Thursday, August 20, 2020

An anniversary and what I've been reading...


Hello everyone!  Hope you've all had a nice week or nice enough anyway.  We've been doing well here and managing through some awfully hot weather.  It's August though and that is not at all unexpected.  It was amazingly wonderful to step out early this morning for my walk and find the temps a bit below 70 degrees.  Wow!  We had a 'cool' front and I suspect this will be the only day with that lovely treat.  However, I'll take what I can get.  

My husband and I had our wedding anniversary earlier this week and we can't believe it's been 40 years.  Gosh, I'm old.  Ha!  The plan had been for a very nice trip, but that has been put off until next year and we'll hope to be able to enjoy it then.  We had a tasty meal and considered it a good enough celebration.  Otherwise, I've done all my regular things, had a couple of virtual meetings and read some good books.

I finished Sycamore Row by John Grisham and noted last week that it had been a really long while since I read any of his books.  Back long ago, I think my first book by this author was The Firm.  It was such a big seller.  I also read his debut book, A Time To Kill and liked it very much.  It was interesting that Grisham waited over 20 years to write again about Jake Brigance, his famous fictional defense attorney.  Sycamore Row was published in 2013, so it's not a new book.  The 3rd book featuring Jake Brigance, A Time For Mercy, is scheduled to be published in October.  

I attended our afternoon book group's virtual discussion of Sycamore Row and enjoyed hearing the thoughts of everyone that was able to attend.  This book features a man, Seth Hubbard, who is dying of lung cancer and who hangs himself after having left a new hand-written will.  In this will, he leaves almost all his estate to his maid, who is black.  His children are left nothing.  Jake Brigance is asked in a letter, also written by Hubbard, to be the attorney for the estate.  Lots of thought-provoking themes here and everyone seemed to like the book.  Many had read at least one book by the author, but there were a few who were new to his writing.  It was a good discussion.

I also read Memory Man by David Baldacci and the next book in the same series, The Last Mile.  Our mystery book group had read and discussed Memory Man last year, but I wasn't able to attend that meeting and put off reading it.  It was a good one to follow up the Grisham book and held my interest.  The 'Memory Man' is Amos Decker, a former NFL football player who gets injured severely in the first game (in fact, the first play) of his pro career.  His head injury causes him to have some curious brain changes - hyperthymesia and synesthesia.  The first condition means he can never forget anything, ever.  The second is that his senses experience life in a very specific way, especially with colors and numbers.  After Amos' injury and recovery, he becomes a police detective.  In the first book, Decker discovers his family has been murdered.  His life implodes for a long time, but eventually someone confesses to the crime and Decker is brought back in to assist in the investigation.  He comes to the attention of the FBI during this time and he's asked to be part of a special task force.

In the second book, The Last Mile, Decker and other members of the FBI task force unravel what happened when Melvin Mars' parents were killed.  Mars himself has been in prison for 20 years for the crime and is scheduled for execution. He's granted a reprieve and Decker and colleagues start at the beginning and gradually open up all kinds of secrets that someone doesn't want known.  Someone very powerful.  I really enjoyed both of these books and look forward to moving on in the series to #3, The Fix.

My latest book completed is Ruth Ware's The Turn of the Key.  My word, what a creepy book.  I'll wait and talk more about it in a couple of weeks.  It's the September selection for our mystery book group.  I do have thoughts about it and just want to say, I never want to live in a 'Smart House'.  Ever.  

Until next week, stay safe, wear your masks, enjoy your reading, and take care!      

Thursday, August 13, 2020

New doggy friends and a bit about reading...

 Hello book friends!  So nice to be here again this week with a few pictures and things to talk about.  Hope you are all well and safe and content (as much as you can be).  For those who have kids where school looms or has started, hope all goes well in that regard - whether it's in the school, at home with remote learning, or homeschooling.  Also, those who have had some extra challenges lately, know that I'm still thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers.  

My pictures this week are of two neighbors that I've met over the weeks and months that I've been out walking in the early mornings.  Actually, I've met or greeted or waved to a number of neighbors that I only vaguely knew.  These two though - they are dogs and such fun to see each morning.  Oh, and also their 'Dad' who walks them faithfully.


This is Snoopy and he is a very well behaved neighbor.  He sits or explores a bit when I am greeting his 'Dad' and 'Sister'.  Snoopy doesn't bark or jump, but he sometimes looks like he's thinking 'I thought we were walking...aren't we walking?' - ha!


