Sunday Post: A housewarming & back home again

Sunday-PostKimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

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My daughter who moved to Indiana in July hosted a housewarming and birthday party last weekend. It was so much fun. Quite a few people came including some surprise visitors. My sister-in-law from Seattle flew in for the weekend and a couple other family members who were visiting in the Midwest from Texas and Alaska showed up to surprise her. We all had a wonderful time.

It was a beautiful sunny day, but as the day went on it got colder and colder. We had planned to have a bonfire so we lit it early which was good because it got very windy as it got colder. After some branches blew down from trees close to us we went inside! We’d planned to cook halibut for dinner, but about the time we were ready to start the power went out. We ordered pizza instead and built a fire in her fireplace. It worked out just fine. 🙂

This is the second time the power has gone out since she moved in and both times my husband and I were visiting! The problem is that the bike trail her house backs on to is also where the power lines run and the trail has lots of trees along it. The trees drop branches and even blow down when the wind is blowing hard so the power goes out quite regularly! It came back on during the wee hours of the morning. Even with the power going out we all had a wonderful time.

Autumn

Some trees have already lost their leaves and we’ve had some frost and even a few snow flurries so far, but many of the leaves on our trees are still beautiful. Our crabapple trees are especially nice this year. They’re loaded with crabapples so that adds to the color along with the beautiful colored leaves. The fall weather is lovely with cool mornings and temps in the 50’s or even 60’s and lots of bright blue skies. I love it! It’s hard to believe November is almost here.

Television

My husband and I are watching the new Dr. Who season. We love the new Doctor. And the stories so far are great.

Blog

I didn’t get a chance to finish my Sunday Post last week with the party going on and the power going out on Saturday night. This week I have two weeks worth of blog posts and books.

My goal is to post two book reviews a week and in the past two weeks I posted five reviews so I did a little better than that! Yay! I’ve also visited book blogs in the past week which has been nice.

Last two weeks
Next week
  • Review
  • Review
  • November books on my list
  • Sunday Post & October Wrap-Up

My books

What I’m reading
  • Terra Incognita by Connie Willis
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
What I read the last two weeks
  • White Silence by Jodi Taylor
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
  • Hi Bob by Bob Newhart
  • Straight Outta Fangton by C.T. Phipps
  • Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
  • Masked Ball at Broxley Manor by Rhys Bowen
Books I got the last two weeks

The Blackhouse by Peter May 

Straight Outta Fangton by C.T. Phipps

Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein

Back Stabbers by Julie Mulhern

The Various Haunts of Men by Sandra Hill

On Silver Wings by Evan Currie

Masked Ball at Broxley Manor by Rhys Bowen (library ebook)

Down the Broken Road by J.R. Backlund (library hardcover)

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea (audiobook)

 

What did you do last week? What are your plans for next week?

Review: The High Ground by Melinda Snodgrass

the high ground by Melinda snodgrassThe High Ground by Melinda Snodgrass

Series: Imperials #1

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Military SF

Setting: The Solar League

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2016

356 pages

Synopsis: Emperor’s daughter Mercedes is the first woman ever admitted to the High Ground, the elite training academy of the Solar League’s Star Command, and she must graduate if she is to have any hope of taking the throne. Her classmate Tracy has more modest goals — to rise to the rank of captain, and win fame and honor. But a civil war is coming and the political machinations of those who yearn for power threaten the young cadets. In a time of intrigue and alien invasion, they will be tested as they never thought possible. 

My thoughts

I enjoyed this book by Melinda Snodgrass a lot until the ending. I did think the ending was realistic, but it wasn’t the way I wanted it to end! So on the whole I enjoyed the book. It’s a story of cadets at the High Ground which is the elite training academy for officers in this world. At least one year of the training academy is required for the eldest son in each aristocratic family. A few students from the lower class are given scholarships each year. The aristocrats look down on them and scorn them whenever they can.

In this book Tracy is one of the scholarship students and he doesn’t want to go to the academy, but there aren’t really any other choices for him unless he wants to become a tailor like his dad. Also in this class of cadets the Emperor’s oldest daughter Mercedes is the first woman admitted to the academy. Her father has only daughters so he has gotten the laws changed that say that the succession only goes to the eldest son. Now his eldest daughter is named heir to the throne, but first she must graduate from the High Ground. Neither Tracy nor Mercedes want to be at High Ground, but they both have to persevere and succeed.

