Hello my book friends! How are you doing? I have been fine and am delighted to say that we got almost half an inch of rain late yesterday afternoon and evening! It was wonderful and I could almost feel the grass and plants 'drinking' in the moisture. Lovely. When I got out this morning to take my daily walk, it was 67 degrees and the air was fresh and clean. I saw a bunch of fellow walkers as everyone wanted to make the most of the cool temperatures. It's only supposed to get up to 93 degrees later this afternoon and that is about 8-10 degrees less than yesterday before the rain. Will this be the start of something? Probably not. It is July after all and we still have August and probably September for summer-ish weather. I'll take what we can get though.
First of all, I've attended two book groups lately. Last week, I enjoyed the 'Historical Fiction' group discussion of Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. And this week, the 'Brown Bag' group met and talked about Brit Bennett's book, The Vanishing Half. Really interesting meetings and discussions. I had not been able to read either book, but attended anyway and was glad I did. I hope to get to both at some point.
I have been reading several 'just published' books and I'll talk a little about those next. First up is Augusta Hawke
by G. M. Malliet
. I met this author at one of the mystery conferences that I attended a few years ago and have known several who have read her Max Tudor series. This book is the first in another series with the second hopefully to come out in 2023. Augusta Hawke, the protagonist, is a crime writer who lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. She writes alone in her home and often peers out her study window thinking about how her story will go. That's how she notices that her neighbors have gone missing. When a police detective appears at her door with questions, Augusta decides to 'assist' in hunting for them. Her current book is not going well and it will give her something to do. The story was kind of easy for me to figure out, but as the first book in a series, I always give some grace for learning about characters, etc. I'll be watching for the next book.
The next book I was delighted to pick up was Linda Castillo's
new Kate Burkholder mystery, The Hidden One
. This is the 14th in the series, and it's a series that I love. I am also listening to an event at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore from yesterday with Linda and Barbara Peters. I really enjoy these events (released on YouTube or can be live or as podcasts). The Hidden One takes Kate out of Painter's Mill and I suspect that some will not be as happy with that, but the author herself thinks that it keeps the characters fresh and allows different aspects of their lives to be shown. Kate is asked by three Amish leaders from a community in Pennsylvania to come to their town and help an old friend of hers. Jonas Bowman and Kate were close when they were teenagers and Jonas has been arrested and charged with the murder of an Amish bishop. Kate's regular team and significant other do appear, but not as much. I liked this book a lot though. I've enjoyed how the author has told us Kate's backstory bit by bit through the series.
Today, I finished up Carol Goodman's
newest book, The Disinvited Guest
. It just came out on Tuesday and I was lucky enough to get an audio of it from the library. I've read a number of this author's books, all standalones, and liked them. They are often set in the woods of the Northeast or at schools and usually include things that would be considered in the Gothic realm - creepy, spooky, parts of legends or lore. The Disinvited Guest does include the pandemic of 2020 (as the author refers to it), but I think it's set in about 2030. There is another time of sickness, a new virus, and people are having to go back to some of the behaviors and cautions that filled our recent years. Lucy and her husband, Reed, are going to an island off the coast of Maine, that Reed's family has owned for many years. Some friends will be sheltering with them. What Reed hasn't shared so much with Lucy is the history of the island in the 19th century. It was known as Fever Island and served as a quarantine hospital for people coming to the US and Canada from Ireland. These people had typhus and many died there. When Lucy finds a diary written by one of the doctors that treated these patients, she discovers all kinds of secrets and also what people believe about the island. Ah, yes. I found this quite spooky and enjoyed it a lot. I've been kind of picky about the books that I've read that include the pandemic times, but I was OK with how Goodman included it.
That's all the news I have for now. I'll try to get back in the next week or so and let you know what I've been reading or doing. Take care and have a good weekend!
Hi Kay, Glad you got a bit of rain and that it made for nice walking weather. I highly recommend The Vanishing Half, I do hope you try it. I didn't know Carol Goodman had a new book out so I'll be sure to add it to my library list. I hope you have a good weekReplyDelete
Diane, thanks for the encouragement to read The Vanishing Half. I may do so this fall. Hope you'll have a good week as well.Delete
Interesting mix of reads. Thanks for the updatesReplyDelete
You are very welcome. :-)Delete
I am glad you were able to enjoy some rain. We desperately need it here. Talk of further water restrictions continue because of the drought. I haven't had a chance to read Lilac Girls or Vanishing Half either, but I hear both are good. Hopefully we will both enjoy them when we read them. I finally was able to sit and focus on my reading the last couple of days, although had to stop now and then to rest. I hope you have a great weekend and week ahead!ReplyDelete
Wendy, I'm glad to hear that you're recovering your reading time and that you'll continue to improve. Take it easy! Hope you guys get some moisture too.Delete
I am also glad to hear that the rain has been pleasant for you! Where I am now we are in the middle of monsoon season, so I'm afraid that I find myself on the opposite end of the spectrum -- I've had so much rain over the past few weeks and I would love to feel some sun! A few dry days would be much appreciated at this point haha.ReplyDelete
I would also highly recommend the Vanishing Half to you! I read it last year and really enjoyed it.
