Thursday, July 30, 2020

New shoes and new reading...

Good morning book friends!  Hope you are all well and safe and wearing your masks.  I didn't really have a new picture to show this morning that included nature or cute creatures, so I decided to show my new walking shoes.  What do you think?  Ha!  I had walked until my previous pair was not as supportive as it could be and so I ordered new ones.  You may ask 'do they glow in the dark?' - it's possible!  I haven't tested that as yet, but they are certainly bright.  What I'm happy about is that they are comfortable and support my 'old' feet as I walk and walk and walk.  It's been quite warm, but I seem to be adjusting to early morning temps and humidity.  I sweat, yes, but I've decided that isn't a bad thing.

My reading has been going along well.  I've been listening to books that I've read before mostly, but that's been working in case I get distracted or have to take a picture of a fun creature.  Right now, I'm listening to Peter May's The Blackhouse, which I have loved in the past and am completely enjoying again.

I finished reading David Baldacci's second Atlee Pine book, A Minute To Midnight, and enjoyed it a lot.  Atlee and her assistant, Carol, go to her hometown to do further research on what exactly happened to Mercy, Atlee's twin sister.  When both girls were six, Mercy was taken, and no one knows the end of that story as yet.  While in Georgia, Atlee and Carol end up assisting the FBI and local law enforcement with identification and apprehension of a potential serial killer in the area.  The third book in the series,  Daylight, is scheduled to be published in November.  I'll be watching for it.

My next book was Michael Connelly's most recent Ballard/Bosch pairing, The Night Fire.  My husband and I had listened to about half of that book on our recent trip and will finish it on audio when we travel next.  However, who knows when that will be?  I couldn't wait, so I read the rest of it in print form.  I've only been reading Connelly's books since he created Renee Ballard (this is #3 of those), but I've watched all the Bosch seasons on TV, so I feel like I'm OK with knowing at least something about him.  The Night Fire begins with Bosch attending a funeral of one of his mentors at the LAPD, John Jack Thompson.  He finds that Thompson had taken a murder book home with him when he retired and the widow says that Thompson wanted Harry to have it.  Bosch asks Ballard to help him figure out some things and the two work together to solve not only this cold case, but a couple of other cases that might relate. 

The last book I finished this week was Katherine Center's new one, What You Wish For.  I read another book by this author last year, How To Walk Away.  I liked it quite a bit and decided to try this new one.  Center's books are full of 'heart' I think I would say.  They are funny and poignant and deal with some tough situations, but will make you laugh out loud at times too.  They have romance, but they also have sorrow and show a lot about how one might deal with adversity.  In this book, the theme is to 'choose joy, even in difficult times'.  I love that.  And it doesn't hurt that it's set on Galveston Island of Texas, includes a bit of history about Galveston, and features a school librarian as the main protagonist.  I thought this book was very good.  And I want to go back and read this author's backlist.

I'm glad that my reading has moved in a more positive direction.  Not necessarily with the themes being 'happy all the time', but just immersive and keeping my interest.  This morning I started Kate White's new book, Have You Seen Me?.  I'll talk about that one next week, hopefully.  Take care and I'll see you soon!            

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Early morning walks, some mystery reading, and virtual book groups...

Hello book friends!  Hope you are all well and safe and content and I feel like I say the same thing with every post - ha!  Oh, I should say that I hope you are reading just the right amount for you.  Not too much and not too little - just right.  All is good at our house.  And not much is different.  The picture above is one I took on a walk early in the morning - two does and their two fawns.  They stood still for me, but the minute I snapped the picture, all four took off into the woods.  Guess I was lucky.  Spring and summer include lots of fawns in our area and those cute little creatures are fun to look at, but one has to be careful driving as they tend to run out into the road just like little humans. 

I'm happy to say that my reading has been good in the last few days.  I finished Outsider by Linda Castillo.  This is the 12th book in her Kate Burkholder mystery series, set in the Amish country of Ohio.  I always enjoy a visit with Kate and her special someone, John Tomasetti.  This particular book gave the reader more insights into what happened to Kate when she left home in her late teens and eventually became a cop.  Kate is now the Chief of Police in Painters Mill, Ohio, her old hometown, but an old friend/colleague shows up and things get very dicey.  Both Kate and Tomasetti have some tough ethical decisions to make in Outsider.  Now to wait for the next book.  Sigh.

I also finished Long Road To Mercy by David Baldacci, which is our mystery group's discussion book for August.  It's the first book in his Atlee Pine series, which has the second already out and the third to be published this fall.  Atlee Pine is a FBI agent and she's 'watches over' The Grand Canyon from her single-agent office in Shattered Rock, Arizona.  Atlee is quite an interesting person and I also found this initial book quite interesting with lots of Grand Canyon info, among other things.  I did notice that reviews were mixed about some of the story line.  I liked it well enough to pick up the second book in the series, A Minute To Midnight, and start reading it next.  Agent Pine is a twin and when she and her identical twin, Mercy, were six years old, Mercy was kidnapped and Atlee was left without her 'other half'.  That particular story line is part of this book and also part of the second.  We'll see if it concludes in #2 or if it continues to #3. 