The beginning of the book gives foreshadowing of bad things to come for this empire from what looks like some sort of alien race. I don’t really know if that was necessary in this book. I guess by the end of the series I might know what I think of that.

There are many things I like about this book. I like that there are aliens in the book. These are races that were conquered by the empire. Most people in the empire treat them as though they aren’t very intelligent. They work as servants and have very little power. However, there’s lots of evidence in the book that they are much more than they seem.

Women are also treated much differently than men in this society. That’s because they need women to have large families to help increase the population. Women are expected to get married and have children. When Mercedes enters High Ground it causes all sorts of tremors through the empire. Women aren’t supposed to learn how to fight or how to govern an empire.

All in all, even though I didn’t like the ending too well this is a good book. And it caused me to think about government, society, aristocracy, hereditary government and groups of people who have little or no say about what happens to them. That’s not to say the book isn’t entertaining. It’s very entertaining and fun to read. After all, it’s my favorite science fiction genres combined–space opera and military science fiction!

My Rating: B

Have you read any books by this author?

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

watcher in the woods by kelley armstrongWatcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong

Series: Rockton #4

Published by Minotaur Books

Publishing date: February 5, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Synopsis: The secret town of Rockton has seen some rocky times lately; understandable considering its mix of criminals and victims fleeing society for refuge within its Yukon borders. Casey Duncan, the town’s only detective on a police force of three, has already faced murder, arson and falling in love in less than the year that she’s lived there. Yet even she didn’t think it would be possible for an outsider to find and cause trouble in the town she’s come to call home.

 

…………………….

I’ve read the first three books and this is one of my favorite series. I’m excited for this book!

Review: A Borrowing of Bones by Paula Munier

A Borrowing of Bones by Paula MunierA Borrowing of Bones by Paula Munier

Series: Mercy & Elvis Mysteries #1

Genre: Mystery

Setting: Vermont

Source: Hardcover book, Library

Publishing Date: 2018

352 pages

Synopsis: First in a gripping new mystery series about a retired MP and her bomb-sniffing dog who become embroiled in an investigation in the beautiful Vermont wilderness.

My thoughts

I liked this book so much! The dogs in the book are great. I am so enjoying reading so many books about dogs. They are wonderful animals! I also thought the author did a great job with the military portions of the story. Both Mercy and Elvis (her Belgian Malinois) are Army veterans. She was an MP in the Army and Elvis was a bomb sniffing dog. His human partner was Mercy’s fiance who was killed by a sniper while out on patrol. Mercy promised him she would take care of Elvis and she was finally able to adopt him when Elvis retired.

A baby in the wilderness

Both Mercy and Elvis are still suffering from the aftermath of Afghanistan and she has closed herself off from other people. Mercy does take Elvis on a walk almost every day in a Vermont wilderness near their home. Usually they see a few people on the trail, but it’s the Fourth of July weekend so she expects to see more people on the trail. However, she doesn’t expect Elvis to find a baby or to alert for explosives. Thus, starts a mystery! Who left a baby in the woods? Are there explosives where Elvis alerted? She isn’t an MP any longer, but it’s hard for Mercy and Elvis to stay away from this case especially when the baby disappears from the hospital.

Troy and search-and-rescue dog Susie Bear

When she calls in the discovery of the baby, Troy Warner a game warden answers the call. He has a part Labrador Retriever and part Newfoundland search-and-rescue dog (Susie Bear) with him. When Mercy shows Troy where they found the baby both Elvis and Susie Bear search for any further clues about who left the baby. The dogs don’t find clues to the baby, but they do find a shallow grave with bones in it. Lots of mysteries in this forest!

Mercy and Troy team up–sometimes with mixed results

Mercy and Troy plus their dogs team up on several occasions to search for more clues. However, this case belongs to the state police and the detective in charge doesn’t take kindly to either Mercy or Troy investigating the case. That was probably the weakest part of the story for me—that Mercy continues to investigate. I did understand why she did so. She had discovered the baby plus a dead body plus she doesn’t have any confidence in the state police detective. She drags Troy into several of the investigations which endangers his job. That’s not good for either one of them.

At any rate, I enjoyed this book a lot. Elvis and Susie Bear are wonderful dogs and Mercy is a great character. I’m looking forward to more books in this series and want to read more about the dogs, Mercy and Troy. I’m hoping Mercy gets a job in law enforcement so she has good reason to investigate crimes and mysteries!

