Saturday, February 26, 2022

Random Thoughts...

Polar Bears!

Just because they're cute...and I like them. 
(And everything else going on in the world is either stressful or stupid.
My prayers are definitely with the people of Ukraine!)

Books I checked out of the library yesterday:
Dark Horse by Gregg Hurwitz (Yay...the new Evan Smoak! I can't wait.)
Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes
Nomadland by Jessica Bruder
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (my next classic)
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim (my next buddy read with Melody)
Scales and Sensibility by Stephanie Burgis 
Lockdown on London Lane by Beth Reekles
The Deepest of Secrets by Kelley Armstrong (one of my most favorite series!)

I'm loving the TV show Ghosts. If you haven't seen it yet, it's hilarious!

But I'm not doing so well on reading the classics, or the books from off my own shelves. 
Classics read in 2022:  1
TBR books read so far:  0

OOPS! I'll have to try harder next month.

 I saw this quote last week and totally loved it, so I thought I'd share....

Have a great weekend and 
Happy Reading!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Echoes of the Dead by Spencer Kope

 "Some days are hard, others make hard look easy. Today was the latter. If you spend enough time in law enforcement, such days will find you from time to time. If you spend a couple of years with the Special Tracking Unit, such days are known as Wednesday."

Magnus "Steps" Craig has a special ability:  he can see the essence, or Shine, left behind by a person on any surface they touch, making it possible for him to track them almost anywhere. He and his partner, Special Agent Jimmy Donovan, make up the FBI's elite Special Tracking Unit, and they've just been summoned to Kern County, California. It seems four friends, including Congressman Marco Perez, have gone missing on their annual fly-fishing trip along the Kern River. And not even Steps can catch a glimpse of their trail. It's as if they've disappeared into thin air. But then one of the missing men turns up dead, and their investigation quickly takes a very dark turn. It seems they have a killer on their hands, one with a shine like malachite.

I loved this one! Steps and his partner, Jimmy, are such fun characters, each with their own quirks. Only a few people know about Steps' special gift, but it's fascinating how he uses it to track down the bad guys. (And the killer in this one is scary!) Their investigation to find the missing men is intense and suspenseful. Be warned, parts of this book do get a bit dark, and there is one pretty gruesome murder scene. But it's all the parts with Steps that make this fourth book in the series so compelling and good.

Happy Reading!

Other favorite books in this series:

Sunday, February 20, 2022

It's a Mystery...

Sometimes I don't connect with a book, even when it's well-written and the story is interesting. Like Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan. There's nothing wrong with this book. In fact, there's a lot to like about it. Lydia, the main character is very sympathetic: she has a secret from her childhood she doesn't want anyone to know about, she's kind, and she works in a bookstore. (And you know how I love a bookstore setting!) I also thought the mystery surrounding Joey --one of Lydia's quirky bookstore customers who commits suicide at the beginning of the novel--was intriguing, with the book codes he leaves for Lydia, and how his past ends up tying in with her own traumatic childhood. 

So then why didn't I connect with this one? 

I think it's because the narrative moves from the present with Lydia in the bookstore, to moments from her childhood with her father, to the present again with her boyfriend, David, then back to the traumatic incident from her past, to the present mystery with Joey, and back again. And I'm not saying the author doesn't do it well. He does. It's just for me, personally, this narrative style can make me feel like I'm constantly getting yanked between the past and present, so that I never fully connect with either timeline. Which is why I don't love it. But that's just me.

Would I recommend this one? I say, if the plot and that bookstore setting appeal to you, definitely give it a read. Because you just might end up liking it more than me.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Haiku Reviews...

The Audacity of Sara Grayson by Joani Elliott

Dying author wills
daughter to write her last book.
Can Sara do it?

Contemporary fiction .... 396 pages .... 5/5 stars.
(I loved this one -- the characters, the writing quotes at the top of each chapter, Sara's journey to find her own voice, and especially the heart and happy ending.)

The Runaway (Peter Ash #7) by Nick Petrie

She's pregnant & running 
from her husband. Trouble erupts
when Peter tries to help.

Action/Thriller .... 379 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(This is Helene's story more than Peter's; and it's darker and more unsettling than Petrie's other six books.)

Never Fall For Your Fiancée by Virginia Heath

Lies have a way of
becoming truth when two people
pretend to be in love.

Regency romance .... 356 pages .... 3.5/5 stars.
(Humorous and cute.)

Happy Reading!

Monday, February 14, 2022

How Sweet It Is by Dylan Newton...

Kate Sweet is an event planner, mostly of weddings and other happily ever after moments. But when her best friend asks her to help plan a book launch for bestselling horror novelist Drake Matthews's next book, she agrees because she hopes it will propel her career to the next level. 

Only her first meeting with Drake does not go well at all. He hates her ideas and doesn't want to be part of some "freak-show". That's not his only problem: he's got writer's block. He's supposed to be working on his next horror novel, but all he can think about is the historical fiction romance he wants to write instead. Only the words aren't coming for that one either. But maybe spending time with Kate will get his creative juices flowing.

My thoughts:  This romance is charming and delightful and full of funny moments. Drake Matthews is an introvert; he's also a good guy with a kind heart. I liked him immediately. Kate is more exuberant and outgoing. I liked how she always owns up to her mistakes. But it's their banter, honesty, and humorous interactions (like the bat mishap in the mausoleum), that make this romance so entertaining. Drake's whole writing process was another fun part of this book. I enjoyed reading this one. So even though it's set around Halloween, How Sweet It Is turned out to be the perfect Valentine romance. I'd give it: 💗💗💗💗.

