He loves everyone.  The people of the small village of Swannhaven are sort of friendly and then the reader isn't sure what their real aim is for the Tierneys.  There is an odd history in the area going all the way back to the late 1700's.  I liked the letters interspersed throughout between two sisters and wasn't completely sure how they applied to the current situation, but it all came together in the last part of the book.  I liked House of Echoes and look forward to reading this author's newest book, The Storm King.  Have you read either of Brendan Duffy's books?  What did you think of them?


Ben and Caroline Tierney and their two young boys are hoping to start over. Ben has hit a dead end with his new novel, Caroline has lost her banking job, and eight-year-old Charlie is being bullied at his Manhattan school.

When Ben inherits land in the village of Swannhaven, in a remote corner of upstate New York, the Tierneys believe it’s just the break they need, and they leave behind all they know to restore a sprawling estate. But as Ben uncovers Swannhaven’s chilling secrets and Charlie ventures deeper into the surrounding forest, strange things begin to happen. The Tierneys realize that their new home isn’t the fresh start they needed . . . and that the village’s haunting saga is far from over.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday - The Hour of Death

I'm posting a 'soon to be released' book on Wednesdays.  These will always be books that I am particularly looking forward to.  I'll be linking up to 'Can't-Wait Wednesday' hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and plan to take part in this each week.

I'm very excited about this week's book because I enjoyed the first book in the series, The Shadow of Death, so very much.  Plus, I also loved meeting and eating breakfast with the author, Jane Willan.  OK, I'll confess, I think the book actually was released last week, but since I was not posting, I'm still 'waiting' on:

Publication Date:  October 9th

As Yuletide settles upon Gwenafwy Abbey, the rural Welsh convent’s peace is shattered when Tiffany Reese, president of the Village Art Society, is found dead on the floor of the parish hall. Sister Agatha, whose interests lie more with reading and writing mystery stories than with making the abbey’s world-renowned organic gouda, is not shy about inserting herself into the case. With the not-entirely-eager assistance of Father Selwyn, she begins her investigation.

Sister Agatha has no shortage of suspects to check off her naughty-or-nice list, until finally, Tiffany’s half-brother, Kendrick Geddings, emerges as the prime suspect. There never was any love lost between Tiffany and Kendrick, and of late they had been locked in a vicious battle for control of the family estate. But if Sister Agatha thinks she has the case wrapped up, she’ll have to think again.

As the days of Advent tick by, Sister Agatha is determined to crack the case by Christmas.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Guppy Book of the Month - Shattered at Sea - Cheryl Hollon

Guppy Book of the Month

Welcome to the next 'Guppy Book of the Month' post!  I'm very excited about highlighting the books that I'll be receiving as part of my special Live Auction win at Malice Domestic 30.  Each time I receive a book, I'll tell a bit about it and also a bit about the author.  No promises as to when I'll get it read and my thoughts shared, but if it looks great to you, check it out at your local library or bookstore.  Some of these books will be debuts and some will be from authors already established.

5th in the Webb's Glass Shop series

When Savannah signs on to perform glassblowing on a ship, part of the appeal is that she’ll get a chance to reconnect with her boyfriend Edward’s family. An added bonus is that Edward’s cousin, Ian, will be joining them on board. But when Ian disappears at the beginning of the cruise, the ship’s authorities initially consider it suicide.

Savannah tries to balance her growing suspicions with work on her shows, but her relationship with the other glass artists begins to crack. And she can’t let love color her judgment when Edward suddenly jumps to the top of the suspect list. His fate is in Savannah’s hands, and she’ll do everything she can—on land and sea—to clear his name . . .

Cheryl Hollon writes full-time after an engineering career designing and installing military flight simulators in England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and India. Living her dream, she combines a love of writing with a passion for creating glass art in the small glass studio behind her house in St. Petersburg, Florida.

I first met Cheryl at the Poisoned Pen Breakfast - Left Coast Crime 2016.  I was sitting at Mary Anna Evans' table and this very nice lady came and sat beside me.  She introduced herself and started telling me about her mystery series set in a glass shop.  At that time #2 had just been published.  As you can see above, Shatter At Sea is #5.  I read the first, Pane and Suffering, and enjoyed it very much.  Since that time, I have seen Cheryl at the two Malice Domestic conventions I have attended and she's brought gorgeous glass pieces to show as she signs books.


