Monday, December 25, 2023

Happy Holidays....and a very Merry Christmas!!

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas....truly!  Wishing each and every one of you much 'Peace', 'Love', and 'Joy'.  I am very, very blessed to have each of you in my life and I'm hoping your holiday season is filled with good smells, good food, good fellowship, good feelings.  And if you're not in that sort of place right now...well...and sometimes we are not, I'm wishing you an extra measure of 'Peace'.  Happy Holidays - however you celebrate them!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Bones Under The Ice by Mary Ann Miller

Bones Under The Ice by Mary Ann Miller

First Paragraph:

Sheriff Jhonni Laurent half-strode, half-slid down the huge pile of snow, her breath streaming out in a white plume.  A February blizzard had blown through northern Indiana the night before.  The gusting winds had now died, but the late morning temperature was plummeting.  She glared at the pesky reporter perched at the bottom of the hill, pelting questions.

My Thoughts:

I'm laughing because I've had a 'read cold books in summer' way of doing things for a long, long time.  And yet - this is the second book I've read recently that is definitely 'cold'.  Ah well.  Bones Under The Ice is a debut mystery by Mary Ann Miller.  It's the first in a planned series and features a female sheriff in small town Indiana.  Set in the winter, it begins with the discovery of a victim in the snow.  The question arises whether the young woman got lost in the blizzard or if more nefarious things are going on.  I did like this one and really more so as the story continued.  As I mentioned, it's a debut book and we are getting to know the characters and place, etc.  The story is a little slow at first, but it ramps up by the end.  I've found that the next book in the series will be coming out in October.  It's called Cracks Beneath The Surface.  I'll be watching for that one.  If you try this one, let me know what you think.


Jhonni Laurent is the first female sheriff of Field' s Crossing, Indiana— and now she has her first murder case.

Two days after a blizzard hits Field's Crossing, Indiana, Sheriff Jhonni Laurent discovers the frozen body of a high school senior under a fifteen-foot pile of snow and ice. Murder is rare in farm country, and this death marks the beginning of Jhonni' s first homicide case.

Just as the investigation gets underway, Jhonni' s opponent for sheriff from four years ago wages a bitter reelection battle to oust her. Then, Jhonni finds another body, and further complications arise when a century-old feud between two families reaches its breaking point.

Soon, a slew of newspaper articles causes the Indiana State Election Board to doubt her credibility. Jhonni must fight to maintain her reputation, keep the small farming community together, and find the murderer at large— all while demons from her own past threaten to crush her. Can she find the killer and mend her battered spirit before it' s too late?

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Four more upcoming books that I'm eager to try...one for each month - December through March...

I love sharing upcoming books that have caught my eye.  It's a reminder to me that I want to watch for them in the 'on order' section of the library or in the bookstore.  Here's four that will publish in December, January, February and March.  Let me know if they sound good to you.  I'm definitely 'waiting' on all four of them.  

Death In The Dark Woods by Annelise Ryan - published yesterday, December 12th - this is #2 in the author's 'Monster Hunter' mystery series.

Business has been booming since Morgan Carter solved the case of the monster living in Lake Michigan. The Odds and Ends bookstore is thriving, of course, but Morgan is most excited by the doors that were opened for her as a cryptid hunter. 

Recently, there have been numerous sightings of a Bigfoot-type creature in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest area of Bayfield County, Wisconsin. After a man is found dead from a vicious throat injury in the forest, the conservation warden asks Morgan to investigate. 

When Morgan and her dog, Newt, go there to investigate, they uncover a trail of lies, deception, and murder. It seems a mysterious creature is indeed living in the forest, and Morgan might be its next target.


Midnight by Amy McCulloch - publishes January 2, 2024


Olivia Campbell has always dreamed of spending a sunlit night on the frigid Antarctic continent. But as an actuary who assesses risk for a living, she never imagined she would have the chance. So when her career takes an unexpected detour, and her boyfriend—a high-powered art dealer with a taste for the finer things in life—decides to stage an ostentatious, career-making auction on a luxury liner to Antarctica, Olivia is thrilled. That is, until things start to feel a bit strange. In addition to the scores of wealthy patrons and potential buyers, they'll also be traveling alongside a small group of beleaguered employees of Pioneer Adventures—the company responsible for managing the ship—and their charismatic, divisive CEO.

When the first bodies are discovered, it's easy enough for Olivia to write it off as a terrible accident. But as the situation heats up and the temperatures continue to plummet, she begins to wonder whether she might have booked a one-way ticket to her own demise.


The Women by Kristin Hannah - publishes February 6, 2024

Women can be heroes. When twenty-year-old nursing student Frances “Frankie” McGrath hears these words, it is a revelation. Raised in the sun-drenched, idyllic world of Southern California and sheltered by her conservative parents, she has always prided herself on doing the right thing. But in 1965, the world is changing, and she suddenly dares to imagine a different future for herself. When her brother ships out to serve in Vietnam, she joins the Army Nurse Corps and follows his path.

As green and inexperienced as the men sent to Vietnam to fight, Frankie is over-whelmed by the chaos and destruction of war. Each day is a gamble of life and death, hope and betrayal; friendships run deep and can be shattered in an instant. In war, she meets—and becomes one of—the lucky, the brave, the broken, and the lost.

But war is just the beginning for Frankie and her veteran friends. The real battle lies in coming home to a changed and divided America, to angry protesters, and to a country that wants to forget Vietnam.

The Women is the story of one woman gone to war, but it shines a light on all women who put themselves in harm’s way and whose sacrifice and commitment to their country has too often been forgotten. A novel about deep friendships and bold patriotism, The Women is a richly drawn story with a memorable heroine whose idealism and courage under fire will come to define an era.


