Sunday Post: Nov 30

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The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

 

Last Week

Home & blogTh-2014

Hard to believe it’s the last day of November! Only one month left for 2014. . .

We’ve been in Iowa all week. Had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration as well as many family activities. We survived it all–even the food (at least so far though I need to ride my stationary bike a longer than normal for the next few months…LOL). I didn’t count how many people we had this year, but it was quite a crowd.

We left for Illinois on Saturday to spend the weekend with one of our daughters and then fly home on Monday. I got a cold during the week (thought it was allergies at first) and haven’t participated in all activities. 😦

I managed some reading as well as a little work on blog posts in between talking to family and helping with cooking.

Blog posts

Books

What I’m reading

Now May You Weep by Deborah Crombie

What I read the this week

Undercity by Catherine Asaro

Books, E-books, Audiobooks–NetGalley, library, purchased or free

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Library

None

Kindle e-books

A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch

The Fleet Street Murders by Charles Finch

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

The Martian by Andy Weir

Audiobooks

The Element of Fire by Martha Wells

Raven Black: Book One of the Shetland Island Quartet by Ann Cleeves

Next Week

Home & blog

We fly home on Monday and I plan to recuperate and get over my cold. My husband leaves on Tuesday for about 10 days on a business trip. I wish he didn’t have to go during the Christmas season, but I’m hoping to work on Christmas cards and presents. And lots of reading and blogging!

Blog Posts

  • December books on my radar . . .
  • Review: Undercity by Catherine Asaro
  • Blog Ahead Update
  • TTT: Books I’m looking forward to in 2015 . . .
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Review: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
  • Review: A Finer End by Deborah Crombie
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? What are you planning next week?

Review: The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells

the-serpent-sea

The Serpent Sea
by Martha Wells
Series: The Books of Raksura #2
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Night Shade Books, 2012
Library book
340 pages
Grade: A
Synopsis: Moon, once a solitary wanderer, has become consort to Jade, sister queen of the Indigo Cloud court. Together, they travel with their people on a pair of flying ships in hopes of finding a new home for their colony. Moon finally feels like he’s found a tribe where he belongs.

But when the travelers reach the ancestral home of Indigo Cloud, shrouded within the trunk of a mountain-sized tree, they discover a blight infecting its core. Nearby they find the remains of the invaders who may be responsible, as well as evidence of a devastating theft. This discovery sends Moon and the hunters of Indigo Cloud on a quest for the heartstone of the tree — a quest that will lead them far away, across the Serpent Sea.

He had a great deal of experience trying to fit into various groundling tribes and settlements, just in search of a place to live. But trying to fit into a group where he actually belonged, and had an important role, was . . . still daunting. He nursed a lingering fear that he was somehow going to wreck it and got thrown out of the court. It wasn’t that odd a notion: he had gotten thrown out of a lot of places for various reasons.

and

On the platform, a golden-skinned groundling woman, dressed only in wispy scarves, moved to the music, though she looked half asleep. Dancing was another groundling thing that left Moon cold. The quick movements were often distracting and made him twitchy with the urge to hunt, and the slow movements were just boring. It was more fun to watch grasseaters graze.

Cheers

  • I love the covers of these books.
  • Such a good book. I love both of the books I’ve read in the series so far. They are entertaining and just fun to read. I love learning more about this world.
  • The characters are vivid and the setting is so interesting…floating cities, mountains-sized trees, so many different creatures in the world.
  • I like Moon so much. I like knowing more about him–the insecurities, the slow gained knowledge, the realization he has experience to give to others.
  • I like Moon and Jade’s relationship.
  • Martha Wells is so good at getting into the heads of the characters she writes about so I understand their motivations.

Jeers

  • None. I love the series and writing.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I own the third book in the series–The Siren Depths–in an Audible edition. I’m hoping to listen to it soon!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge

Review: Kissed a Sad Goodbye by Deborah Crombie

kissed-a-sad-goodbyeKissed a Sad Goodbye
by Deborah Crombie
Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series, Book 6
Genre: Mystery, British Police Procedural
Published by Bantam Books, 1999
Library book
322 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Scotland Yard’s Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James face their most haunting case yet when the past devastatingly intersects with the present….

