Sunday Post: On to Indiana

weekly meme to talk about books and 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

Cooler weather at night and nice sunny days. I love the fall weather.

Illinois

I was in Illinois all week with one of my daughters since we got new carpet in our Iowa house. I brought the cats and we stayed with my daughter because the carpet took several days to complete. Olaf had great fun exploring and decided to go under the above cabinet. I was amazed he could fit under it and that he was able to get back out without help!

Indiana

Since we were close to Indiana my husband and I drove there to visit our younger daughter and see a house that’s already built that will look similar to the house we’re having built. We were able to measure a few rooms and get an idea how our furniture will fit.

We are very impressed with how beautiful the leaves are right now in Indiana. My daughter has three trees in her yard which have turned yellow and orange. Beautiful!

Our daughter will be gone for a few days so we’re staying to take care of her dogs while she’s gone. It’s nice to take a break from our cleaning and sorting and purging at our house!

I’m loving seeing my daughters and I feel somewhat safer in Illinois and Indiana since they have mask mandates and Iowa doesn’t.

Blog Life

I caught up for about a day with comments, but am behind again! I visited a number of blogs and caught up a bit with some of my blogging friends. It’s always nice to see how you all are doing during these trying times. I hope everyone is staying safe.

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

My books

What I’m reading
  • The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan
  • Stars Beyond by S.K. Dunstall
  • Dead Eye by Alyssa Day
What I read
  • The Shape Shifter by Tony Hillerman
  • The Vampire Moon by J.R. Rain
Books I got

What have you got planned for next week? What did you do last week? Please stay safe.

Sunday Post: A look back at February

Weekly meme to talk about books and a little about my personal life

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.

Note: I haven’t done a Sunday Post since last February. I found this Post which should have posted on March 1, but I think we were traveling or I didn’t have internet available. Anyway, I thought I would post the “Personal Life” section which talked about what I had done in February. I was struck by how different life is now.

Next week I hope to post a regular Sunday Post for what I’m doing and reading.

Personal life

What I did in February

My Ragdoll kitten turned six months old and will be a year old in September. Elf is a senior girl at over 10 years old.

I made cards for birthdays, thank you’s and Valentine’s Day. (I’ve made lots of cards to send during the pandemic.)

My daughters made a surprise visit to us over Valentine’s Day and it was wonderful to see them. (Now we wouldn’t surprise each other like that!)

Toward the end of February we went to Seattle to visit our son. Before we left for Seattle we knew there was a Covid 19 case in Seattle, but had no idea what would happen in the months to come. As you can see from the photos we did quite a few activities with lots of people around us. By the time we left Seattle, Covid 19 was in nursing homes there and I felt we should quarantine for two weeks when we returned to Iowa. Before the end of our two weeks the whole of Iowa and the rest of the U.S. were quarantining.

February photos

I’ll see you all next week and look forward to seeing what you’ve been doing.

Sunday Post: After the caucus

Weekly meme to talk about books and a little about my personal life

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

We had a tiny bit more snow, but also a few sunny days above freezing. However, our north facing backyard is still filled with snow!

The last two weeks in pictures
Iowa Caucus

I’m sure a lot of you have heard about the Iowa Caucus and what a fiasco that was. It was my first caucus (we moved to Iowa three years ago) and I volunteered to help people sign-in. It was very interesting since it’s so different from just voting for a candidate, but it was also chaotic. We were in a middle school gymnasium and it was very loud. The precinct captain didn’t have a sound system so it was very hard to hear what anyone was saying.

After we finished caucusing we went home and that’s when we heard there was some kind of problem though on Monday night no one knew what the problem was. Now almost a week later and Iowa has provided numbers, but news organizations have found some inconsistencies and still don’t feel confident to call a winner. My takeaway from this is that maybe Iowa needs to just vote and do away with the caucus system!

Elf and Olaf

Elf and Olaf (Olie) are getting along better. Olaf was neutered this week. He’s five months old so I’m glad he hadn’t started spraying. He weighs almost nine pounds!

Other activities

Now that the caucuses are over life is getting back to a more normal level. We went out one evening to a cabaret performance. The singer was great. We also got away one evening and played dominoes at our local brewery. Lots of fun though my husband beat me even though (because) he drew 22 tiles and then was able to block me several times!

We had lunch at our botanical garden cafe. Again, lots of fun! The botanical garden dome is wonderful in the winter since it’s warm and all the plants are green and growing! Some are blooming and there’s even an area with cactus! On the way to the botanical gardens and along the Des Moines River is the Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens with an Asian pavilion as the main feature. Ray was an Iowa governor (1969-1983) and the first public official anywhere in the United States to offer the Vietnamese “Boat People” a safe haven as well as sending food and medicine to Cambodia and helping keep the Tai Dam of Laos intact as a people and a culture by making it possible for them to resettle in Iowa.