My deepest thanks to Cheryl for sending me a copy of Shattered At Sea!  I really look forward to reading it and catching up with her Webb's Glass Shop series.  I think it would be wonderful to be so gifted in creative ways.  Best of luck in your writing and your glass art, Cheryl!   

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Lake of Dead Languages - Carol Goodman

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman

First Paragraph(s):

I have been told to make the Latin curriculum relevant to the lives of my students.  I am finding, though, that my advanced girls at Heart Lake like Latin precisely because it has no relevance to their lives.  They like nothing better than a new, difficult declension to memorize.  They write the noun endings on their palms in blue ballpoint ink and chant the declensions, 'Puella, puellae, puellae, puellam, puella...' like novices counting their rosaries.
     When it comes time for a test they line up at the washroom to scrub down.  I lean against the cool tile wall watching them as the washbasins fill with pale blue foam and the archaic words run down the drains.  When they offer to show me the undersides of their wrists for traces of letters I am unsure if I should look.  If I look, am I showing that I don't trust them?  If I don't look, will they think I am naive?  When they put their upturned hands in mine--so light-boned and delicate--it is as if a fledgling has alighted in my lap.  I am afraid to move.
     In class I see only the tops of their hands--the black nail polish and silver skull rings.  One girl even has a tattoo on the top of her right hand--an intricate blue pattern that she tells me is a Celtic knot.  Now I look at the warm pink flesh--their fingertips are tender and whorled from immersion in water, the scent of soap rises like incense.  Three of the girls have scratched the inside of their wrists with pins or razors.  The lines are fainter than the lifelines that crease their palms.  I want to trace their scars with my fingertips and ask them why, but instead I squeeze their hands and tell them to go on into class.  'Bona fortuna,' I say.  'Good luck on the test.'

My Thoughts:

This is the third book I've read by Carol Goodman and I've liked them all.  She has a way of writing about girls and schools and upstate New York that I am drawn to.  Her books are good selections for R.I.P. XIII - definitely got the 'spooky' going on.  The Lake of Dead Languages is this author's debut novel and it's been out for over 15 years.  I listened to it, narrated by Vivienne Benesch, over several days and was really immersed in the story.  There are secrets and lies and friends and enemies.  There's a missing notebook from a long time ago.  There's Latin (which I know almost nothing about) and classic tales and myths.  There's a lake in winter and storms and ice skating and definite creepy elements.  Some of the twists in the story are more common these days, but I suspect that they were most unexpected when it was written.  The story is not terribly fast paced, but that worked fine for me.  I'm working my way through Goodman's backlist and I'm delighted that I read this one.  It's recommended!  Have you read any of this author's books?  Her newest, The Other Mother, came out earlier this year.  I've not had a chance to get to it, but I'll make time for it soon.


Twenty years ago, Jane Hudson left the Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks after a terrible tragedy. Now she has returned to the placid, isolated shores of the lakeside school as a Latin teacher, recently separated and hoping to make a fresh start with her young daughter. But ominous messages from the past dredge up forgotten memories that will become a living nightmare.

Since freshmen year, Jane and her two roommates, Lucy Toller and Deirdre Hall, were inseparable–studying the classics, performing school girl rituals on the lake, and sneaking out after curfew to meet Lucy’s charismatic brother Matt. However, the last winter before graduation, everything changed. For in that sheltered, ice-encrusted wonderland, three lives were taken, all victims of senseless suicide. Only Jane was left to carry the burden of a mystery that has stayed hidden for more than two decades in the dark depths of Heart Lake.

Now pages from Jane’s missing journal, written during that tragic time, have reappeared, revealing shocking, long-buried secrets. And suddenly, young, troubled girls are beginning to die again . . . as piece by piece the shattering truth slowly floats to the surface.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

And one more time...a short fall break...

One more short break for me.  I'm hoping to be back sometime in the next week or two.  Sharing the lovely fall colors from trees in New Mexico a couple of years ago.  We don't get those very much in our area.  Our fall is usually sudden and abrupt.  The leaves quickly turn brown and fall off.  Not very dramatic.

