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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Kerrville Chalk Festival 2021 and a bit of reading...


I was delighted that the Kerrville Chalk Festival was able to be held this year.  It had to be cancelled last year.  I had shared a post with my experience in 2019 here.  My husband and I took a stroll through the downtown square where these artists express themselves through chalk and we had a great time.  A couple of differences - last time I went early on the Sunday of the festival and we attended this time late Saturday afternoon.  More of the artists are in these pictures as they were mostly still in 'creation' mode.  I think it's quite interesting to see how they plan what they will draw - some with grids and some freehand.  The artists are all ages and some come from our area and some are from out of town or even out of state.  Hope you enjoy this look at the chalk art.



This artist was just in the beginning of her creation.  If you enlarge the picture you can see what the final goal is - just to the right of the grid.








  







It was a bit difficult to determine what this creation would actually look like in the end until one looked over the artist's shoulder and saw the rooster shot in his lap.  One little boy near us kept telling his Dad that this one was too weird.  Ha!  That eye was a bit creepy!


Since we're in October, a little Morticia and Gomez Addams seems appropriate, right?


And a little Ghostbusters as well!


This artist was younger than most though there was a 'kids' area for children to create.  She seemed to be about middle school.  I thought her creation was great - a longhorn, a roadrunner and an armadillo - Texas creatures!

    


Each festival has one creation that is '3D' and these flowers and butterflies are this year's 3D art.  Can you see the effect?  It was actually better looking at it through the lens of a camera or on your phone.  Very nice!
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Hope you had fun seeing the chalk art.  Yes, I'm still reading and my latest reads are listed below.  I enjoyed all and am continuing my R.I.P. reading.  Only a couple of weeks left!

Twenty-one Days by Anne Perry - 1st in her Daniel Pitt series and mystery book group selection for November.

The Stranger Behind You by Carol Goodman

The Sanitorium by Sarah Pearse

Have a good week and I'll be back soon.  Take care!

Sunday, October 10, 2021

A gorgeous sunrise on my morning walk and more R.I.P. reading...

 

I'll start this update post by sharing a picture of a sunrise I enjoyed last Wednesday morning.  My walks are starting later because the days are getting shorter, but that means I'm getting to enjoy being out there when these wonderful sunrise colors are right in front of me.  I find that quite, quite pleasant - cool mornings, pretty skies, good audiobooks, enjoyable walks.  It's all good.  Hope life is good in your part of the world.

We took a quick overnight to Austin this week and had a nice birthday dinner with our daughter and son-in-law.  My husband had a couple of appointments the next day and then we headed back to Kerrville.  It's nice to be able to do that and the drive is only a couple of hours.  Otherwise, my reading is still going well as is my volunteering.  We have a new roof on our house and will soon have the trim and fascia painted and then the new gutters will be installed.  Progress!

As to reading, I'll list a bit about 4 books I completed since I last shared here.  All fit in with the R.I.P. theme, but then we all know that almost all of what I read falls in the mystery/crime novel world.

The Sun Down Motel is by Simone St. James and I liked it a lot.  Set in upstate New York and told partly in 1982 and partly in 2017, this is a 'deliciously creepy' (according to Riley Sager) story with many Gothic themes.  It tells of the disappearance of Viv Delaney in 1982 and the very odd happenings at The Sun Down Motel where Viv worked as a night clerk.  Carly Kirk is Viv's niece and she's heard about her mother's sister all her life.  Carly goes to Fell, New York to try to figure out what happened to her Aunt Viv.  I found the book and it's ghostly aspects quite absorbing and I am looking forward to discussing it with a new book group later this week.  This is a book group that I haven't tried yet so we shall see how it works and what the other members think of it.  A good October selection I think.

My next book was Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens.  I liked it a lot too.  I think I've only read one other book by this author, but I do remember seeing her at a mystery conference a few years ago and getting to meet her.  Dark Roads is set in British Columbia and the author grew up on Vancouver Island and still lives on the island.  The story tells of the Cold Creek Highway and the girls that have gone missing there over many, many years.  It's also based in part on actual events and Stevens shares some thoughts on that at the end of the book.  Hailey McBride grew up in Cold Creek and her father taught her how to survive in the woods.  He is killed in an accident and Hailey must live with her aunt and uncle and then Hailey goes missing as does another local woman, Amber.  A year later, Amber's sister comes to find out what happened and things really start heating up.  Lots of twists and turns and secrets here.  Pretty scary stuff, so maybe not a story for those who prefer more gentle tales.  FYI.

