Sunday Post: Jan 31

Sunday-Post

This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

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.

Last Week–home and blog

The Move

We are making progress on our move to Iowa. We spent time this week answering emails, reading the inspection reports, writing emails, talking to our realtor. Amazing how much time that all takes! I have a moving checklist and a general checklist to try to stay organized. Lots to do in the next few months.

Snow aftermath

We still have snow, but a lot has melted as temps during the day were above freezing all week. Next week the temps may make it to 60 degrees!

I’ve loved watching the birds since they finished all the food in the bird feeders and it was kind of hard to get to the feeders we put birdseed on our patio for them. The cats and I love the close-up view though one of the cats keeps jumping at the window thinking she can catch them!

The pup

We took care of our son’s dog all week. He’s a mini dachshund with lots of energy, but a happy attitude toward life. He slept beside me on my chair as I read and followed me around the house. I think he had separation anxiety–decided he didn’t want to leave me so refused to walk sometimes with my husband! A sit-down strike! Our son was at a conference in the DC area all week so we handed the pup back on Friday evening. I’m going to miss them both when we move to Iowa.

Television

We watched both the X-Files remake and The Magicians. Enjoyed them both!

The blog

I’m still working on reviews, answering comments and commenting on other people’s blogs. It’s been great to catch up with at least a few bloggers.

Blog posts

My books

What I’m reading

  • Twisted Threads by Lea Wait

What I read last week

  • Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney
  • The Fine Art of Murder by Emily Barnes

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

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NetGalley

Library books

E-books

Audiobooks

  • None

Interesting on the internet

  • Tara @ the Librarian who doesn’t say shhh! writes about reviews: Let’s Get Critical: The Basics of a Critical Review
  • Katherine from I Wish I Lived in a Library is trying to get more out of her Pinterest boards this year: 52 Pins in 52 Weeks
  • The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog writes about: 6 SF/F Books That Would Make Binge-Worthy Netflix Series

Next Week–home & blog

Since I was taking care of our son’s dog all week I wasn’t able to get a lot of sorting done. I plan to work on that. And start boxing my books. That’s going to keep me busy as well as keeping track of what needs to get done with our move in March.

I’m going to concentrate on blogging ahead, getting reviews completed and scheduled. And keeping up with comments. Also I’m planning to sign up for another reading challenge or three!

Blog posts

  • Review: Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney
  • Top Ten Tuesday?
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Beyond the Books
  • February books on my list
  • Saturday Shorts: short stories and novella reviews
  • Sunday Post

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

The Leftovers–Sci-Fi & Fantasy Reviews

Another set of mini-reviews from books I read in 2015

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambersthe-long-way-to-a-small-angry-planet

  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet #1
  • Published 2014, 518 pages
  • Science Fiction (space opera)
  • Action-packed and fun, rollicking science fiction space opera.
  • I read this book as part of Sci-Fi Month 2015 and a read-along in November and even though the last part of November (Thanksgiving) kept me from participating in weeks 3 and 4 of the read-along I loved talking with others about this book. You can check out my week one and week two posts. However, if you plan to read the book watch out for spoilers!
  • Reminded me a little of the television series Firefly. The crew of the Wayfarer are all different–not only in looks, but also in their actions and interactions with each other. There are five humans, a sentient artificial intelligence and three other alien lifeforms on the ship. They work together as a crew, but some better than others…lol–for example, one of the humans doesn’t play well with anyone.
  • The Wayfayer is a space tunnelling ship creating black holes so ships can move to distant parts of the universe.
  • Also lots of action in the book as the Wayfarer travels in space to planets and space stations meeting many species.
  • Their ultimate goal is the small, angry planet to complete a tunnelling contract–and no one, but a few have ever seen it. The planet may be angry, but so are the species who claim it.

