The Wrap-Up for July and August 2019

Personal life

travel

Photos from our trip to Seattle:

July was quiet travel-wise except for a trip to Illinois and Indiana to visit our daughters. Always fun to see them and my husband always likes to help them out in the yard if they’ve been too busy to mow or weed whip.

In August I felt like we spent more time traveling than at home though that wasn’t really the case. The first of the month started out with a trip to northern Wisconsin. However, that got cut short when I fell and hit my head on a concrete wall. We went to the emergency room and I discovered I had a concussion. I’m feeling much better now, but that cut our trip short. We drove home where I spent several days sleeping and resting and trying to stay away from electronic devices!

Later in the month we went to visit family in Washington State. Our son is living in Seattle right now plus my husband’s sister and brother-in-law live there, too. My brother and his family live in Oregon. We spent part of our time in Seattle and part of our time with my brother’s family along the Washington coast. It was a wonderful visit, but I felt like I needed a vacation from all that travel! 

 Yard

My daylilies bloomed all of July and I even still had some blooming in August. We planted a new tree (a river birch) and quite a few new perennials as well as dividing some of the existing perennials in the yard.

By the end of August lots of the plants are winding down, but we have a few still flowering including some of our roses, cone flowers and black-eyed susans. The Autumn Joy sedum is ready to start flowering. Next year I hope to plant more plants that will bloom in the fall.

Driveway

My husband spent lots of hours in July and August working on our driveway and made a lot of progress putting in drainage, moving dirt, building retaining walls, planting grass to hold the soil. Lots of work, but the area that used to be a concrete turnaround is looking lots better and we’re hoping this will keep the remaining driveway from developing cracks and creating tunnels under the driveway.

Blog life

Moved blog

I spent the last couple of weeks moving my blog to WordPress.com. I wrote a post about that yesterday. Also with all my travels I haven’t done very much other than setting up my blog again. I still need to add in some of the pages I had and will do that over the next week or so.

Books read

July

Changes by Jim Butcher (audiobook/library) — B+

Part-Time Gods by Rachel Aaron (ebook/purchased) — B+

*Squared Away by Alicia Dill (ebook/purchased) — B-

Walking Back to Happiness by Lucy Dillon (audiobook/purchased) — B+

August

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch (ebook/purchased) — B+

*The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan (audiobook/library) — B

*Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes (audiobook/library) — A-

*Ascending by Margaret Pechenick (ebook/purchased) — B+

A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee (audiobook/purchased) — B+

Cloudy With a Chance of Dropbears by W.R. Gingell (ebook/purchased) — B

*Craks in a Marriage by Barbara Barrett (ebook/purchased) — B

The Bookshop on the the Corner by Jenny Colgan (ebook/library) — A-

Bright Shards by Margaret Pechenick (ebook/purchased) — B+

*The White Shepherd by Annie Dalton (ebook/purchased) — B

*New-to-me author

My Reading Challenges

My reading challenges are mostly going dismally this year, but I’ll continue on with them and see if I improve by the end of the year!

Goodreads Challenge

2019 Goal–95 books  to read

By the end of August I had read 57 books. I’m several books behind where I should be by now if I’m going to read 95 books this year.

Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge

Goal–read and review 36-55 books mysteries (mysteries must be over 100 pages)

I’ve read 23 mysteries so far, but have only reviewed 2 of those mysteries.

52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge

I’ve read 14 books so far from the 52 subjects in this reading challenge.

The Backlist Reading Challenge

Goal — Read at least 24 books from my TBR list

So far I’ve read 14 books from my TBR list.

Library Love Challenge

Goal — Read at least 25 library books

I’ve read 18 library books so far.

Review Writing Challenge

Goal — Review at least 70 books this year

I’ve only reviewed 5 books I’ve read  this year so far.

………………..

How has your year been going so far? Both with your reading and your personal life?

August 2019 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 asbooks-on-my-list 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 missed.

July 22–it’s already available in the U.S. (or August 22)

Know Your Rites by Andy Redsmith

Series: Inspector Redsmith #2

Published by Canelo

Genre: Fantasy Mystery

314 pages

Synopsis: Inspector Nick Paris is back in this magical crime mystery perfect for fans of Douglas Adams and Ben Aaronovitch.

Inspector Nick Paris, now also known as ‘the one who stopped the demons’, has become an unlikely celebrity in the magical world. He is desperate to return to tackling more ordinary crimes on his home turf of Manchester.

However, the fates aren’t in his favour when he is called upon again by his more unusual police colleagues to solve a gruesome killing. The only suspect is a dwarf trying to make it in the rap business. But are there more mysterious matters afoot?

Paris is thrust back into the world of magic and murder – but who will face the music? 