Happy Reading!

Friday, February 11, 2022

Grave Reservations by Cherie Priest


This one is just fun! Leda Foley runs her own travel agency, though she only has two clients at the moment. And she sometimes gets psychic vibes, though not consistently or accurately. But she's getting better at it. She does Klairvoyant Karaoke several times a week at a local bar, and she just saved Detective Grady Merritt's life when she got a bad feeling and rebooked his flight home at the last minute. Now Detective Merritt wants her to help him with a tricky murder case. He hopes her psychic ability will give him a new lead. Despite her doubts, Leda agrees. She doesn't know if she'll be any help on Grady's case, but she hopes he might be able to solve the three-year-old murder of her fiancé, Tod.

There's so much to like about this book! Leda is engaging and quirky. Grady is more down-to-earth, a diligent detective and a good single Dad. Between his police work and her psychic flashes they make for an entertaining team. There's fun banter between the characters and Priest's writing is so humorous. I'd happily read many more mysteries with these two characters! Thanks, Verushka @ pop.edit.lit for recommending this book. It's a delightful read. 

Happy Reading!

My other favorite Cherie Priest read:

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

February's Bookish Art...

Mary Cassatt -- Young Lady Reading, 1878

"Sleep is good," he said. "And books are better."
--George R.R. Martin

Sunday, February 6, 2022

A classic mystery...

Title & Author:  Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

Setting:  1900. Appleyard College, a private boarding school for young ladies in Australia. 

First line:  "Everyone agreed that the day was just right for the picnic to Hanging Rock--a shimmering summer morning warm and still, with cicadas shrilling all through breakfast from the loquat trees outside the dining-room windows and bees murmuring above the pansies bordering the drive.

The plot:  The book starts out with a pleasant outing: twenty girls and two teachers having a picnic lunch at Hanging Rock. Then four of the girls take an innocent walk up to the monolith. Only one of them comes back, hysterical. The others are nowhere to be found. The mystery of what happened to those three girls, and the repercussions of their strange disappearance and how it affects those left behind, take up the rest of this novel.

My thoughts:  This is not a fast page-turning thriller. The narrative is slow, almost methodical, with more description than dialogue. But I thought it was interesting, especially seeing the impact this one tragic incident has on those at Appleyard College. Although it's not the girls who are at the center of this novel. (A fact I found a little disappointing.) I like stories set in boarding schools, but there's no immediacy in this one, and no real sense of daily life. The school is mostly in the background.

There were three characters I liked: Michael Fitzhubert and Albert Crundall, two young men who help search for the girls, and Mademoiselle de Poitiers, the young French teacher at Appleyard. But I never felt a deep connection with any of them. There's an almost surreal quality to this novel. And the mystery is left unsolved at the end. Although I actually liked that about the novel. The truth probably would have been a letdown. I prefer the not-knowing. All in all, I'd give this one 3 stars. 

This book was published in 1967, and counts as my Mystery/Detective/Crime Classic for Karen's Back to the Classics Challenge

Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 3, 2022

The Precipice by Paul Doiron

The Precipice is the sixth book in Paul Doiron's Mike Bowditch series, and the second book I've read by him; I thought it was just as good as Dead By Dawn, which happens to be the twelfth book in this series, but the first Doiron book I read. How's that for convoluted? 

The plot: 
When two female hikers go missing while hiking the Hundred Mile Wilderness section of the Appalachian Trail, Maine game warden Mike Bowditch is called in to help search for them. He's teamed up with Nonstop Nissen, a volunteer who's hiked the AT himself many times. Mike takes an instant dislike to the man. Still, they track the girls to their last known campsite, but find no other sign of them.

The other game wardens fear the girls might have run into trouble along the trail either from wild animals like coyotes, or from a serious fall. Mike's girlfriend Stacey, a wildlife biologist, worries the two hikers ran into something more dangerous--a killer of the two-legged variety. She's even more stubborn and hard-headed than Mike. 

Their investigation leads to an injured hiker, a strange church, a crazy backwoods Maine family known and feared for their criminal behavior, and the rumor of a serial killer who's been stalking the AT.

My thoughts:  Mike Bowditch is fast becoming a favorite character! I like him, and I find his job as a game warden quite interesting. I didn't like Stacey nearly as much; I found her tendency to overreact and argue and go off on her own kind of off-putting. But Mike likes her. And I really liked Mike's investigation into the two hikers' disappearance. That Appalachian Trail/Maine wilderness setting is also a favorite of mine. It really adds to the mystery. The Precipice is suspenseful, well-written, and it reads fast. And it totally ties in to Dead By Dawn, which was fun for me because I just read that one. I'm really liking this series, and I can't wait to read the next one.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday

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

This week's theme:  Books With Names in the Title.

I made it easy for myself when coming up with my list; I just looked at the books sitting on my shelves and picked ten that had names in the title. They're all books I've read, own and love. (Or at least really like.)

Here they are:

1. Juliet by Anne Fortier

2. The Thing About Jane Spring by Sharon Krum

3. Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

4. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

5. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

6. Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym

7. Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer

8. Goodnight, Irene by Jan Burke

9. Belinda by Maria Edgeworth

10. Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Happy Reading!