Monday, November 30, 2020

My library book addiction...

Hi. My name is Lark and I'm a library book-a-holic.

I didn't use to be one. Before the pandemic I went to the library on a regular basis, but I never felt a need to check out extra books "just in case". And I'd wait until my books were due (and all read) before going back to check out more. But then the pandemic hit last March, and my library closed unexpectedly, and I suddenly couldn't get any library books at all. For 75 days. It was terrible. 

I think it did something to my psyche. Because now, even though my library has reopened, and library books are readily available once more, I find myself checking out more books than I can possibly read. Take last week:  I already had five unread library books at home, but I still stopped at the library on my way back from work to pick up a few more. And that's not all. I've got several more books on hold that will probably come in sometime next week. How will I ever read them all? I don't know. But I think a part of me wants to be sure I'll have enough books to read over Christmas break. Which is still weeks away, I know, but still...

They say admitting you have a problem is the first step, but I don't think I'll stop checking out too many library books any time soon. It's a harmless addiction. And I've never even come close to maxing out the 50 item limit on my library card. So that's good. Besides, it makes me happy knowing I have lots of books on hand to read "just in case". Maybe when the pandemic finally ends I'll try to cut back on my library usage, but until then....

Happy Reading!

Friday, November 27, 2020

Peril At End House by Agatha Christie

 "Ah! but he made a grave mistake, that would-be murderer, when he shot at his victim within a dozen yards of Hercule Poirot! For him, it is indeed la mauvaise chance. But you see now why we must make our entry into End House and get in touch with Mademoiselle Nick? Three near escapes from death in three days. That is what she said. We must act quickly, Hastings. The peril is very close at hand."

 Brief summary:  Claiming to be retired, Poirot is vacationing in Cornwall with Capt. Hastings when a stray bullet lands at his feet. It seems the bullet was aimed at Nick Buckley, a pretty young lady who lives at End House. Poirot quickly determines to find the person trying to kill her. But he soon finds it is easier to solve a murder than to prevent one. Especially when he has a list of ten possible subjects and no clear motive for why anyone would want to kill Nick.

My thoughts:  This is another entertaining mystery from Agatha Christie. It was fun seeing Poirot a bit flummoxed throughout this one. Of course, he figures it out in the end, but he has to work for it. The solution surprised me a bit, but then I hardly ever figure out the real culprit in any of Christie's novels. I have a lot of fun reading them though, especially when Poirot is on the case. He always makes me laugh. All in all, this is exactly the kind of mystery that makes me glad Agatha Christie was so prolific. 

Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!


Despite the crappiness that has been 2020, there are still a lot of things to be thankful family, a warm home, friends, good books to read, blogging buddies, freedom, faith and prayer, garbage trucks that come and take your garbage away every week, beautiful mountains, blue skies and sunshine even when it's cold outside, food to eat, cute birds at the bird feeder, and a loving Savior in Jesus Christ.
What are the things you're grateful for this year?

Monday, November 23, 2020

A fun K-9 mystery...

Officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner, Robo, are back in Margaret Mizushima's sixth book, Hanging Falls, and Mattie has a lot on her plate in this one. On a routine hike, Mattie and Robo find the dead body of a young man caught in the fast flowing waters near Hanging Falls. It's easy to see that his death wasn't an accident. But who murdered him? Someone from Timber Creek? Or someone from the strange religious sect that he belonged to? Mattie is determined to find the truth. But murder isn't her only concern. She's also about to meet her long-lost sister and grandmother; she's nervous and excited, but mostly she hopes they can shed some light on what might have happened to her mother all those years ago. Then there's her relationship with local veterinarian Cole Walker and his two daughters. But they're a happy complication in her life.

My thoughts:  Robo, Mattie's smart and well-trained German Shepherd, is still my favorite part of these books. He's so awesome and has so much personality; I love him! I also really enjoy Maggie's and Cole's continuing relationship, as well as Cole's struggle to be a good dad to his two daughters. The two are both such likable characters. And I thought the mystery in this one was interesting and entertaining. But the side story with Maggie and her family felt a little thin, almost like an afterthought. It needed to be more fleshed out in my opinion. This is still a really fun read. I just wanted more of it. 