The call from Scotland Yard couldn’t have come at a worse time for Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid. He has promised the weekend to Kit, the eleven-year-old son of his ex-wife. The son he never knew he fathered — who doesn’t yet know Kincaid’s true identity.

But Duncan’s best intentions are shattered by an investigation that draws him in and swiftly consumes him. It seems to begin with the discovery of the body of a beautiful young woman in an East London park. But Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma James will discover that this case has long roots that reach far back into the past, and that resentments which should have been decades buried still have the power to hurt — and maybe even the capacity to kill.

“Sit down. I’ve made us some coffee. This morning we’re just going to get acquainted.”

“But I thought . . .” Gemma’s nervousness flooded back. Whatever had possessed her to make this appointment, to give up a free Saturday morning that could have been spent with Toby? It had been a stupid idea, a chance thought followed up when it should have been dismissed, and now she was about to make an utter ass of herself. Thank goodness she’d told no one but her friend Hazel what she meant to do.

Wendy Sheinart sat down beside Gemma and lifted the coffeepot. “Now.” Smiling, she filled Gemma’s cup. “You can tell me why you want to play the piano.”

Cheers

  • I did figure out who had committed the murder, but didn’t figure out the correct reason!
  • I like learning more and more about Duncan and Gemma. I empathize with Duncan and all the changes to his personal life that occurred in the last book.
  • So many things have changed in Duncan and Gemma’s lives. Finding out he has an 11-year-old son came as a shock. He and Gemma are still trying to come to terms with this and how it affects their relationship. And Duncan is trying to figure out how he can be part of Kit’s life when he isn’t Kit’s legal guardian.
  • During this book Gemma must make decisions about her future.
  • One of the things Ms. Crombie does a good job with is showing many sides to her characters. Gemma has gradually discovered a love of music as these books have progressed. As the quote above shows she decides to take piano lessons, but she’s very unsure of herself and doesn’t like to admit her vulnerability. It doesn’t quite fit how she sees herself.
  • I also like the quotes which Deborah Crombie puts at the beginning of each chapter. In this case, the books she quotes from tell about the setting for this book–The Isle of Dogs, a peninsula in the River Thames. The history of the area and especially during WWII is important to the story.
  • The library books (hardcovers) I’ve read in this series have wonderful maps on the end pages. The map from this book, drawn by Laura Hartman Maestro, is great because it really helps to visualize the area in England the book talks about. They also show where certain things happen in the book so I don’t look too closely until I’ve finished a book! I think all the maps are drawn by her, but I’m not sure.

Jeers

  • None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • If you have the opportunity, read from the books from the beginning as Gemma and Duncan’s lives change throughout the books.
  • Such a good mystery series. Deborah Crombie does a great job creating a series which is satisfying both on the personal level as well as the professional level.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Reading Challenges

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge

 

Family Thanksgiving

turkey

Happy Thanksgiving . . .

to all the Americans celebrating today and to everyone else who reads my blog.

I’m very thankful to my followers and friends who read and comment on my blog. Whatever you’re doing I hope you have a wonderful day. I know Canada celebrates Thanksgiving in October, but I don’t know if other countries have similar holidays or not. I have a niece and nephew living in Germany who are celebrating Friendsgiving!

Our family has celebrated Thanksgiving for many years in Iowa with my husband’s family. This is the extended family and it’s a big one! Depending on the year we may have 40 people to as many as 75 people. My husband’s family began this Thanksgiving tradition nearly 50 years ago. So the young people in the family grew up with this tradition and as they have married and had children of their own they want this tradition to continue.

Some of our traditions:

Thanksgiving costumes--pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce & Leftovers
Thanksgiving costumes–pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce & Leftovers
  • A dinner Wednesday evening at a restaurant
  • Fun activities before Thanksgiving dinner–we’ve had an ugly Christmas sweater contest and race, a costume contest, a scavenger hunt, team Olympics and many other activities over the years
  • Thanksgiving dinner
  • A walk in the local cemetery after dinner
  • Soup and sandwiches at the hotel most of us stay at Thanksgiving evening

Most of these traditions include food of some sort!

This year we have so many special activities going on we don’t have time for any other activities!

