Wednesday, February 28, 2018

On reading Wodehouse...

P.G. Wodehouse is one of those authors I've been meaning to read for years. So many people seem to love his books I always figured I'd probably like them, too, but for some reason I kept putting it off. Bookish procrastination is one of my many faults. But this month, I finally checked out a couple from the library and actually read them. I'm just sorry it took me so long. Because they're as fun and charming and humorous as everyone says.

Lisa @ TBR313, who's a great fan of Wodehouse, recommended two of her favorites:  Leave it to Psmith and The Code of the Woosters.  Sadly, neither was readily available at my library, although I hope to read both soon. Instead, I decided to start with Enter Jeeves which contains the first eight Jeeves short stories, and the funny and delightful comedy of manners, The Adventures of Sally.  

What can I say?  I loved them both. You can now count me a fan of P.G. Wodehouse, too. Here's a taste from each book so you can see what I mean.

From Enter Jeeves:  
Jeeves--my man, you know--is really a most extraordinary chap. So capable. Honestly, I shouldn't know what to do without him...I rely on him at every turn. I'm a bit short of brain myself:  the old bean would appear to have been constructed more for ornament than for use, don't you know; but give me five minutes to talk the thing over with Jeeves and I'm game to advise any one about anything.

 And from The Adventures of Sally:
Sally looked contentedly down the long table. She felt happy at last. Everybody was talking and laughing now, and her party, rallying after an uncertain start, was plainly the success she had hoped it would be....At her end of the table the conversation had turned once more to the great vital topic of Sally's legacy and what she ought to do with it. The next best thing to having money of one's own, is to dictate the spending of somebody else's, and Sally's guests were finding a good deal of satisfaction in arranging a Budget for her.

And up next?

Happy Reading!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Bookish suspense...

They'll do it again. And soon....they have no mercy but they do have a ritual and ritual doesn't exist in a vacuum. It serves a wider purpose and at the moment the perpetrators are the only ones who know what that is. Let's proceed on the assumption that another family's going to get massacred tonight.

When a family of six is murdered one snowy night in Liverpool, DCI Eve Clay is first on the scene. She becomes the lead detective on a case that grows more puzzling and complicated with each passing day. The killers seem to speak their own made up language. They pose the bodies in strange patterns. A shoe print at the scene suggests they might be children. But their motivation remains a complete mystery. Clay has one more problem:  Adrian White, a psychopathic serial killer living in isolation at Ashworth Psychiatric Hospital seems to know all about the murders. And he's prophesying that there will be more.

Blood Mist by Mark Roberts is one crazy ride! It's suspenseful from the first moments to the last without being overly graphic and violent in between. Every clue Clay and her team discover along the way only leads to more questions. It's layered and complicated, gripping and intense. I got caught up in this story and could not wait to find out what happens next. And how everything all ties together at the end left me shaking my head. Did I mention this psychological thriller is crazy good? For me, this was a 4-star read. And it's the first in a series of books about DCI Eve Clay, so hopefully there will be many more books to devour.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Couldn't resist....

I'm especially fond of #5 & #10 myself, although lately
I've been giving #2 & #3 quite a workout.
The only one I never seem to need is #1.
What about you? What's your favorite bookish right?

Happy Reading! 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper

It's a tricky business, ghost trapping. Ghosts have a funny way of not showing up when you want them, but instead creeping up on you when you don't. When you're alone in the house late at night, minding your own business, that's when you're likely to hear the unexplained footsteps, walk into a cold spot, or feel invisible fingers touch the back of your neck. When you're actually trying to find them, they can hide silently for days, even weeks. The ghost at Treadwell house, fortunately, did not keep us waiting long.

What I loved:

           ❤ It's funny!  Especially Ellie's little comments and asides all through the book.

            ❤ It's awesomely scary!  What's haunting The Treadwell house down in Savannah, Georgia is mysterious, malevolent. dark and completely terrifying.

            ❤ The ending doesn't disappoint!  Some ghost stories just peter out at the end, leaving you with a lot of unanswered questions. Or else, the ending feels unfinished and unsatisfying. But Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper by J.L. Bryan doesn't do that. The ending of this book is awesome.

            ❤ Plus, it has great characters.  I really liked Ellie and Stacey, her new, untested ghost-trapping partner; I also liked Jacob, the psychic/CPA who helps them out on this case. Which makes me even more excited to read the next book in this series. Go Ellie!