The Mystery Writer by Sulari Gentill - publishes March 19, 2024

When Theodosia Benton abandons her career path as an attorney and shows up on her brother's doorstep with two suitcases and an unfinished novel, she expects to face a few challenges. Will her brother support her ambition or send her back to finish her degree? What will her parents say when they learn of her decision? Does she even have what it takes to be a successful writer?

What Theo never expects is to be drawn into a hidden literary world in which identity is something that can be lost and remade for the sake of an audience. When her mentor, a highly successful author, is brutally murdered, Theo wants the killer to be found and justice to be served. Then the police begin looking at her brother, Gus, as their prime suspect, and Theo does the unthinkable in order to protect him. But the writer has left a trail, a thread out of the labyrinth in the form of a story. Gus finds that thread and follows it, and in his attempt to save his sister he inadvertently threatens the foundations of the labyrinth itself. To protect the carefully constructed narrative, Theo Benton, and everyone looking for her, will have to die. 

USA Today bestselling author Sulari Gentill takes readers on a rollercoaster ride in The Mystery Writer, a literary thriller that turns the world of books and authors upside down and where a writer's voice is a thing to be controlled and weaponized, to the peril of everyone who loves a good story.


Please share any good books that you are waiting on.  I'd love to hear.

Monday, December 11, 2023

The Twelve Days Of Murder by Andreina Cordani

The Twelve Days Of Murder by Andreina Cordani

First Paragraph:

You Are Invited to a Murder

Charley has been holding the heavy, cream-coloured invitation card for four hours now, running her fingers over the glossy, embossed calligraphy.  The details:  time and place of killing, dress code, RSVP.  The black edges of the invitation are becoming worn away by the constant stroking of her fingertips.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book!  OK, in the last few days many are sharing their 'Christmas' and 'Holiday' reads and I've been loving hearing about them.  What does Kay end up enjoying?  A 'nice' Christmas murder story.  Ha!  I've shared that my reading has been distracted and up and down.  Well, I did a read/listen of this book, having checked the print copy out from my 'new' library.  And I just couldn't put it down.  It reminded me a bit of some other holiday mysteries and also of the 'group stranded' theme that is very popular these days.  Shades of Agatha Christie, but a bit more gruesome.  Twists and turns galore.  The audio was narrated by Ella Lynch and I'm not sure I've heard her before, but she was great.  Had the various Scottish/British accents down pat.  It was cold and snowy and creepy.  Lots of fun.  This is Andreina Cordani's first adult book - think she has written some YA books in the past.  In any case, I'll be watching for what she writes next.  Did I guess the outcome?  Not exactly.  Now, off to find another good read.


Twelve years ago, eight friends ran an exclusive group at university: the Masquerade Murder Society. The mysteries they solved may have been grisly, and brilliantly staged, but they were always fictional—until their final Christmas Masquerade, when one of the group disappeared, never to be seen again.

Now our privileged young cast of old university friends are summoned to the depths of Scotland for a Christmas-themed masquerade party. But all are hiding something deep below the surface that could make or break their careers.

When they arrive, each is assigned a new identity themed around the Twelve Days of Christmas—they become Lady Partridge or Mr. Gold, Lord Leapworth or Doctor Swan. The game begins, and it feels just like old times—until the next morning, when Lady Partridge is found hanging, dead, from a pear tree.

It quickly becomes clear that in this game the murder will be all too real, and the story is bringing long-hidden secrets to the surface. If the group hopes to win the game and survive until Christmas morning, they will need to face the truth about their history together and who they have become—and what really happened on that fateful night twelve years before.

Friday, December 8, 2023

A new library to explore, some Christmas shopping and planning, and connecting again with a much-missed Mystery Book Group...


Here's a small update on what I've been up to in the last week or two.  First of all, I've been exploring and enjoying visiting the 'new-to-me' library in my area.  I took a quick picture yesterday after I ran in and picked up a couple of holds that were available.  This is a nice library that includes a small cafe (the baked goods look yummy - haven't tried them yet!), a spacious teen area and a separate children's area - all these on the first floor as well as the new book section and a bunch of computers for the public.  The second floor has the adult books and several areas to sit.  It also includes a 'Friends of the Library' bookstore that is open all the hours that the library is open.  I haven't joined the 'Friends' group as yet, nor have I made a decision about volunteering at this library.  I'm leaving that until next year.  However, I give a nice thumbs-up to the Georgetown Public Library.  

We've been doing some shopping and planning for Christmas as well.  We will be hosting our local family members on Christmas Day and we'll enjoy a nice meal together and then do some gift exchanging.  What's a bit different is how we will do the gifts.  Everyone is now 'grown' and so we've decided not to draw names and instead try a 'White Elephant' kind of thing - with whoever decides to participate getting the chance to 'steal' gifts.  We'll see how it goes.  My husband and I are providing a few extra selections and we've said that gift cards qualify, there will be a limit on how much to spend, and you don't have to join in if you don't wish to.  I had fun shopping for some 'random' gifts.  Again, we'll see how it plays out.  Ha!

Lastly, I was very pleased to be able to attend the December meeting of the Mystery Book Group that I was part of here in the Austin area for so many years.  This meeting did not have a specific book to read, but everyone brought their 'best of' lists, a snack to share if they wished, and there was also a table of books that people we ready to let go of.  I was so happy to see several that had been long-time members and I also got to meet new people.  The group is going well and Gayle, who is now the leader/moderator, is doing a wonderful job of keeping things rolling along.  The group will be reading Simone St. James' book, The Book of Cold Cases, for January.  I read it a while back, but I am going to read it again to refresh my memory.  Have you read that one?  