In any case, I'll return soon.  Hope your days are going well - all of you.  Take care and talk to you soon!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

I'd Rather Be Reading - Anne Bogel

I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel

First Sentence:

Can you recommend a great book?


For so many people, reading isn't just a hobby or a way to pass the time--it's a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can't imagine life without them.

I'd Rather Be Reading is the perfect literary companion for everyone who feels that way. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections on the reading life, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads readers to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them the reader they are today. Known as a reading tastemaker through her popular podcast What Should I Read Next?, Bogel invites book lovers into a community of like-minded people to discover new ways to approach literature, learn fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives.

My Thoughts:

Sometimes a book comes into your life at just the right time.  Sometimes people do the same.  I believe that this book was meant to be the one I picked up recently because it spoke to me - Kay, the reader - so very clearly.  It's a short little book, only 161 pages.  It contains a series of essays by Anne Bogel, she of the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy and the podcast What Should I Read Next?  I've listened to her podcast a few times.  I've not read her blog.  Seriously, every essay here made me nod my head - yep, that's me - I totally agree - I've done that! - Me too!  There's nothing earth shattering or shocking in these pages.  There are several quotes that I'll share.  This would make a great little gift book for someone or a quick little read for yourself.  Watch for it at your local library.  I think any avid reader would relate to many of the things Anne shares.  I certainly did and it made me feel like I could again 'reinvent' my 'reading life'.  Here's a few quotes that spoke to me:

On confessing your literary sins:
     Reader, whatever secret you're keeping, it's time to spill it.  I'll take your confession, but the absolution is unnecessary.  These secrets aren't sins; they're just secrets.  No need to repent.  C.S. Lewis once wrote, "Friendship...is born at the moment when one man says to another, 'What!  You too?  I thought I was the only one.'"
     Reader, you're not the only one.  Keep confessing to your fellow readers; tell them what your reading life is really like.  They'll understand.  They may even say, "You too?"  And when they do, you've found a friend.  And the beginnings of a great book club.

On the readers I have been over the years:
     I've been many kinds of readers over the years, and I remember them fondly.  (Sometimes I think I can imagine the readers I might yet be.)  I'm the sum of all these bookish memories.  My head is so full of musings and insights and ideas from books that I'm not sure who I would be or how I would think if they were all taken away.

On coming of age as a reader:
     When faced with the task of establishing your own reading life, you did it, or maybe you're still in the middle of doing it.
     Like other kinds of growing up, this doesn't happen overnight.  The transition happens slowly, over time.  We make a reading life by reading, and we stumble as we figure it out, learning through trial and error not just what to read for ourselves, but how.  Establishing not just that we will be readers, but determining what kind of readers we will be.

On books triggering memories:
     ...as a devoted reader, I've noticed how the books themselves serve as portals to my past, conjuring similarly powerful memories.  There's something about glimpsing, and especially handling, a book from long ago that takes me right back to where I was when I first read it.  The book triggers memories of why I picked it up, how it made me feel, what was going on in my life at the time, transporting me so thoroughly that, for a moment, I feel like I'm there once again.

On re-reading books:
     When I find myself in a dreaded reading slump, nothing boosts me out of it faster than revisiting an old favorite.  Old books, like old friends, are good for the soul.  But they're not just comfort reads.  No, a good book is exciting to return to, because even though I've been there before, the landscape is always changing.  I notice something new each time I read a great book.

On being asked to relate your 'favorite' book:
     Aside from the sheer impossibility of choosing just one favorite book, her question was daunting for another reason: I felt I'd been asked to lay my soul on the table.  Reading is personal and never more so than when we're sharing why we connect with certain books.

On starting a reading journal (and I recommend doing this too!):
     Reader, if you'd rather live in your reading moment than document it, I totally get it.  I'd rather be reading too.  But learn from my bookish regret:  I don't care what system you use (and I use the word system loosely) as long as you use one.  Start today, because as soon as you begin, you're going to wish you'd begun sooner.  Record your books as a gift to your future self, a travelogue you'll be able to pull off the shelf years from now, to remember the journey.