The Fiancee' by Kate White was my next selection.  I've read several books by Kate White who used to be the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine.  I liked this one well enough, but not as much as the previous two books.  This was about a family that gets together annually for a week at the parents' house - 4 brothers and their wives.  Well, 3 wives and 1 wife-to-be.  We see things from Summer's perspective.  She's married to Gabe.  When Nick introduces the family to his new 'flame' Hannah, Summer is sure she's met her before, but Hannah says not.  Later there's a death and then maybe another.  Secrets, lies, all the usual.  As I said, I liked it but it didn't break 'new ground' with me.  On to the next.

Lastly, I finished My Sister's Bones yesterday.  This one was written by Nuala Ellwood in 2017 and it was her debut novel.  I 'discovered' it on my Kindle and dove in.  Do you ever have books that you've forgotten you even owned?  I do.  Ha!  Nuala Ellwood is from a family of journalists and her main protagonist here is also a journalist.  Kate is a well-known war reporter and she's spent a lot of time in Syria.  She's witnessed many awful things and then told the stories of the people involved to her readers.  After her mother dies, Kate comes home.  She's not well herself and suffers from PTSD which causes her to have bad dreams and possible hallucinations.  Kate has a sister named Sally, but Sally too is unwell.  They had a tough childhood.  Sally's husband Paul tries to help out, but when Kate becomes convinced that bad things are happening next door it's hard to tell if there is really a problem or if it's all in Kate's mind.  It took me a while to get wholly involved in this story, but I hit a point where I couldn't put it down.  I'll be looking for more books by this author.

That's all I have for this post.  I've started Twenty-One Days by Anne Perry.  It's the first book in her Daniel Pitt series and is the November selection for my former mystery group.  I think this one will suit me very well - not quite as grim.  Take care and I'll be around again soon to let you know what I've been reading.  Happy Fall!!          

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty, In Her Tracks by Robert Dugoni, and The Sea Of Lost Girls by Carol Goodman - R.I.P. Reading

I'm back with more R.I.P. Reading thoughts.  I've been delighted to fall down the 'rabbit hole' of read/listens for September.  And I've completed 11 books.  My 'reading mojo' seems to be back and it's been quite a treat.  All the books I'll talk about today are by authors that I've very much enjoyed in the past.  That being said, I'm not sure a couple of these are their 'most loved' works - for me anyway.  Let me tell you about them.

Apples Never Fall is the latest by Liane Moriarty, a very popular author.  I'm always excited to see a new book by this Australian writer.  However, I don't think this one will be my favorite.  I remember years ago reading The Husband's Secret and Big Little Lies, loving both of them.  Later books have been not as favored by me.  Apples Never Fall - I'm afraid it falls in the 'I liked it OK but didn't love it' category.  This story is about a family, the Delaney's, who all play tennis.  There are the parents, Stan and Joy, and four grown children, Amy, Logan, Troy and Brooke.  The parents were tennis coaches and ran a noted tennis academy.  Everyone in the family plays well, just not well enough to be world famous.  The kids grew up and all moved away from the sport.  The parents have sold their business and are now trying to adjust to retirement.  One night, a young woman, Savannah, knocks on their door and says she needs help - her boyfriend has attacked her.  Stan and Joy take her in and offer their support and help for a time.  Then Joy goes missing.  No one knows where she is.  Savannah also can't be found.  The police get involved and the Delaney siblings don't know what to think.  Secrets abound with all the family members.  Lots and lots of arguing, talking, hiding things and endless back and forth.  I wanted to shake all the characters and tell them to grow up.  It sort of felt like everyone was in middle school.  As I said, liked it well enough, but won't be a favorite.  Has anyone else read this?  Reactions?

