Friday, July 3, 2020

Another happy birding moment...

So, last month some friends and I went birding in an area of west Salt Lake where we'd never gone birding before (wearing our masks and keeping our distance from each other); we wanted to check out some ponds we'd heard about that are situated between a shooting range and a dump. Not a lot of people were out there, but we did see some great birds: avocets, cormorants, a few grebes, and of course, the ubiquitous Canada goose. But it was while we were watching a great blue heron hunting in an empty stretch of fields just west of the ponds that the happy birding moment happened. We saw this guy in a bush near the road:

It's a loggerhead shrike. Isn't it cool? I've always wanted to see one, but I never had...until that day. We watched it hop from bush to bush for quite awhile as it searched for food. I love its dark mask. It's bird #203 for me! And that's my latest happy birding moment!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme:  Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020.

This was an easy list to compile. There are a lot of books coming out this year that I'm looking forward to reading. Here are the ones I'm anticipating most:

Coming in July:

The Lost and Found Bookshop 
by Susan Wiggs

Outsider by Linda Castillo

Hidden Creed
by Alx Kava

Coming in August:

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts
by Nancy Campbell Allen

Shadows of the Dead
by Spencer Kope

Coming in September:

Hanging Falls
by Margaret Mizushima

Murder at Queen's Landing
by Andrea Penrose

Coming in October:

Nothing Short of Wondrous by Regina Scott

Coming in December:

Cold Wind
by Paige Shelton

Forged (Alex Verus #11)
by Benedict Jacka

Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Urban fantasy fun....

Title & Author:  The Veil (Devil's Isle #1) by Chloe Neill

Genre:  Urban fantasy

Setting:  New Orleans, after the Paranormal War.

"On an equally sweltering day in October seven years ago, the veil--the barrier that separated humans from a world of magic we hadn't even known existed--was shattered by the Paranormals who'd lived in what we now called the Beyond. They wanted our world, and they didn't have a problem eradicating us in the process. They spilled through the fracture, bringing death and destruction--and changing everything: Magic was now real and measurable and a scientific fact."

The main character:  Claire Connolly--24, proprietor of the Royal Mercantile Store, a redhead, and a Sensitive.
"I'd moved it with my mind, with the telekinetic magic I wasn't supposed to have. At least, not unless I wanted a lifetime prison sentence .... Magic wasn't a problem for Paras .... but Sensitives couldn't process magic that way. Instead, we just kept absorbing more and more magic, until we lost ourselves completely. Until we became wraiths, pale and dangerous shadows of the humans we'd once been."
The complication:  Liam Quinn, the Cajun bounty  hunter who hunts down wraiths...and Sensitives. Only when he learns the truth about Claire, he doesn't turn her in; he offers to help her learn to control her magic instead.
"I found it suddenly so odd that I hadn't even known this man existed a few hours ago. A wraith attack, his intervention, a Containment interview, a trip into Devil's Isle, and everything that had gone on there. We'd gone from strangers to strange allies."
My thoughts:  Neill's built a grant fantasy world centered around New Orleans. I liked the paranormal war background and all it entails. Neill's characters are also a lot of fun.  I liked how brave and determined Claire is; she and Liam make a great team. I also really liked Liam's paranormal friends. And the supernatural suspense? It's very entertaining. Wraith attacks are increasing. Sensitives are disappearing. There's mystery and magic... and a bit of mayhem, too. What's not to like? I'll definitely be reading the next book in this series.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Haiku reviews...

Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

Alice Vega and Max Caplan
break all the rules to find
two missing sisters.

Mystery .... 304 pages .... 4.5/5 stars.
(I love these two characters!)

Cottage at the Beach by Lee Tobin McClain

She teaches troubled teens.
He's an injured cop on leave.
Neither are looking for love.
(It happens anyway.)

Contemporary romance .... 346 pages .... 3.5/5 stars.

Dog Driven by Terry Lynn Johnson

Eight sled dogs. A girl
who's going blind. And two hundred
miles of snow and ice.

YA Adventure .... 223 pages .... 4/5 stars.

A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings

Abigail thought she married
dying soldier Jeb Calhoun...But
the real Jeb is still alive.
Now what?

Historical romance (set at the end of the Civil War) .... 324 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(Such a cute story.)

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Happy 10th!

Top Ten Tuesday turns 10 today! This fun weekly meme was started by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Every week there's a new top ten theme that revolves around books in some way. But this week, instead of revisiting a previous top ten post, or choosing a past topic I skipped like was suggested, I decided to go with my favorite Top Ten Tuesday posts instead.

Here they are...10 past Top Ten Tuesday posts that I had the most fun putting together:

(I think everyone enjoyed doing this one!)

If you want to know more about who I am as a reader, check out any or all of these posts.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

A Novel in Pictures...

The War Bride's Scrapbook by Caroline Preston

Lila Jerome, a Southern girl from Charlottesville, Virginia, meets Perry Weld, an army engineer who hopes to be an architect one day, on Nov. 5, 1942. They get married on Nov. 20 and Perry ships out on Nov. 26 leaving his lovely war bride behind. This scrapbook chronicles their brief courtship, their years apart during the war, and what happens after. It's a collage of words and art, telling Lila's and Perry's story through pictures, sketches, letters, journal entries, postcards and some fascinating World War II memorabilia. I found all the historical details very fun and interesting.

I love these kinds of novels; they're so whimsical and creative. Preston's previous novel in pictures, The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is one of my all-time favorite books. This one is very similar artistically, though the story itself, of course, is different. I liked both Lila and Perry, and their whirlwind marriage, and their experiences through the war, but I thought the way Preston ended this one was pretty depressing, so I didn't love that part of it. Still, I'm very glad I read it. 

Other artistic novels I love:

The Tattoed Map by Barbara Hodson

The Griffin & Sabine books by Nick Bantock

And, of course, The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt

All of these books are worth checking out.

Happy Reading!