  • A surprise birthday party
  • A christening Thanksgiving morning plus party afterward
  • An engagement party Thanksgiving evening
  • A bridal shower Friday morning

What special holidays and traditions do your family celebrate?

WoW: Owl and the Japanese Circus by Krisiti Charish

I’m participating in Waiting on Wednesday occasionally. Breaking the Spine blog hosts Waiting on Waiting-on-WednesdayWednesday–a time each week we can spotlight upcoming releases. Visit the blog to find out more information and to leave your link on her blog.

 

The book I’m excited about this week:

Owl and the Japanese Circus

by Kristi Charish

Series: The Adventures of Owl #1

Publication Date: January 13, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads: Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.

Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.

……………………………..

What made me pick this book:

  • The title of the book really caught my attention.
  • I like dragons and the archaeology angle sounds great.
  • I received an e-ARC from NetGalley so I definitely plan to read this soon.
  • I like to find new authors to read and I believe this is a debut author. It is also the first book in a new series with the next book probably coming out sometime next summer.

My winter reading list . . .

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme which I participate in occasionally. It’s a great meme and is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week a new topic is presented. It’s not only fun to think about my own list, but to read what other people come up with!

This week we talk about the books we are most looking forward to reading this winter. I have lots of great books I want to read!

 

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New Winter Books

1. Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch (Peter Grant #5)

2. The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehnat Khan (Debut mystery)

3. Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes #13 / NetGalley)

4. Visions in Silver by Anne Bishop (The Others #3)

5. Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega #4)

6. Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish (The Adventures of Owl #1 / NetGalley)

TBR Pile Books

7. Lock In by John Scalzi (Lock In #1 / audiobook)

8. Stained Glass Monsters by Andrea K. Höst (Eferum #1)

9. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (Sevenwaters #1)

10. Red Rising by Pierce Brown (Red Rising Trilogy #1 / audiobook)

What books are you looking forward to this winter?

 

Sunday Post: Nov 23

rp_sundaypostmeme13.jpgHappy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates!

 

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

 

Last Week

Home & blog

It was a very busy week. Lots to do to get ready for Thanksgiving. I’ve also been working on Blog Ahead and doing pretty well on that. I probably won’t have too much time to work on things this next week.

Blog posts

Books

What I’m reading

Undercity by Catherine Asaro

What I read the this week

Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier

On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle (audiobook)

Have Spacesuit – Will Travel by Robert Heinlein (audiobook)

Books, E-books, Audiobooks–Netgalley, library, purchased or free

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Library

Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver

The Six-Gun Tarot by R. S, Belcher

Through the Grinder by Cleo Coyle

Kindle e-books

Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin

The Mary Russell Companion by Laurie King

Mary’s Christmas by Laurie King

The Malcontenta by Barry Maitland

Audiobooks

Have Spacesuit – Will Travel by Robert Heinlein

Around the Internet

  • Winter COYER–You can still sign-up!

    • Winter 2014-2015 COYER (Clean Out Your E-Reader) Sign-ups started yesterday. I participated in the Summer COYER and enjoyed it a lot. The COYER Challenge is hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading. Check it out. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
    • This time there is a referral challenge. When you sign-up there’s a place to add the person who referred you so if you sign-up because you saw my post please add my name. Thanks!

Next Week

Home & blog

We leave for Iowa today for Thanksgiving. Really looking forward to seeing everyone!

Blog Posts

  • TTT: Books I’m looking forward to in 2015 . . .
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Thanksgiving
  • Review: Kissed a Sad Goodbye by Deborah Crombie
  • Review: The Serpent Seas by Martha Wells
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? What are you planning next week?

Blog Ahead: Week 3

blog-ahead02This blog challenge is hosted by Anna @ Herding Cats & Burning Soup blog. The idea is to have at least 30 extra pre-scheduled blog posts at the end of November. The challenge begins on November 1 and continues until the end of November. It’s a blogging version of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which also takes place during November.

My Progress:

  • I have 15 extra posts scheduled now for November and December. I had hoped to get a few more done this week since I don’t know that I’ll get too much done this last week. However, I’m glad to have this much done!

Come back and check my final progress update!