Blog Life

In January I read 16 books–much higher than my average of 7 or 8! Several of the books were short so that factored in, but I also read some very good ones which I flew through. In February, I’ve already abandoned two books–one at 36% and the other at 25%–because I decided they just weren’t what I wanted to read right now. They were depressing me and I want to enjoy my reading.

Last two weeks
Next week
  • February 2020 books on my list
  • Can’t-Wait Wednesday
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • A Longer Fall by Charlaine Harris
  • Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
What I read recently
  • Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard
  • A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas
  • Girls of the Dark by Katherine Pathak
  • House of Teeth by Dan Jolley
  • Blind Search by Paula Munier
  • The Island by Ragnar Jonasson
Books I got recently

Turning Darkness into Light by Marie Brennan (ebook, purchased)

Some of the Best from Tor.com:2019 Edition by Elizabeth Bear, Siobhan Carroll, John Chu, Greg Egan,et al (ebook, purchased)

The World of Cork O’Connor by William Kent Kreuger (ebook, purchased)

Girls of the Dark by Katherine Pathak (KindleUnlimited)

Fashion Goes to the Dogs by Peggy Gaffney (KindleUnlimited)

The Body on the Beach by Anna Johannsen (KindleUnlimited)

A Longer Fall by Charlaine Harris (ebook/library)

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher (audiobook/library)

What have you been doing? What are your plans for next week? Are you planning anything for Valentine’s Day?

Sunday Post: A musical, a deer and more snow

Weekly meme to talk about books and a little about my personal life

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

It warmed up some this week. The temperatures stayed around freezing all week, but we still got a little more snow each day and since it was overcast little or no melting. Some of the side roads are still packed snow and ice. Some parking lots are slushy snow. Of course there are mounds of snow everywhere, too. For the most part I haven’t had any problems getting around town though I didn’t go out all that much. (I did almost get stuck in A Starbucks drive through since it was solid, bumpy ice!)

Adore Us! Line (a caucus parody of A Chorus Line)

Saturday night my husband and I went to a musical parody showing the Presidential candidates begging for Iowa voters. The opening song, a parody of the song “I Hope I Get It” from A Chorus Line was great. The whole parody was so well done. I especially loved that the Pete Buttigieg character was played by a very talented 9th grade boy! We stayed afterward for a question-and-answer period with the actors and author of the parody. (The above picture shows the stage during the q-and-a session.)

Elf and Olie

Elf and Olie are getting along better though Olie still chases Elf and tackles her sometimes which leads to swiping of paws, yowling and much indignation. She often acts like a grumpy old lady with a toddler she can’t get rid of.

We did have a scare with Olie one day. We have closed him up in a bathroom at night so he could eat, stay out of mischief and to give Elf a break. That morning he came out of the bathroom limping. As the day went on he began hopping on three legs, sleeping most of the time and putting little weight on his paw. We called our vet and got him in that afternoon. We thought maybe he’d landed wrong when he jumped from the bathroom counter. However, an x-ray of his leg showed no broken bone. (Thank goodness.) However, his leg was swollen so they surmised that in the scuffles with Elf she may have snagged his leg with a claw or her teeth. He got antibiotics, pain killers and other medicine. When we got home he slept for an hour and I guess the pain killers kicked in because he was running after Elf as though nothing was wrong! The next morning he was limping again. However, Olie is fine now and perhaps doesn’t jump on Elf quite as much. Maybe?!?

Cleaning and allergies

Good news? I’m over my cold. Bad news? I’m still having more allergies than I’ve had for the past year or so which is irritating, but usually the runny nose and sinus headache goes away after a couple hours. After I started feeling better I spent a couple hours each day cleaning my craft room so I could finally work on cards again. Since it’s been a month since I’ve done any cardmaking it has taken me a while to get back into the creative zone. Finally on Saturday I was able to make a card so I’m hopeful next week will be a creative one for me.

Blog Life

Last week
Next week
  • Can’t-Wait Wednesday
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard
  • A Conspiracey in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas
What I read recently
  • Shattered Justice by Susan Furlong
  • Wyrde and Wayward by Charlotte E. English
  • A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
Books I got recently

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (ebook, purchased)

A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas (audiobook/library)

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

Sunday Post: A new decade

Weekly meme to talk about books and a little about my personal life

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’m thinking a lot about the start of a new decade. [I know technically this isn’t the start and that next year is, but this what I’m calling the start of the decade.] This decade needs lots to happen in our world and I’m not sure we’re going to get it done. I guess in ten years we’ll know. In the meantime, I’ll keep reading. (I kind of feel like I’m fiddling while Rome burns.)

