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).