Wednesday, December 4, 2019

December's Bookish Art...

August Macke -- Elizabeth With Colorful Book

"A book is a dream that you hold in your hands."
--Neil Gaiman

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Survive this!

Title & Author:  Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
Genre:  YA Adventure
Setting:  Alaska

How it begins:  "All eight of my dogs are stretched in front of me in pairs along the gangline. they claw the ground in frustration as the loudspeaker blares. 'Here's team number five. Our hometown girl, fourteen-year-old Victoria Secord!'"

What happens next:  Victoria is still grieving the death of her father who taught her everything she knows about surviving in the Alaskan wilderness. Her dogs and mushing are what she loves most...and what help her survive her overwhelming grief. So when she gets a chance to acquire a new lead dog from a neighboring musher, she heads out cross-country with her sled and her dogs without telling anyone where she's going. Only she forgets to check the forecast. When a sudden March storm threatens, she debates about turning around and heading back home. But then she runs across a crashed snowmobile. The driver, Chris, is a teenager who's new to Alaska; he's hurt, and he's lost. As the storm worsens, it's up to Vicky and her dogs to keep them both alive...and somehow find their way back home.

My thoughts:  At 279 pages, Ice Dogs is a fun and fast-paced adventure. I read it in a day. Vicky's survival skills were impressive, but the Alaskan wild is unpredictable and dangerous. Finding food, staying warm, and protecting her dogs from wolves and moose takes everything Vicky's got. And Chris's lack of outdoor skills isn't exactly helping (especially when he accidentally burns up her only map). I have to admit, while I liked both these characters, Vicky's lead dog, Bean, was my favorite. I liked all the survival bits, too. Johnson's writing rings with authenticity, especially all the dog sledding parts, and her pacing never lets up.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude should be expressed much more often than once a year, 
but I for one am glad there's one holiday that reminds us to stop and give thanks.

Here are a few of the things I'm most grateful for this year:

Game nights
Beautiful mountain trails
Blue skies and sunshine
Enough to eat
A warm place to sleep
Letters in the mail
Homemade cookies
Good books, bubble baths, and cute boots
Family & Friends
Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness!

Enjoy some turkey and a piece of pumpkin pie and have a very happy day of Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Would Like To Meet by Rachel Winters

A brief summary: Evie Summers is 29 and living in London. She once dreamed of becoming a screenwriter; instead, she's been a lowly agent's assistant for the last seven years. And now, in order to save her job, she has to convince arrogant Ezra Chester to actually finish the screenplay he's been promising her boss for the last year. Only Ezra claims romantic comedies are unrealistic and completely beneath him. (Evie suspects he has writer's block.) To help him out, she offers to reenact those meet-cute scenes from her favorite rom-com movies to order to prove to him people really can fall in love like they do in the movies. Only so far it isn't working. She's spilled orange juice on a stranger, attended a book group, and even gotten her heel stuck in a sewer grate in the hopes a handsome stranger will rescue her. The results? Public humiliation and failure. And Ezra still isn't writing. What is she going to do?

My thoughts:  There is a lot to like about this book! It's entertaining and humorous and it has that happy "ahh" moment at the end. Evie's attempts to recreate her favorite meet-cute movie moments made me smile, especially when those moments came from some of my own favorite romantic comedies. My favorite parts were Evie's interactions with single dad, Ben, and his seven-year-old daughter, Anette, who witness several of her less-than-successful attempts to meet a cute guy. The way her friends cheer her on through their group texts was also fun. And what happens on the red carpet and at her friend's wedding totally made me laugh. I do wish Evie had stood up to her boss and Ezra more often, because neither one deserved her help or loyalty, but I was glad she finally stood up for herself at the end. It's hard to put a fresh spin on a romantic comedy, but Winters manages to do it well. Of course, the happy ending was completely predictable, but I thought it was cute and very satisfying. All in all, I'd give this one 4 stars.

Happy Reading!

P.S. I won a free copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Happy 200th Birthday, George Eliot!

Mary Ann Evans was born on November 22, 1819. She grew up in Warwickshire, England and moved to London in 1851 where she met George Henry Lewes. Though they never married, she and Lewes lived openly together for 24 years, a daring move in Victorian times. More importantly, Lewes encouraged Mary Ann's writing. Under the name George Eliot, she published her first novel in 1859. Five more classics followed. Eliot became the foremost woman novelist of her day. She died in 1880 at the age of 61.

George Eliot in Love by Brenda Maddox is an excellently written biography of this amazing writer. It details the most important moments in her life and gives you a sense of what kind of person she was. I really liked it, almost as much as I love these three favorite novels by Eliot, and these favorite quotes:

"Love once, love always."

"It is never too late to be what you might have been."

"And, of course, men know best about everything, 
except what women know better."

"It will never rain roses: when we want to have 
more roses, we must plant more roses."

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A new favorite historical mystery...

Murder is not uncommon in Regency London. Charlotte Sloane and the Earl of Wrexford have already solved several murders together. But this time it's personal; this latest victim is Charlotte's childhood friend and cousin. And the supposed murderer? His twin brother. Only Charlotte is certain he's innocent. And as her friend, Wrexford is determined to help her prove it, whether their investigation leads to opulent drawing rooms, secret scientific societies, or somewhere much darker.
"That was the trouble with murder, thought Wrexford. All too often, the moment of Death wasn't the end of Evil, it was merely the beginning. Like a stone hitting water, its impact could ripple out, bringing secrets to the surface that were best left submerged. And suddenly there were more victims."
Murder at Kensington Palace by Andrea Penrose is the third Wrexford & Sloane mystery and I loved it every bit as much as I did the first two books in this series. Why? The characters! Charlotte is independent, strong-willed, artistic, clever and spunky. Wrexford is intelligent and sardonic and does not suffer fools gladly. He can also laugh at his own flaws and foibles. And he's a great friend to Charlotte and the two street urchins, Hawk and Raven, who live with her. The mystery itself is interesting, the writing compelling, and the growing romance between Charlotte and Wrexford charming. I hope Penrose writes many more in this series.

Happy Reading!

Other books in this series:

Saturday, November 16, 2019

A Bookish Update

Look what Goodreads Giveaway I recently won:

I'm excited to read this latest book by Joanna Schaffhausen. Ellery Hathaway and FBI Agent Reed Markham are two of my favorite characters; although, when I first met them in The Vanishing Season, I wasn't sure I was going to like either one. But that quickly changed. And now I can't wait to read this latest adventure about them. (The second book about them, No Mercy, is also awesome.)

Gotta love this bookish tote from Out of Print! Fun isn't it?
(I should buy some for my niece and nephews who love both dinosaurs and books.)
A few more laughable spam comments...from the inexplicable to the indecipherable:
 (Can you guess my favorite one this time?)

1. whoah this blog is magnificet i really like reading your articles. Stayy up the great work!

2. As he was logging off of his laptop and gathering up work to complete at home later, the receptionist alerted him that a Beverly Hills flower supply bike messenger had one thing for him.

3. Thank you for the writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
 Look advanced so far agreeable.

4. That is the sum of it. Betting is completely legal.

Recent read that I totally loved but didn't review 
(mostly because I just couldn't find the right words):

Recently checked out of the library:

Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
The Cold by Rich Hawkins
Vulnerable by Mary Burton
Fallen (Alex Verus #10) by Benedict Jacka
Deep Dark by Laura Griffin
The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen

Ever wonder why there aren't a lot of Thanksgiving reads?
Now you know...

Happy Reading!