Back home
Olie playing with the rearview mirror during a rest break on the drive home

We got back home from Christmas and New Years in Indiana on Friday. We had a wonderful time there, but it’s so nice to get home and know that I can stay home for a while! We took our kitten Olie with us since he’s only four months old. He did great with his first introduction to dogs, small children, lots of new people and long car rides in a cat carrier. We let him out of the carrier when we stopped and he had fun exploring the car–especially the dashboard.

Now that I’m home I have lots of cards to make, but first I need to clean up my craft room which I left in a terrible mess before we left for Christmas. That’s going to take me several days!

My husband and I are getting ready to participate in our first Iowa Caucus. I’ve never caucused before, but I’m looking forward to it.

Television

We finished watching The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition Saturday night. I enjoyed it a lot though I still like the British edition better. I do hope they continue to do more of the American edition though.

Blog Life

I read my first book of the new year–Carrots by Colleen Helme–on New Year’s Day. It’s the beginning of a series and a new author to me. I really liked it and look forward to more books. And since there are already 12 books in the series I will have plenty to read! I like the idea of starting a new year with a new series and new author.

I’ve been working on end of year posts, but didn’t get any finished this last week. I plan to finish and post them this next week. (I hope.) I also want to post a goals post–which I haven’t started yet! And I’m still thinking about what my goals are for the next year.

Last week
Next week
  • Ten Anticipated books for first half of 2020
  • My favorite books of 2019
  • Can’t-Wait Wednesday
  • Favorite books of the last decade
  • 2020 goals
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • Tracking Game by Margaret Mizushima
What I read recently
  • Between Homes by W.R. Gingell
  • Carrots by Colleen Helme
Books I got recently

I got a “few” books…haha! Amazon had an offer that if I bought $20 in ebooks I’d get $5 for more ebooks so, of course, I had to do it and I had no problem spending the $5 either!

The Silver Mark by Sarah Painter (ebook/purchased)

Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg (ebook/purchased)

Wyrde and Wayward by Charlotte E. English (ebook/purchased)

Snow Day by Andrea K. Höst (ebook/purchased)

Balanced Chaos by Charissa Dufour (ebook/purchased)

Cold Noses and Warm Hearts by Laurie Morrow (ebook/purchased)

Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood (ebook/purchased)

Carrots by Colleen Helme (Kindle Unlimited)

Days Gone Bad by Eric Asher (Kindle Unlimited)

Tracking Game by Margaret Mizushima (Library, ebook)

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

January 2020 books on my list

Books published in January 2020 I might read — What books have I missed?

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!

January 1

The beginning of a new series and it’s an author I haven’t read before as well as a police procedural!

Lost Hills

by Lee Goldberg

Series: Eve Ronin #1

Published by Thomas Mercer

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

237 pages

Synopsis: A video of Deputy Eve Ronin’s off-duty arrest of an abusive movie star goes viral, turning her into a popular hero at a time when the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is plagued by scandal. The sheriff, desperate for more positive press, makes Eve the youngest female homicide detective in the department’s history.

Now Eve, with a lot to learn and resented by her colleagues, has to justify her new badge. Her chance comes when she and her burned-out, soon-to-retire partner are called to the blood-splattered home of a missing single mother and her two kids. The horrific carnage screams multiple murder—but there are no corpses.

January 7

I’ve read a number of books by Jenny Colgan and I really like her writing. Plus the cover is very cute!

Where Have All the Boys Gone?

by Jenny Colgan

Series: None

Published by William Morrow

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

368 pages

Synopsis: Faced with the harsh reality that there are 25,000 more women than men in London, Katie’s dating prospects are at an all-time low. While she’s glad it’s not a man’s world anymore, it wouldn’t hurt if there were more eligible bachelors.  

More likely to get murdered than married, according to gleeful media reports, Katie resigns herself to the fact that there’s no sex in the city for her and decides to head for the hills—or the Scottish Highlands to be exact. Despite the fact she’s never been one for muddy rain boats—and Fairlish is in the middle of nowhere—the tiny town does have one major draw: men. LOTS of them!

But while Katie relishes the chance to do battle with armies of admirers, she’s not excited about going head to head with her shady new boss, Harry. At least there’s the local eye-candy to distract her, including gorgeous newshound Iain. But he is at loggerheads with Harry, and she can’t afford to get on Harry’s bad side any more than she already has.

January 14

I liked the first book in this series a lot. Gunnie Rose is a very memorable character.

A Longer Fall

by Charlaine Harris

Series: Gunnie Rose #2

Published by Gallery / Saga Press

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Alternate History

304 pages

Synopsis: In this second thrilling installment of the Gunnie Rose series, Lizbeth Rose is hired onto a new crew for a seemingly easy protection job, transporting a crate into Dixie, just about the last part of the former United States of America she wants to visit. But what seemed like a straight-forward job turns into a massacre as the crate is stolen. Up against a wall in Dixie, where social norms have stepped back into the last century, Lizbeth has to go undercover with an old friend to retrieve the crate as what’s inside can spark a rebellion, if she can get it back in time.

