Friday, June 25, 2021

Is it hot where you are? An update before we head to 'cooler' country...

Hello book friends!  Is it summer or what?  The weather people in our part of the world have just gone wild about warning everyone about the 'feels-like' temperatures (that's a new term, to me anyway) and telling people to wear their sunscreen and take their water and check their backseats for kids and pets, etc.  Sometimes I laugh a little because, though it has been warm here - 90's - with 'feels-like' above 100, it's not unusual for Central Texas.  We get the humidity from the Gulf and it is June after all.  July will also be hot and August will be even hotter, though with less humidity usually.  I think that our area has so, so many people that are 'new-to-Texas' residents and I guess they don't know about summer weather in the southern part of the US.  Well, they will learn.  

Now I have heard that the Pacific Northwest is getting a shot of way, way too hot this weekend.  People up there are probably not prepared for temps 100+.  Hope that weather thing is short-lived and they go back to their normal quickly.  I think a lot of them do not have A/C systems.  When we lived in Portland way back in the 90's, we found it weird to have no A/C.  The house we bought there didn't have it when we came and it did have it by the time we left.  We thought it was needed for a few weeks out of the year.  

We're leaving next week on a postponed-from-last-year trip to Oregon, but we will be staying on the coast and the temps in Bandon have been lows in the 50's and highs in the 60's.  That will be a nice shot of cool for us and may even feel a little too cool.  Ha!  I will say that I don't like to 'drip with sweat' while I'm out walking.  Think Bandon, Oregon will satisfy that requirement of mine.  

My reading has still been very slow, but a couple of favorite authors will be having books come out while I'm on my trip.  I hope to get both and perhaps read them.  The first is Elly Griffiths' new Ruth Galloway book, The Night Hawks, #13 in that series.  The second will be Linda Castillo's new Kate Burkholder novel, Fallen, also #13 in the series.

Right now I'm reading Her Dark Lies by J.T. Ellison.  Very Gothic.  I picked this one up because I enjoyed a Poisoned Pen podcast where Barbara Peters discussed the return of some more Gothic-type books to the mystery/thriller genre with J.T. and also Jayne Ann Krentz.  I'm a Gothic-type mystery lover from way back.  I'm enjoying Her Dark Lies so far and I'll write an update about it if I finish before we leave.  

Otherwise, things are going well.  We're continuing to slowly get things accomplished and crossed off our lists.  I did find out that Kerrville will be having their Chalk Festival, which I wrote about here when I attended it in 2019, the weekend of October 16-17.  I'm excited and hope to go again and also have some great pictures.  Hope everyone has a nice weekend!  Stay cool!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Last two books I read - The Survivors and Bitterroot Lake - and a couple of podcasts I like...

In my update post yesterday I mentioned that my 'reading life' has been a bit (or more than a bit) sparse.  It's also been very annoying to me that I've been unable to focus on my 'happy place'.  Honestly, if I'm unable to read, that crosses over into other aspects of my life and I feel very out of sorts all the way around.  Reading is my refuge, my escape, my joy, my hideaway.  My husband and daughter would both tell you that if Kay isn't reading, she's not herself.  At all.  It's improving - that part of my life - but it's still not 'normal'.  However, I'll share a little about the last two books I've read and then praise a couple of podcasts that I enjoy:

I really like Jane Harper's writing.  I've read all her books up to now and really liked them all, especially the ones featuring Aaron Falk.  No, I haven't seen the new TV movie adaptation of The Dry.  Have any of you seen it and was it good?  Her latest book is The Survivors and it's another stand-alone, set in Tasmania.  I liked it very much and enjoyed the beach setting, the description of the caves and shipwreck and all aspects of small town life in Evelyn Bay.  Kieran and his wife, Mia, have brought their baby girl home to help Kieran's parents pack up their life and make big changes.  Kieran's father has dementia and his mother needs assistance as things have gotten a bit too tough to deal with.  The story also includes some past trauma, missing girls, a murder, and secrets.  Lots of secrets.  This definitely held my interest.  I always look forward to what she'll write next.  

I also liked Bitterroot Lake by Alicia Beckman.  This is the first book by the author or first using this name.  She's also writes cozy mysteries under the name Leslie Budewitz.  Bitterroot Lake is set at a lakeshore lodge in Montana.  One weekend 25 years ago, Sarah, her sister Holly, and two other friends were at their family's lodge, along with three guys.  A tragedy occurs, someone is killed, and things were not ever quite the same.  Sarah comes back to Whitetail Lodge after her husband dies from cancer.  Sarah's mother has encouraged her to come and help the family figure out what to do with the property.  As it turns out, the four friends all return to the Lodge and they must dig through secrets, lies, and some curious family history about Whitetail Lodge.  Oh, and there is another death.  And some spooky dreams.  Another book that held my interest and I'm hoping that Leslie/Alicia continues writing some suspense novels.  I'd enjoy that very much!

I'll also mention a couple of podcasts - I really like Anne Bogel's What Should I Read Next? and am finally caught up on back episodes.  I also really enjoy some of the author discussions that the Poisoned Pen Bookstore share on their podcast.  I'm not interested in all of them, but many are with authors that I love or books that I'm curious about.  Links attached and I encourage you to check them out.  

Now I'm off to see what I can find to read next...

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Finally, an update...

A little hint...

Hello my book friends!  I know it has been quite a while since I checked in with all of you.  I am glad to be here for a bit to give an update and share a few things.  I was going to talk a little about books, but I think I will do that in a separate post perhaps tomorrow or this weekend.  

When last we 'talked' I shared that my husband and I had decided to sell our house outside the Austin area and perhaps buy or build one further out into the Texas Hill Country.  We have done that!  My husband's company will be doing a hybrid sort of work situation starting in the fall - 2 days in the office and 3 days working from home.  We have an apartment in Austin that we are currently staying in.  We have also bought a house in Kerrville.  Our plan is to spend part of the week in Austin and part in Kerrville.  You can search 'Kerrville' in the sidebar on the right here and see other posts where I mentioned this lovely town that we have visited many times.  

We're still in the process of getting a few things updated for our new house.  Did you know that it's a little tough to schedule home renovation right now?  Well, between materials shortages and labor issues and lots and lots of people wanting to 'fix' things, it's been a challenge indeed.  We are going to have to be patient, but I'm sure we will eventually cross all the items off our list.  Even new furniture is tough to acquire - as I said, patience is called for.

A happy thing is that we are going to be taking a vacation early next month - a trip that was planned for last year and postponed.  It's to lovely places in Oregon that I've talked about before and I'm sure I'll have new pictures to share after that time.  

My reading has been challenging as well - just getting through a book.  I have been distracted and kind of grumpy about reading at all.  My count of 'books completed' for this year is about half of my normal, if it's even that.  However, I do have a couple of books that I want to share about in my next post.  I've gotten back to my walking routine and have now caught up on some podcasts that I enjoy.  Hopefully, audiobooks will be next.  

Hope all of you are well.  I'm gradually coming back around and posting a few comments on your blogs.  The picture at the top of this post was one I took a couple of years ago at the Kerrville Chalk Festival.  It's planned again for this fall.  Hope I get to attend.  The picture below is on the grounds of the Kerrville Library.  Yes, I'll likely be checking into volunteer opportunities there as we spend more time in that location.  It's good to be back to this blog.  As I said, hope you're all well and will have a peaceful, joyful, restful summer season.