Next, I moved on to the latest book in a favorite crime series, Robert Dugoni's Tracy Crosswhite books.  The title is In Her Tracks and it's the 8th book (I've read them all).  Tracy Crosswhite is a police detective with the Seattle PD.  She's been on an extended leave after having a baby and spending some time in her hometown of Cedar Grove.  After returning to work, she's told that she's being assigned away from her regular team in the Violent Crimes Division and will be working on cold cases.  Tracy and her boss do not get along well and haven't since they were at the police academy many years ago.  She's taken aback with this new assignment, but it turns out that this is right where her skills and determination are needed.  She starts looking into the case of a missing child from 5 years ago and then gets drawn into a current case of a young woman jogging, also going missing.  I've really liked this series and recommend it.  I've talked about previous books here on the blog.  If you want to try it, I'd start with the first book, My Sister's Grave, which tells of Tracy's background and why she became a cop.  I'll be watching for #9 in the series, coming out next summer.

Lastly, I just finished Carol Goodman's book entitled The Sea Of Lost Girls.  I've read several books by this author and liked all of them a lot.  She's a good pick for this season as her books are usually set in the woods or at an old school or in the fall or winter - a bunch of Gothic themes.  This particular book does includes shades of The Scarlet Letter, The Crucible, and also maidens lost at sea.  Tess works at a well-known prep school and lives with her husband, also a teacher, and her 17-year-old son, Rudy.  The school had been a place where 'wayward' girls were sent before it became a co-ed academy and there's a lot of history here.  Not all of it good.  Rudy texts his mother late one night for help and Tess goes to get him.  He's wet and shivering and there's blood on his shirt.  Later, his girlfriend, Lila, is found dead.  What is going on and how far will Tess go to protect her son and what she thinks might have happened?  As I said, lots of themes that relate to legends and literature.  I liked the story, but Tess about drove me crazy with her 'nutty' thinking and her way of 'helping' those she 'loves'.  She wanted to protect her son, but her way of doing so involved way too much lying for my liking.  I will continue to read this author's books and I have several more on her list to try.  This particular one was just not my favorite.  Ah well.  

I'm now reading The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James.  Will be discussing this one with a 'new-to-me' book group here at my library.  Can't wait!  Have you read any of these books I've mentioned?  I'd love to know your reaction to them.  Do tell!         

Friday, September 24, 2021

Catching up and more RIP reading...

Hello everyone!  Hope you've had a good week and your life and reading are going well enough.  I've just gotten back in from my morning walk and it was quite comfortable if not a little cool.  Without a jacket anyway.  Our first fall cold front came a couple of days ago and our morning temps were in the high 40's yesterday and it was maybe 50 or 51 this morning.  This too shall pass, but I think I can wave the humid mid-70's goodbye for this year - early morning anyway.

I'm continuing to get connected in my new community and have begun my book-shelving volunteer work at the library.  I enjoy that job and it's peaceful and quiet in this new library.  I worked at the 'Friends of the Library' bookstore on Wednesday and that venture has become such a fun time.  I went to the 'Talking Texas' Book Group yesterday and I'll share a bit about that time.  I'm also planning on going to an author event on Saturday afternoon that I'll talk about next week.

For the 'Talking Texas' Book Group, we discussed water.  Ha!  The book we read was A Thirsty Land: The Fight For Water In Texas by Seamus McGraw.  I found the book more interesting than I imagined when I first started it and the discussion was brisk.  Lots of talk about conservation among the members and people sharing their favorite parts.  I'm not the biggest fan of non-fiction, but I think that doing some reading with book groups here will be informative.  Next month this group will switch to a fiction book (a mystery, yay!), Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke.  I've had this one on my TBR for a long time and look forward to reading it.

As to my RIP reading, I've finished another couple of books.  I enjoyed both, but maybe not as much as the Joanna Schaffhausen books.  I read The Wonder Test by Michelle Richmond.  In this book, widowed FBI Agent Lina Connerly is in Silicon Valley with her teenage son, Rory, to clear out her late father's house.  She's on leave from her FBI position for several reasons and her son is going to a new school while they are in California.  Yes, a new school with some very odd rules, tests, classmates and parents.  Kids have gone missing and then returned very different.  Lina ends up getting involved and with help from various contacts and also Rory, she discovers secrets galore.  I found this book held my interest for sure, but it was a curious blend of themes.  I don't think I've read anything else by this author, but I'd try more of her work.