This is a new author to me, but it has a beautiful cover and this historical mystery series sounds really good.

The Hollows

by Jess Montgomery

Series: Kinship #2

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Historical Mystery (Ohio, 1926)

352 pages

Synopsis: Ohio, 1926: For many years, the underground railroad track in Moonvale Tunnel has been used as a short cut through the Appalachian hills. When an elderly woman is killed walking along the tracks, the brakeman tells tales of seeing a ghostly female figure dressed all in white.

Newly elected Sheriff Lily Ross is called on to the case to dispel the myths, but Lily does not believe that an old woman would wander out of the hills onto the tracks. In a county where everyone knows everyone, how can someone have disappeared, when nobody knew they were missing? As ghost stories and rumors settle into the consciousness of Moonvale Hollow, Lily tries to search for any real clues to the woman’s identity.

With the help of her friend Marvena Whitcomb, Lily follows the woman’s trail to The Hollows—an asylum is northern Antioch County—and they begin to expose secrets long-hidden by time and the mountains. 

A great title and dogs and cats are in the story so this sounds like fun! But the dog mentioned in this synopsis is a bulldog and I think this is a Boston terrier? Why is he on the cover?

St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets

by Annie England Noblin

Series: None

Published by William Morrow

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Animals

382 pages

Synopsis: Laid off, cheated on, mugged: what else can go wrong in Maeve Stephens’ life? So when she learns her birth mother has left her a house, a vintage VW Beetle, and a marauding cat, in the small town of Timber Creek, Washington, she packs up to discover the truth about her past.

She arrives to the sight of a cheerful bulldog abandoned on her front porch, a reclusive but tempting author living next door, and a set of ready-made friends at the St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets, where women knit colorful sweaters for the dogs and cats in their care. But there’s also an undercurrent of something that doesn’t sit right with Maeve. What’s the secret (besides her!) that her mother had hidden?

January 21

I like reading books set in Montana plus this is a mystery and about a military veteran who sustained a traumatic brain injury.

The Blaze

by Chad Dundas

Series: Unknown

Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

384 pages

Synopsis: One man knows the connection between two extraordinary acts of arson, fifteen years apart, in his Montana hometown–if only he could remember it.

Having lost much of his memory from a traumatic brain injury sustained in Iraq, army veteran Matthew Rose is called back to Montana after his father’s death to settle his affairs, and hopefully to settle the past as well. It’s not only a blank to him, but a mystery. Why as a teen did he suddenly become sullen and vacant, abandoning the activities and people that had meant most to him? How did he, the son of hippy activists, wind up enlisting in the first place?

Then on his first night back, Matthew sees a house go up in flames, and it turns out a local college student has died inside. And this event sparks a memory of a different fire, an unsolved crime from long ago, a part of Matthew’s past that might lead to all the answers he’s been searching for. What he finds will connect the old fire and the new, a series of long-unsolved mysteries, and a ruthless act of murder. 

I read the first book in this series and liked it a lot plus I’ve read the Linesman series also by Dunstall which was excellent.

Stars Beyond

by S.K. Dunstall

Series: Stars Uncharted #2

Published by Ace

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

400 pages

Synopsis: An engineer with a fondness for weapons. A captain with no memory. An obsessive genemodder who loves to tinker. Meet the crew of Another Road.

Josune, Roystan, and Nika have escaped the company thugs trying to kill them. They’ve gotten a new spaceship to replace The Road (after it was blown up underneath them). And their new ship is armed to the teeth with dangerous weapons, courtesy of Josune. All that’s left to do before they head out to find the legendary lode of transurides is to restore Roystan’s memory. To do that, they need to collect the genemod machine Nika has ordered.

But first, they have to shake off the Justice Department agent and the Companies tracking them.

It should be easy. They’ve done it before. What could possibly go wrong?

January 28

My husband has read several of Eoin Colfer’s books, but I haven’t. I like that this is an adult fantasy about dragons and that it takes place in the modern world!

Highfire

by Eoin Colfer

Series: Unknown

Published by HarperCollins

Genre: Fantasy, Dragons

384 pages

Synopsis: In the days of yore, he flew the skies and scorched angry mobs—now he hides from swamp tour boats and rises only with the greatest reluctance from his Laz-Z-Boy recliner. Laying low in the bayou, this once-magnificent fire breather has been reduced to lighting Marlboros with nose sparks, swilling Absolut in a Flashdance T-shirt, and binging Netflix in a fishing shack. For centuries, he struck fear in hearts far and wide as Wyvern, Lord Highfire of the Highfire Eyrie—now he goes by Vern. However…he has survived, unlike the rest. He is the last of his kind, the last dragon. Still, no amount of vodka can drown the loneliness in his molten core. Vern’s glory days are long gone. Or are they?