This doggy neighbor is the active, jumping, greeting, straining-at-the-leash because she's so friendly and needs to know everyone - Eukie.  She's 7-months-old and is in training to learn to sit and behave when it's appropriate.  I wasn't able to get a picture of her face because she is constantly wriggling and wagging her tail and looking for the next sight to see.  You can tell from the blur of her head and tail what's going on.  She doesn't bark though.  

I've enjoyed getting to know these new-to-me neighbors and their 'Dad'.  After Eukie straining and straining morning after morning, he asked if I'd like to 'meet' her.  He and I were distanced, but Eukie and I were not - ha!  So now, every morning, we meet all over again.  I'm not much of a dog person, but Eukie reminds me of one of our granddogs, Cody.  I can just imagine what antics she and Cody could get up to.  


As to other stuff, like reading, I finished Sycamore Row by John Grisham.  I'll report next week on our afternoon book group's discussion of the book and what others thought of it.  It was longer than I expected.  I did a read/listen and the audio was over 20 hours long.  

Next, I started David Baldacci's Memory Man.  Our mystery group read and discussed this book a while back, but I was out of town and didn't read the book at that time.  I'm enjoying it now and will report on it next week as well.  Another long one.  I've been listening to Final Girls, a reread for me, and Riley Sager's first book.  I had commented to someone that I thought it was my favorite up to now of the Sager books I've read.  Decided I would listen to them all again.  Why not, right?

Not much else to tell.  Again, hope everyone is doing well.  See you next week!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Early morning skies and more new reading...

Good morning book friends!  I've got two early morning sky pictures to share with you today.  I'm really enjoying my early walks and trying to find beautiful things to capture on my phone.  These shots are what I have for this week.  I will say that I am still adjusting to Blogger's new way of composing posts.  It seems every time I work on one, something new has changed.  This week it was the placement of the pictures.  I know several of you have been frustrated with that.  Oh well.  I'll try to not let it bug me too much.  All is well at our house.  We got a little rain, which was much needed.  However, it is summer and we're moving into a drier period I'm afraid.  

My reading has been good and I managed a couple of books this week.  As I think I've shared, my audiobook listening has been books that I've already read in print.  I'm enjoying them, but am not feeling inclined to talk about them here.  The first book I finished this last week was Kate White's Have You Seen Me? - a standalone thriller.  I've read other books by Kate White and liked them.  This one was another that I liked, but didn't love.  I'm not sure what it is about her stories.  I do like them, but I probably wouldn't put them on any of my 'favorites' lists.  In this book, Ally Linden finds herself dripping wet at the door of her office and the company where she works - or so she thinks.  It turns out that Ally has not worked there for five years and she can't remember anything about the last couple of days.  Ally's quest to discover what's going on in her life now and what happened to cause her memory loss is the main focus.  Dissociative disorder plays a part, which I found very interesting.  There were lots of twists and turns, but it was a book that I finished and thought - well, that's done, what's next?

I also finished Jane Casey's newest Maeve Kerrigan book and I loved this one.  Well, I think I've loved all the books in this series.  The Cutting Place is the 9th book and we are again solving crimes with DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent, plus other assorted characters that we've come to love or loathe.
Maeve finds herself investigating a gentlemen's club after a body is found in the river and the story is very timely in many ways.  Women and choices, men and choices, immigrants and choices, domestic violence and choices, friendship, family, ruthless behavior, kindness and love.  All these appear.  Did I say that I loved this book and I love this series?  If you've not ever tried Jane Casey's books, the first one is The Burning.  A highly recommended series.

Our mystery group had our August virtual meeting last night and we talked about David Baldacci's Long Road To Mercy.  Everyone seemed to like the book and several had gone ahead and read the second book in the series.  The third book will come out in November and I'll be watching for it.  We also shared news of upcoming books by authors that we've loved and shared favorite mystery authors with a couple of newer members that requested that.  Each of us was happy to 'help' them out and add to their TBR list.  Ha!   

I'm currently reading Sycamore Row by John Grisham for my afternoon book club's August meeting in a couple of weeks.  It's has been years and years since I read anything by Grisham.  Not sure why he fell off my 'must read' list, but he did.  This book is the second featuring Jake Brigance, the lawyer that's a main character in A Time To Kill.  I'm liking it so far.  And I'll be curious what others in this afternoon group think of the book.  They mostly like to read more issue-focused, literary, sort of 'depressing-all-the-time' types of books.  I don't say that to be negative, but what is a good match for a lot of the members isn't necessarily a good match for me.  We'll see how it goes.  

Take care everyone and have a good week!  Wear your masks!  Be sensible!  I'll see you soon!