Happy Reading!

Other Margaret Mizushima books I've read:

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Now these made me laugh!


You can find this one at

I also really liked this other tee shirt they sell:

For some reason this one really made me laugh!

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Haiku Reviews...


Burning Bright (Peter Ash Novel #2) by Nick Petrie

She's smart. She's tough. And 
she's in trouble. Luckily,
Peter's there to help.

Action/Thriller .... 416 pages .... 5/5 stars.
(Even better than The Drifter, the first book in this series.)

Hidden Creed (#6) by Alex Kava 

Ryder and Grace find
several shallow graves in the 
woods; danger follows.

K-9 Mystery .... 332 pages .... 4.5/5 stars.
(Still loving this series!)

Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King

Each month a full moon.
Each month a new attack. Man
or wolf? No one knows.

Horror .... 127 pages .... 3.5/5 stars.

Happy Reading!

Monday, November 16, 2020

Shane by Jack Schaefer


3 Quotes from the book:
"He rode into our valley in the summer of '89. ... He was clean-shaven and his face was lean and hard and burned from high forehead to firm, tapering chin. His eyes seemed hooded in the shadow of the hat's brim. He came closer, and I could see that this was because the brows were drawn in a frown of fixed and habitual alertness. Beneath them the eyes were endlessly searching from side to side and forward, missing nothing. ... He rode easily, relaxed in the saddle...yet even in this easiness was a suggestion of tension. It was the easiness of a coiled spring, of a trap set."   
"Only he was not a farmer and never really could be. ... There were times when he would stop and look off at the mountains and then down at himself and any tool he happened to have in his hands as if in wry amusement at what he was doing. You had no impression that he thought himself too good for the work or did not like it. He was just different. He was shaped in some firm forging of past circumstances for other things."

"Those were beautiful fall days, clear and stirring, with the coolness in the air just enough to set one atingling, not yet mounting to the bitter cold that soon would come sweeping down out of the mountains. It did not seem possible that in such a harvest season, giving a lift to the spirit to match the well-being of the body, violence could flare so suddenly and swiftly."

My thoughts:  So, I have a bookish confession to make:  I knew there was a movie called Shane (even though I've never seen it), but I never knew there was a book. Not until I read Sam's review over at Book Chase two months ago. What he said about this book made me want to read it right away. And now I'm not sure I ever want to see the movie because I loved the book so much. It's a more quiet and thoughtful western than most I've read. And there's a poetic quality to Schaefer's writing that I really enjoyed. And Shane? I liked him right from the start. And the young boy who narrates the story is so great. In fact, I liked everything about this one. So, thanks, Sam, for recommending this book! It's a new favorite, and one I think I now want to own.  

Happy Reading! 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Funny ... or sad. You decide.


(You can find this tee at Hottrendshirts.)

Can 2020 please be over now? 'Cause I've had enough. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

A desperate plea for help...

 The Unanswered Letter by Faris Cassell

From the blurb:

Dear Madam — You are surely informed about the situation of all Jews in Central Europe and this letter will not astonish you.

In August 1939, just days before World War II broke out in Europe, a Jewish man in Vienna named Alfred Berger mailed a desperate letter to a stranger in America who shared his last name.

By pure chance I got your address . . . I beg you instantly to send for me and my wife...

Decades later, journalist Faris Cassell stumbled upon the stunning letter and became determined to uncover the story behind it. How did the American Bergers respond? Did Alfred and his family escape Nazi Germany? Over a decade-long investigation in which she traveled thousands of miles, explored archives and offices in Austria, Belarus, Czech Republic, and Israel, interviewed descendants, and found letters, photos, and sketches made by family members during the Holocaust, Cassell wrote the devastating true story of The Unanswered Letter.