My Rating: B

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

Review: Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany

Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany

Series: Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #2

Genre: Mystery, Cozy

Setting: Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2017

297 pages

Synopsis: Gemma Doyle and Jayne Wilson are busy managing the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium on Baker Street and adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room in anticipation of the store’s upcoming book signing with the illustrious Renalta Van Markoff, author of the controversial Hudson and Holmes mystery series. But during the author Q&A session, dedicated Sherlockian Donald Morris verbally attacks Renalta and her series for disgracing Sherlock’s legacy, only to be publicly humiliated when the author triumphantly lashes back and gains the upper hand. That is until Renalta collapses on the table–dead. Donald insists he didn’t do it and pleads to his friends to clear his name. Fortunately, Gemma and Jayne have no shortage of suspects between author’s bullied personal assistant, her frustrated publicist, the hapless publisher, a handsome rare book dealer, an obsessively rabid fan, and a world of other Sherlock enthusiasts with strong objections to Renalta’s depiction of the Great Detective. It’s up to the shrewd sleuthing duo to eliminate the impossible and deduce the truth before the West London police arrest an innocent man in Body on Baker Street, the second Sherlock Homes Bookshop mystery perfect for fans of Miranda James and Kate Carlisle.

My thoughts

This is the first book I’ve read in this series. I could tell there were things that had happened that I didn’t know about from the first book, but I didn’t have any trouble understanding the characters or story.

My favorite series by Vicki Delany is the Constable Molly Smith series, but I did enjoy this cozy mystery. Gemma Doyle is an enjoyable character to read about. I did get annoyed with her when she continued to go out of her way to annoy Detective Louise Estrada. Estrada doesn’t like Gemma and would love to arrest her for anything. Gemma knows this and it seems silly to continue to irritate her.

I like the Sherlock Holmes bookstore and the tea shop that’s attached. I’d love to find a bookstore and tea shop like that. I also thought some of the over-the-top characters were very funny. They fit into the plot very well. Donald Morris who is an overly devoted Sherlock fan was especially amusing. He dresses like Sherlock and talks about the books and the characters as though they’re real. I like that the author pokes fun at overly enthusiastic fans. And there are lots of them in this book.

The mystery is good. It kept me guessing. There are plenty of suspects though the poisoning is done in front of a big group. I plan to read other books in the series.

My Rating: B

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge hosted by the POPSUGAR website — A book that involves a bookstore or library

Review: White Silence by Jodie Taylor

white silence by jodi taylorWhite Silence by Jodie Taylor

Series: Elizabeth Cage #1

Genre: Fantasy, Thriller

Setting: England

Source: Audiobook, purchased (10 hours, 31 minutes)

Narrator: Kate Scarfe

Publishing Date: 2017

325 pages

Synopsis: Elizabeth Cage is a child when she discovers that there are things in this world that only she can see. But she doesn’t want to see them and she definitely doesn’t want them to see her. 

What is a curse to Elizabeth is a gift to others – a very valuable gift they want to control. 

When her husband dies, Elizabeth’s world descends into a nightmare. But as she tries to piece her life back together, she discovers that not everything is as it seems. 

Alone in a strange and frightening world, she’s a vulnerable target to forces beyond her control. 

And she knows that she can’t trust anyone… 

My thoughts

Oh, my gosh, this book wasn’t what I was expecting! I knew it was a fantasy and I’ve read some of Jodi Taylor’s time travel series–The Chronicles of St. Mary’s–and I love that series. This new series is quite different. It’s more of a thriller and even ventured into horror territory for me. (I don’t like being scared so keep that in mind!) There were parts of this book that scared me–especially since I was home alone at the time…lol. I hadn’t planned to read any scary books for Halloween, but it happened anyway!

First part is more typical fantasy…the second not so much

The first part of the book is like a typical fantasy. The main character has some sort of magical ability, but she doesn’t know exactly what it is. She learns to hide her ability, but still comes to someone’s attention. By the time this has happened she’s happily married. However, her husband dies and the world she knows comes to an end. This is where the book gets very unpredictable.

Excellent narrator

I listened to the audio version of the book and it’s excellent. The narrator, Kate Scarfe, does a wonderful job. She’s easy to understand and I felt she really understood Elizabeth. I love the colors on the cover of this book, too!