A canny Cajun swamp rat, young Everett “Squib” Moreau does what he can to survive, trying not to break the heart of his saintly single mother. He’s finally decided to work for a shady smuggler—but on his first night, he witnesses his boss murdered by a crooked constable.

Another new author to me plus a mystery and a police procedural. Yes!

A Dredging in Swann

by Tim Garvin

Series: Seb Creek Mysteries #1

Published by Blackstone

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

304 pages

Synopsis: Two investigations start at the same time in Swann County, North Carolina, one by the FBI, the other by the sheriff. The feds want to know who stole three Stinger missiles during a helicopter crash. The sheriff wants to know who hung a black ex-con in a well.

Seb Creek, a sheriff’s detective, gets involved in both investigations and fights through lies, secrets, and murder to find the killer. The trail involves a long-ago ax murder, the ravages of combat, an outdoor gas chamber, a mystery at the bottom of a well, and finally a last killing and an ancient testament.

The dog on the cover of this book is so cute plus it’s nonfiction and it sounds heart-wrenching (Gabby is 8 years old and has never been outside??) I think I need to read this. (I am glad to see the dog on this cover seems to match Gabby as described here.)

Gabby: The Little Dog that Had to Learn to Bark

by Barby Keel

Series: None

Published by Citadel Press

Genre: Nonfiction, Animals

256 pages

Synopsis: Baby seagulls, mischievous ferrets, strutting peacocks…in the decades that Barby Keel has run her animal sanctuary in the English countryside, she has seen all manner of creatures. Thousands of cats and dogs have come through her doors and, with the aid of Barby and her dedicated staff, found loving forever homes. But Gabby, a small terrier with solemn, terrified eyes, is like no case Barby has ever encountered before.

Gabby has spent all eight years of her life indoors. She has no idea how to play with a toy or chew a treat. She has never dug in the dirt or rolled happily in the grass. Strangest of all, Gabby does not know how to bark. Barby can tell that the little golden-haired dog is bright and curious beneath her paralyzing fear, but coaxing out Gabby’s true spirit will be a daunting task.

Yet sometimes, a dog and a human fit together like two puzzle pieces, and so it is with Gabby and Barby. And Barby, who believes passionately in animals’ ability to help and heal those they love, will find her faith in Gabby repaid just when she, and her sanctuary, need it most . . .

I’m several books behind in this series, but I really like the ones I’ve read so I’d like to catch up so I can read this one!

Death Comes to the Nursery

by Catherine Lloyd

Series: Kurland St. Mary’s Mystery #7

Published by Kensington

Genre: Historical Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: Delighted by the quiet uproar of raising their newborn, Lady Lucy and Major Sir Robert Kurland could not be more pleased at the prospect of welcoming another into their home. But their preparations are soon overshadowed by a baffling case of murder . . .

Once known to all in her village as the rector’s daughter, Lucy is now a mother herself—to a wonderful eighteen-month-old son, Ned. Upon discovering that she is expecting a second child, Lucy and Robert are delighted. In anticipation of the new arrival, Lucy is set on expanding her nursery staff. When Agnes, her current nurse, recommends her cousin, it seems like the perfect solution.

But trouble arrives along with the new nursery maid from London. Polly’s flirtations provoke fisticuffs in the servants’ hall and tumult in the village tavern, and on her afternoon off, she fails to return to the Kurland Estate. When a farmer finds her lifeless body in a drainage ditch, Lucy and Robert fear foul play.

This dog looks a lot like my daughter’s black lab so I had to include this book! However, the only dog mentioned in the synopsis is a poodle so who is the black lab??

Cold Nose, Warm Heart

by Mara Wells

Series: Fur Haven Dog Park #1

Published by Sourcebook Casablanca

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Dogs

384 pages

Synopsis: All Caleb Donovan has to do to redeem his family name is take a rundown Miami Beach apartment building and turn it into luxury condos. Easy, right?

Unfortunately, that would also turn the local dog park into a parking lot and the neighbors aren’t having it. Caleb is faced with outright revolt, led by smart, beautiful building manager Riley Carson and her poodle, LouLou.

For Caleb, this project should have been a slam dunk. But even more challenging than the neighborhood resistance is the mutual attraction between him and Riley. It would be so much easier just to stay enemies.

What books are you excited about this month?

