Sunday Post: It’s January 2021, but not much has changed yet

A chance to connect with others & talk about books plus a little about our personal lives

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

2020 was a difficult year. I’m hoping for better things during 2021. But maybe that’s going to take some time.

Christmas

I made a Shutterfly calendar for my brother for Christmas and I liked it so much I ordered calendars for myself, my kids and my niece. The calendar had pictures of my parents–mostly from when they were young. The front of the calendar has a photo of the house where my brother and I grew up in Oregon. We all loved the house so much. My dad took a small, old house with no plumbing and rebuilt it adding plumbing and electricity. They moved to the house when I was a baby and I remember when I was a child there was a table saw in our living room since my dad worked on the house after work and on weekends.

We had a quiet, simple Christmas with multiple FaceTime meetings throughout the day with our kids and other family members.

More snow

Between Christmas and New Year’s we had a snowstorm with almost 10 inches of snow. The snow is still around. Our backyard is on the north side of our house so we still have a lot of snow back there.

Preparations for move

During these months my husband and I sold some of our furniture and other items. We’ve continued to find things to throw away, give away and things we want to take with us. My husband’s goal each week is to fill the garbage and recycling bins!

We are doing this move ourselves so we’ve started boxing what we won’t need for a few months.

We’re moving some furniture to one of our daughter’s homes next week. Since we’re renting a truck to do that we’re also taking boxes we’ve packed so far.

Once we finish packing as much as we can we will finish decluttering the house. All the pictures need to come off the walls, all the clutter packed away and massive cleaning plus some painting and any repairs that need to be done. We hope to be done with all that by the end of February so the house can go on the market in March.

Our new house

The builders finally “broke ground” on our house in the last week of December. They poured the foundation this week and hopefully can start the building soon. We’re hoping we can move into our new house by May.

Blog Life

I didn’t post much in November and December. Just too much stress, so I mostly stayed away from the internet. I did do a lot of reading in 2020–120 books…beating my Goodreads goal by 30 books!

The first two books I read in 2021 were both books I read when the books were first published–one in 2001 and the other in 1993. I don’t reread books very often, but I enjoyed rereading these in 2021–mostly because I didn’t remember all the details!

Posts
Posts for next week
  • What I read in 2020
  • Can’t Wait Wednesday
  • My favorite 2020 books
  • My five favorite new authors in 202o
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • No Past Forgiven by Valerie Keogh
Books I read last week
  • The Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr
  • Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
A few books I got recently

What are you hoping for in 2021? What are you planning for next week?

January 2021 books on my list

A new year of books begins!

books-on-my-list

I keep a list of all the books I might want to read and add to it as the year goes on. As each month comes along I create a list on my blog for others and for me to keep track of as the months go by.

I don’t buy all these books–since I already have way too many books to read and some of the new books are expensive. I’m trying to stick to a budget!

I hope people reading my post may find some new books to read. I also hope these people will point me toward books I might not know about! The links to the following books will take you to the book on Goodreads.

January 5

Persephone Station

by Stina Leicht

Published by Gallery / Saga Press

Genre: Science Fiction

512 pages

Synopsis: Persephone Station, a seemingly backwater planet that has largely been ignored by the United Republic of Worlds becomes the focus for the Serrao-Orlov Corporation as the planet has a few secrets the corporation tenaciously wants to exploit.

Rosie—owner of Monk’s Bar, in the corporate town of West Brynner—caters to wannabe criminals and rich Earther tourists, of a sort, at the front bar. However, exactly two types of people drank at Monk’s back bar: members of a rather exclusive criminal class and those who sought to employ them.

Angel—ex-marine and head of a semi-organized band of beneficent criminals, wayward assassins, and washed up mercenaries with a penchant for doing the honorable thing—is asked to perform a job for Rosie.

January 12

The Effort

by Claire Holoroyde

Published by Grand Central Publishing

Genre: Science Fiction

368 pages

Synopsis: When dark comet UD3 was spotted near Jupiter’s orbit, its existence was largely ignored. But to individuals who knew better — scientists like Benjamin Schwartz, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies — the threat this eight-kilometer comet posed to the survival of the human race was unthinkable. The 150-million-year reign of the dinosaurs ended when an asteroid impact generated more than a billion times the energy of an atomic bomb.