Grade: B+

Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrewssweep-in-peace

  • Innkeeper Chronicles #2
  • Published 2015, 237 pages
  • Urban Fantasy set in Texas
  • I love just about anything written by Ilona Andrews!
  • This is a great series–fun to read. I love the whole innkeeper idea.
  • Dina DeMille is the innkeeper and needs more guests to help keep her inn viable. Every other inn has turned down the opportunity to host a peace summit between three warring species because it’s so dangerous and has so many ways it can go wrong.
  • She agrees to the summit because she doesn’t have any other options–and then she has to make it work. And that’s not so easy!
  • Dina and her Shih Tzu named Beast are fun characters. Beast isn’t what he seems and is quite scary even among the many galactic scary characters. Dina is a very capable innkeeper.
  • I didn’t like this book as much as the first book–Clean Sweep

Grade: B+

2015 Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog

Have you read either of these books? How’d you like them?

Beyond the Books–what I’ve won

beyond-the-books

Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted at Kissin’BlueKaren. Beyond the Books is a weekly meme of mostly non-bookish topics. Share the link to your blog post at her site and we all have fun learning about each other. For more information and future topics.

I’ve decided to do the Beyond the Books meme sometimes, because I like finding out more about other bloggers. It’s fun to share a few non-bookish things about ourselves. This week the topic is something(s) we won.

I don’t win things very often. I don’t think I’m very lucky, but also I don’t enter many drawings for books or other things. When I do enter it’s usually for a book and it’s because I’m really excited about the book.

Books

The only time I’ve won a book was five or six years ago when I won an ARC on the Dear Author site. Because there were so many entries, however, I didn’t get the ARC I was excited about. Instead I received an ARC for a book and author I’d never heard of…lol! I must admit I never read it.

I also won a $5 gift card from Amazon a year or so ago at Anya’s blog On Starships and Dragonwings

Godiva Liqueurgodiva-liqueur

Once I won a bottle of Godiva liqueur at a Christmas party raffle! That was fun. I used the liqueur for 10 or 15 years to make a Christmas cookie (see my recipe for Mocha-Chocolate Crinkles. I’ve finally run out of the liqueur and I should buy another bottle because I think the cookies tasted a little better when I used it.

Swedish Embroidery–Ribbons

swedish-embroidery
Swedish embroidery example

I have to go back to my teenage years when I won something based on something I did! I learned to do Swedish embroidery (also called huck embroidery) and entered some of the embroidery I made in the County Fair. I won some ribbons for that. I don’t have any photos of my embroidery and don’t even know if I still have the pieces I made. However, this picture shown on one of Suzette Neal’s Pinterest boards is an illustration of one of the designs I made.

 

What have you won? Are you a lucky person who wins lots of things?

Waiting on Wednesday: Jan 27

I’m participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m Waiting-on-Wednesdaylooking forward to coming out in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.

“Forest of Memory” by Mary Robinette Kowal

Series: None

Publication Date: Mar 8

Genre: Fantasy novella

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Katya deals in Authenticities and Captures, trading on nostalgia for a past long gone. Her clients are rich and they demand items and experiences with only the finest verifiable provenance. Other people’s lives have value, after all.

But when her A.I. suddenly stops whispering in her ear she finds herself cut off from the grid and loses communication with the rest of the world.

The man who stepped out of the trees while hunting deer cut her off from the cloud, took her A.I. and made her his unwilling guest.

There are no Authenticities or Captures to prove Katya’s story of what happened in the forest. You’ll just have to believe her…

………………………………………

Why I want this book

  • One of Ms. Kowal’s short stories–“The Lady Astronaut of Mars”–is a favorite of mine.
  • The story sounds mysterious and sinister. I can’t wait!
  • The cover is beautiful.

What books are you anticipating?

Sunday Post: Jan 24

Sunday-Post

This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

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.

Last Week–home and blog

background
backyard at our new home
Des Moines and house hunting

We spent a long weekend looking at houses, looking a listings on the internet and talking about what our choices were. It looked like we were going to have to make another visit in February though we had a house we were kind of interested in. It was new and the builder was willing to do some extra things for us. The house was nice, but was on a very small lot with no trees, of course! (Most new houses in the Des Moines area are built on corn fields!)

We had one more house we tried to visit, but the homeowners had unexpected company from out-of-town. We finally toured the house two hours before we had to be at the airport. As soon as I stepped inside I knew this was the house I wanted if everything worked out. We made an offer and after a day of back and forth we got the house! I’m so excited, because I think we’re going to love this house. The inspection is next week and I hope nothing major shows up. It was built in the early 1990’s, but is immaculate. Lots of windows and light and a huge yard with lots of trees which I love. We will gradually update a few things as we have money and time. I will move to Des Moines in March ahead of my husband with our cats and some of the furniture.

The blizzard

We got a lot of snow and wind. We have mostly stayed inside by the fireplace watching the snow and reading. I love snow when I can stay inside and not have to drive in it. My husband did spend 2-1/2 hours outside shoveling on Saturday. I kept telling him to come in, that the driveway could wait, but he’s always determined! I took lots of photos which was fun.

The blog

I’m gradually catching up with reviews and other posts on my blog. Also I’m working on answering comments and commenting on other people’s blogs. It’s always fun to read what people have done, read and blogged.

Blog posts

What I’m reading

Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney

What I read last week

The Big Brush-Off by Michael Murphy

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

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NetGalley

Library books

  • None

E-books

  • None

Audiobooks

Next Week–home & blog

Our son planned to take the train on Saturday from NYC to Washington, DC. That didn’t happen, but he’s hoping to get down here on Monday morning. We’ll see how that works. He’s bring his dog with him and I’m taking care of him all week while my son has meetings with his company. That will keep me very busy!

Blog posts

  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Review
  • Sunday Post

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

Mystery Reviews

Mystery-reviews

I have a few books I read in 2015, but didn’t get reviewed. I’ve decided to group them together in three or four posts. Mysteries come first!

A Man of Some Repute by Elizabeth Edmondsona-man-of-some-repute-by elizabeth-edmondson

  • A Very English Mystery #1
  • Published 2015, 306 pages
  • Historical Mystery–England, 1953
  • I really enjoyed this mystery. I haven’t read too many books written in this time period.
  • Real events are the background for this historical mystery. Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess defected to the Soviet Union in the summer of 1951. They were both part of what later became known as the Cambridge Spy Ring because they were recruited in the 1930’s when they were at Cambridge. More people were ultimately accused as more evidence came to light. Kim Philby defected to the USSR in the early 1960’s. It still isn’t known (publicly at least) how many spies there might have been–but at least five.
  • The main character in this historical fiction mystery–intelligence officer Hugo Hawksworth–wounded on a secret mission and now assigned to desk duty. His job is to read through personnel files and see if he finds anyone else besides Maclean and Burgess who might be Russian spies. He isn’t very happy with this assignment, but has little choice because of his injury.
  • He is the guardian of his teenage sister and together they are staying at a castle in the country near where he is working. The Earl who owns the castle disappeared one night during a snowstorm seven years earlier. Soon after Hugo arrives the Earl’s bones are found under the flagstones of the castle chapel. Hugo (and his sister) and the Earl’s niece begin investigating the case.
  • There’s a hint of romance and the characters are interesting. The mystery is well-done and I recommend this book especially is you like historical mysteries set in an unusual time period.
  • Grade: B+

Murder Fir Christmas by Joyce & Jim Lavenemurder-fir-christmas-joyce-and-jim-lavene

  • Christmas Tree Valley Mysteries #1
  • Published 2015, 202 pages
  • Contemporary Mystery–small Tennessee town
  • I enjoyed this mystery a lot, too. When I picked it up I was afraid it might be a little “cutesy.” But it wasn’t. I thought it was well-written and I especially liked the main character–Federal Wildlife Agent Bonnie Tuttle.
  • She arrives in Tennessee where she grew up to take over from another wildlife agent who is retiring. As soon as she arrives she and the agent she will replace are called out to an island fire to help rescue animals. While on the island the retiring agent is murdered.
  • Bonnie must juggle the new job, new people to work and interact with while investigating a murder, helping her mother who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and helping run the family Christmas tree farm. She has a special gift with animals, too! And she has to deal with the reasons she left home in the first place. It all sounds like a muddled mess! But it works!
  • A lot to deal with, but even though this is a short book, it didn’t feel too short. I do hope to read another book in the series. I want to find out more about Bonnie and the people in this book. The mystery is pretty good, too. There’s a hint of romance in this book, too. I like the Christmas aspects of the book, too.
  • Grade: B

