Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Random things...

 I found another tee shirt that totally made me smile: 

(I do sometimes feel this way, especially when it comes to my one co-worker who refuses to get vaccinated.)

In other random news, two weekends ago I finally got around to watching the movie To Kill a Mockingbird. It's one of my all-time favorite books, and I've read it many times, but I'd never seen the movie. So I checked a copy of it out of the library and watched it with my mom. And I thought the movie was very well done, though I still like the book better. What about you? When it comes to this classic, which do you like better? The book, or the movie?

I sadly don't have any trips planned for this summer, but I have been doing some birding. There's a great walk along the Jordan River I like to do in the mornings, and I often see a Belted Kingfisher there. (Not the one in this photo; I did not take this picture.) Kingfishers have this crazy call, and when they catch fish they do this divebomb into the water that's so awesome to watch. They are one of my favorite birds. I'm lucky I live where I can see them every summer.

I like to play games...any and all different kinds...and I learned a fun one last month: Succulent. You play your plants in order to collect different colored tokens so you can then earn cards that give you points. It's easy to learn, can be played with partners, and is as entertaining as it's colorful. Next month's game: Tokyo Highway.

On a more bookish note, I went to the library yesterday and once again checked out way too many books. But I like having options when it comes to what I read next. And my summer reading list is super long, so checking out lots of books at one time makes me feel like I'm making progress on it. Now I just need to try and read them all before they're due. Wish me luck.

And Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Roanoke Ridge by J.J. Dupuis

"Are you ready to hunt Bigfoot?" I ask.

Laura Reagan's father believed in Bigfoot; he even captured the legendary creature on film once. But Laura is a skeptic. She runs the popular website Science Is Awesome and prefers science and fact to rumor and myth. Then Professor Sorel, an old family friend, goes missing right before the annual Roanoke Valley Bigfoot Festival and Laura returns to Oregon to help search for him. After all, she grew up hiking the mountains around Roanoke with her father. Only it seems Bigfoot sightings are up this year, and when a dead body is found in  the mountains that looks more like murder than an accidental fall, Laura begins to suspect there's something going on up on Roanoke Ridge. Is it Bigfoot? Or something else?

I don't know why, but I've always been drawn to Bigfoot novels. They tend to be fun, speculative fiction. And this book is no exception. I liked how Laura knows all the mythos surrounding Bigfoot, and how despite her confirmed skepticism, she keeps an open mind as things unfold around her. Ted the Ranger was also a fun character. And the Bigfoot believers, or 'squatchers', that she meets are certainly a colorful bunch. As are the hoaxers. If there really was a Bigfoot Festival like the one in this book, I'd go just for the fun of it. (And for the tee shirts!)

Overall, Roanoke Ridge turned out to be a fun mystery, well-paced and very entertaining. 

Happy Reading!

Other recent Bigfoot reads:

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Need a laugh?

John Atkinson's cartoons are always so clever and funny! I love his take on Jane Austen and her books. Here are a few of my favorites. Then please go check out his website: Wrong Hands! Because it's awesome and it'll make you laugh even more.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Haiku Reviews...


Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle

Her Great-Aunt's house is
half hers...and half his. Neither 
wants to share. Now what?

Contemporary romance .... 302 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(Another cute one from Sarah Hogle. I loved the happy ending!)

Thomas Paine and the Clarion Call for American Independence by Harlow Giles Unger

Thomas Paine: Reader, Writer
Patriot, Friend, Advocate of Revolution,
Lover of Liberty

Biography .... 265 pages .... 4/5 stars.
"Without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain." --John Adams. 

The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz

Asteroid dust brings
alien parasites to earth;
two brothers fight back.

Science fiction .... 349 pages .... 3/5 stars.
(Interesting and fun, but not nearly as good as Hurwitz's
 Orphan X series.)

Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 20, 2021

From the D Shelf...

 Author: Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee
Title: One Amazing Thing

An earthquake traps nine strangers in the visa office of an Indian Consulate somewhere in America. They are an eclectic bunch. There's Jiang and her teen-age granddaughter, Lily; Uma, a graduate student trying to get a visa in order to travel back to India to visit her parents; Tariq, a young Muslim-American; Cameron, an African-American ex-soldier with asthma; the Pritchards, who are having marital troubles; and Mr. Mangalam, the office manager, and Malathi, his secretary. None of them have much in common. And without much food, or any way out, tensions soon start to grow between them. Until Uma suggests they each tell a story of one amazing thing from their lives to pass the time while they wait to be rescued. Their stories are uniquely poignant and powerful, uniting them together.

So I started my own Reading the Alphabet challenge seven years ago, starting with the letter Z and working my way backwards to A. And I was finally going to finish it up last year, but then COVID hit and my library closed, so there went browsing the shelves for serendipitous finds. Even when my library opened back up last summer, it was only for curbside pick-ups at first, and I got into the habit of just putting all my library books on hold. Which I've continued to do for the last year. But this month I decided to start browsing the shelves once again instead. 

From Dailey to DeMille to Dickens, there are a lot of authors whose last names begin with the letter D on the shelves at my library, so I had a lot of books to choose from, but I'm very glad I chose to check out this thoughtful book by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (who I've never read before). It's certainly an original novel. I was drawn to each one of her characters as they shared their personal stories, even the flawed and outwardly unlikable ones. But then, it's our experiences, our stories of suffering and joy, that connect us as human beings. And Divakaruni's amazing writing made it possible for me to connect with each of her nine characters. This quiet novel was another serendipitous find from the library, introducing me to an author I'd happily read again. And even though I wish the ending had been a little less ambiguous, I ended up liking this one a lot.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

June's Bookish Art...

Claude Monet -- A Woman Reading, 1872

"Reading well is one of the greatest pleasures that solitude can afford you."
--Harold Bloom

Monday, June 14, 2021

Bear Necessity by James Gould-Bourn

Things aren't going well for Danny Malooley. His wife died a year ago in a car crash, and his eleven-year-old son, Will, who was with her when she died, hasn't spoken since. Not one word. Even though he's being bullied at school. And Danny doesn't know what to do to make him start talking again. Not only that, Danny is two months behind in the rent. And he just lost his job. And when no one else will hire him, he dons a cheap panda suit and starts dancing in the park in the hopes of making some money as a street performer. Though his plan would work better if he could actually dance. But it does give him a chance to rescue his son from a bully. And when Will speaks to him afterwards?! It's the best moment in the world. Too bad Will doesn't know it's his dad behind the panda mask. And Danny doesn't know how to tell him the truth.

This book is one of those quiet, character-driven novels that packs a punch. It's poignant, humorous and heartwarming all at once. Both Danny's and Will's struggles made me want to cry...and laugh. And I loved Danny's efforts to reconnect with his son. Even the secondary characters in this book are fun and memorable, from Danny's tough Ukrainian friend, Ivan, to Krystal, the wise-cracking, f-bomb dropping, pole dancer who helps him learn to dance. Like Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson and Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobsen this novel is a true gem, and one I'm so glad I happened upon. 

Happy Reading!

Friday, June 11, 2021

Sampling Michael Connelly...

I've heard people rave about Michael Connelly's books for years, and this summer I finally decided to read one. And since everyone who loves Connelly loves his character Hieronymous "Harry" Bosch, I knew I had to start with the first book about him, The Black Echo. 

And you know what?

 Everyone is right! Michael Connelly is an amazing writer--so skillful at creating memorable characters, crafting sentences and telling a good story. And Harry is such an engaging character! I can see why he's everyone's favorite. I'll definitely be reading more books about him.

So, then, while I was in a Michael Connelly mood, I decided to watch The Lincoln Lawyer movie with Matthew McConaughey. Having never read the book, I don't know how the two compare, but I thought they did a really good job with the movie. I ended up watching it with my mom, and we both thought it was a very fun and entertaining legal thriller. But then, I do like Matthew McConaughey. And I also really like Mickey Haller, the character he plays. Which made me want to try one of Connelly's Mickey Haller novels.

And the novel that was on the shelf at the library? The Gods of Guilt.

So I read it first. And even though it's the 5th Mickey Haller book, and I haven't read the other four, I still ended up loving it. Because Mickey Haller is another great character. And Michael Connelly is a really good writer!