What would happen to Earth’s seven billion inhabitants if a similar event were allowed to occur?

Ben and his indomitable girlfriend Amy Kowalski fly to South America to assemble an international counteraction team, whose notable recruits include Love Mwangi, a UN interpreter and nomad scholar, and Zhen Liu, an extraordinary engineer from China’s national space agency. At the same time, on board a polar icebreaker life continues under the looming shadow of comet UD3. Jack Campbell, a photographer for National Geographic, works to capture the beauty of the Arctic before it is gone forever. Gustavo Wayãpi, a Nobel Laureate poet from Brazil, struggles to accept the recent murder of his beloved twin brother. And Maya Gutiérrez, an impassioned marine biologist is — quite unexpectedly — falling in love for the first time.

The Last Exit

by Michael Kaufman

Series: Jen Lu Mystery #1

Published by Crooked Lane Books

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Mystery

Synopsis: Set in Washington D.C. 20 years from now, climate change has hit hard, fires are burning, unemployment is high, and controversial longevity treatments are only available to the very rich. Enter resourceful young police detective, Jen B. Lu, and her ‘partner’, Chandler, a SIM implant in her brain and her instant link to the Internet and police records, and a constant voice inside her head. He’s an inquisitive tough guy, with a helluva sense of humor and his own ideas about solving crimes. As a detective in the Elder Abuse unit, Jen is supposed to be investigating kids pushing their aging parents to “exit” so they are eligible to get the longevity drug. But what really has her attention are the persistent rumors about Eden, a black market version of the longevity drug, and the bizarre outbreak of people aging almost overnight, then suddenly dying–is this all connected? Is Big Pharma involved? When Jen’s investigations of Eden take her too close to the truth, she is suspended, Chandler is deactivated, and her boyfriend is freaked out by “the thing inside her brain.” This leaves Jen to pursue a very dangerous investigation all by herself.

People Like Her

by Ellery Lloyd

Published by Harper

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

288 pages

Synopsis: Followed by Millions, Watched by One

To her adoring fans, Emmy Jackson, aka @the_mamabare, is the honest “Instamum” who always tells it like it is. 

To her skeptical husband, a washed-up novelist who knows just how creative Emmy can be with the truth, she is a breadwinning powerhouse chillingly brilliant at monetizing the intimate details of their family life.

To one of Emmy’s dangerously obsessive followers, she’s the woman that has everything—but deserves none of it.  

As Emmy’s marriage begins to crack under the strain of her growing success and her moral compass veers wildly off course, the more vulnerable she becomes to a very real danger circling ever closer to her family.

Across the Green Grass Fields

by Seanan McGuire

Series: Wayward Children #6

Published by Tordotcom

Genre: YA Fantasy Novella

176 pages

Synopsis: “Welcome to the Hooflands. We’re happy to have you, even if you being here means something’s coming.”

Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late.

When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines―a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.

But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem…

Into the Heartless Wood

by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Published by Page Street Kids

Genre: YA Fantasy, Retelling

368 pages

Synopsis: The forest is a dangerous place, where siren song lures men and women to their deaths. For centuries, a witch has harvested souls to feed the heartless tree, using its power to grow her domain.

When Owen Merrick is lured into the witch’s wood, one of her tree-siren daughters, Seren, saves his life instead of ending it. Every night, he climbs over the garden wall to see her, and every night her longing to become human deepens. But a shift in the stars foretells a dangerous curse, and Seren’s quest to become human will lead them into an ancient war raging between the witch and the king who is trying to stop her.