My thoughts:

I loved this book so much! It's poignant and heartbreaking, thoughtful, gripping, unforgettable and beautifully written. Once I started, I didn't want to stop. No matter how many books I read about the victims or the survivors of the Holocaust, their stories always get to me. This one is no different. The history of the Berger family made me smile...and cry. And Faris Cassell is such a good writer! I was drawn to her own part in this story as well.
"Alfred and Hedwig Berger had been ordinary people, like most of humanity--like me. They were important because they were human. ... This dramatic letter had drawn me irresistibly and haunted me with questions that reverberated through my life. I hoped to understand, at least a little, how divisions that separate people could grow to Holocaust dimensions."

This is a such a compelling story. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of another favorite nonfiction read: The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn. Both are amazing books and well worth reading!

Happy Reading!

Monday, November 9, 2020

November's bookish art...

Franz Xaver Winterhalter -- Countess Alexander Nikolaevitch Lamsdorff

"Books were her salvation. They were her lifeline;
the pages as essential to her as breathing."
--Simone St. James

Friday, November 6, 2020

The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs


Short summary of the plot: 
Natalie Harper has a safe job she doesn't really like, and a safer boyfriend she just doesn't love. But everything in her life changes when her mother unexpectedly dies. Now Natalie is in charge of her mother's beloved bookstore, The Lost and Found Bookshop, and she's also responsible for her aging grandfather who's been experiencing memory issues. To make matters worse, the bookstore is drowning in debt and unpaid bills. The logical answer is to sell it. Only the historic San Francisco building that houses the bookshop belongs to her grandfather, and he refuses to sell because he's convinced there's a treasure hidden somewhere inside. But the old building is practically falling down around them and in need of some serious repairs, none of which Natalie can afford. So, to keep her grandfather happy, Natalie has to figure out some way to save her mother's bookshop. 

My thoughts:
The thing I loved most about this book is Natalie's sweet relationship with her grandfather, and how she tries so hard to honor and take care of him. I also loved the bookstore and its interesting history. Bookstores have always been a favorite setting of mine. Then there's Peach Gallagher, the ex-marine Natalie hires to do some repairs on the bookstore, and his cute daughter Dorothy. They're both such great characters; I loved them, too. Books, family, friendship, loss, hope, and love. All of these things make this novel a joy to read. And it's got a happy ending, too! And right now, don't we all need one of those?

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday


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

This week's Theme: Non-Bookish Hobbies.

I decided to tweak this one a bit, so instead of just listing 10 of my hobbies, I'm going with 10 things about me you may, or may not, find interesting:

🌎 Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. I've gone down into the catacombs of Paris, climbed to the top of the Statue of Liberty, ridden an elephant in Thailand, explored the ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, spotted blue-footed boobys in the Galapagos Islands, sailed down the Nile, and floated across the Valley of Kings in a hot air balloon. And someday soon I hope to visit both Morocco and Easter Island. Oh, and Cornwall and Wales, too.

🐠 I love the idea of snorkeling, but every time I try it, I feel like I'm drowning.

🌄 I used to run cross-country in high school, but now I prefer walking or hiking. 

📸 Photographing old cemeteries is one of my quirkier hobbies.

🧩 I look forward to doing the New York Times crossword puzzle everyday at lunch pencil though, not in pen.

🏅 When the winter Olympics came to Salt Lake City in 2002, I was lucky enough to attend several events from short track speedskating to freestyle aerials to women's hockey. It was awesome and one of my most favorite memories!

😐 Two things I really hate:  karaoke and charades. 
(I don't like having to perform in front of people.)

😊 Two board games I love to play: 10 Days in Africa and Small World.
(I could've listed at least a dozen more, like Pandemic, Star Realms, Ex-Libris, etc., but I restrained myself.)

📚 I got to eat lunch with author Jane Yolen once at a writer's conference. She's super nice, and funny, too. And she has very good manners. 

🥞 Pancakes are my favorite breakfast food. And I know how to make 20 different kinds.

So, there you have it, 10 tidbits about me.
Hope you weren't too bored.

Happy Reading!

(Oh, and here are some images of those two board games I love. They're awesome and I highly recommend them to anyone who loves a good game.)