I'd like to read one of his Jack McEvoy novels next. And then I'll go back to Harry Bosch. The nice thing is being able to share these books with my mom. She's quite the reader and loves discovering new-to-her authors, and Connelly has quickly become a favorite of hers...and mine.

And to everyone who ever recommended that I read a Michael Connelly book...THANKS! You were right. 

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Cute bookish tees...

So, I was looking at some bookish tee shirts online, and considered buying this one because I thought the Dr. Seuss connection was fun:

And then I saw this one..and it REALLY made me laugh:

But in the end, I decided to go with this one instead because it just seemed to fit me best:

Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Urban Fantasy Fun...


"I'm Makenna Fraser. I'm not what most people would call normal, never have been, never will be, and I'm fine with that. Members of my family...(are) what my Grandma Fraser called seers. We can see through any veil, ward, shield or spell any supernatural can come up with as a disguise. ... I work for Supernatural Protection & Investigations, also known as SPI. They battle the supernatural bad guys of myth and legend, and those who would unleash them. SPI's mission is twofold: keep the world safe for supernaturals and humans alike, and cover up the truth. ... My job as the seer for the New York office is to point out the supernatural bad guys, then step aside so the commando-ninja-badass monster fighters can take them into custody--or if necessary, take them out."

The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin is a fun supernatural adventure. Mac and her partner, Ian Byrne, the tall, dark and dangerous ex-military type, must track down two ten-foot tall monsters that have been unleashed on New York City by an unknown foe, and they only have two days to do it. Because on New Year's Eve, those mythic monsters are going to do some real damage.

There's a lot of mayhem and magic in this book, and some memorable characters, too, like Yasha Kazakov, the Russian werewolf who's one of SPI's best drivers and trackers, and Vivienne Sagadraco, the intimidating founder of SPI who also happens to be a dragon. This book also has some great dialogue, and lots of humor. And plenty of action. The Grendel Affair is well-written, reads fast, and is very entertaining! I liked it a lot. And I want to thank Ashley over at The Rustic Reading Gal for recommending this urban fantasy series; I can't wait to read the rest. 

Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

See Her Die by Melinda Leigh

Bree Taggert is the newly minted sheriff of a rural county in upstate New York. She's also the guardian of her young niece and teen-age nephew. And she's scared of dogs, though she recently ended up with a rescue named Ladybug. Then there's Matt Flynn, a former K-9 officer with the police department who she'd like to be dating. Too bad her job and family responsibilities don't give her any time for that. Plus, his two German Shepherds make her uneasy.

She's grateful for his help with her latest case though. A homeless teen reports witnessing a murder in the woods near a campground that's been closed for the winter, but Bree and her deputies can't find the victim's body anywhere. So Bree calls in Matt and his dog, Brody, to help with the search. But what they find is an entirely different murder victim: a young man with his face smashed in,  complicating an already puzzling investigation. Are the two cases related? And if so, how?

See Her Die is Melinda Leigh's second book about Sheriff Bree Taggert. And while I haven't read the first book in this series, I really liked this one a lot. Bree's an engaging character. She's trying to figure out her new job, and how to be a good aunt, and solve these murders, all while juggling her feelings for Matt. She and Matt make a good investigative team. The mystery is fast-paced and interesting throughout, and the ending was satisfying. For me, this book was both entertaining and compelling. I will definitely be reading the next book in this series, and then I'll probably go back and read the first one, too.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday...


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

This week's theme was a freebie. So, after much deliberation, here's what I came up with...

📚The 11 Books I Most Want to Read This Summer:
(I actually had my list narrowed down to ten, but then I added one more at the last minute.)

1. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

2. The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor

3. The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

4. For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

5. Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

6. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

7. How to Mars by David Ebenbach

8. Suddenly Psychic by Elizabeth Hunter

9. The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz

10. Courage Under Fire by Lindsay McKenna

11. The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson

Of course, there are many more books on my summer TBR list...too many!...but these 11 books are at the top, and the ones I hope to read first. Stay tuned to see what other books summer brings.

Happy Reading!