Claire, yes, the rain has been wonderful, but I can imagine that the monsoon season would have challenges as well. I'll wish a little sun coming your way. And thanks for the recommendation to reading The Vanishing Half. I think I might do so this fall.Delete
Yay for rain! It's always a good thing...especially in summer. I'm excited to read the new Linda Castillo. That's one of my favorite mystery series. And Augusta Hawke sounds like a character I would like. :DReplyDelete
Lark, I hope you'll try the Augusta Hawke book and I think you'll like the new 'Kate' book.Delete
I'll keep the Goodman book in mind, thanks!ReplyDelete
Do that, Mary. I thought it was good.Delete
I've been seeing posts with Linda Castillo all over the blogs. Making a note of this author. Thanks for the updates.ReplyDelete
Mystica, she's a good writer and I've enjoyed this mystery series for quite a few years.Delete
I love the sound of the Disinvited Guest! And send some of that rain our way!ReplyDelete
Cath, I would send rain if I could. Sigh. I know you guys are having weather issues too. Oh, also hope your husband is recovering. Thinking of you guys. If you get a chance to read The Disinvited Guest, I'd say try it.Delete
Hooray for the rain!! I'll bet it felt great to go for a walk in cooler temps and fresh air. Our summer has arrived and we're enjoying temps in the 60s and lots of sunshine. Finally! :)ReplyDelete
Sounds like you enjoyed your book group meetings. I enjoyed Lilac Girls on audio. I thought The Vanishing Half (also on audio) was good, but not great. I think I'm in the minority on that one.
The Disinvited Guest sounds good! It's been a long time since I've read anything by Goodman.
Oh my goodness, Les. This rain/heat thing is not fun. That being said, we had the same issues back in 2011 when we moved to our other house outside of Austin. We'll see how this year plays out. It is usually a bit cooler here than in Austin and the humidity is often lower. Yes, I'm enjoying the book groups, even if I haven't had time or inclination to read the book. I did like The Disinvited Guest. It does contain stuff about the pandemic though and I wanted people to know that. That works OK for me sometimes and sometimes not. Depends on how the author works it and also how much they dwell on it. Glad you guys have got some sun. I know it has been a extra cloudy year.Delete
I thought about picking up The Disinvited Guest, but then decided I can't deal with another bad virus in 2030, even fictionally!ReplyDelete
I understand your reluctance. I will say that the details of the new virus in 2030 are not mentioned much. Part of why I could be OK with how Goodman included it. However, I have put aside or not even picked up several books because of the same thoughts you had. :-)Delete
They have predicted thunderstorms for us this week. Rain would be great. Everything is dead, but lightning will cause fires so I really hope we just get a bit of rain.ReplyDelete
My summer feels someone fleeting as I head back to the office soon for two days a week. That is quite doable and I am glad my VP values my work enough to allow me such a schedule but it will be weird to be back in a building after 2.5 years. Plus, being on campus might be a little overwhelming at first. We have over 50K students.
I am not able to post with my Google account but that anonymous comment above is from me, Ti. :)ReplyDelete
Glad to know that these comments were from you, Ti. Yes, I can imagine that it will be quite 'interesting' to be in-office for a couple of days a week. My husband's work did start doing that and then they have almost decided to not require people to come in. Except for possible quarterly meetings or such. I think they will eventually only do a few meetings and everyone will continue to work from home - permanently. That works well for him as then he doesn't have to drive in to Austin. We'll see how it goes for the next months.Delete
Augusta Hawke looks interesting even if it was a bit easy to figure it out. That's an author I've been wanting to read for awhile. I'm not sure about The Disinvited Guest but I'm glad you enjoyed it overall. It has been crazy hot here but today it has been cooler which is nice but I suspect we will be getting some serious storms later today.ReplyDelete
I'll be interested in what you think about Augusta Hawke if you decide to 'meet' her. I'm not thinking that The Disinvited Guest would be quite your 'cup of tea'. Can we say that we are ready for fall? LOLDelete
Hooray for a rainy day! We had our first one in well over a month today...perfect to stay in and read. Glad you went to the book groups anyway. I've gone without reading the book, too, and never regretted it. If you do get a chance later, The Vanishing Half is well worth reading.ReplyDelete
JoAnn, glad you've had some good days to read while it sprinkles. I'd love that if it would happen more often. Ah well. Hopefully by fall. Getting lots of 'thumbs-up' for The Vanishing Half. ;-)Delete
Nice reads, Kay! I read Carol Goodman for the first time by picking up her last book, The Stranger Behind You. Thanks for including her new novel--I just placed a hold on it. I also recommend The Vanishing Half--it's thought provoking and a good discussion novel.ReplyDelete
Glad to know you also recommend The Vanishing Half, Catherine. I hope you will try The Disinvited Guest or maybe others by Carol Goodman. I like her writing style.Delete
I really like the sound of The Disinvited Guest - I haven't been too keen on books that include the pandemic, but the fact that this one takes place in the future feels different!ReplyDelete
Honestly, Angela, except for the fact that the pandemic scenario appears again, there isn't all that much about the whole thing in the book. Now, there is a lot about the 'Fever Island' stuff from the 1800's and how that affected things and whether the island is cursed, etc.Delete
I didn't know that Carol Goodman has a new book out! I've enjoyed most of her books and I can't wait to read this new one. Thanks for sharing, Kay! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it a lot.ReplyDelete
Melody, I think this is one that you might like. Hope you get to try it. :-)Delete
I just picked up the Carol Goodman book from the library. I have read almost all of her books and although some are better than others, I generally enjoy all of them.ReplyDelete
I agree. I've liked some more than others, but I do like the way she tells a story. :-)Delete
Oooh, the Mallett book sounds good. Rear Window-ish. I'll have to check it out. The Castillo series got a little graphic for me, so I haven't read more than the first few books. Goodman is also a favorite of mine and I did enjoy her newest. Glad you did as well!ReplyDelete
I think that Rear Window is a good comparison to the theme in Augusta Hawke. You might like that one, Susan. :-)Delete