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our Thanksgiving gathering from several years ago

I’m at Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. The large extended family has gotten together for over 50 years. This is the last year we will get together at the above house. My father-in-law died in the spring and the house is for sale. We’re doing one last Thanksgiving here. After this year one of my nieces plans to host the Thanksgiving gathering. It will be held in Indianapolis instead of Iowa which may mean a smaller gathering in the future. All things have to change at some point.

I’m grateful for . . .

  • Our large extended family that has made Thanksgiving such a wonderful tradition.
  • My husband and children. That we all love each other and can have fun together.
  • My health. After my surgery earlier in the month I realize once again what a wonderful thing it is to feel healthy.
  • My friends with whom I share stories and laughter.
  • Authors writing books. I love to read and am so grateful that so many authors are writing books I love to read.
  • My ebook reader that allows me to read at night, to set it on my lap when my hands hurt, to change the size of the font when my eyes need a bigger font, to carry hundreds of books in my purse.
  • My cats who give me so much pleasure every day.
  • My children’s dogs and cats I get to enjoy when I visit or they visit.
  • My house and yard. That we have a house and yard. And I love the serenity of my house and yard.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate Thanksgiving in November. And to everyone else I hope you’re having a wonderful day!

Mini Review: Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff

Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff

Series: Keeper Chronicles #1

Genre: Fantasy

Setting: Canada

Published by DAW, 1998

Source: Ebook, purchased

366 pages

Synopsis: Claire Hansen, the Keeper, is summoned to the Elysian Fields Guest House to reseal a hole in the basement, which is literally an opening to Hell. The owner and monitor of the site disappears, leaving Claire stuck managing the place until the problem is solved. Her new employee, Dean McIssac, is a gorgeous Newfie who cooks, cleans, and lives the Boy Scout oath. Then there’s Jacques Labaet: very French Canadian, very sexy, very dead. Jacques is a ghost who wants to be the man in Claire’s life. Oh yeah, and there’s Austin, a talking cat with attitude: “I barely know you, but I’m assuming you’re human. I’m not saying this is a good thing, it’s just the way it is.” 

My thoughts

This is a quick, fun read. I enjoy Tanya Huff’s books and appreciate the different types of books she writes. The book has a lot of humor and I enjoyed much of that. This isn’t my favorite of the many books of hers I’ve read, but it’s still enjoyable.

The book reminded me a little of The Gale Women series by Ms. Huff. The first book in that series is The Magic Emporium. There is some of the same dynamic between characters in the books. However, I like The Magic Emporium better than this book. I probably will read the second book in the Keeper Chronicles series to see if I like it better than Summon the Keeper.

What I like

I like Claire Hansen and the idea that Keepers clean up messes made by holes torn in the fabric of the universe that leak evil. She comes from a magical family so she has known about keepers all her life. But most people outside their small community don’t know about them.

The evil trying to seep through the hole in the basement furnace room of the guest house is amusing, but determined. It tries to tempt anyone it comes in contact with, but because Claire has magic available it really wants to cause her to slip up and allow more evil through the hole.

Down in the furnace room, having spent the last few hours testing the binding, the intelligence in the pit rested. It would have been panting had it been breathing.

NOTHING HAS CHANGED, it observed sulkily.

. . . SHUT UP!

It also talked to itself.

Dean McIssac is from Newfoundland and has worked at the guest house for a while. He’s the cook and handyman and he loves to clean. A funny reversal of stereotype. Claire also notices he’s quite a hunk–even if he is younger than she is.

The ghost, Jacques Labaet, is very funny, but also a little sad.

And not so much

My main quibble with the book is that although I like cats, I don’t like cats that talk very much–especially when they try to be funny. Austin is Claire’s sidekick and helper and he has an attitude. I just didn’t like it very much.

My Rating: B-

Have you read this book or any others by Tanya Huff? What are your thoughts about her books?

March 2018 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.

March 1

Last Dragon Standing

by Rachel Aaron

Series: Heartstrikers #5

Published by Aaron/Bach LLC

Genre: Urban Fantasy

306 pages

Synopsis: Dear Reader, 

There is no way to write a blurb for this final book without spoiling all of the others. Suffice it to say, mysteries resolve, dragons war, pigeons abound, and Julius must risk himself in ways he never dreamed possible as Bob’s grand plan finally comes to fruition. 

But the Great Seer of the Heartstrikers isn’t the only one whose schemes are nearing completion. The Nameless End is coming, and even the machinations of the world’s most brilliant dragon seer might not be enough to stop it. As the world comes crashing down, it’s up Julius to prove what he’s always known: that seers can be wrong, and Nice Dragons don’t always finish last.

A Gruesome Discovery

by Cora Harrison

Series: Reverend Mother Mystery #4

Published by Severn House Publishers

Genre: Historical Mystery

256 pages

Synopsis: The Reverend Mother receives a decidedly gruesome gift in this compelling Irish historical mystery. 