Review: Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie

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Dreaming of the Bones
by Deborah Crombie
Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series, Book 5
Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural (British)
Published by Scribner, 1997
E-book, Purchased
355 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: It is the call Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid never expected — and one he certainly doesn’t want. Victoria, his ex-wife, who walked out without an explanation more than a decade ago, asks him to look into the suicide of local poet, Lydia Brooke — a case that’s been officially closed for five years. The troubled young writer’s death, Victoria claims, might well have been murder.

No one is more surprised than Kincaid himself when he agrees to investigate — not even his partner and lover, Sergeant Gemma James. But it’s a second death that raises the stakes and plunges Kincaid and James into a labyrinth of dark lies and lethal secrets that stretches all the way back through the twentieth century — a death that most assuredly is murder, one that has altered Duncan Kincaid’s world forever.
Ten years ago, twelve years ago, he’d been a by-the-book copper, and he probably would have laughed at her suspicions. But he’d learned not to discount intuition, even as unlikely as it sometimes seemed.
and
“One of the things I’ve learned over the years in police work is that sometimes we just can’t know all the answers–life doesn’t always tidy itself into neat little compartments. It’s frustrating and infuriating, but if you don’t learn when to let go, you can’t stay in the job.”

Cheers

  • This is another series which is best read from the beginning. I’m really glad I did!
  • Duncan’s ex-wife calls asking for a favor–which doesn’t please Gemma at all! It puts a crimp in their relationship until they both talk.
  • I like the quotes and poems at the beginning of chapters…though I’ve never done well interpreting poetry. It was fun to read about the poetry though.
  • Victoria, Duncan’s ex-wife, is writing a biography of a poet who went to college in Cambridge in the 1960’s and lived there most of her life until her death five years before this story opens.
  • The Cambridge setting is well-done.
  • I was pulled in by one of the red herrings!
  • I did finally figure out what must have happened, but it was close to the end of the book!
  • One theme I find in this series I’ve read so far–the importance of the past to what happens in the present. In this book it’s the poet Lydia Brooke’s life.
  • During each book we slowly learn more about Gemma and Duncan and their pasts. I like that it slowly unfolds.

Jeers

  • None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This book really stuck with me. I think because it has Duncan’s ex-wife in it and he must really confront a number of difficult things from his past.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge

Review: Mourn Not Your Dead by Deborah Crombie

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Mourn Not Your Dead
by Deborah Crombie
Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series, Book 4
Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural (British)
Published by Scribner, 1997
E-book, Purchased
310 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: The murder at Holmbury St Mary was not one that Superintendent Duncan Kincaid of Scotland Yard would relish investigating. A man has been beaten to death in his own home. A man who just happened to be Commander Alastair Gilbert of the Metropolitan Police… Only adding to Kincaid’s problems are his tangled personal feelings for Sergeant Gemma James. And in an investigation of this importance neither can afford a breakdown in their relationship. Combining subtle emotional nuances and psychological insights with the intricacies of police procedure, Deborah Crombie produces a powerful contemporary mystery in the classic tradition.

When she’d started in the force, a rookie constable, she’d almost unconsciously shared her parents’ disdain for those who could “better themselves if they made the effort,” but experience had quickly taught her that the equation was almost never that simple. For some the most you could do was try to make their lives a little more comfortable, and if possible leave them a bit of dignity.

and

“And we can’t compromise ourselves….We swore to uphold the law, not to pass sentence, and we dare not cross that line, no mater how good our intentions….”

Cheers

  • The book is told from both Duncan’s and Gemma’s points of view.
  • This is a case no policeman would want to investigate–the murder of a Commander with the Metropolitan Police. Lots of political problems with that one!
  • Gemma is uncomfortable with Duncan and they are at odds with each other during much of the book.
  • I really like the dialogue Crombie writes as well as the sense of place and descriptions she gives the reader.
  • The mystery is also well plotted and kept me guessing.
  • I like the characters introduced in each book. Some become continuing characters and some we don’t see again, but they are well crafted.
  • These books don’t pull their punches. Sometimes bad things happen when we don’t want them to.

Jeers

  • I’m still troubled by the relationship between Duncan and Gemma. But I’m compulsively reading these books!

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I’m reading these books much faster than I’m getting them reviewed. I have to hurry up and get these reviews done and posted!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge