Sunday Post: Spring weather

Sunday-Post

Spring snowfall

Kimberly 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.

Personal life

Spring is here with the temperatures and weather all over the place! It rained all day Saturday and we had a high temperature of 55. Nice spring weather! That meant every time the dogs went out we had to wipe their paws before they could come back in! Lots of standing water in the yard.

Then in the evening I looked out the window and it was snowing hard…big, fluffy flakes! The temperature had dropped to 32 degrees and it was in the 20’s Saturday night. It’s a sunny day on Sunday, but not very warm–at about 33 degrees for a high temperature. Spring weather indeed!

Taking care of dogs

My husband and I are here for another week while our daughter is on vacation in Scotland. We’re taking care of her dogs. My son is also on this trip so he flew from Seattle to Indianapolis to drop off his mini dachshund so I can take care of him, too! I love spending time with the dogs–Bailey and Juneau, the two Labs–and Donnie, the mini dachshund.

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While we’re here our daughter got us tickets to two plays–A Doll House. Part 2 and The Importance of Being Earnest. We’re really looking forward to both plays. They’re in different theaters so we get to see two theaters we haven’t been before and that’s always fun.

Blog life

A little reading, a few comments and a few posts.

Recent posts
Next week
  • April 2019 books on my list
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Can’t-Wait Wednesday
  • Review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • The First Eagle by Tony Hillerman
What I read recently
  • Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre
Books I got recently

Only one book this week–and it’s from the library:

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (Library ebook)

 

What have you been doing? What are your plans next week?

Review: Heartstone by Elle Katharine White

Heartstone by Elle Katharine White

Series: Heartstone #1

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Dragons

Source: Ebook, Library

Publishing Date: 2017

352 pages

Synopsis: A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

My thoughts

I saw this book on Goodreads and I was intrigued since I haven’t read a romantic fantasy for a while. This is the author’s debut book and it’s patterned after Pride and Prejudice. That was easy to see and for the most part I thought it worked well. I enjoyed the fantasy world created by the author.

I would have liked more backstory about this world and its creatures–about why they were together on this world. Did they all evolve there or did some of them–perhaps the humans–arrive from somewhere else? Since there are more books in this series perhaps some of these questions are answered.

I liked reading about the dragons, wyverns, gryphons, direwolves and all the other creatures in this world as well as the humans. This is a medieval type world with horses, carriages, fortresses, great estates and prominent people. Aliza Bentaine, Alastair Dared, Akarra and so many others are great fun to read about. I thought the ending was a little rushed, but it’s a satisfying ending and there are more books in the series.

My Rating: B

Have you read any books by this author?

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

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 . . .

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Series: Unknown

Published by Tor Books

Publishing date: June 4

Genre: Fantasy, Mystery

Synopsis: Ivy Gamble has never wanted to be magic. She is perfectly happy with her life—she has an almost-sustainable career as a private investigator, and an empty apartment, and a slight drinking problem. It’s a great life and she doesn’t wish she was like her estranged sister, the magically gifted professor Tabitha.

But when Ivy is hired to investigate the gruesome murder of a faculty member at Tabitha’s private academy, the stalwart detective starts to lose herself in the case, the life she could have had, and the answer to the mystery that seems just out of her reach.

………………………………………

I like mysteries and this sounds interesting since it’s set in a world with magic.

My favorite audiobook narrators

Top Ten Tuesday

That Artsy Reader Girl has hosted Top Ten Tuesday since January of 2018. This is a fun meme with specific topics each week. If you like to make lists and talk about books be sure to check it out.

This week we have an audiobook freebie. I’m talking about my favorite audiobook narrators. It really helps me follow the story when the narrator has a clear, strong voice. These narrators all show that. They use their voices to bring the author’s characters to life.

I only have seven narrators listed here. These are just the narrators whom I remember long after I finish the book. I know there are many more great narrators out there. These are just my favorites based on the books I’ve listened to so far. And I like many more narrators, but I picked these for today! And I know it’s completely subjective…lol.