August 1

Bright Shards by Meg Pechenick

Series: The Vardeshi Saga #2

Published by Sigil Press

Genre: Science Fiction

543 pages

Synopsis: Linguist Avery Alcott has spent three months proving herself to her Vardeshi companions and earning their respect. She arrives at Arkhati, the space station halfway between Earth and Vardesh Prime, eager to continue her adventure. But the next stage of her mission brings its own challenges. In the months to come, new alliances and old friendships will be tested. Avery will question her purpose and her place among the Vardeshi, and she will discover that the most memorable journeys are the ones we can’t predict. 

August 6

Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen

Series: Royal Spyness #13

Published by Berkley

Genre: Historical Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: Georgie is excited when Darcy announces out of the blue that they are flying to Kenya for their extended honeymoon. It is only after they arrive that she suspects he has actually been sent there on an assignment. She tries not to be angry, because she is, after all, in a paradise!

They are picked up in Nairobi and taken to a lovely house in Happy Valley–the center of upper-class English life there. Darcy finally confides that there have been some spectacular robberies in London and Paris, and it is suspected that the thief was a member of the aristocracy and may have fled to Kenya.

Georgie is shocked at the completely decadent lifestyle that involves wild parties and rampant infidelity. One of the leading lights in the community, Lord Cheriton, makes a play for Georgie. She rebuffs him. Then he is found dead along a lonely stretch of road. At first it seems to be a lion attack. But why was he on that stretch of road, alone, late at night? It seems the Happy Valley community wants to close the case, but as Georgie and Darcy investigate, almost everyone has a motive to want Lord Cheriton dead. 

Singapore Sapphire by A.M. Stuart

Series: Harriet Gordon #1

Published by Berkley

Genre: Historical Mystery

320 pages

Synopsis: Singapore 1910–Desperate for a fresh start and to distance herself from her tragic past, Harriet Gordon finds herself in Singapore at the height of colonial rule. Hoping to gain some financial independence, she advertises her services as a personal secretary. It is unfortunate that she should discover her first client, Sir Oswald Newbold–explorer, mine magnate and president of the exclusive Explorers and Geographers’ Club–dead with a knife in his throat.

When Inspector Robert Curran is put on the case, he realizes that he has an unusual witness in Harriet. Harriet’s keen eye for detail and strong sense of duty interests him, as does her distrust of the police and her traumatic past, which she is at pains to keep secret from the gossips of Singapore society.

When a second body is dragged from the canal, Harriet feels compelled to help with the case. She and Curran are soon drawn into a complex web of stolen gemstones and a mysterious gang of thieves who have no qualms about killing again to protect their secrets. 

August 13

Beneath the Surface by Jo Spain

Series: Inspector Tom Reynolds #2

Published by Crooked Lane Books

Genre: Mystery

347 pages

Synopsis: Did I know it would come to this? That I was playing Russian Roulette? I would give anything to turn back time and to be with my girls. There is no shot at redemption. I am going to die. The gun is in my eye-line as the second bullet is fired. That’s the one that kills me.

Late at night, two powerful men meet in a secret location to discuss a long nurtured plan about to come to fruition. One is desperate to know there is nothing standing in their way – the other assures him everything is taken care of. Hours later, a high-ranking government official called Ryan Finnegan is brutally slain in the most secure building in Ireland – Leinster House, the seat of parliament. Inspector Tom Reynolds and his team are called in to uncover the truth behind the murder.

At first, all the evidence hints at a politically motivated crime, until a surprise discovery takes the investigation in a dramatically different direction. Suddenly the motive for murder has got a lot more personal. . . but who benefits the most from Ryan’s death?

August 20

Turning Darkness into Light by Marie Brennan

Series: Unknown

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Fantasy, Dragons

416 pages

Synopsis: As the renowned granddaughter of Isabella Camherst (Lady Trent, of the riveting and daring Draconic adventure memoirs) Audrey Camherst has always known she, too, would want to make her scholarly mark upon a chosen field of study.

When Lord Gleinheigh recruits Audrey to decipher a series of ancient tablets holding the secrets of the ancient Draconean civilization, she has no idea that her research will plunge her into an intricate conspiracy, one meant to incite rebellion and invoke war. Alongside dearest childhood friend and fellow archeologist Kudshayn, must find proof of the conspiracy before it’s too late.

TURNING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT is a delightful fantasy of manners, the heir to the award-winning Natural History of Dragons series, a perfect stepping stone into an alternate Victorian-esque fantasy landscape.

August 27

A Better Man by Louise Penny

Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #15

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery

448 pages

Synopsis: It’s Gamache’s first day back as head of the homicide department, a job he temporarily shares with his previous second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Flood waters are rising across the province. In the middle of the turmoil a father approaches Gamache, pleading for help in finding his daughter.

As crisis piles upon crisis, Gamache tries to hold off the encroaching chaos, and realizes the search for Vivienne Godin should be abandoned. But with a daughter of his own, he finds himself developing a profound, and perhaps unwise, empathy for her distraught father.

Increasingly hounded by the question, how would you feel…, he resumes the search.

As the rivers rise, and the social media onslaught against Gamache becomes crueler, a body is discovered. And in the tumult, mistakes are made.

What books are you excited about this month?