Otherwise, our mystery group met virtually a couple of weeks ago to talk about 'Award Winning and Nominated Mysteries for 2020'.  It was a good meeting and we seem to be managing well enough with this method.  Unfortunately, not all of our regulars are able to be with us but it's what we have for right now and at least the rest of this year.  We'll meet again in a couple of weeks to talk about the Baldacci book.  I also have attended the virtual meeting of my afternoon book group, though I decided not to read the assigned book right now.  It was The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai.  The discussion was very good though and I enjoyed listening to what other members experienced in their particular reading journey and what memories of life in the '70's and '80's and the initial time of the AIDS crisis it brought to mind.  Several told stories that included quite poignant times.  We all agreed that book groups do OK virtually, but we miss sitting in a circle in the same room and chatting.  One day, perhaps in 2021 - who knows?

That's about all I have for today.  Always enjoy hearing about what all of you have been doing, experiencing, reading, and thinking.  What would we do without our blogging friends?  Take care and I'll be around again soon.   

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

A Mystery Book Grab-bag...from the library of course...

Hey everyone!  Hope you are all well and coping and masking and being sensible and all those things!  I will admit that some days are easier than others, right?  Anyway, my topic today is the 'Grab-bag' that I requested from a local library.  It's not the Austin Public Library, but it's another where I normally volunteer to help with their new materials processing.  That's not possible right now, of course - the volunteering.  Anyway, I was conversing by email with one of the librarians and she thought I might like to try out their new 'Grab-bag' service.  Said that she knew I didn't need others picking books for me, but it might be fun.  And it was.

First of all, a patron needs to fill out a request document that has several queries.  Type of material (book, large-type, audio, video, etc.).  There's a 'wildcard' option to let the staff pick 5 things for you.  Otherwise, you tell them the genre where your interest lies - mystery, romance, non-fiction, cookbooks, sci-fi, fantasy, graphic novels - you get the idea.  There's also a question regarding what might disappoint you - a specific author or genre or books that are too long or too short or have profanity, etc.  Next is to let them know what you love by telling of specific authors or titles that you've already read and enjoyed.  And last, how many - 3-5, 5-7, 8-10.

I thought it did sound fun and decided to try it.  The questions did take a little thought, but I didn't want my answers, especially what I had enjoyed and already read, to take forever.  I also thought that I would love to be the person selecting the materials for a patron, based on their answers.  Wonder if they'd let me volunteer to do that?  Ha!  I sent in my form and a couple of days later was notified the books above were ready for pickup.  The staff only selects from materials currently available on the shelf.

As you can see, I got the books listed below:

Murder On the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Aunti Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano
Aunti Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna by Mario Giordano
No One Knows by J.T. Ellison
An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears
All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

They actually did pretty well.  I've only read the first one and the last one listed.  I told them I had read all of Louise Penny, Deborah Crombie, and liked historical mysteries and psychological thrillers.  I asked for no military-style thrillers and no cozies.  Forgot to say I'd read all of Agatha Christie.

Have you taken advantage of a 'Grab-bag' situation at your library?  Is your library doing something like this?  Have you read any of the books and loved them?  Do you think it would be fun to select books for a 'Grab-bag'?  I think I'll let my librarian friend know that whoever picked for me did a great job.

Take care and I'll be back around soon...

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

It's July! And my picture today is....masks!

Hello book friends!  No, I didn't disappear on you.  I'm back around to say 'Hi!' and also to share what we've been up to.  Don't get too excited - it's not much.  Ha!

We actually spent a week out in Ruidoso, New Mexico, taking care of some things and getting a bit of mountain air.  Not that life was much different for us there than it is here in Central Texas.  My husband wasn't working, but was on vacation, which was nice for him.  Lots of golf in the cool mornings.  While he was golfing, I was walking up and down the hills around and also enjoying the nice temperatures.  So different from home, though the altitude makes you work a bit harder when you are walking up a steep slope.  It was lovely though and I saw some nice mountain creatures on my walks - elk, deer, and bunnies.  I also saw two snakes and the black flies were annoying and biting.  I came home with itchy spots, but they will go away before long. 

I didn't take any pictures, but I'm sharing my mask collection with you above.  Cute, huh?  I actually have one more that's in my car - it has pine cones on the fabric.  So, while we were out of town and on the road, we were sensible and smart to wear our masks if we went into any store or restaurant.  We got take-out mostly and did all our other sensible things like hand washing and social distancing.  Actually, for the most part, life was the same as here at home.  It was really good for my husband though and he had a very relaxing time. 

Now we are at home and he's back to work here at home (and will be working from home for months to come).  This morning the temp was 80 degrees with 84% humidity at 6:30 a.m.  Kind of like being outside with a damp cloth on your face.  Needless to say, I went back to the rec center to walk on the track there - yes, I love air conditioning.  I will say that I am beginning to get used to a mask more than I was at first.  I think I'm better at adjusting it to work with my glasses (I hate when they fog up).  If I feel even slightly annoyed about it, I think of my daughter and her co-workers at the hospital and I know that my discomfort is not a big thing at all. 

I don't have much to talk about book wise, but I'm hoping to do a few reviews as I begin to read more books that are new to me.  I've been doing a lot of rereads in the past months and just haven't felt compelled to share, but today I started Linda Castillo's latest Kate Burkholder mystery, Outsider.  I love the series and have been waiting for this one.  I've got a few others that I'm excited to read and so, look for some book thoughts in upcoming days and weeks.  I've been reading your posts, but my commenting has been nil.  Hope to change that a bit in the future. 

Take care, please!  I know some of you have been dealing with some stressful situations in your lives and know that if that is the case, I've been thinking of you.  We will get through this - one day at a time.  One book at a time.  Big hugs to all!