Ireland. 1925.

Like all who seek charitable contributions, Reverend Mother Aquinas is used to being gifted some fairly dubious items. But nothing like this. On opening the evil-smelling trunk, labelled ‘old books’, the Reverend Mother is horrified to discover it contains the dead body of one of Cork’s richest merchants, wrapped in decomposing animal hides.

Many had reason to loathe the hides and skins merchant: his rebellious, republican son; his frustrated, clever daughter; his neighbours; his business rivals; and those whose unbaptised babies were buried on the site of his new tanning yard. But when suspicion falls on a former lay sister from her convent, the Reverend Mother decides she must help find the real killer.

The Magic Chair Murder

by Diane Janes

Series: A Black & Dod Mystery #1

Published by Severn House Publishers

Genre: Historical Mystery

224 pages

Synopsis: 1929.

The night before she’s due to make a speech to the Robert Barnaby Society on the subject of the famous writer’s ‘magic chair’, committee member Linda Dexter disappears. When her body is discovered two days later, fellow members Frances Black and Tom Dod determine to find out the truth about her death.

Could Linda have discovered something about Robert Barnaby that got her killed? Or does the answer lie in the dead woman’s past? As they pursue their investigations, Fran and Tom find the Barnaby Society to be a hotbed of clashing egos, seething resentments and ill-advised love affairs – but does a killer lurk among them? 

March 6

Lake Silence

by Anne Bishop

Series: The Others #6

Published by Ace

Genre: Urban Fantasy

416 pages

Synopsis: Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget . . .

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–one of the shapeshifting Others–discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive. 

Burn Bright

by Patricia Briggs

Series: Alpha and Omega #5

Published by Orbit

Genre: Urban Fantasy

384 pages

Synopsis: They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.

With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn…

Lady Henterman’s Wardrobe

by Marshall Ryan Maresca

Series: The Streets of Maradaine #2

Published by DAW

Genre: Fantasy

352 pages

Synopsis: Mixing high fantasy and urban fantasy, the second novel of the Streets of Maradaine series follows the Rynax brothers’ crew of outlaws as they attempt their biggest heist yet and restore justice to the common people.

The neighborhood of North Seleth has suffered–and not just the Holver Alley Fire. Poverty and marginalization are forcing people out of the neighborhood, and violence on the streets is getting worse. Only the Rynax brothers–Asti and Verci–and their Holver Alley Crew are fighting for the common people. They’ve taken care of the people who actually burned down Holver Alley, but they’re still looking for the moneyed interests behind the fire.

The trail of breadcrumbs leads the crew to Lord Henterman, and they plan to infiltrate the noble’s house on the other side of the city. While the crew tries to penetrate the heart of the house, the worst elements of North Seleth seem to be uniting under a mysterious new leader. With the crew’s attention divided, Asti discovers that the secrets behind the fire, including ones from his past, might be found in Lady Henterman’s wardrobe. 

Reclaiming Shilo Snow

by Mary Weber

Series: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow #2

Published by Thomas Nelson

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

352 pages

Synopsis: Trapped on the ice-planet of Delon, gamer girl Sofi and Ambassador Miguel have discovered that nothing is what it seems, including their friends. On a quest to rescue her brother, Shilo, a boy everyone believes is dead, they must now escape and warn Earth of Delon’s designs on humanity. Except the more they unearth of the planet and Sofi’s past, the more they feel themselves unraveling, as each new revelation has Sofi questioning the very existence of reality.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Sofi’s mom, Inola, is battling a different kind of unraveling: a political one that could cost lives, positions, and a barely-rebuilt society, should they discover the deal made with the Delonese.

But there’s a secret deeper than all that. One locked away inside Sofi and ticking away with the beginnings, endings, and answers to everything. Including how to save humanity.

March 13

Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage

by Brian Castner

Series: None

Published by McClelland & Stewart

Genre: History

352 pages

Synopsis: In 1789, Alexander Mackenzie travelled the 1,125 miles of the immense river in Canada that now bears his name, in search of the fabled Northwest Passage, only to confront impassable pack ice. In 2016, the acclaimed memoirist Brian Castner retraced Mackenzie’s route by canoe in a grueling journey — and discovered the Passage he could not find.

Disappointment River is a dual historical narrative and travel memoir that at once transports readers back to the heroic age of North American exploration and places them in a still rugged but increasingly fragile Arctic wilderness in the process of profound alteration by the dual forces of energy extraction and climate change. Eleven years before Lewis and Clark, the Scottish explorer Alexander Mackenzie actually crossed the North American continent with a team of voyageurs and Native guides. Before that he was the first to discover a route to the Arctic Ocean from the Great Lakes, along the river he named “Disappointment” because he believed he’d failed in his mission to find a trade route to the riches of the East. In fact he had — he was just two-plus centuries early.