The House on Vesper Sands

by Paraic O’Donnell

Published by Tin House Books

Genre: Historical Mystery

Setting: Victorian England

408 pages

Synopsis: London, 1893: high up in a house on a dark, snowy night, a lone seamstress stands by a window. So begins the swirling, serpentine world of Paraic O’Donnell’s Victorian-inspired mystery, the story of a city cloaked in shadow, but burning with questions: why does the seamstress jump from the window? Why is a cryptic message stitched into her skin? And how is she connected to a rash of missing girls, all of whom seem to have disappeared under similar circumstances?

On the case is Inspector Cutter, a detective as sharp and committed to his work as he is wryly hilarious. Gideon Bliss, a Cambridge dropout in love with one of the missing girls, stumbles into a role as Cutter’s sidekick. And clever young journalist Octavia Hillingdon sees the case as a chance to tell a story that matters—despite her employer’s preference that she stick to a women’s society column. As Inspector Cutter peels back the mystery layer by layer, he leads them all, at last, to the secrets that lie hidden at the house on Vesper Sands.

January 19

Winterkeep

by Kristin Cashore

Series: Graceling Realm #4

Published by Dial Books

Genre: YA Fantasy

528 pages

Synopsis: Four years after Bitterblue left off, a new land has been discovered to the east: Torla; and the closest nation to Monsea is Winterkeep. Winterkeep is a land of miracles, a democratic republic run by people who like each other, where people speak to telepathic sea creatures, adopt telepathic foxes as pets, and fly across the sky in ships attached to balloons.

But when Bitterblue’s envoys to Winterkeep drown under suspicious circumstances, she and Giddon and her half sister, Hava, set off to discover the truth–putting both Bitterblue’s life and Giddon’s heart to the test when Bitterbue is kidnapped. Giddon believes she has drowned, leaving him and Hava to solve the mystery of what’s wrong in Winterkeep.

Lovisa Cavenda is the teenage daughter of a powerful Scholar and Industrialist (the opposing governing parties) with a fire inside her that is always hungry, always just nearly about to make something happen. She is the key to everything, but only if she can figure out what’s going on before anyone else, and only if she’s willing to transcend the person she’s been all her life.

Remote Control

by Nnedi Okorafor

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Fantasy Novella

160 pages

Synopsis: The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa­­–a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past.

Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks–alone, except for her fox companion–searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers.

But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?

What books are you looking forward to this month?

Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Hiding Place by Paula Munier

A series about a former MP and her bomb sniffing K-9

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 set to 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 Hiding Place

by Paula Munier

Series: Mercy & Elvis Mysteries #3

Published by Minotaur Books

Publication date: March 30

Genre: Mystery

336 pages

Synopsis: Some people take their secrets with them to the grave. Others leave them behind on their deathbeds, riddles for the survivors to solve.

When her late grandfather’s deputy calls Mercy to his deathbed, the former MP and her sniffer dog Elvis inherit the cold case that haunted him–and may have killed her grandfather. But finding Beth Kilgore 20 years after she disappeared is more than a lost cause. It’s a Pandora’s box releasing a rain of evil on the very people Mercy and Elvis hold most dear. Most at risk may be her grandmother, and Mercy and Elvis must team up with Vermont Game Warden Troy Warner and his search-and-rescue dog Susie Bear to save her from the man who murdered her husband, who’s escaped from prison and is now out for revenge.

……………………..

A series about a former MP and her bomb sniffing dog. I really enjoy reading about them as well as the search-and-rescue dog Susie Bear in this series. And the books take place in beautiful Vermont. I also love a book with a dog on the cover!

Sunday Post: Christmas nearly here

A chance to connect with others and talk about books plus a little about our personal lives

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.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate Christmas!

Personal life

December snow

We had almost seven inches of snow last week and it has stayed cold so we still have quite a bit. We may still have snow around on Christmas Day!

Christmas preparations

I’ve spent the last few weeks making Christmas cards, Christmas cookies and talking to my kids about how we’re going to celebrate Christmas even if we are far apart. Above are a few of the cards I made. We’ve gotten all our cards mailed. Many years I’m still sending cards after Christmas. (Then they’re New Year cards!)

I’ve also made several batches of cookies and sent cookies and some presents to my kids.

Christmas Day plans

Since we’re far apart we decided to each make the same (or similar) meal. We’re going to do zoom calls on Christmas Day and we’ll open presents together. Then later in the day we’ll cook together. We’re keeping things simple and all doing a beef roast with a few easy side dishes and maybe a fruit crisp for dessert.

This all has to get planned so that we can try to get the ingredients we need from the store. My husband and I are doing curbside pickup for our groceries so we can’t always get the exact things we want. Since our kids all work they have to figure out when they can get the things they need. Plus we live in three different time zones! But this is a way for us to feel connected and try to stay as safe as we can while we wait for a vaccine.

Blog Life

I haven’t written very much in the last month or so. I couldn’t concentrate on writing anything or visiting other blogs. I needed to do as much as I could for Christmas this year since our family is apart. We’re making final preparations today for what we’ll do Christmas Day.

I’m not going to post anything more until after the new year. However, I am hoping to write some things for my blog after Christmas to post in 2021.

Posted last week
No posts until after the new year

My books

I’ve done a lot of reading this year and have enjoyed so many books. Mostly, they’re books I was able to read and lose my everyday self for awhile. This has been an anxious year and reading has been my solace. Sometimes I’ve found a book by an author and then had to read lots more books by that author.

That happened this month with a series by Kelley Armstrong. I devoured three books by her. However, a funny thing happened when I decided to read the last book in the series. It wasn’t the last book in the series I was reading! I read The Reckoning by mistake thinking it was book 3 of the Darkness Rising series when it was really book 3 of the Darkest Powers series!

The two series are connected–which I didn’t realize at first. I kept waiting for the characters from the Darkness Rising series to appear. When they didn’t I finally figured out I had the wrong book, but was already enjoying The Reckoning so I finished it. Then I found the right book 3 and I’m reading that now!

I guess that shows I’m also kind of distracted!

What I’m reading
  • The Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr
  • The Rising by Kelley Armstrong
Some books I read the last few weeks
  • The Other Woman by Jane Isaac
  • A Gathering of Secrets by Linda Castillo
  • Nogged Off by Barbara Ross
  • For Better, For Worse by Jane Isaac
  • The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
  • Christmas Island by Natalie Normann
  • Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March
  • The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
  • The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
  • The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
A few books I got recently

Christmas Island by Natalie Normann

Take a Look at the Five and Ten by Connie Willis

Forging Fire by Lisa Preston

Christmas in Bayberry by Jennifer Faye

Velocity Weapon by Megan E. O’Keefe

……………………….

I hope you’re all safe and well. I hope you stay safe as Covid cases surge in many places in the world–especially here in the United States.

I also hope that as 2021 comes along we’re all able to stay patient: wear masks when needed, wash our hands and keep our distance to keep each other safe.

And get vaccinated when we can.

Can’t Wait Wednesday: Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

A fun cover, a mystery, a romantic comedy, a celebration of moms & daughters

Note: Can’t Wait Wednesday posts are all I can post at the moment. I’m very busy making Christmas cards, getting packages ready to mail and still working on sorting possessions to decide what to keep, throw away and give away.

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 set to 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 . . .

Dial A for Aunties

by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Published by Berkley Books

Publishing date: April 27

Genre: Romance, Mystery, Comedy

320 pages

Synopsis: A hilariously quirky novel that is equal parts murder mystery, rom-com, and a celebration of mothers and daughters as well as a deep dive into Chinese-Indonesian culture, by debut author Jesse Q. Sutanto.

1 (accidental) murder
2 thousand wedding guests
3 (maybe) cursed generations
4 meddling Asian aunties to the rescue!

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for their family wedding business—“Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream cake flowers.

Story Locale: Southern California

…………………….

I love the cover and the sound of this book! My husband’s family has lots of aunties and some of them love to meddle. (I mean that in the best possible way–they love their family and are always there to help.)

Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes

Soldiers no one wanted, but they’re the only hope for humanity!

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 set to 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 Last Watch

by J.S. Dewes

Series: The Divide #1

Published by Tor Books

Publishing date: April 20

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

480 pages

Synopsis: The Divide.

It’s the edge of the universe.

Now it’s collapsing—and taking everyone and everything with it.

The only ones who can stop it are the Sentinels—the recruits, exiles, and court-martialed dregs of the military.

At the Divide, Adequin Rake, commanding the Argus, has no resources, no comms—nothing, except for the soldiers that no one wanted.

They’re humanity’s only chance.

…………………..

I like science fiction adventure stories and this sounds like quite the adventure! I haven’t read any books by this author, but this sounds like a good one to try. Have you read any of J.S. Dewes books?

December 2020 books on my list

A few November books I missed in my list last month plus four December books!

books-on-my-list

I keep a list of all the books I might want to read and add to it as the year goes on. As each month comes along I create a list on my blog for others and for me to keep track of as the months go by.

I don’t buy all these books–since I already have way too many books to read and some of the new books are expensive. I’m trying to stick to a budget!

I hope people reading my post may find some new books to read. I also hope these people will point me toward books I might not know about! The links to the following books will take you to the book on Goodreads.

……………………

I missed several books in my November book list so I’ve added them in this one. And I’ve already purchased three of the November books: A Promised Land, Christmas Island and Take a Look at the Five and Ten.

November 17

A Promised Land

by Barack Obama

Published by Crown

Genre: Memoir

768 pages

Synopsis: A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy.

In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency—a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.

Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office.

Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings readers inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond. We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, clashes with generals about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorizes Operation Neptune’s Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden.

A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective—the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of “hope and change,” and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible.

This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama’s conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.

November 30

Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower

by Tamsyn Muir

Series: Unknown

Published by Subterranean Press

Genre: Fantasy Novella

200 pages

Synopsis: When the witch built the forty-flight tower, she made very sure to do the whole thing properly. Each flight contains a dreadful monster, ranging from a diamond-scaled dragon to a pack of slavering goblins. Should a prince battle his way to the top, he will be rewarded with a golden sword—and the lovely Princess Floralinda.

But no prince has managed to conquer the first flight yet, let alone get to the fortieth.

In fact, the supply of fresh princes seems to have quite dried up.

And winter is closing in on Floralinda…

Christmas Island

by Natalie Normann

Series: Unknown

Published by One More Chapter

Genre: Romance, Christmas, Norway

340 pages

Synopsis: Cosy up in front of a fire and discover Christmas the Norwegian way…full of romance, cosy traditions and hygge!

In the bleak midwinter…
A really frosty wind is making Holly’s life absolutely miserable

After all the years of hard work it took Londoner Holly Greene to become a doctor, now it could all be taken away and she only has herself to blame. She’s retreating to her brother’s rustic home on an island off the coast of Norway to lick her wounds. Only, it’s the middle of winter and icy slush plus endless darkness isn’t exactly the cheery, festive getaway she had imagined.

Nearly stumbling off the edge of a cliff in the dark, Holly is saved by Frøy, a yellow-eyed cat of fearsome but fluffy proportions, and his owner – grouchy, bearded recluse, Tor. Tor has his own problems to face but the inexplicable desire to leave a bag of freshly baked gingerbread men on Holly’s doorstep is seriously getting in the way of his hermit routine.

Take a Look at the Five and Ten

by Connie Willis

Published by Subterranean Press

Genre: Science Fiction, Christmas, novella

120 pages

Synopsis: Ori’s holidays are an endless series of elaborately awful meals cooked by her one-time stepfather Dave’s latest bride. Attended by a loose assemblage of family, Ori particularly dreads Grandma Elving—grandmother of Dave’s fourth wife—and her rhapsodizing about the Christmas she worked at Woolworth’s in the 1950s. And, of course, she hates being condescended to by beautiful, popular Sloane and her latest handsome pre-med or pre-law bocyfriend.

But this Christmas is different. Sloane’s latest catch Lassiter is extremely interested in Grandma Elving’s boringly detailed memories of that seasonal job, seeing in them the hallmarks of a TFBM, or traumatic flashbulb memory. With Ori’s assistance, he begins to use the older woman in an experiment—one she eagerly agrees to. As Ori and Lassiter spend more time together, Ori’s feelings for him grow alongside the elusive mystery of Grandma’s past.

December 1

The Outcast Girls

by Alys Clare

Series: World’s End Bureau Victorian Mystery #2

Published by Severn House Publishers

Genre: Historical Mystery

256 pages

Synopsis: London, 1881. Lily Raynor, owner of the World’s End Investigation Bureau, is growing increasingly worried. Work is drying up, finances are tight and she cannot find enough for her sole employee, Felix Wilbraham, to do. So when schoolteacher Georgiana Long arrives, with a worrying tale of runaway pupils, it seems like the answer to her prayers. The case is an interesting one, and what could be less perilous than a trip to a girls’ boarding school, out in the Fens?

Disguised as the new Assistant Matron, Lily joins the Shardlowes School staff, while Felix – suppressing his worries about his cool, calm employer – remains behind. But there are undercurrents at Shardlowes, and the shadowy, powerful men who fund the school’s less fortunate pupils loom larger as Felix’s own investigations unfold. Felix can’t shake off his fear that Lily is in danger – and soon, his premonitions come frighteningly true . . .

Death at a Country Mansion

by Louise R. Innes

Series: Daisy Thorne Mystery #1

Published by Kensington

Genre: Mystery, Cozy

288 pages

Synopsis: No one would ever accuse famous opera star Dame Serena Levanté of lacking a flare for the dramatic. Unfortunately, it’s curtains down on the dysfunctional diva when she’s found dead at the bottom of a staircase in her elegant home. Solving an opera singer’s murder may not be the typical hairdresser’s aria of expertise. But Dame Serena was the mother of Daisy’s best friend Floria, so Daisy must do-or-dye her best to get to the roots of the case.

When a priceless Modigliani painting in the house is reported missing, the mystery gets even more tangled. Even though the gruff but handsome Detective Inspector Paul McGuinness tells the stylist to stay out of his hair, Daisy is determined to make sure the killer faces a stern makeover—behind bars.

December 29

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

by Marie Benedict

Published by Sourcebooks Landmark

Genre: Historial Fiction, Mystery

288 pages

Synopsis: In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car—strange for a frigid night. Her husband and daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.

The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark exploration into the shadows of history, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such a murky story.

Olive Bright, Pigeoneer

by Stephanie Graves

Series: Unknown

Published by Kensington

Genre: Historical Mystery, WWII England, Espionage

304 pages

Synopsis: Set in a charming British village during World War II, Stephanie Graves’ new charming historical mystery introduces Olive Bright, a spirited young pigeon fancier who finds herself at the heart of a baffling murder…

Though war rages across mainland Europe and London is strafed by German aircraft, the little village of Pipley in Hertfordshire bustles along much as it always has. Adrift since her best friend, George, joined the Royal Air Force, twenty-two-year-old Olive Bright fills her days by helping at her father’s veterinary practice and tending to her beloved racing pigeons. Desperate to do her bit, Olive hopes that the National Pigeon Service will enlist Bright Lofts’ expertise, and use their highly trained birds to deliver critical, coded messages for His Majesty’s Forces. The strangers who arrive in Pipley are not from the NPS. Instead, Jameson Aldridge and his associate are tied to a covert British intelligence organization known as Baker Street. If Olive wants her pigeons to help the war effort, she must do so in complete secrecy. Tired of living vicariously through the characters of her beloved Agatha Christie novels, Olive readily agrees. But in the midst of her subterfuge, the village of Pipley is dealing with another mystery. Local busybody Miss Husselbee is found dead outside Olive’s pigeon loft. Is the murder tied to Olive’s new assignment? Or did Miss Husselbee finally succeed in ferreting out a secret shameful enough to kill for? With the gruff, handsome Jameson as an unlikely ally, Olive intends to find out–but homing in on a murderer can be a deadly business…

What December books do you hope to read? What books have I missed?

Can’t Wait Wednesday: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

This sounds like another winner for Andy Weir!

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 set to 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 . . .

Project Hail Mary

by Andy Weir

Published by Ballantine Books

Publication date: May 4

Genre: Science Fiction

496 pages

Synopsis: Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian–while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.

………………………………

What a great cover! I’ve really liked the other two books I read by Andy Weir and this sounds very good.

Can’t Wait Wednesday: Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs

Urban fantasy series about werewolves from one of my favorite authors

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 set to 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 . . .

Wild Sign

by Patricia Briggs

Series: Alpha and Omega #6

Published by Ace Books

Publishing date: March 16

Genre: Urban Fantasy

336 pages

Synopsis: In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It’s as if the people picked up and left everything they owned behind. Fearing something supernatural might be going on, the FBI taps a source they’ve consulted in the past: the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. But Charles and Anna soon find a deserted town is the least of the mysteries they face.

Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous—and it has met werewolves before.

………………………..

I’ve read Patricia Briggs’s books for years and love them all! So happy to read what happens next in this series!

Sunday Post: A breath of fresh air

A chance to connect with others–talking about books and our personal lives

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 took a short break from my blog after the election. I’ve been stressed by the election, by the rise of Covid cases throughout the U.S. and by the current President and most of the Republican party’s refusal to admit Joe Biden won. I don’t want to argue about the election. I realize many people voted for Mr. Trump and Republicans did well in Congress. But more people voted for Mr. Biden. All those votes for both individuals mean something and I just want our country to get on with the important business of running the country.

Autumn

It feels like fall outside. Lots of wind, the leaves have fallen, cool temperatures and a little rain sometimes. But we’ve also had some beautiful bright blue skies and cold temperatures! I think Autumn is a time of anticipation and change and is one of my favorite times of the year.

However, this year it is also a time of uncertainty. Covid cases are spiking in many places of the world with the U.S. leading the way. Several of my younger relatives have had Covid recently. They all seem to be doing okay. Two of them are doctors and they are back at work.

Please wear masks! Keep yourself and others safe!
The election

I’m so glad the election is over. I am glad we will have a breath of fresh air in January when Biden becomes President. (Not that Biden or any person is perfect, but I hope he does well.) We need that right now with the pandemic surging and Trump doing little to try to stem the rise.

A breath of fresh air–out of the house for a drive in the country

On one of our bright blue sky days we took a drive into the surrounding area. This time it was to Madison County where the book The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller took place. It was a perfect afternoon to drive through rural Iowa and drive on some gravel roads. We found a couple of the famous covered bridges in the county. The Cedar Covered Bridge–the one shown on the cover of the book–was almost destroyed by arson a few years ago, but was rebuilt and reopened in 2019.

The second bridge we saw was moved from the North River in 1970 and is now in the City Park in Winterset, Iowa which is the county seat of Madison County. The City Park is large and has a one-way road that wanders through trees and continues to the top of a ridge where Clark Tower sits.

One of Winterset’s other claim to fame is that it’s the birthplace of John Wayne. There’s a museum with a statue of John Wayne in front of it. Nearby is a large painted rock called Freedom Rock between the museum and John Wayne’s family home. Freedom Rocks are being painted by Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II in each of the 99 counties in Iowa. (He only has four rocks left to paint!) Sorensen wants to promote Iowa tourism, honor Iowa veterans and to provide for his family. Each rock is unique and designed to tell a story of the county. One side of the rock in Winterset shows various film roles of John Wayne.

Blog Life

Little done on the blog for the last two weeks.

Posted last week
Post for next week
  • Can’t Wait Wednesday
  • Connect 5 Friday
  • Sunday Post

My books

I’ve read and am reading some very good books so that makes me happy!

What I’m reading
  • Midwinter Murder by Agatha Christie
  • The Concrete Jungle by Charles Stross
What I read
  • Christmas at the Island Hotel by Jenny Colgan
  • Hard Time by Jodi Taylor
  • No Simple Death by Valerie Keogh
  • The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
Books I got

What are you up to next week?