I also read The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda.  This book is the October selection for the Mystery Book Group that I had to leave behind when I moved.  Left behind my 'in-person' attendance anyway.  I'll likely try to keep up with what they are reading and send my thoughts to Gayle, the new leader, by email.  We had several former members that did that after they relocated.  Anyway, I had read a couple of books by this author in the past and liked them.  I also enjoyed The Girl From Widow Hills, though I think I would have liked it more if I had not recently read the 'missing girl' storyline from the Ellery Hathaway series.  This book is a standalone and the situation is quite different.  Arden Mayor was a little girl of 6 when she went missing while sleepwalking during a storm.  She was discovered days later and she became 'The Girl From Widow Hills'.  With all the hoopla and publicity of the 10-year-anniversary of her rescue, Arden changes her name when she goes to college and becomes Olivia.  Now the 20-year marker is coming and again, Olivia/Arden fears the press and what they might bring up.  No one in her current life knows that she's 'The Girl...'.  Things begin to happen, someone might be watching her, her sleepwalking is back, and then someone dies.  As I said, I did like this book but the protagonist's repetitive thinking about people and events annoyed me a bit.  I do think the mystery group will have a good time discussing this one and I'll be reading more by this author in the future.

That's about all I have to share.  I'm in the middle of Liane Moriarty's new book, Apples Never Fall, right now.  More to say about that one next week.            

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Gone For Good by Joanna Schaffhausen

Hello everyone!  So, can I mention that I think have a new author to add to my 'favorites' list?  Yes, I'm really pleased with the 5 books I've now read by Joanna Schaffhausen.  Four of them were her current Ellery Hathaway series, fifth to come in early 2022.  And I very, very quickly made my way through the first book in this author's new series featuring Detective Annalisa Vega.  The second book is scheduled for late summer of 2022.  Cannot wait!

Gone For Good is set in Chicago with Detective Annalisa Vega as the protagonist.  Annalisa is the daughter of a retired Chicago police officer and she's also the ex-wife of a policeman.  She doesn't date much, but naturally while on a date with a man who is clearly not going to get a second 'yes' to a date request, her work phone pings and she finds herself at a crime scene with a murdered woman.  Oh, and who should come striding up to the scene as well - her ex-husband Nick.  Complications ensue.  

The storyline features the Lovelorn Killer, someone who murdered 7 women over a decade ago.  This new murder seems like it might be related - same killer or a copycat?  We also meet an amateur crime-solving group called The Grave Diggers.  Annalisa has a large family and they play a part as well.  

I was totally involved in this tale and I really like Annalisa, though she does have tendency to place herself in harm's way a bit.  However, she is also a professional law enforcement officer and I think that is different than an amateur sleuth doing the same.  Joanna Schaffhausen is a talented writer in my opinion and her female protagonists are strong, but with 'cracks' in their armor because of what life has thrown at them.  This one and really all this author's books are recommended by me.  Note though that these are not 'cozy' crime scenes with the violence or the result of violence 'off the screen'.  

One more to add to my R.I.P. reading.  And now I've started a new book, The Wonder Test by Michelle Redmond.  I'll be back soon to talk about that one.  Hope all have a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

More RIP Reading - Joanna Schaffhausen's Ellery Hathaway series #2, #3, and #4

Hello book pals!  Hope you are all well and enjoying some good reading.  I certainly have been having fun doing read/listens for more of Joanna Schaffhausen's series featuring Ellery Hathaway.  I mentioned the first book, The Vanishing Season, in my last post.  And these all work well for my R.I.P. reading.

In the second series book, No Mercy, Ellery Hathaway has been required to attend a counseling group because she is on involuntary leave from her police department job after shooting a murderer.  Since this group is for victims of violent crime, Ellery gets involved in various ways with the other members.  She helps one whose attacker has not been caught and she thinks that another member's story might have more to it.  Asking her friend, FBI Profiler Reed Markham, for assistance is hard for her, but he gets involved again and both are risking their jobs.  This was a quick read for me and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  

I quickly moved on to the third book, All The Best Lies.  The storyline here is focused more on Reed Markham's life and background, though Ellery is an active participant as well.  Reed was adopted as a baby, but has known that his birth mother was murdered in Las Vegas when he was quite small.  His adopted family is a prominent one in Virginia and when Reed unexpectedly finds out some additional information about his background, he goes to Las Vegas to explore the cold case crime of his mother's murder.  Ellery, still on leave from her police department, goes as well.  Lots of secrets and surprises here.  I also read this one very fast and liked it a lot.

The next book in the series, the fourth, is entitled Every Waking Hour.  This is the latest book featuring Ellery and Reed, but a fifth is scheduled to be published in January, Last Seen Alive.  As Every Waking Hour begins, Ellery is back on the job and is now with the Boston Police Department as a new detective.  She and Reed are still working out what their relationship looks like and he is visiting Boston.  A young girl, age 12, goes missing and Ellery and her new partner are assigned to the case.  It's important to Ellery to find Chloe and hopefully be able to rescue her as Reed did Ellery herself.  The characters lives move along with this book and also the ones before it.  I don't want to share too much because of spoilers, but this series is a good one for me.  I'll be waiting impatiently for the fifth book.

Meanwhile, Joanna Schaffhausen has a new book out, Gone For Good.  It's the first in a new series featuring Detective Annalisa Vega.  I started this book today and look forward to meeting new characters and seeing where this author takes me next.       

Monday, September 6, 2021

Fallen by Linda Castillo and The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen - RIP Reading...

Hello everyone and Happy Labor Day to you!  Hope you are all well and enjoying this holiday weekend.  I'm here with some short thoughts about my first two R.I.P. books - both mysteries.

Fallen is the 13th book in Linda Castillo's series featuring Police Chief Kate Burkholder and this series is a favorite of mine.  I've read all of them.  Set in Painter's Mill, Ohio and in the Amish country, this author has kept us entertained with the life and crime investigations of Kate Burkholder.  We're familiar with the whole Painter's Mill PD, some of the local Sheriff's office, and John Tomasetti, Kate's significant other, who is an investigator for the Ohio State Police.  Kate came from an Amish family and left that life when she was a teenager.  Her family still lives in the area and she has a unique perspective on how the crimes she investigates affect the Amish community.  In Fallen, another woman who was born and raised in the area is murdered.  Rachael Schwartz was known to Kate as a young girl, but unlike Kate, Rachael's life after leaving Painter's Mill has been filled with questionable decisions.  Kate has to rely on her team and also Tomasetti to help her solve this one.  I enjoyed it a lot and look forward to the next book.

Linda Castillo has moved to the Central Texas area in the last year or so.  She lived in another part of Texas before.  I'm really hoping that I'll be able to see her at an event at some point.  A favorite author that I've never gotten a chance to meet.  Crossing my fingers!

The second book I read for the R.I.P. Challenge was The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen.  This is the first book in her series featuring Ellery Hathaway, a police officer that has a background that includes being kidnapped as a teen by a serial killer.  I did a read/listen of this book and did enjoy it.  This author has a new book that just came out, Gone For Good, part of a new series.  As I was reading about Gone For Good, I realized that I owned The Vanishing Season on audio and decided it was time to try it.  At this time, the Ellery series has 4 books and a new one to be published in January.  

Ellery, who was a 'girl who lived', is now a small town police officer and she's noticed a pattern of people going missing.  She tries to get her boss to take her seriously, but since she has not ever shared why she knows about 'going missing', her concerns are dismissed.  Finally, she reaches out to the FBI agent that rescued her, Reed Markham.  It's been 14 years since Ellery and Reed have seen each other.  Markham is on leave from the FBI and reluctantly agrees to come and talk with Ellery.  And the story progresses from there.  I liked this one well enough to try the next in the series, No Mercy   Fun to try a 'new to me' author and know there are several books out there to read by her.  

Hope all who are participating in the R.I.P. Challenge are finding some good mysteries or spooky stories or fantasy or whatever to keep them 'challenged'.   

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

RIP XVI - Reader's Imbibing Peril - 2021

 


It's time for this year's RIP XVI-Reader's Imbibing Peril Challenge!  I participate in very few challenges, but RIP is one that's I've done in the past.  As my goal of reading more, I think I'll take part this year and will use this post for updates.  It will be in my sidebar and I'll also mention RIP when I read and talk about any book that would work for the challenge.

I'm going to cheat and 'copy' what Diane said here on her blog, Bibliophile By the Sea:

'To join Readers Imbibing Peril just read as many mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, dark fantasy, supernatural, or Gothic books as you want between  September 1 – October 31st, and post about them on your blog, Instagram, or Twitter.  You can use #RIPXVI or tag @PERILREADERS to connect with other participants.'

I'll keep a running list below.  Join in if you'd like and I hope we all have fun with the challenge this fall.  We certainly need some fun, right?

1. Fallen by Linda Castillo

2. The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen

3. No Mercy by Joanna Schaffhausen

4. All The Best Lies by Joanna Schaffhausen

5. Every Waking Hour by Joanna Schaffhausen

6. Gone For Good by Joanna Schaffhausen

7. The Wonder Test by Michelle Richmond

8. The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

9. Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

10. In Her Tracks by Robert Dugoni

11. The Sea Of Lost Girls by Carol Goodman

12. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

13. Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens

14. The Fiancee by Kate White

15. My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood

16. Twenty-one Days by Anne Perry

17. The Stranger Behind You by Carol Goodman

18. The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Favorite series and catching up - The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths and The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny

I have always read mystery series and tried to stay current with favorite ones.  I will admit that my 'favorites' have changed over time.  Many of them just fell by the wayside when I added more and more to my list and I've meant to return to old favorites.  Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't.  I do stay current with Louise Penny's books and also Elly Griffiths' series featuring Ruth Galloway.  And I have a few things to say about their newest.

I'll start with The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths.  This is the 13th book in the series and I hope that series goes on and on.  I love Ruth and all her friends and family.  Over the course of time, this author has added character after character and this reader always longs to find out what been going on with Nelson and Cathbad and Judy and Cluff and Kate and, and...

The Night Hawks was one that I enjoyed quite a bit.  Ruth has returned to Norfolk and her cottage.  She has a new position at work and Kate is growing up.  A body is found by a group of metal detectorists - The Night Hawks - along with some ancient artifacts.  A curious legend about a 'black dog', more crimes, more secrets, more new characters.  Changes are happening all around and Nelson is being encouraged by his boss to retire.  Will he or won't he?  I'll be happy to see the next entry into this series, hopefully next year.  

I also am caught up on Louise Penny's series set in Three Pines, Quebec, Canada.  If asked who is my favorite author of mysteries, I often say 'Louise Penny'.  And I do love her way of telling a story and of bringing deep concepts to the reader while also relating a crime tale.  Have I loved every book she's written?  No.  I do have my favorites and I find it interesting that other readers often prefer the books to stay in Three Pines or not to stay in Three Pines.  They often love certain characters or don't love certain characters.  I will say that this is a series I do feel is best read in order because lots and lots of things happen over time and while you probably can figure out the backstory, it's more fun to read all the details.

The Madness of Crowds is the 17th book in the series and I'm being honest here in saying that it is my least favorite of all the books.  I didn't hate it, but....I also didn't love it or even like many aspects.  It is quite dark and that's not necessarily unknown in her series.  However, for me, the hope that is usually evident in various ways was not as clear to me.  I'm going to refer you to some thoughts that Lesa from Lesa's Book Critiques published the other day here if you'd like read more.  Lesa does not relate spoilers, but she does tell more about the story than I shall.  

It's going to be interesting to see how authors deal with the pandemic and all the myriad of issues that the last couple of years have brought to the world.  I know that some have said they will avoid it if they can and some will figure out how to include it.  Part of the problem is that we are still in the midst of things, unfortunately.  Louise does include many of the things that have been faced by the world and also speaks of other problems through her story.  And this book is getting very high praise from most.  For me, it was just a little too 'something'.  Will I reread at a later time?  Not sure.  Will it provide lots of food for discussion?  Absolutely.  I know I haven't said really anything about the storyline itself.  Suffice it to say that the issues here will challenge Armand Gamache and his team and his family like no others.  And yes, Rosa the duck, and Ruth are included in the book.  I think Rosa might be my favorite character in The Madness of Crowds.  Ha!  