Favorite Narrators

R.C. Bray

 

R.C. Bray is the perfect voice for The Martian by Andy Weir. Mark Watney is a scientist and Bray does a great matter-of-fact portrayal of Watney and helps bring him to life for me. This is a thriller of the best kind for me–intelligent, human and smart–and Bray shows that Watney has what it takes to courageously face Mars alone and do everything he can to survive. He’s a scientist and a problem-solver and that comes through in Bray’s narration.

Simon Prebble

I’ve listened to two Dick Francis books–10 lb. Penalty and Proof. The books are not about the same characters, but I didn’t get mixed up at all. He’s got such a great voice and I feel his characters’ emotions when I listen to his narratives.

David Chandler

I’ve listened to six of the books in the Cork O’Connor series by William Kent Kreuger. David Chandler does such a great job narrating these books. He has a strong, clear voice and is the perfect narrator for this mystery series.

George Guidall

I’ve listened to nine of Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series narrated by George Guidall. I can hear some of the easygoing, relaxed western drawl in Guidall’s portrayal of Longmire.

Kathleen Gati

The lyrical language of the The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden shows so well in Kathleen Gati’s narration. Ms. Gati brings me into the fairytale world.

Richard Armitage

I love Richard Armitage’s voice! He’s also one of my favorite actors (watch North and South if you haven’t already!)

Classic Love Poems (William Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, Elizabeth Barrett Browning) was a free Audible audiobook a few years ago. I think they gave it away on Valentine’s Day. It’s only 19 minutes long, but if I’d had Armitage to listen to when I was trying to understand poetry in school I would have understood some of the poets a lot better!

Katherine Kellgren

Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness is narrated by Katherine Kellgren. She does such a great job with all the voices in these books. I also listened to The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley. It’s definitely the same voice as Rhys Bowen’s series, but I was immediately immersed in The Firebird and not distracted by listening to the same voice as one of my favorite series.

Rosalyn Landor

The Winter Sea–another book by Susanna Kearsley–is narrated by Rosalyn Landor. I loved her narration. The narration really contributed to making this one of my very favorite books.

……………….

Do you like audiobooks? Do you have favorite narrators? Do you think listening to audiobooks can create more enjoyment than reading a print book?

Sunday Post: Back to Indiana

Sunday-Post

Kimberly 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.

Personal life

I didn’t get a Sunday Post done last Sunday. I was visiting family and didn’t have time or internet access for a few days. In the last week my husband and I were in Chicago, central Illinois and then I came back to Indiana and my husband drove home to Iowa. He’s going to meet me in Indiana at the end of the week.

Chicago

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My husband and I drove to Chicago to visit my sister-in-law. She always takes us to fun and wonderful places! We went to see the Choir of Man on Friday night. So much good music and any show set in a pub that invites the audience onstage before the show for free beer and then pulls people onstage during the show is great!

On Saturday we went to the Chicago Botanic Garden to see their orchid show. I love orchids (mostly because I can grow them and get them to rebloom, but also because they come in so many sizes, colors and shapes.) After the orchid show we stopped at Northwestern University and visited an art exhibit called “Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time.” Fascinating. I had no idea so much trade in gold and salt went on in the Middle Ages between Europe and Africa.

We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by going to an Irish pub and getting corned beef and cabbage. They had Irish dance and music. There wasn’t time to see the St. Patrick’s Day parade or the Chicago River turn green–maybe another year.

Central Illinois & Indiana
Bailey and Juneau
Bailey and Juneau relax on the bed!

After the weekend we drove to Bloomington to spend another few days with my older daughter. My husband drove back home to Iowa and after a few days in Illinois I went to Indiana to visit my younger daughter again and take care of her dogs while she vacations in Scotland. I brought my cats along so we have a menagerie here! I’m staying through the first week of April. And I’m happy to report my daughter has bulbs coming up in her yard so I hope to see some flowers blooming while I’m here. Great to see signs of spring!