I know this was really long, but appreciate your time if you've made it this far.  May I just say that I am grateful to be sharing my reading life with all of you.  Here's to having plenty more years and books to share together!!

'kay's reading life' - journal created by Iliana of bookgirl's nightstand

Monday, October 1, 2018

'The Girls' Just Wanna Have Fun and a few musings about life and upcoming reading...

First of all, let me explain a little about the picture above.  All my things to wear for a 'walk for a good cause'.  My daughter and I, along with her mother-in-law and another friend, did this last year.  It was the first 5K event I had ever participated in.  Since that time, we've done several.  This year, my daughter decided to form a team and invite more people, among them more of her husband's family and her co-workers, other labor and delivery nurses.  We are 'THE GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN' team.  Some are wearing more '80's type clothing and hair - me, I'm just pretty much 'pink'.  By the time this post appears, we will have had all our 'fun'.  We raised quite a bit of money and were glad to do so!

I wasn't sure if there would be a good 'team' picture, but this one was great!  My daughter is in the middle hugging her niece.  I'm right behind her.  The three ladies on the left are my daughter's mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law.  The two ladies on the right are my daughter's work colleagues - other L&D nurses.  And the precious niece in front.

We walked up Congress Avenue in Austin to this destination - the Texas State Capitol building - then turned around and walked back.  So many people (and pups) and all doing the 'pink' thing.


Now, something different.  Are you a worrier?  A 'what if' kind of person?  A perfectionist that tips over into 'too much of a good thing but now is just too much angst' person?  Let me be blunt - do you have anxiety?  I can answer 'absolutely' to each question I posed.  My tipping point on this issue is sometimes very broad and sometimes quite narrow.  Life throws stuff at us - sometimes good - sometimes bad - sometimes a mix.  If one is an anxious person, the reaction may be much the same - 'what if, what if, what if???'.

All this to say that I've been going through a bit of an anxious time lately.  Maybe more than a bit.  Nothing bad is going on.  In fact, good things are being planned and taking place.  However, my reaction some days is the same as if the events and plans are scary.  I've been like this all my life.  Mostly, I do all right.  Sometimes I don't do as well.  Interestingly enough, it usually shows up in my reading or lack of reading.  When my reading life is messed up, I am messed up.  For me, that means it's time to 'change it up'.  Change my reading, I mean - what I'm reading or how or sometimes even if reading happens.  It helps me cope with my anxious feelings.

A couple of observations - I am weary of psychological thrillers, unreliable narrators, and characters that I can't relate to or like at all.  I am weary of keeping up with the newest, the most shiny, the recent publishing trends.  I know that I can read whatever I want, but sometimes I'm like a kid in a candy store with the 'new, new, new'.  I am weary with reading faster and faster in order to get to 'all the books'.  This is all self-imposed behavior, but I think it's time to go in a different direction.


I've been reading a couple of books lately that came across my path at 'just the right time'.  Tomorrow I'll talk about the first one - Anne Bogel's I'd Rather Be Reading.  I'm also making my way slowly through Max Lucado's Anxious For Nothing.  I've also enjoyed checking in on several blogging friends who read older books - mysteries and other things.  I'd like to do more of that.  I've talked with Robin at A Fondness For Reading recently about doing a 'Book Group Read' in honor of Robin's Mom (more about that later) and in her memory.  I joined the Classics Club earlier in the year and have not read very many books on my list.  I'd like to read more of those, especially in 2019.

I have the rest of October scheduled for the most part.  Starting Wednesday, I'll be on a break for a week or a little more.  After October, I have no idea what I might share or read.  I'll spend this month deciding and thinking further about that.  So, more musings to come.

I will still be around and will share about 'Bookish Nostalgia' and 'Guppy Book of the Month'.  I'll talk about any books I read on my 'Classics' list.  However, I might decide to reread a lot of books - perhaps a whole series.  I might only mention older books.  We'll see.  Mostly, I'll try to remember to 'Just Breathe'.  That was my aim for last year and this year as well.  I shared that in my first post of the year and I can see that it's time for a reminder.

Thanks for listening!  Thanks for coming by and visiting about books!  Thanks for being my friends and companions as we sort out not only our reading journeys, but our lives.  You are all most appreciated!