If you're planning on reading this book, please know that this is my opinion only (of course).  If you've not ever read a book by Louise Penny, I don't think this is where to begin.  If you've read this, I'd love to know your thoughts.  And now, on to the next book!      

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Another walking picture as August comes to an end...

 


Hello book friends and how are you?  I am well and am sharing another 'walking' picture that I've entitled 'Kerrville Ducks'.  Ha!  I think I've had ducks on my mind as I've been reading Louise Penny's new book, The Madness of Crowds.  If you haven't read those, there is a duck named Rosa that is a frequent character - a duck that is 'fowl'-mouthed - LOL!  Anyway, I'm going to have opinions about this book, but won't share any of those at this time.  I need to finish it first and see what I think - hmmm....

Otherwise, we have been back and forth a bit - still waiting on so many things that I don't even want to talk about.  I just cannot focus on our 'to-do' list and shall not.  All will eventually get accomplished and I've decided to challenge myself to see how many books I can complete before the end of 2021.  I read 130 books in 2020 and this year, 2021, I've only completed 42 as of almost the end of August.  That is probably the smallest number of books I've read in 8 months for over 20 years - maybe longer.  I know that part of my issues with focus and anxiety have been because my reading life has been 'off'.  I'm going to work on it and try to let the rest of my worries go.

One more thing I'll share is that I'm also trying to see what new pursuits might be available in my area.  I was just looking at the local newspaper and seeing that the Master Naturalist program will be taking applications for classes to begin in 2022.  I also saw a notice for an afternoon seminar that the local genealogy society will be presenting in a few weeks - an intro to genealogy research.  And I heard about the local historical society and their meetings when I went to my 2nd 'Talking Texas' Book Group meeting on Thursday.  By the way, I enjoyed that book group meeting again - there were 8 attendees - and we discussed Turn South at the Second Bridge by Leon Hale.  This book was originally written in the 1960's and contains 'classic stories of rural Texas'.  I liked it for the most part and enjoyed talking about it with others.  

So, have you tried genealogy or 'Master Naturalist' classes or joined a historical society?  I'm curious.  Hoping to be back soon with some 'book talk'.  Take care!

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Back from NM with some nice 'walking' pictures...

Hello everyone!  We are back from our recent trip out to New Mexico - the Ruidoso area - and I have a few more pictures to share from my lovely, cool walks out in the mountains.  As seems to be the usual way of things these days, our plans for the trip had to be adjusted, but we did manage to get there and my husband had a great time playing in a golf tournament.  What was adjusted?  Well, we had planned to fly out there (using some of our airline credits from previous postponed trips to Oregon) and our flight was supposed to leave at about 7:30 a.m.  At around 3:00 a.m. that morning we were awakened by a text to my husband's phone saying that our flight had been cancelled.  Sigh.  Since he had already paid for the golf tournament and also had a partner that lives in Ruidoso, we had to jump in the car and drive out there.  We do normally make that journey by car - it's about 9-1/2 hours - but we weren't expecting it.  Ah well.  We made it and here's some pictures of one of my favorite parts of the world.  The first picture is from the front porch deck of the place where we stayed and the others are from my walks.

We're back in Kerrville now, but will be going to Austin later this week for a few days.  My husband's company was supposed to start their new hybrid thing (2 days in office, 3 days work-from-home) in September, but that is likely to be put off for a while.  We'll see how it goes.  A lesson in how to be flexible and it's about to drive this 'ducks in a row' and 'all things planned ahead' person (ME!) batty.  More walks are needed!  Ha!  One day I'll talk about reading, etc.  Enjoy the mountains (virtually)!



   

  



Even the weeds are pretty right now out in Ruidoso.
  They have had huge amounts of rain (for them).

Monday, July 26, 2021

More 'walking' pictures, a new book group visit, and possible volunteering opportunities...

