Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Waiting on Wednesday - The Burning


'Waiting on Wednesday' is an event that I used to take part in weekly.  I'm going to try to do this again in upcoming days and will highlight books that I'm extra excited about.  I was highlighting four books at a time monthly, but I think a weekly event will work better for me. 

This week's highlight is the 16th in one of my favorite series.  Set in Amish country, it features Chief of Police Kate Burkholder.  I have managed to keep up with this series and am delighted that usually each July bring a new book.  This week I'm waiting on:

The Burning

by Linda Castillo

Publication Date:  July 9th

Chief of Police Kate Burkholder investigates a gruesome murder that reveals a little-known chapter of early Amish history in this next riveting installment of the bestselling series by Linda Castillo.

Newlywed Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is awakened by an urgent midnight call summoning her to a suspicious fire in the woods. When she arrives at the scene, she discovers a charred body. According to the coroner, the deceased, an Amish man named Milan Swanz, was chained to a stake and burned alive. It is an appalling and eerily symbolic crime against an upstanding husband and father.

Kate knows all too well that the Amish prefer to handle their problems without interference from the outside world, and no one will speak about the murdered man. From what she’s able to piece together, Swanz led a deeply troubled life and had recently been excommunicated. But if that’s the case, why are the Amish so reluctant to talk about him? Are they protecting the memory of one of their own? Or are they afraid of something they dare not share?

When her own brother is implicated in the case, Kate finds herself not only at odds with the Amish, the world of which she was once a part, but also the English community and her counterparts in law enforcement. The investigation takes a violent turn when Kate’s life is threatened by a mysterious stranger.

To uncover the truth about the death of Milan Swanz, Kate must dive deep into the Anabaptist culture, peering into all the dark corners of its history, only to uncover a secret legacy that shatters everything she thought she knew about the Amish themselves—and her own roots.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

The bluebonnets are coming...not quite yet, but...


Hello book friends!  I know I wrote a few weeks ago how ready I was for spring and wildflowers to come in our area.  And, yes, I still am so ready!  The shot above is from a section of our front yard and the greenery around the rock is mostly bluebonnet plants.  One of the things that drew us to this house when we were house-hunting was a shot of the front and a 'sea of bluebonnets'.  I'm really, really hoping that they will appear again this year.  We shall see.  When (and if) they do, I'll share another shot.  It probably won't be for a few more weeks.

This week was busy, but had some fun things.  I was able to attend what I used to call the 'Afternoon Book Group' at the library where I worked years ago.  It was a group that I attended off and on in past years and the very nice lady that took it over as a volunteer is still leading that group.  They had read Kate Quinn's book, The Alice Network, and I had read that one and discussed it with the 'Mystery Group' a few years ago.  I had also talked about it with the 'Historical Fiction' Book Group I attended in Kerrville.  Anyway, it was nice to see old friends in the group and talk about Kate Quinn's writing with them.  I also recommended Quinn's book, The Rose Code, to the group and others recommended additional books by her.  Have you read any of this author's works?  She has a new one coming out in the summer that I will highlight soon on a 'Waiting on..' post.  

I also went to the eye doctor for a check-up and got a thumbs-up report there.  My prescription has changed very little, so I think I'll wait a bit before thinking about replacing my glasses.  I like all the 'bells and whistles' on them (progressive lens, anti-glare, etc.) and so they tend to be a little pricey.  I have some other annual checks coming in upcoming weeks and I'm finally going to get to visit my new primary care doctor.  Changing doctors is just a major pain in my book.  Sigh.  

Reading is going well, but I've been doing some re-reading and so don't really have a lot to share at this point.  Hope all have a good weekend and a nice end to February next week.  Talk soon.    

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Waiting on Wednesday - The Grey Wolf

'Waiting on Wednesday' is an event that I used to take part in weekly.  I'm going to try to do this again in upcoming days and will highlight books that I'm extra excited about.  I was highlighting four books at a time monthly, but I think a weekly event will work better for me.  The first book I'll mention will not be published until October, but I always get excited for a new Louise Penny book featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.  I will say that a couple of the later books in this series have not been my favorites.  Here's hoping that this one will hit just the right spot with me because I don't plan to ever stop reading this series.  This week I'm waiting on:

The Grey Wolf

by Louise Penny

Publication Date: October 29th

Relentless phone calls interrupt the peace of a warm August morning in Three Pines. Though the tiny Québec village is impossible to find on any map, someone has managed to track down Armand Gamache, head of homicide at the Sûreté, as he sits with his wife in their back garden. Reine-Marie watches with increasing unease as her husband refuses to pick up, though he clearly knows who is on the other end. When he finally answers, his rage shatters the calm of their quiet Sunday morning.