I'll be back next week with a few more 'I'm anticipating' books to be published in the December-March period.  Have a good weekend!  

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Some pictures from our trip to Tucson in late October....taken on my walks

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that we had gone to Tucson, Arizona in late October.  My husband had a work conference that he was attending and then we also decided to stay a couple of extra days after that for a short vacation - golf included, of course.  Ha! 

I didn't do much on this trip except walk around the resort property, stop by the Starbucks in the lobby for a drink and maybe a piece of pumpkin bread, watch people from the little corner of the huge lobby area that I found, and read 3-1/2 books.  After all the house selling, buying, moving, etc., it was exactly the time I needed to relax.  I'll leave you with a few pictures I took on my walks.  As you can see, some hills, lots of cactus, and some pretty blooms.  Deep breaths and relax!!


Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving, 2023!!


Wishing each person a day of 'peace, love, and joy'!  If you are celebrating Thanksgiving, Happy Thanksgiving, 2023! 

Monday, November 20, 2023

Here's how I encourage myself to 'push' my walking goals...rereading a favorite mystery series...hello, Cormoran Strike!

Now that we are a bit settled in our new location, I've been working on my 'health' journey again.  You know, I think I've finally realized that I'll never get to stop working on those goals and pursuits.  Yes, I should know that, but sometimes I feel like I think 'one day I'll reach all my goals and get to stop' - ha!  Probably not.  Anyway, the last few years have seen me mostly stabilize in the weight department.  Not a bad thing, but I had put back on some pounds and really, really want to get back to where I left off at my lowest point with Weight Watchers.  I was only about 12 pounds from the goal that my doctor and I  set.  So, back to in-person meetings (which were not available in Kerrville) and being a little more strict with my food choices.  Not crazy restrictive, but more thoughtful.  

Another thing I've continue to do, but not as regularly or for the longer distances is my daily walk.  I had really 'fallen off the wagon' in the last few months in that regard.  Yes, we've been busy and I was not sitting and doing nothing.  However, the heat this summer, the fact that Kerrville did not have an indoor walking track of any kind, and just making too many excuses meant that I am having to 'push' myself to build up my walks to the level they were before we moved.  I used to do about 3 miles most days (my goal was actually 3.1 miles or a 5K).  And that became my usual walk.  I attended yoga class twice a week and enjoyed that very much.  No yoga (or hardly any) for the last few years and walking only about a mile or so.  I am done with that.  Back to an indoor walking track and finding out that my previous yoga class and teacher are available again - yea!  Planning on starting back with the yoga in the new year.

I'm almost up to 2 miles walking and I have given myself the 'treat' of listening to a favorite mystery series for the second time - the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling).  There are 7 books in the series now and they are mostly very long.  I love the narrator's voice - perfect for this series - Robert Glennister.  I've now finished the first book, The Cuckoo's Calling, and am heading right into #2 - The Silkworm.  I used this incentive one time before and listened to all the J.D. Robb books.  Loved it.  I know - I'm a little weird, but whatever works, right?  Especially since the holiday season is upon us.  I'm not going to be too strict with my eating, I am going to be mindful.  So, below you will see my 'happy place'.  Take care and have a good week!


Thursday, November 16, 2023

Four upcoming books that I'm eager to read...one for each month including November

I want to share four to-be-published books that I'm wishing for in upcoming weeks.  One for each month, including this one.  I'm hoping to read more books than these, but my reading life has to have goals, right?  Ha!  I've read the first book by Nita Prose, read the two standalones that Stacy Willingham has written, and read the first book in Kelley Armstrong's Haven Rock series.  Jess Armstrong's book is a debut.  Fun indeed.  Here's the scoop:

The Mystery Guest by Nina Prose - publishes November 28th

Molly Gray is not like anyone else. With her flair for cleaning and proper etiquette, she has risen through the ranks of the glorious five-star Regency Grand Hotel to become the esteemed Head Maid. But just as her life reaches a pinnacle state of perfection, her world is turned upside down when J. D. Grimthorpe, the world-renowned mystery author, drops dead—very dead—on the hotel’s tearoom floor.

 When Detective Stark, Molly’s old foe, investigates the author’s unexpected demise, it becomes clear that this death was murder most foul. Suspects abound, and everyone wants to know: Who killed J. D. Grimthorpe? Was it Lily, the new Maid-in-Training? Or was it Serena, the author’s secretary? Could Mr. Preston, the hotel’s beloved doorman, be hiding something? And is Molly really as innocent as she seems?

 As the high-profile death threatens the hotel’s pristine reputation, Molly knows she alone holds the key to unlocking the killer’s identity. But that key is buried deep in her past, as long ago, she knew J. D. Grimthorpe. Molly begins to comb her memory for clues, revisiting her childhood and the mysterious Grimthorpe mansion where she and her dearly departed Gran once worked side by side. With the entire hotel under investigation, Molly must solve the mystery posthaste. Because if there’s one thing she knows for sure, it’s that secrets don’t stay buried forever.


The Curse of Penryth Hall by Jess Armstrong - publishes December 5th

After the Great War, American heiress Ruby Vaughn made a life for herself running a rare bookstore alongside her octogenarian employer and house mate in Exeter. She’s always avoided dwelling on the past, even before the war, but it always has a way of finding her. When Ruby is forced to deliver a box of books to a folk healer living deep in the Cornish countryside, she is brought back to the one place she swore she’d never return. A more sensible soul would have delivered the package and left without rehashing old wounds. But no one has ever accused Ruby of being sensible. Thus begins her visit to Penryth Hall.