Hello wonderful book friends!  I'm glad to stop back around here and share some additional pictures from my morning walks.  I'll also tell you about a Talking Texas Book Group visit and share about possible volunteering opportunities.  How are all of you?  Well, I hope and also hopefully enjoying your summer.  We're continuing to settle in our new location, check items off our 'to-do' lists, and will be taking another trip to New Mexico next week for my husband to play in a golf tournament.  Someday, we will move forward on our house renovation lists, but since we are being patient and waiting our turn we decided to enjoy another little vacation.

I was able to stop by the local library and talk with the director and adult services librarians regarding volunteering.  I filled out my paperwork and will start my volunteer work there in September.  A picture of that library is above and it's so light and bright inside.  The Guadalupe River flows through Kerrville and the library is located by the river with larger windows and seating areas to be able to see the trees and water and park area.  It's just lovely.




I also decided to attend one of this library's two book groups to see what they might be like.  There is a 'regular' book group that reads fiction/non-fiction, etc. and I will also try to attend that one in August or September.  The second group is called 'Talking Texas' Book Group and they read and discuss books featuring Texas history, topics important to Texas residents, and/or Central Texas locations.  This group meets at the History Center, which is right across the parking lot from the library.  I wasn't able to tour the History Center quite yet, but I very much enjoyed the book group (even though I hadn't read the book, Woman Hollering Creek, by Sandra Cisneros).  Above, you can see the front of the History Center and also a mother deer and fawn that were hiding on the library grounds.  Cute, right? 

I'll also be volunteering for the Friends of the Library and the jury is out on how well that will work.  I had met a neighbor while I was out walking that is very involved with that Friends group.  She encouraged me to come and get set up to volunteer when their 'Friends Bookstore' was open.  I did stop by and talked with the gentleman that manages that bookstore.  The store is only open 2 hours a week right now and 2 hours one Saturday a month.  All the volunteers have an area of the store that is their responsibility.  There were actually a lot of volunteers and a few customers.  In any case, I'm not sure that they need lots more people to help out right now.  The manager offered me the responsibility of a few different areas.  I did ask about any kind of fiction or especially mystery.  However, I think you'd have to volunteer for many years to get one of those.  Ha!  I ended up with 'Cooking' as my area.  So...not quite what I expected, but I'll see how it goes for a few weeks.

I'll save talking more about volunteering until another post.  I have sort of checked out a local yoga studio, but I haven't attended any classes yet.  Probably September.  I'll finish with more pictures from my morning walks.  I find it interesting that so many people in our neighborhood have various lawn and yard ornaments or special areas.  I could have taken 20 pictures, but I didn't.  Here are a few things that I found charming or beautiful.  Have a good week and I'll likely not post again for couple of weeks.  One day I'll talk about reading.  I am reading, but so, so slowly.  Just not much to share there.  Perhaps in the fall.  






     

Saturday, July 17, 2021

A short update with pictures of my new walking route...

Hello book friends!  I'm going to share a short update here and hope to do a longer one next week with additional pictures from my new 'walking route'.  When I last 'spoke' with everyone here we were planning to leave on a postponed trip to Oregon.  Well, that trip was not to be - at least this year.  My husband had some allergy issues that turned into a sinus problem and we ended up cancelling the Oregon adventure yet again.  Maybe next year, right?  It seemed the prudent thing to do as sinus issues and air travel don't mix well.  We did drive out to New Mexico and our usual destination there, Ruidoso, for a few days.  We then returned and the remaining possessions that we had in storage in Austin were transferred to Kerrville.  We will maintain a 'back and forth' thing for a bit, but as time passes we are beginning to settle in and get some things accomplished.  It's going to be long process though with furniture orders and renovation tasks backlogged.  We are being patient and waiting our turn.  Ha!

I'll have more to say about seeking out new volunteering opportunities and yoga classes and who knows what else.  However, today I'm going to share a few pictures I've taken on my new 'walking route'.  Some lovely trees and some very lovely blooms.  Enjoy!

Oh, reading...well, I'm still having some issues in that area.  We'll see if this mega-slump will improve by fall.  I certainly hope so!