Death in a Red Canvas Chair by N.A. Grangerdeath-in-a-red-canvas-chair

  • Rhe Brewster Mystery #1
  • Published 2013, 216 pages
  • Contemporary Mystery–small Maine coastal town
  • I liked this mystery, but it’s not my favorite of the three.
  • Rhe Brewster is a nurse in this small town and she finds a dead body at the end of her son’s soccer game. Her brother-in-law is the sheriff and he asks her to help investigate. Rhe’s husband is quite unhappy about this and I didn’t find him very likable. I also didn’t find it likely that a sheriff would ask a nurse to help in an investigation. By the end of the book they made it more formal, but I still don’t find it very likely. I did find the mystery interesting.
  • Grade–B-

2015 Reading Challenges

  • Goodreads
  • Cloak and Dagger Challenge
  • New Author Challenge
  • TBR Pile Challenge

Have you read any of these books? How did you like them?

2015 reading challenges–How’d I do?

my-reading-challenges

2015 Reading Challenges

I only completed 3 of the 8 challenges for 2015. However, I was 85% or better on 3 more of the challenges so I feel pretty good about that. I’m doing challenges again for 2016–some of the same challenges as the ones below and some new ones. I have fun trying to complete the challenges!

Audiobook Challenge — 85%

  • Goal–20-30 audiobooks
  • How many I listened to –17 audiobooks
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015– 16 books
  • We traveled a lot in 2015 and when I travel I don’t listen to books as much.
  • I’ve signed up for this challenge again.

Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge — 175% –completed!

  • Goal–20 books
  • How many I read — 35 books
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015 — 32 books
  • I read 15 books more than my goal! YAY!
  • I’ve signed up for this one again.

Goodreads Challenge — 92%

  • Goal — 110 books
  • How many I read by the end of 2015 –101 books
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015 — 90 books
  • I have chosen a smaller challenge for 2016. I started worrying about the number of books I’d read instead of just enjoying the books. I also stopped reading long books since I was trying to meet my goal.
  • My goal this year is 100 books.

Library Challenge — 58%

  • Goal — 12-16 books
  • How many I read — 7 books
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015 — 7 books
  • Since we traveled so much last year I didn’t use the library as much as I meant to.
  • I haven’t signed up for a formal library challenge, but plan to keep track of the library books I read. And plan to buy fewer books since we’re retiring a few years earlier than planned and I need to keep to a budget.

New Author Challenge — 168% –completed!

  • Goal — 25 books
  • How many I read by the end of 2015 — 42 books
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015 — 35 books
  • Lots of really good new authors this year.
  • I’ve signed up for this challenge again. I love finding new authors to keep reading.

TBR Challenge — 92%

  • Goal — 1 book per month
  • How many I read — 11 books total
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015 — 11 books
  • I missed my July book–again, I got busy and didn’t finish the book until later in the year.
  • I’m not signing up for this challenge since it’s more romance oriented and I’m not reading so much romance anymore.

TBR Pile Reading Challenge — 116% — completed

  • Goal — 31-40 books
  • How many I read — 36 books
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015 –33 books
  • I have lots of TBR books so this is one I’ve signed up again. I have plenty of books for this challenge!

Ultimate Reading Challenge — 58%

  • Goal — 52 books–each in a specific category
  • How many I read — 30 books
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015 –30 books
  • There were some types of books on the list I probably wouldn’t have read, but I could have done a little better. In the last months of 2015 I got busy with other things and didn’t think about the challenge and trying to find books to meet the challenge.
  • I didn’t check to see if this challenge is occurring again this year. I signed up for a different challenge that’s somewhat similar, but confined to science fiction and fantasy.

Did you take part in reading challenges in 2015? How did you do?

Waiting on Wednesday–Jan 20

I’m participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m Waiting-on-Wednesdaylooking forward to coming out in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.

Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Series: Into the Dim #1

Publication Date: Mar 1

Genre: YA Science Fiction (time travel)

Synopsis (from Goodreads): When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing.      Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens. 

………………………………………

Why I want this book

  • I don’t read too many young adult books, but this sounds good.
  • I like time travel if it’s done well.
  • I like this time period.

What about you? Do you have books you can’t wait to read?

Top Ten Tuesday–New to my TBR

Top Ten

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted at the Broke and the Bookish blog. Each week a different topic is introduced and it is fun to see what everyone writes each week. Check out their blog for more information.