Happy Reading!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Celebrating the Year of the Dog!

Stalking Ground: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by Margaret Mizushima

Robo is back, along with his handler, Deputy Mattie Cobb. Together they find a missing woman, weather a mountain snowstorm, take on a mountain lion, and help solve a murder mystery. They're a good team. I like Mattie, but Robo is my favorite. (He's such a smart dog!) In Killing Trail, the first book in this series, I felt the characters were a bit stilted, but in this one they felt much more natural and well-developed. And the mystery itself had a few added layers I did not anticipate. (Although I did guess right about who did it.) All in all, this was a fun read.

The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs by Nick Trout

This is a mildly entertaining book about Dr. Cyrus Mills, a 40-year-old veterinary pathologist who inherits his estranged father's veterinary practice. There's just a few problems:  the practice is in Vermont, it's deeply in debt, and Cyrus hasn't practiced on live animals since veterinary school. Which leads to some humorous situations. There's also the obligatory small-town quirkiness. But this book felt a little too predictable to me. (And a little long, too!) It's also written in present tense, which isn't my favorite thing. So while it's not a bad read, I didn't love it. Or even like it much. But you might!

Hotel For Dogs by Lois Duncan

Feeling nostalgic, I couldn't resist rereading one of my favorite children's books about dogs. I love this one! It's a charming and funny adventure involving two siblings, the mean boy next door, nine dogs, and an abandoned house at the end of the street. There's even a ghost dog! I'd forgotten how much I like this book; it made me smile all the way through it. I think it's the best read of the three...and a great way to start off the new lunar year.

What dog books would you recommend this year?
Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

February's Bookish Art...

Carl Larsson -- Holiday Reading

"Be a Book Nut!" 
--Dr. Seuss

Carl Larsson -- Holiday Reading

I couldn't choose between these two paintings; 
so I decided to post them both.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Bookish thoughts...

On the vanishing blog.  Have you ever visited a blog one day, maybe even posted a comment or two, only to have 'WEBSITE CANNOT BE FOUND' come up when you search for it a few days later? Or, more disconcertingly, 'BLOG HAS BEEN REMOVED'? It's happened to me a couple of times in the past year, and it always leaves me a little flummoxed. I mean, I can understand someone deciding to take a blogging break, or even stopping altogether, but to make your blog vanish without a trace from the internet?  What makes someone decide to do that?

My 11-book splurge!
On the irresistible library book sale.  All the sign has to say is Paperbacks--5¢ and I suddenly find myself with an armful of books I wouldn't normally buy. But when they cost so little I just can't seem to resist. Ten books for 50¢! Could you resist that?  Even if I never read any of them I'm only out two quarters. That's the kind of risk I can afford. And sometimes I get lucky and find a book or two by an author I love. Like last month when I found four Fred Vargas novels, an Agatha Christie mystery, and my favorite Molly Harper fantasy. I love the bookish serendipity that can occur at these sales, but I hate the sense of urgency I sometimes feel knowing that this may be my last chance to read any of these books. Which is probably why I also ended up buying 5 other paperbacks I've never read but that looked good, adding to my ever-growing TBR pile. But let's not talk about that. So, happy splurging at the next library sale near you.

And happy reading!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Red Hill

"With all the television shows, comics, books, and movies about the undead, it shouldn't have been a surprise that somebody was finally both smart and crazy enough to try and make it a reality. I know the world ended on a Friday. It was the last day I saw my children."

Scarlet, a single mom, is at work at the hospital when it all begins; her two daughters are with her ex-husband. Now all she can think about is finding her daughters and getting them to safety at Red Hill Ranch.
"I couldn't do this if I wasn't with them. I needed to see Jenna roll her eyes at me again, and for Halle to interrupt me. They needed me to tell them that everything would be okay. We couldn't survive the end of the world without each other. I didn't want to."
Miranda and her sister, Ashley (and their two boyfriends) are also trying to get to Red Hill Ranch. It's their father's country house and a beckoning sanctuary from all the chaos and violence surrounding them. But they're miles away, and the roads are clogged with cars, terrified people...and zombies.
"We passed more people, unsure of who was running and who was chasing. A couple of times people screamed at me to stop, begged me to help them, but stopping always meant dying in the movies, and I was barely eighteen. I wasn't sure how long we would survive, but I knew I wasn't dying on day one of the f**king zombie apocalypse."
Nathan's wife chose this day of all days to leave him. Now it's up to him to keep his young daughter, Zoe, safe. But how is he supposed to do that when nothing in the world is safe, or even sane, any more?
"Watching a movie about zombies is one thing. Watching zombies outside your windows was another. The movies didn't talk about terrifying each moment truly was. I tried not to think about tomorrow, or that we would still be fighting for our lives every day from now on. I glanced back at Zoe, and choked back the sadness welling up in my throat. I didn't want her to grow up in a world like this."
Page-turning action and suspense, along with some pretty good characters, make this novel by Jamie McGuire a better-than-average zombie read. I was rooting for the whole group to survive. (Never a realistic hope in any zombie novel; someone you like always dies!) The first half reads the best; the story slows a bit towards the end, especially in regards to Scarlett and her daughters. Overall, though this novel offers lots of tension and violence, smart survival, sad deaths, humor, friendship and hope.

Happy Reading! 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

A bookish update...

Almost through reading:

I've never read an Elizabeth Bowen novel before, and while I probably won't be blogging about this one, I did like it enough to want to try some of her other books.

Highlights from the St. George Winter Bird Festival:
Jan. 26-27th turned out to be an awesome birding weekend for me. I saw 17 birds that I'd never seen before, which was a lot of fun. My favorite? The Vermillion Flycatcher.


Isn't this bird cute?  It's common in places like Texas, but it is very rare in Utah. There are only a few that winter over here. And I got to see two of them!!! I also saw several Great-tailed Grackles.

Apparently, they like to hang out in the Wal-Mart parking lot. But that's not where I saw them; I spotted these birds walking along the Virgin River and at Tonaquent Park along with one Hooded Merganser, a dozen Wood Ducks, two Verduns, three Kestrels, a Rock Wren, Bewick's Wren, Wilson's Snipe, Northern Mockingbird, Black Phoebe, Abert's Towhee, several Gambel's Quail, a Ladderback Woodpecker, some Black-tailed Gnatcatchers, and a Crissal Thrasher (which has a long curvy beak and a very lyrical song). And on our very last day at the bird festival we finally spotted this sleepy screech owl.

All in all, it was a very good birding trip!

Recently checked out of the library:
Blood Mist by Mark Roberts
Red Hill and Among Monsters by Jamie McGuire
Stalking Ground by Margaret Mizushima
Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper by J.L. Bryan
Mobile Library by David Whitehorse
Wickedly Wonderful by Deborah Blake

Recently viewed on DVD:

Traitors, an Arabic movie with English subtitles, is set in Tangiers, Morocco, and follows Malika, the lead singer of an all-female punk rock band, as she tries to earn enough money to pay for her band's first demo and keep her mother from being evicted from their apartment. It's written and directed by Sean Gullette. And I loved it. The setting. The tough and fiesty main character. The music. Everything.

 Happy viewing.
And Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Gentleman In Moscow

For the crime of having been born an aristocrat, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is sentenced to spend the rest of his life confined to the Metropol Hotel in Moscow. It is 1922. The Tzar has fallen, the Bolsheviks are in charge, and the life Count Rostov once knew is gone forever. So begins Amor Towles' A Gentleman in Moscow.

I loved this book! I have a feeling that it might end up being my favorite read of 2018. Towles' writing is amazing, and Alexander Rostov is such an unforgettable character. I never got tired of his quiet reminiscences or his perceptive observations of the changing world outside his window.
Having acknowledged that a man must master his circumstances or otherwise be mastered by them, the Count thought it worth considering how one was most likely to achieve this aim when one had been sentenced to a life of confinement.
His inward journey as he creates a life for himself within the walls of the Metropol Hotel is an act of courage, dignity, grace, and above all, humor. He even manages to find love. That along with the varied acquaintances he meets, and the deep friendships he makes over the 30 years he is confined to the Metropol, make this book something to be savored. Near the end of the novel, one of Rostov's friends says this to him:
Who would have imagined when you were sentenced to life in the Metropol all those years ago, that you had just become the luckiest man in all of Russia.
I know I feel very lucky to have read this book, even more so because I got to read it with Bettina. This is the third book we've read together, and I think it's the best. But be sure to check out her review to see what she thinks. And then go check out this book!!

Happy Reading!