In this book, Brian Castner not only retells the story of Mackenzie’s epic voyages in vivid prose, he personally retraces his travels in an 1,125-mile canoe voyage down the river that bears his name, battling exhaustion, exposure, mosquitoes, white water rapids and the threat of bears. He transports readers to a world rarely glimpsed in the media, of tar sands, thawing permafrost, remote Native villages and, at the end, a wide open Arctic Ocean that is quickly becoming a far-northern Mississippi of barges and pipelines and oil money. 

Holy Ceremony

by Harri Nykanen

Translated by Kristian London

Series: Ariel Kafka #3

Published by Bitter Lemon Press

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

248 pages

Synopsis: There are two Jewish cops in all of Helsinki. One of them, Ariel Kafka, a lieutenant in the Violent Crime Unit, identifies himself as a policeman first, then a Finn, and lastly a Jew. Kafka is a stubborn, dedicated policeman with wry sense of humor, always willing to risk his career to get an answer. A woman’s body scrawled with religious texts is found in a Helsinki apartment. It turns out she wasn’t murdered: the body was stolen from the morgue. The body is stolen again, and this time is immolated in a funeral pyre in Helsinki’s Central Park. Kafka finds himself investigating a series of crimes leading to the enigmatic Christian Brotherhood of the Holy Vault. But before he can solve the puzzle, more than one Brother must pay for past sins with his life.

March 20

Stone Mad

by Elizabeth Bear

Series: Karen Memory #2

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Science Fiction, Steampunk, Novella

192 pages

Synopsis: Now Karen is back with Stone Mad, a new story about spiritualists, magicians, con-men, and an angry lost tommy-knocker—a magical creature who generally lives in the deep gold mines of Alaska, but has been kidnapped and brought to Rapid City.

Karen and Priya are out for a night on the town, celebrating the purchase of their own little ranch and Karen’s retirement from the Hotel Ma Cherie, when they meet the Arcadia Sisters, spiritualists who unexpectedly stir up the tommy-knocker in the basement. The ensuing show could bring down the house, if Karen didn’t rush in to rescue everyone she can. 

March 27

Murder at Half Moon Gate

by Andrea Penrose

Series: A Wrexford & Sloan Mystery #2

Published by Kensington

Genre: Historical Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: When Lord Wrexford discovers the body of a gifted inventor in a dark London alley, he promptly alerts the watchman and lets the authorities handle the matter. But Wrexford soon finds himself drawn into the murder investigation when the inventor’s widow begs for his assistance, claiming the crime was not a random robbery. It seems her husband’s designs for a revolutionary steam-powered engine went missing the night of his death. The plans could be worth a fortune . . . and very dangerous in the wrong hands.

Joining Wrexford in his investigation is Charlotte Sloane, who uses the pseudonym A. J. Quill to publish her scathing political cartoons. Her extensive network of informants is critical for her work, but she doesn’t mind tapping that same web of spies to track down an elusive killer. Each suspect—from ambitious assistants to rich investors, and even the inventor’s widow—is entwined in a maze of secrets and lies that leads Wrexford and Sloane down London’s most perilous stews and darkest alleyways.

With danger lurking at every turn, the potent combination of Wrexford’s analytical mind and Sloane’s exacting intuition begins to unravel the twisted motivations behind the inventor’s death. But they are up against a cunning and deadly foe—a killer ready to strike again before they can recover the inventor’s priceless designs . . . 

The Bengal Identity

by Eileen Watkins

Series: A Cat Groomer Mystery #2

Published by Kensington Publishing

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Cats

272 pages

Synopsis: Everyone knows a leopard can’t change its spots. But can a thief hide the spots on a catnapped Bengal? Groomer Cassie McGlone is about to find out . . .

With no ID for his pet, an agitated young man shows up at Cassie’s Comfy Cats claiming his house has burned down and he needs to board his big, brown cat, Ayesha. But after a bath washes dye out of the cat’s coat and reveals beautiful spots, Cassie suspects the exotic-looking feline may in fact be a valuable Bengal show cat, possibly stolen. At the same time, there are rumored sightings of a “wild cat” in the hills of Chadwick, New Jersey. Could there be a connection?

When Ayesha’s alleged owner turns up dead, it looks like whoever wants the beautiful Bengal is not pussyfooting around. Working with the police, Cassie and her staff need to be careful not to reveal the purloined purebred’s whereabouts while they discreetly make inquiries to cat breeders to find her real owners. But after a break-in attempt rattles Cassie’s cage, it’s clear someone let the cat out of the bag. And when a second body is found, it’s up to Cassie to spot the killer, who may be grooming her to be the next victim . . .

What books are you excited about this month?