A foreboding fortress, Penryth Hall is home to Ruby’s once dearest friend, Tamsyn, and her husband, Sir Edward Chenowyth. It’s an unsettling place, and after a more unsettling evening, Ruby is eager to depart. But her plans change when Penryth’s bells ring for the first time in thirty years. Edward is dead; he met a gruesome end in the orchard, and with his death brings whispers of a returned curse. It also brings Ruan Kivell, the person whose books brought her to Cornwall, the one the locals call a Pellar, the man they believe can break the curse. Ruby doesn’t believe in curses—or Pellars—but this is Cornwall and to these villagers the curse is anything but lore, and they believe it will soon claim its next victim: Tamsyn.

To protect her friend, Ruby must work alongside the Pellar to find out what really happened in the orchard that night.


Only If You're Lucky by Stacy Willingham - publishes January 16th

Lucy Sharpe is larger than life. Magnetic, addictive. Bold and dangerous. Especially for Margot, who meets Lucy at the end of their freshman year at a liberal arts college in South Carolina. Margot is the shy one, the careful one, always the sidekick and never the center of attention. But when Lucy singles her out at the end of the year, a year Margot spent studying and playing it safe, and asks her to room together, something in Margot can't say no—something daring, or starved, or maybe even envious.

And so Margot finds herself living in an off-campus house with three other girls, Lucy, the ringleader; Sloane, the sarcastic one; and Nicole, the nice one, the three of them opposites but also deeply intertwined. It's a year that finds Margot finally coming out of the shell she's been in since the end of high school, when her best friend Eliza died three weeks after graduation. Margot and Lucy have become the closest of friends, but by the middle of their sophomore year, one of the fraternity boys from the house next door has been brutally murdered... and Lucy Sharpe is missing without a trace.


The Boy Who Cried Bear by Kelley Armstrong - publishes February 20th

Haven’s Rock is a well-hidden town surrounded by forest. And it’s supposed to be, being that it’s a refuge for those who need to disappear. Detective Casey Duncan and her husband, Sheriff Eric Dalton already feel at home in their new town, which reminds them of where they first met in Rockton. And while they know how to navigate the woods and its various dangers, other residents don’t. Which is why people aren't allowed to wander off alone.

When Max, the town’s youngest resident—taught to track animals by Eric—fears a bear is stalking a hiking party, alarms are raised. Even stranger, the ten-year-old swears the bear had human eyes. Casey and Eric know the dangers a bear can present, so they’re taking it seriously. But odd occurrences are happening all around them, and when a dead body turns up, they’re not sure what they’re up against.


Do any of these appeal to you?  Do tell...

Monday, November 13, 2023

Finally, an update...just before the holidays!


Hello my book friends!  How are you all and how has your fall been so far?  Have those that hadn't had much rain gotten some moisture and visa versa?  And how is your reading life progressing?  Holiday time is right around the corner.  Are you ready?  

I guess I should answer my own questions.  Well, I know I've been away for a bunch of this year and haven't posted much.  Sorry about that.  The last few months have been extremely busy for us.  I didn't share this before, but we have been moving back to the Austin area and are finally in our new home and mostly settled.  This is a decision that we had been considering and struggling with for a good part of this year.  It has mostly been due to some family issues and needs.  My husband's mother and stepdad are getting much older and we felt like we were just a little too far away to be helpful when the time comes that they will need more assistance.  So, we finished our renovation of our house in Kerrville, sold it, and bought a new-to-us house not far from the area that we moved from 2-1/2 years ago.  And we are settling in and are happy with our new place.  I share a picture above showing that some things never change when we relocate - there are always deer around.  Ha!  I took that picture this morning from our back porch.  We've laughed about new neighbors here telling us about deer and had we ever seen deer, etc., etc.  Yes, we've seen deer.  They have been frequent visitors to our last three houses and this makes #4.  We are always welcomed by these creatures.  

OK, next question - my reading life.  Well, it has been a bit or more than a bit slow in the last few months.  However, I have been very busy.  I suspect I will get more relaxed and able to concentrate on reading or listening to audiobooks in days to come.  I am back walking at an indoor track and hope to be back to yoga before long.  I'm also planning to return to the mystery book group that I loved so much when we lived here before.  And then there will be new activities I'm sure.  We'll see what the new year will bring.  

I'll also have a post about a recent trip we took to Tucson.  Yes, we moved into our new house and left just a few days later for a road trip to Arizona.  My husband had a work conference there and it had been scheduled long before we decided to relocate.  I tagged along and basically did nothing but walk around the hotel/resort area and read 3-1/2 books while there.  I've got some pictures to share of what I saw on my walks.  Otherwise, the holidays are coming and we will be hosting family again for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We look forward to that.  I'll try to share some upcoming books I'm looking forward to or something like that later in the week.  And try to get around to your blogs and do some commenting.  Know that you've been missed and not forgotten.  I look forward to talking books and life again with all of you!  Take care!

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Taking an 'official' blog break for a few weeks....

Hey book friends!  Hope you are all doing well and not melting in the summer heat like we have been here in Texas.  Wow, it's been hot here for a long, long time.  Maybe we'll have a cooler fall.  Speaking of fall, wanted to let everyone know that I am fine, but I've decided to take an official break for a few more weeks.  I'll try to be back here talking about books in a few weeks - maybe October or so.  Take care and I'll be around again before long.  Happy reading!  

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

It's July and we've been on a lovely vacation to Oregon...

Hello book friends!  Hope each of you are doing well and enjoying your summer.  Has it been hot where you are?  It certainly has been in Central Texas.  Whew!  We had August-type temps in June and they continue for the most part in July.  Here's hoping that August might revert back to the June-like temps we missed.  Oh, and a little rain would be helpful.

We've been on a lovely vacation to Coastal Oregon and had a great time.  We left Texas at 107 degrees and arrived at Bandon, Oregon to a range of low 50's to low 60's.  Yes, we took jackets because it did feel a little brisk for a bit.  The wind was up as well.  My husband loved the golf and I loved the walking trails.  The picture above is what was visible behind our room and, yes, I walked that trail you see there.

I took this picture on the walking trail in the woods at Bandon Dunes and I thought it was a curious shot.  Somehow it caught my eye.  Don't know if that tree was struck by lightning or what but it was odd.

There is a labyrinth in those woods that I've shown before a few years ago.  I did walk that labyrinth and here is a picture I took from the middle.  Have you ever walked a labyrinth?  What I will tell you is that the paths may not go just as you think.  Round and round, but also back and forth.  

This shot was taken further up the coast of Oregon in Depoe Bay.  We stopped for lunch and to see if we could spot a whale (we didn't, but we did see a seal).  Les, I bet you recognize this spot.

One last picture from my walking in Gleneden Beach where Salishan is located.  It was a misty, foggy morning and quite beautiful.  As I said, cool temps and not quite as windy here.  Very peaceful.  A great time was had by both of us.  And then we came back to the heat.  Ah well.  It's summer.  This is Texas.  What I will say is that people are definitely travelling again and the airports and flights were jammed.  I don't much like flying anymore.  Too many people!

My reading has been going well, but not too many books read.  I have picked up and read the first two books in C.J. Box's Joe Pickett series.  I also read the first book in Paul Doiron's Mike Bowditch series.  Both of these have game warden protagonist's that also solve crimes.  We watched the first season of the TV adaptation about Joe Pickett.  My husband has read and kept up with both of these series, so I finally got around to trying them.  I'll continue with both I think.  I've reread a couple of books, but I'm just taking my time and going the way the mood strikes.  Oh, I also read the latest Lady Sherlock book by Sherry Thomas and enjoyed that one.  

We have trip planned to New Mexico in August and will be going to Austin for a few days next week to see family and for a couple of other appointments.  Just trying to relax and enjoy the summer of 2023.  Hope you do as well.  I'll check back around in a few weeks and appreciate those of you who still remember that I'm here!  Take care!

Friday, June 9, 2023

Hello June...and another four books I'm looking forward to...

Hi book friends!  Hope you are all doing well and enjoying these early days of summer.  Our area has been surprisingly cool for temps and damp with some moisture.  Loving it!  However, I think we're about at the end of these lovely things.  Each morning when I go out to walk, I try to remember to be grateful for lots of things.  Those include temps in the 60's (in June!!!) and fresh air because it might have rained a bit overnight.  

I've been having a good time catching up on a few mystery series that I had fallen a bit behind on.  Those include J.D. Robb's Eve/Roarke books and also Ann Cleeves' Vera series.  I have been attending a few book group meetings at our library, but (whispering) I haven't been reading the books.  Just attending the discussions.  I always have a good time regardless, though I do think some consider that a bit odd (the not reading the book part).  Ha!  It's always great to talk about books, right?  We were able to visit family in Austin over Memorial Day weekend and had a good time and our daughter and son-in-law have recently been here to see us.  We have vacations upcoming and I tried a yoga class here that I've been meaning to (enjoyed it a lot).  I also found and went to the closest 'in-person' Weight Watchers meeting to my area.  I did have to drive 30+ miles, but it was nice to get encouragement on my health journey from members and also to give it in return.  Maybe life is getting back to a new 'normal'.

I want to share four more books that I'm 'waiting on'.  Two will be published in August and two in September.  They are all on my radar and I'm eagerly anticipating them!  Here's the scoop:

Mrs. Porter Calling by A.J. Pearce

From the author of the bestselling “jaunty, heartbreaking winner” (People) Dear Mrs. Bird comes a charming and irresistible novel featuring plucky aspiring journalist Emmy Lake as she navigates life, love, and friendship in London during World War II.

London, April 1943. A little over a year since she married Captain Charles Mayhew and he went away to war, Emmy Lake is now in charge of “Yours Cheerfully,” the hugely popular advice column in Woman’s Friend magazine. Cheered on by her best friend Bunty, Emmy is dedicated to helping readers face the increasing challenges brought about by over three years of war. The postbags are full and Woman’s Friend is thriving.

But Emmy’s world is turned upside down when glamorous socialite, the Honorable Mrs. Cressida Porter, becomes the new publisher of the magazine, and wants to change everything the readers love. Aided by Mrs. Pye, a Paris-obsessed fashion editor with delusions of grandeur, and Small Winston, the grumpiest dog in London, Mrs. Porter fills the pages with expensive clothes and frivolous articles about her friends. Worst of all, she announces that she is cutting the “Yours Cheerfully” column and her vision for the publication’s future seems dire. With the stakes higher than ever, Emmy and her friends must find a way to save the magazine that they love.

Heartwarming, funny, and joyfully uplifting, the third novel in the Emmy Lake Chronicles is a moving tribute to friendship and overcoming adversity.


After That Night by Karin Slaughter

Will Trent and Sara Linton are back in an electrifying thriller featuring GBI investigator Will Trent and medical examiner Sara Linton from New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter.

After that night, everything changed . . .

Fifteen years ago, Sara Linton’s life changed forever when a celebratory night out ended in a violent attack that tore her world apart. Since then, Sara has remade her life. A successful doctor, engaged to a man she loves, she has finally managed to leave the past behind her.

Until one evening, on call in the ER, everything changes. Sara battles to save a broken young woman who’s been brutally attacked. But as the investigation progresses, led by GBI Special Agent Will Trent, it becomes clear that Dani Cooper’s assault is uncannily linked to Sara’s.

And the past isn’t going to stay buried forever . . .


The Raging Storm by Ann Cleeves

Ann Cleeves—New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows—returns with The Raging Storm, the extraordinary third installment in the Matthew Venn series.

Fierce winds, dark secrets, deadly intentions.

When Jem Rosco—sailor, adventurer, and legend—blows into town in the middle of an autumn gale, the residents of Greystone, Devon, are delighted to have a celebrity in their midst. But just as abruptly as he arrived, Rosco disappears again, and soon his lifeless body is discovered in a dinghy, anchored off Scully Cove, a place with legends of its own.

This is an uncomfortable case for Detective Inspector Matthew Venn. Greystone is a place he visited as a child, a community he parted ways with. Superstition and rumor mix with fact as another body is found, and Venn finds his judgment clouded.

As the winds howl, and Venn and his team investigate, he realizes that no one, including himself, is safe from Scully Cove’s storm of dark secrets.


The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith

The brand new installment in the highly acclaimed international bestselling series, featuring Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott, written by Robert Galbraith, a pseudonym of J.K. Rowling.

(And, oddly enough, that is all the info I can find about this new Cormoran Strike book.  I think it might not be as long as the previous book, The Ink Black Heart, but it still runs over 900 pages.  So, no description and no cover.  Surprises to come!)


Hope this will give you some books to consider for August and September.  I'll be around again at some point to tell of what I've been reading or what I plan to read.  Enjoy your June!!

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Four books coming out this summer that I'm looking forward to reading...

Do many of you remember that weekly event entitled 'Waiting On Wednesday'?  I don't think it's available any more except for bloggers who do their own weekly post.  Tina from Tina Says... still posts her picks each week and I always watch for the book she shares.  There may be more.  I used to share books through that as well, but I haven't done it for quite a while.  Anyway, I have several books being published this summer that I'm 'waiting on..'.  Here are four of them (and I reserve the right to share more in upcoming days - ha!).

The first two books are coming out on June 20th and Ruth Ware pens one and Sarah Stewart Taylor the second.  The second set of books will be published on July 11th and the authors are Linda Castillo and Carol Goodman.  Here's the scoop on all four:

Zero Days by Ruth Ware

Hired by companies to break into buildings and hack security systems, Jack and her husband Gabe are the best penetration specialists in the business. But after a routine assignment goes horribly wrong, Jack arrives home to find her husband dead. To add to her horror, the police are closing in on their only suspect – her.

On the run and out of options, Jack must decide who she can trust and how far she’s prepared to go. Can she figure out the truth, before her pursuers find her?

International bestseller Ruth Ware returns with this adrenaline-fueled thriller about a woman in a race against time to clear her name and find her husband’s killer.


A Stolen Child by Sarah Stewart Taylor - #4 in the Maggie D'arcy series

After months of training, former Long Island homicide detective Maggie D’arcy is now officially a Garda. She’s finally settling into life in Ireland and so is her teenage daughter, Lilly. Maggie may not be a detective yet, but she’s happy with her community policing assignment in Dublin's Portobello neighborhood.  When she and her partner find former model and reality tv star Jade Elliott murdered—days after responding to a possible domestic violence disturbance at her apartment — they also discover Jade's toddler daughter missing. Amidst a nationwide manhunt, Maggie and her colleagues must look deep into Jade’s life—both personal and professional—to find a ruthless killer.


An Evil Heart by Linda Castillo - #15 in the Kate Burkholder series

On a crisp autumn day in Painters Mill, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder responds to a disturbing call. An Amish man has been killed with a crossbow and abandoned on a dirt road. Aden Karn was only twenty years old. Who would commit such a heinous crime against a young man whose life was just beginning?

From an upstanding Amish family, Karn was well liked and looking forward to getting married. But as Kate delves into his past, she hears whispers about a darker side. What if Aden Karn wasn’t the wholesome young man everyone admired? Sensing an unspeakable secret no one will broach, Kate pursues every lead with a vengeance. All the while, her own wedding to Tomasetti draws near…

The case spirals out of control when an Amish woman comes forward with a horrific story that pits Kate against a dangerous and unexpected opponent. When the truth is uncovered, Kate comes face to face with the terrible consequences of a life lived in all the wrong places.


The Bones Of The Story by Carol Goodman

The twisty locked-room mystery from two-time Mary Higgins Clark Award–winning author Carol Goodman, about a group of former classmates trapped on their college campus—with a murderer among them.

It’s been twenty-five years since the shocking disappearance of a female student and the distinguished Creative Writing professor who died while searching for her. The Briarwood College community has never forgotten the double tragedy. Now, the college President is bringing together faculty, donors, and alumni to honor the victims from all those years ago.

On a cold December weekend after the fall semester has ended, guests gather on the vacant campus for the commemoratory event. But as a storm descends, people begin to depart, leaving a group of alumni who were the last ones taught by the esteemed professor. Recriminations and old rivalries flare as they recall the writing projects they shared as classmates, including chilling horror stories they each wrote about their greatest fears.

When an alumna dies in a shockingly similar way to the story she wrote, and then another succumbs to a similar fate, they realize someone has decided at long last to avenge the crimes of the past. Will the secret of what they did twenty-five years ago be revealed? Will any of them be alive at the end of the weekend to find out?


I think I've read almost all the books that each of these four authors have written.  They are each on my 'excited to see a new book' list.  Will you be trying any of these when they come out?  And do you have other authors with new books to come that I should check out?  Let me know!

Saturday, May 13, 2023

An early 'Happy Mother's Day' to everyone and, no, I haven't disappeared completely...ha!


I'm stopping by for a minute to wish everyone out there 'HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!'  My own mother, greatly loved, greatly missed, has been gone for almost 13 years.  However, I am still so very grateful for the love, kindness, and caring she shared with me - her oldest adopted daughter.  She was truly the best!

No, I've not disappeared completely and, yes, I've been reading your posts and thoughts even though my commenting has been almost nil.  Sorry about that.  I seem to go through these periods of not feeling 'inspired' or whatever about keeping up with this blog.  I don't seem to be able to let it go, however.  Do you think that blogging is winding down?  I heard a comment on a podcast recently that said that 'blogging' was not something that younger people wanted to deal with or keep up with.  Quicker things that take less time are more in favor or so it was said.  Ah well.  I notice that several of us post less than we did, but I think for me, blogging 'seasons' come and go.  What do you think?  Are we 'winding down'?  

What's going on with me?  Well, today, I am helping out with and attending a 'mystery writers panel' at my local library.  Three mystery authors will be talking to us and to each other about their craft of writing mysteries.  I will definitely be back next week at some point to share a few pictures and tell about what they talked about.  The three authors are Skye Alexander (who lives here in Kerrville), Laura Oles (from Austin), and K.P. Gresham (also from Austin).  More to come on this!

I won't make this post too long today and that way I'll have more to share in upcoming posts.  However, I'm grateful for over an inch of rain we got last night.  We can definitely use it!  Also, almost all our house renovation is completed and we were able to have family come a couple of weeks ago to take a tour and share our new area.  That was a lot of fun.  Our daughter and son-in-law came last weekend and we had a great time with them.  We've got a couple of trips planned for summer and one planned in the fall.  Life goes on and it's been pretty good lately.  I'll talk more about reading and book groups later.  

Hope everyone has a good weekend!!  See you soon!

Saturday, March 4, 2023

A glimpse of spring and three debut books I've read lately...


Hello book friends!  Hope you are all well and already enjoying or looking forward to spring.  I share a picture above of the first glimpse of spring in our yard.  Lovely, right?  The wildflowers are not quite out yet, but I'm hoping for a good season this year.  I did have someone say they had seen a few bluebonnets already, but if we don't get more rain I'm afraid this will be a sparse season yet again.  Come on, rain!  

In my reading life, I've recently read three books that were all debut novels.  They are not alike, but I was pleased with all three.  Oh, and I also attended the historical fiction book group here, though I hadn't read the book.  Enjoyed that anyway and getting to see that group again.  My book group attendance has been a bit hit and miss in the last few months.  The book discussed was The Last Train To Key West by Chanel Cleeton.  Have you read that one?  Most seemed to really like it.  The books I read are:

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges - Did you ever have a doll house with little furnishings as a child?  I did and I liked it a lot.  Mine wasn't anything fancy, but I enjoyed moving the parts around and playing with it.  In this book, Myra Malone lives in the mountains of Arizona and she writes a blog with stories about the little mansion that was given to her by her step-grandmother when she was a little girl.  Her grandmother had furnishings for the 'mansion' and also taught Myra how to create new and different types of rooms and settings.  Across the country, Alex Rakes is part of a family of custom furniture sellers and he hears about Myra's blog and stories, checks them out, and is shocked to recognize the 'mansion' setting and some of the furniture.  He writes to Myra and the story goes from there.  There is more than a bit of magic realism in this book and I thought it was fun.

The next book I opened was The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner.  This book is the March selection for the Austin Mystery Book Group that I keep up with.  I must say that Gayle is doing a great job of bringing new book selections to this group.  Set in both the late 18th century and also the present day, The Lost Apothecary tells the story of a woman named Nella who 'helps' women out of predicaments.  Nella's mother was also an apothecary that helped women, but Nella has added to the definition of 'helping' by including poisons in her stock of items.  In this time period, women often had no recourse for life situations with men who abused them or their children.  Nella can 'help'.  The present day story is about Caroline who has come to London for her 10th anniversary, but she's left her husband at home in the US.  Right before the trip, she is shocked to find out something awful about him and she takes their planned trip on her own.  Caroline finds an item that will relate back to Nella and her time and she goes on a quest to solve the 'lost apothecary' mystery.  I did like this book, though I wouldn't necessarily have made some of the choices that Nella did.  She had her reasons.  I'm also not a big fan of the time period - somehow, I like the late 19th century better.  However, I was quite absorbed in the story.  Sarah Penner has a new book coming out next week called The London Seance Society.  I hope to read that one too.

The third debut book I read was another 'cold' one - City Under One Roof by Iris Yamashita.  This book was more of a 'normal' mystery than the other two.  Set in Alaska, in Point Mettier, based in part on Whittier, a town that is approached by trains and cars through a 2.5 mile tunnel.  This is the longest highway tunnel in North America and it's one lane!  A little scary to think about.  All the residents of Point Mettier live in a condo/apartment complex of several stories - 'under one roof'.  It had been a military complex in the past, but an earthquake in 1964 caused vast damage and the military left the area.  Our story starts with a teenage girl finding a hand and a foot washed up on the shore and an Anchorage detective named Cara comes to investigate.  Cara has her own issues and hidden reasons for being there, but she works with the Point Mettier Police to identify the body parts.  Lots of people living there have things to hide (that part of the story almost reminded me of the Rockton books that I talked about recently) and there are criminals that enter the story.  On a cheerful note, there is a 'pet' moose named Denny.  Ha!  The author comes out of a screenwriting background and I think that shows a bit, but it didn't take away from the story.  I liked it.

Hope this post wasn't too, too long.  I'd love to know if any of these appeal to you.  And I'll be back soon to talk about what I'm reading.  Have a good weekend!  

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Murder At Haven's Rock by Kelley Armstrong

Murder At Haven's Rock by Kelley Armstrong


Haven’s Rock, Yukon. Population: 0

Deep in the Yukon wilderness, a town is being built. A place for people to disappear, a fresh start from a life on the run. Haven’s Rock isn’t the first town of this kind, something detective Casey Duncan and her husband, Sheriff Eric Dalton, know first-hand. They met in the original town of Rockton. But greed and deception led the couple to financing a new refuge for those in need. This time around, they get to decide which applicants are approved for residency.

There’s only one rule in Haven’s Rock: stay out of the forest. When two of the town's construction crew members break it and go missing, Casey and Eric are called in ahead of schedule to track them down. When a body is discovered, well-hidden with evidence of foul play, Casey and Eric must find out what happened to the dead woman, and locate those still missing. The longer Casey and Eric don’t know what happened, the more danger everyone is in.

My Thoughts:

After having enjoyed all of Kelley Armstrong's Rockton series (7 of them), I was delighted first to find out that she was taking those characters and doing another series and, secondly, happy to know that I am going to like the spin-off.  The Rockton books were very well done, or that was my opinion, and this reader got very fond of most of the people who lived in the 'hidden' town.  Most of the people - not all were good.  In any case, Casey Duncan, detective, and her now-husband, Eric Dalton, sheriff, are building a new town and calling it Haven's Rock.  I enjoyed reconnecting with both of them and a few other characters from Rockton.  Enjoyed meeting a few new people that might or might not be staying around in Haven's Rock.  

I do think that this book was definitely setting up the new town, new way of handling things (mostly), and telling us what life might be like here as we are still in the Yukon and still trying to be hidden.  There were people who eventually reappeared, but I'll be glad to see more familiar faces in the next book.  There were hints of things to come and also crimes to solve in this book.  Hoping that the next 'Haven's Rock' book will be coming in 2024.  Oh, I don't think you have to read the Rockton books first.  You could start here as a lot of things are mentioned that happened before.  However, for the best experience, start with City of the Lost and see what you think.  Have you 'visited' Rockton yet?

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

What The Walls Know by Skye Alexander

What The Walls Know by Skye Alexander

First Paragraph:

'Are you sure Dracula doesn't live here?' Melody asked as they approached Halcyon Castle.  The pretty blond musician peered nervously out the window of Sidney's Buick, like a child watching a horror movie through her fingers.

My Thoughts:

I very much enjoyed this second book in Skye Alexander's Lizzie Crane series.  The time period is again the 'Roaring '20's' and the protagonist, Lizzie, and her musical group, The Troubadours, have been hired to provide music and entertainment for the 50th birthday celebration of Duncan Fox, owner of Halcyon Castle.  It's the end of October and friends and family of Duncan Fox have been invited to celebrate in a variety of ways, as many of them, including the host, are somehow connected with occult practices.  There is an astrologer, a tarot card reader, and even a man who dresses like a wizard.  Lizzie and her friends are surprised and a bit 'spooked' by the things they see.  And on the first night, a woman dies and our mystery begins.

This book had a lot more Gothic feel to it, not only because of the time of the year, but also the setting, the descriptions of the characters, and also some of the 'spooky' activities that go on at this 'castle'.  Remember, it's the '20's and Prohibition is in full swing, but it's also the time that drugs that had been used for various ailments were starting to be made illegal, like heroin.  Lizzie is curious about a lot of the things that happen and she and her friends are once again in the midst of a crime that needs to be solved.  I will say that Lizzie is the sleuth and the police, while part of the story, are not as 'on the scene' all the time.  Lots of mentions of popular music and other things contemporary to the time.  The author is a good researcher and she shares her finds with us.  As I said, I enjoyed this one a lot and know that #3 in the series will be on the way later this year.  Skye shared a guest post here on my blog last week.  Hope you'll think about reading this series before long!    


In October 1925, four New York City jazz musicians known as The Troubadours travel to the neo-Gothic Halcyon Castle near Gloucester, MA, home of occultist Duncan Fox, to perform a week-long series of entertainments. Halloween is Fox’s fiftieth birthday and he’s invited twelve family members and friends––including an astrologer, a tarot card reader, and a wizard––to celebrate with him.

The activities at Halcyon Castle, however, prove to be anything but what its name suggests. On the first night a Ouija board predicts the death of Fox’s longtime friend Natalie Talbot from a heroin overdose. Her husband insists she never used drugs and suspects foul play.

Lizzie Crane, The Troubadours’ beautiful and talented chanteuse, begins snooping into the unexplained death after local police place her and her colleagues under house arrest. She learns the deceased was a medium, who swindled many grieving people by pretending to communicate with their departed loved ones on the Other Side. Natalie Talbot also made enemies among some of the guests gathered at the castle. Soon the list of suspects grows to include the medium’s lover, her cuckolded husband, and several others with vendettas to settle.

Natalie’s death isn’t the only mystery at Halcyon. The castle also has eerie voices emanating from its walls, a resident ghost, peculiar blinking lights, and secret passageways. As Lizzie pursues her quest into the strange goings-on, she discovers a plot to reap vengeance––and risks her own life in the process.