One of my favorites this year

White Silence is one of my favorite books so far this year. I’m not going to say too much more about the book except that even though I was scared during some of dark light by jodi taylorthe book I listened compulsively and finished the 10+ hours of narration in one day. The second book–Dark Light–comes out at the end of this month and I’ve preordered it!

My Rating: A-

Narrator Rating: A

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Swords and Stars Reading Challenge hosted by MsNoseinaBook — Read the first book in a series

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Murder at the Mill by M.B. Shaw

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

Murder at the Mill by M.B. ShawMurder at the Mill by M.B. Shaw

Series: Iris Grey Mystery #1

Published by Minotaur Books

Publishing date: December 4

Genre: Mystery

Synopsis: As featured in the Sunday Times, the first festive mystery in a new crime series from bestselling author Tilly Bagshawe – a must-read for fans of Agatha Christie’s Marple and Midsomer Murders.

A picture hides a thousand lies . . . And only Iris Grey can uncover the truth

Iris Grey arrives at Mill Cottage in a picture-perfect Hampshire village, looking to escape from her crumbling marriage. She is drawn to the neighbouring Wetherby family, and is commissioned to paint a portrait of Dominic Wetherby, a celebrated crime writer.

At the Wetherby’s Christmas Eve party, the mulled wine is in full flow – but so too are tensions and rivalries among the guests. On Christmas Day, the youngest member of the Wetherby family, Lorcan, finds a body in the water. A tragic accident? Or a deadly crime?

With the snow falling, Iris enters a world of village gossip, romantic intrigue, buried secrets and murder.

…………………………

I’m always on the outlook for Christmas mysteries and this sounds good!

Review: The Fallen Man by Tony Hillerman

the-fallen-man by tony hillermanThe Fallen Man by Tony Hillerman

Series: Leaphorn and Chee #12

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Setting: New Mexico & Colorado

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 1996

336 pages

Synopsis: Human bones lie on a ledge under the peak of Ship Rock mountain, the remains of a murder victim undisturbed for more than a decade. Three hundred miles across the Navajo reservation, a harmless old canyon guide is felled by a sniper’s bullet. Joe Leaphorn, recently retired from the Navajo Tribal Police, believes the shooter and the skeleton are somehow connected and recalls a chilling puzzle he was previously unable to solve. But Acting Lieutenant Jim Chee is too busy to take an interest in a dusty cold case … until the reborn violence of it hits much too close to home.

My thoughts

I’m loving reading (and in some cases rereading) these Hillerman books. Each time I start one of these books it’s like seeing and talking to an old friend again. I love both Leaphorn and Chee. They’re so different from each other, but also at a basic level very much the same. They both have a moral center that pervades all their actions. That doesn’t mean they’re never wrong or that they don’t make mistakes, but they try to do the right thing.

Chee has slowly become more self-confident as the books move forward and he learns from the things he does and from Leaphorn. He’s matured and is no longer so apt to jump into a situation without thinking. I always like a character who grows and changes as the series moves forward.

Leaphorn, on the other hand, has become older and sadder. His beloved wife has died and he has finally retired. At the beginning of this book he’s bored and finds himself roped into a 10-year-old case of a missing man. He investigated that missing person case at the time and didn’t find many clues to the man’s disappearance.

Now, however, bones of a man are discovered on a ledge on Ship Rock mountain. It looks like the missing man has been found. But so many questions remain–what was he doing on Ship Rock? Did he try to climb the mountain alone? If other climbers were with him, why did they leave him? Was he alive after the fall?

Follow the money

Of course, it looks like money is involved in this case. The man’s widow inherited the ranch he had just inherited. The man’s wealthy family wants that ranch back since there are mineral deposits on the ranch. They hire Leaphorn despite Leaphorn’s reluctance to investigate the man’s death. The widow just wants to live on the ranch and raise cattle.

Acting Lieutenant Chee (provisionally promoted after Leaphorn retires) is also investigating the case, but so far the death is ruled an accident. And Chee has other cases (cattle rustling, a shooting, gang problems) to investigate plus all the paperwork a lieutenant must complete. He doesn’t really like the job, but he’s trying to show his fiance, Janet Pete, that he’s responsible and ambitious–except he isn’t really very ambitious. Chee just doesn’t seem to date women who are very compatible with him!

I recommend this series if you like police procedurals, law officers trying their best to do the “right” thing, a good mystery without graphic violence, books taking place in the western United States, or if you just like to read…lol.

My Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

Sunday Post: Autumn color and enjoying the sun

Sunday-PostKimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Home

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Some of our trees are starting to turn color which I love. Other trees in the area are already losing leaves. We had more rain this week and several roads and bike paths near our rivers are closed. The above photo shows a closed road we often drive on our way home. Our house is near the river, but is on a hill (thank goodness). We had a couple dry days and one part of the day with some sun. I loved seeing the sun after a week of cloudy days. In the above photos Donnie is loving the rare sunny day by rolling in the grass! When it’s raining he really doesn’t want to go outside…lol.

We’re taking care of Donnie for our son for at least another week or two. He’s on the East coast this week. We’re taking Donnie with us when we go to our daughter’s housewarming and birthday party this next weekend.

Blog

I’m still working on getting posts scheduled ahead. I visited a few favorite blogs last week, but kept getting interrupted.

Last week
Next week
  • Review
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • Still deciding what to read.
What I read last week
  • What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard
  • After Anatevka: Live by Alexandra Silber
  • Bitter Rain by Shannon Baker
Books I got this week — lots of good books on sale!

Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein

Between Planets by Robert A. Heinlein

Rescue Me, Maybe by Jackie Bouchard

Bone Yard by Donna Ball

Rapid Fire by Donna Ball

The Shaman’s Bones by James D. Doss

Battlestar Suburbia by Chris McCrudden

Glass Houses by Louise Penny

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. 2-A by Theodore Sturgeon (audiobook)

Until Tuesday by Luis Carol Montalvan (audiobook)

Two Kinds of Truth by Micahel Connelly (audiobook)

Terra Incognita by Connie Willis (Library book)

What did you do last week? What are your plans for next week?

Review: Farmer in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein

farmer in the sky by robert heinleinFarmer in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein

Series: Heinlein’s Juveniles #4

Genre: Science Fiction

Setting: Ganymede

Source: Audiobook, purchased (6 hours, 34 minutes)

Narrator: Nick Podehl

Publishing Date: 1950

174 pages

Synopsis: Bill Lermer, a resourceful matter-of-fact teenager of the 21st century, tells what happens when his family decide to leave Earth and try scientific farming on Ganymede, one of the moons of Jupiter. 
After a two-month flight through space, including collision with a meteorite, only danger and hardship await the new colonists. But even a hair-raising adventure in the cave of The Other People cannot persuade Bill to return Earthside.

My thoughts

Farmer in the Sky won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1951. I can see why. It’s entertaining and doesn’t read like an antique book! It also reminded me of The Martian by Andy Weir. (I’m sure other people have made that comparison!) I think it’s my favorite so far of the Heinlein Juveniles I’ve read recently. In the last couple of years I’ve read five of the twelve books Heinlein specifically wrote for young people. I also read most of them when I was a teenager, but that was many years ago! I’m really enjoying revisiting them.

Farmer in the Sky

Bill, his dad George and his stepmother and stepsister decide to emigrate to Ganymede because Earth is overcrowded with rationing and limited choices. However, they aren’t quite ready for what they find when they get to Ganymede. It’s a lot more primitive than they thought it would be. Life on Ganymede isn’t always easy, but the family works together to succeed. Bill becomes a farmer and George works in town as an engineer so they can afford to get the farm started. It’s hard work, but they have a goal and are willing to work for it. It’s a rough life and they have their tragedies, but also their triumphs.

I’m fascinated at the details Heinlein added to this book about how the terraforming worked and how the settlers manage to live (or not live) on Ganymede. And I like the other familiar touches the author uses. Bill was an Eagle Scout on Earth and he discovers there are scout troops on Ganymede. He joins a troop and learns all sorts of helpful tips about living and surviving on a planet earthlings didn’t evolve on. He also meets other farmers and learns how to farm . . . what a hard job farming is, but also the satisfaction of hard work. He learns about self-sufficiency, but also how to accept help when he needs it and give help to his neighbors when they need it.

Audiobook

I listened to the audiobook and really like Nick Podehl’s narration. He does a good job with the different voices. He has a strong voice which is especially good with the male voices. And he’s easy to understand–always a plus!

Bottom Line

This is an excellent book for young teens, but also a great book for adults–particularly if you like classic science fiction.

My Rating: B+

Narrator Rating: B+

Awards

Hugo Award for Best Novel (1951)

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Swords and Stars Reading Challenge hosted by MsNoseinaBook — Read a science fiction classic