Blog life

With all the travel I’ve been too tired and busy to spend much time on my blog though I did have a few posts scheduled. I haven’t even had very much time for reading. I hope that all changes some next week.

Recent posts
Next week
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Can’t-Wait Wednesday
  • Review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre
What I read recently
  • Exit Strategy by Martha Wells
  • Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron
  • 10 lb. Penalty by Dick Francis
Books I got recently

Ambush by Barbara Nickless

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley (library ebook)

What have you been doing? What are your plans next week?

Review: Single Malt Murder by Melinda Mullett

Single Malt Murder by Melinda Mullett

Series: Whiskey Business Mystery #1

Genre: Mystery, Cozy

Setting: Scotland

Source: Audiobook, purchased

Narrator: Gemma Dawson

Publishing Date: 2017

278 pages

Synopsis: When Abi inherits her uncle’s quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot—but making the perfect shot is another matter.When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it’s clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an oversized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge—especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi’s new employees is found floating facedown in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide.

My thoughts

Another book I read in 2018, but am finally reviewing now!

I really enjoyed this cozy mystery. It takes place in Scotland and is about a whiskey distillery. The mystery is interesting and kept me guessing. I figured out some of it, but not all of it which is always nice.

Audiobook

I listened to the audio version of this book and the narrator–Gemma Dawson–is excellent. She did an excellent job with all the different voices and really increased my enjoyment of this book.

Abi, Liam and other characters

Abi inherits her uncle’s distillery in Scotland when he dies. Her uncle raised her after her parents died so she was very close to him. However, she had never visited him in Scotland. She was busy with her career as a photojournalist traveling the world and she resented the fact he’d sold their home in London to buy the distillery. After he dies she wishes she had found out more about his life in Scotland and had visited him there.

Abi is a good character–not perfect, but not stupid or irritating either! Her wheaten terrier Liam is a great character, too. I like a number of other characters, too. Abi’s best friend Patrick comes with her to Scotland and helps her. And it’s understandable why some of the distillery employees don’t like Abi since she never visited her uncle in Scotland. They’re also worried about what will happen to the distillery since she doesn’t know anything about whiskey. And there’s a whiff of romance in this first book.

Threats and Sabotage

Even before she travels to Scotland someone delivers a threatening message to her and that continues after she’s in Scotland. She also discovers someone is sabotaging the distillery. Abi doesn’t know anything about single malt scotch, but she’s determined to honor her uncle’s memory and his faith in leaving the distillery to her. She wants to find a buyer for the distillery who will continue to make special single malt scotch. The sabotage at the distillery continues and the threats to Abi escalate. A murder occurs at the distillery. Abi isn’t sure who she can trust. A good mystery indeed!

A good cozy

I like Abi and I like finding out more about the distilling of scotch and about Scotland. I look forward to reading the next book in the series! The fourth book in the series–Died in the Wool (which I featured in a Can’t-Wait Wednesday earlier in March)–is set to publish in June.

My Rating: B+

Narrator Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

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 . . .

The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

Series: The Two Rivers #1

Published by Minotaur Books

Publishing date: September 3

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Synopsis: For the first time in 20 years, Ann Cleeves—international bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows—embarks on a gripping new series.

In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. Once loved and cherished, the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.

Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death. 

The case calls Matthew back into the community he thought he had left behind, as deadly secrets hidden at its heart are revealed, and his past and present collide.

……………………………

I love that Ann Cleeves is starting a new series. She’s such a good writer. I still have books to read in her other series, but am looking forward to this new series.

Books on my spring 2019 TBR list

That Artsy Reader Girl has hosted Top Ten Tuesday since January of 2018. This is a fun meme with specific topics each week. If you like to make lists and talk about books be sure to check it out.

These are books I hope to read in spring 2019. I have more than ten books because some of these books are books coming out this spring (seven of them) and some of these books are ones I already own or that I’m getting from the library.

New books from this spring

Mystery

Ambush by Barbara Nickless

Sydney Rose Parnell #3

Mystery, Police Procedural

Publication date: March 19

The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Bequets

Unknown

Mystery

Publication date: March 5

Fantasy

Wild Country by Anne Bishop

The World of the Others #2

Urban Fantasy

Publication date: March 5

A Parliament of Bodies by Marshall Ryan Maresca

The Maradaine Constabulary #3

Fantasy, Mystery

Publication date: March 26

Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson #11

Urban Fantasy

Publication date: May 7

Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse

Sixth World #2

Urban Fantasy

Publication date: April 23

Science Fiction

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

Unknown

Science Fiction

Publication date: March 19

 

Books from my TBR

Mystery

The First Eagle by Tony Hillerman

Leaphorn and Chee #13

Mystery, Police Procedural

Copyright: 1998

Thunder Bay by William Kent Kreuger

Cork O’Connor #7

Mystery

Copyright: 2007

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

Ruth Galloway #9

Mystery

Copyright: 2017

Death Distilled by Melinda Mullett

Whiskey Business Mystery #2

Mystery, Cozy

Copyright: 2017

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Lady Sherlock #1

Historical Mystery

Copyright: 2016

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8

Mystery, Police Procedural

Copyright: 2012

Fantasy

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

Rivers of London #6

Urban Fantasy

Copyright: 2016

Science Fiction

Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik

Consortium Rebellion #1

Science Fiction

Copyright: February 2019

Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall

Stars Uncharted #1

Science Fiction, Space Opera

Copyright: 2018

 

What are you planning to read this spring?

Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths

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 . . .

The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths

Series: Ruth Galloway #11

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Publishing date: May 7

Genre: Mystery

Synopsis: DCI Nelson has been receiving threatening letters. They are anonymous, yet reminiscent of ones he has received in the past, from the person who drew him into a case that’s haunted him for years. At the same time, Ruth receives a letter purporting to be from that very same person—her former mentor, and the reason she first started working with Nelson. But the author of those letters is dead. Or is he?

The past is reaching out for Ruth and Nelson, and its grip is deadly. 

………………………………….

I love this series! Ruth is a forensic archaeologist and throughout these books she’s called in by DCI Nelson and the police to check on the ages of bones. Sometimes the bones police find are from more recent murder victims and sometimes they’re thousands of years older! Good characters and good mysteries.

Sunday Post: Road trip

Sunday-Post

Kimberly 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.

Personal life

A busy week with appointments and getting ready for our trip across Iowa, Illinois and into Indiana. We left snowy Iowa. Illinois and Indiana have no snow!

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We’ve visited our daughter in Illinois and had a great time with her. On to Indiana on Sunday to visit our younger daughter. We planned to stay a week and then come back at the end of March to take care of our Indiana daughter’s dogs while she’s gone for a week. I decided to stay the entire time and my husband will go back home to Iowa later in the week. Then we’ll meet in Indiana the first part of April and head back home to Iowa. I hope the snow is gone in Iowa by then!

Elf and Scorch (my two cats) came with us on this trip since I’ve had trouble with pet sitters. They’re staying with my Illinois daughter.

Blog life

I visited some of the blogs I’ve wanted to visit for several weeks. Always good to get reading recommendations and see what everyone has been up to. Still working to get reviews done. A never-ending process for me. It was hard to concentrate on reading this week so nothing finished. My husband and I are listening to a Dick Francis mystery in the car.

Recent posts
Next week
  • Review
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • Exit Strategy by Martha Wells
  • Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron
  • 10 lb. Penalty by Dick Francis
What I read recently
  • Nothing read. Too busy with other things.
Books I got recently

Dark Clouds Over Nuala by Harriet Steel

The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie

Wishes and Wellingtons by Julie Berry (March free Audible Original–included in membership)

A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain (March free Audible Original–included in membership)

A Willing Murder by Jude Deveraux (audiobook)

What have you been doing? What are your plans next week?