This week I’m talking about books I’ve recently added to my TBR list. Since I’m often adding books I’ve chosen the ten books I’ve added that I’m most excited about.

marked-in-flesh

Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

Netgalley book–comes out March 8. 4th book in this fantasy series and I’ve loved all of them. One of my most anticipated 2016 reads.

……………………

harmony-black

Harmony Black by Craig Schaefer

The first book in a new urban fantasy series. This is a Kindle First book which comes out February 1.

…………………….

steal-the-sky

Steal the Sky by Megan E. O’Keefe

The first book in a new fantasy-science fiction-steampunk series which came out this month.

……………………..

detective-strongoak-and-the-case-of-the-missing-elf

Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf by Terry Newman

A fantasy mystery (maybe urban fantasy). And a great title and cover!

……………………..

bloodrush

Bloodrush by Ben Galley

A fantasy western!

………………..

girl-waits-with-gun

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Historical fiction (mystery) based on true story of one of the first female deputy sheriffs. And a great cover.

……………………

the-builders

The Builders by Daniel Polansky

A fantasy western novella with animals as the main characters!

…………………..

the-shootout-solution

The Shootout Solution by Michael J. Underwood

The first in a new fantasy novella series. And another western theme.

…………………..

of-sorrow-and-such

Of Sorrow and Such by Angela Slatter

Another fantasy novella. Has great ratings!

………………….

GEEK-GIRL_murder_ROUGHS_3

A Geek Girl’s Guide to Murder by Julie Anne Lindsey

The first in a new cozy mystery series. And what a fun title!

What new books inhabit your TBR list?

Sunday Post: Jan 17

Sunday-Post

This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

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.

Last Week–home and blog

New York City–then back home to a cold

We had a wonderful time in NYC. We did some bar and restaurant hopping with our son. He wanted to go to some places he hadn’t been before–and that’s easy to find in New York! We had some great food and great conversations. It was a good visit. He had other plans Saturday night so we went to see a play–Fun Home. It’s staged in a theater in the round so that was very interesting and it’s a musical which both my husband and I love, but it’s a more serious musical and was very well done.

We arrived back home late Sunday evening and on Monday morning I had a cold. 😦 It progressed from my head to my chest during the week and though I’m feeling better I’m still coughing a lot. I spent most of the week resting, sleeping and reading.

Des Moines and house hunting

What time I spent on the internet this week I was looking at house listings our realtor had sent us. That was exhausting!

We left Friday night for Des Moines and didn’t arrive at our daughter’s house until midnight. My husband came down with the cold on Friday afternoon so he wasn’t feeling so great and by the time we arrived I wasn’t either. We started out with nine houses to see on Saturday, but when our realtor picked us up we were down to six (our favorite had sold, another was a short sale and they weren’t allowing showings??! and at the other house they had unexpected visitors). Of the six houses we might revisit two of them and we’re still hoping to get into the house with the visitors! I was ready for bed by the time we got back to our daughter’s house.

We may have to make another visit in February for more house hunting. 😦

Television

I didn’t feel like watching TV which meant I got more sleep and more books read!

The blog

I did very little on the internet this week especially on my blog. I only had two posts ready so that’s all that posted and I didn’t visit blogs. My thinking process were nonexistent…lol. What little I did do on the internet was reserved for looking through house listings on the internet for our trip to Des Moines.

I love comments on my blog and I love to comment on other people’s blogs, so I hope when we arrive back in Maryland on Tuesday I can spend some time catching up on comments.

Blog posts

What I’m reading

The Big Brush-Off by Michael Murphy

What I read last week

Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy 

Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

Threads of Deceit by

A Muddied Murder by Wendy Tyson

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

NetGalley

Library books

  • None

E-books

Audiobooks

Next Week–home & blog

We get home Tuesday morning and I’m sure I’m going to need some time to rest and recuperate. If I’m still coughing I’m going to the doctor.

It will be a busy week since I got nothing done last week. Our son is coming next weekend and then we are taking care of his dog while he attends business meetings all the next week.

I’m still trying to complete some posts from 2015 including 2015 reviews. I hope to do some of that next week. And comments.

Blog posts

  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • 2015 reading challenges–how’d I do?
  • Sunday Post

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