That's only the first in a sequence of strange events that begin THE GREY WOLF, the nineteenth novel in Louise Penny's #1 New York Times-bestselling series. A missing coat, an intruder alarm, a note for Gamache reading "this might interest you", a puzzling scrap of paper with a mysterious list—and then a murder. All propel Chief Inspector Gamache and his team toward a terrible realization. Something much more sinister than any one murder or any one case is fast approaching.

Armand Gamache, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, his son-in-law and second in command, and Inspector Isabelle Lacoste can only trust each other, as old friends begin to act like enemies, and long-time enemies appear to be friends. Determined to track down the threat before it becomes a reality, their pursuit takes them across Québec and across borders. Their hunt grows increasingly desperate, even frantic, as the enormity of the creature they’re chasing becomes clear. If they fail the devastating consequences would reach into the largest of cities and the smallest of villages.

Including Three Pines.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Midnight by Amy McCulloch

Midnight by Amy McCulloch

First Paragraph(s):

I watch as he scampers down the gangway, his fists clenched by his side.  He avoids catching the eye of the distracted officer at the door to the ship, racing past the long line of passengers waiting to check in for their voyage of a lifetime.

He looks so small through my binoculars.  A tiny slip of a man.  I wait, but the woman doesn't come after him.  No matter.  I had planned for that.  Besides, this way is easier.

I've been watching them, waiting, biding my time.  Every moment confirms what I already knew: these two deserve everything that's coming at them.

My Thoughts:

I love books set in unusual locations, especially places that I know I'll likely not ever visit.  Antarctica is one of these and I've read several books set there.  I think this might be the first one I've read that uses a voyage to Antarctica in the storyline though.  Wow!  I'm not a cruise-taking person and won't ever be.  I have bad motion sickness tendencies and, in order to not have that, I would have to be drugged to the point of sleeping all the time.  Doesn't sound fun.  I do like to read about ocean voyages and, as I said, Antarctica.  

I've read the previous book by Amy McCulloch, Breathless, and it was set in the Himalayas and dealt with mountain climbing and murder.  Same goes here.  The murder part.  Olivia was raised by a father who was a gifted sailor and learned how to take care of herself on the water.  Her father died accidentally when she was in her teens and now Olivia is an almost-actuary who gets a chance to accompany her boyfriend, an art dealer, on a trip to Antarctica.  The setting will be key to showing and selling the art of a man who used this continent for inspiration in creating his pieces.  They get on the ship and then things start happening - bad things.  Olivia feels like she's being watched.  And she is.  There are a lot of descriptions of the environment and what is happening to the icebergs.  Very interesting indeed.  The thrills were many, though I did get a little irritated with some of Olivia's decisions (or non-decisions).  An enjoyable book.  I'll be watching for Amy McCulloch's next book and curious about where she will take us.     



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.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

I'm ready for spring - are you?


Hey book friends!  Thought I would stop by and greet everyone - also saying that I am ready for spring.  I know that some really like the winter weather and I appreciate that.  However, our area of Central Texas does not have 'great' winter weather.  If there is significant weather, it's usually windy, extra cold, or even challenging us with snow or worse, ice!  Hate that.  We're just not suited for those things.  And I have winter allergies (cedar) and the wind will insist on stirring up the pollen and even making it look like trees are 'smoking'.  We've had some high winds in the last week and, as I said, ready for spring.

Sharing a bluebonnet picture above from a few years back.  No, the bluebonnets are not here yet, nor are the other wildflowers that we enjoy in the spring months.  I'm ready for them though and will be excited to share pictures of them when they arrive.  Watch for that in coming weeks or months.  

Life is going well.  We've had a couple of things updated at our 'new-to-us' house and have gotten delivery of some chairs and window shades that we ordered.  Still a few things on back order, but that seems to be the way these days.  They will eventually arrive and we're not desperate for them.  I've turned in my paperwork to become a volunteer at my new library and hope to hear from them before long.  We'll see what they possibly need help with.  

Reading is going OK enough.  I wasn't able to attend our recent mystery book group meeting, but I had not been a big fan of the book selected.  That's how it goes though and I decided to put it aside and read something else.  Right now, as opposed to my usual 'read cold books in summer', I'm in the middle of Amy McCulloch's new book, Midnight.  I enjoyed her first book, Breathless, a while back and was eager to try this one.  Where is this new one set?  Antarctica.  Yep, cold indeed.  I'll share my thoughts when I finish with it.  Some really good books on my upcoming list to read as well.  Guess I can keep myself busy while I'm waiting on those spring wildflowers.  Hope you have a good week!  And what have you been reading or looking forward to?