The Wrap-Up for July and August 2019

Personal life


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! 


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.


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 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


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+


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?

July 2019 books on my list


Even though the month is over half gone I decided to post my list of books published in July that looked interesting to me.

I hope people reading my post may find some new books to read. I also hope people will point me toward books I missed.

July 2

Under the Cold Bright Lights by Garry Disher

Series: Unknown

Published by Soho Crime

Genre: Mystery

312 pages

Synopsis: The young detectives call Alan Auhl a retread, but that doesn’t faze him. He does things his own way—and gets results.

He still lives with his ex-wife, off and on, in a big house full of random boarders and hard-luck stories. And he’s still a cop, even though he retired from Homicide some years ago.

He works cold cases now. Like the death of John Elphick—his daughters still convinced he was murdered, the coroner not so sure. Or the skeleton that’s just been found under a concrete slab. Or the doctor who killed two wives and a girlfriend, and left no evidence at all.

Auhl will stick with these cases until justice is done. One way or another.

Paper Son by S.J. Rozan

Series: Lydia Chin & Bill Smith #12

Published by Pegasus Books

Genre: Mystery

352 pages

Synopsis: The Most Southern Place on Earth: that’s what they call the Mississippi Delta. It’s not a place Lydia Chin, an American-born Chinese private detective from Chinatown, NYC, ever thought she’d have reason to go. But when her mother tells her a cousin Lydia didn’t know she had is in jail in Clarksdale, Mississippi—and that Lydia has to rush down south and get him out—Lydia finds herself rolling down Highway 61 with Bill Smith, her partner, behind the wheel.

From the river levees to the refinement of Oxford, from old cotton gins to new computer scams, Lydia soon finds that nothing in Mississippi is as she expected it to be. Including her cousin’s legal troubles—or possibly even his innocence. Can she uncover the truth in a place more foreign to her than any she’s ever seen?

July 9

Bad Axe County by John Galligan

Series: Unknown

Published by Atria Books

Genre: Mystery

336 pages

Synopsis: Fifteen years ago, Heidi White’s parents were shot to death on their Bad Axe County farm. The police declared it a murder-suicide and closed the case. But that night, Heidi found the one clue she knew could lead to the truth—if only the investigators would listen.

Now Heidi White is Heidi Kick, wife of local baseball legend Harley Kick and mother of three small children. She’s also the interim sheriff in Bad Axe. Half the county wants Heidi elected but the other half will do anything to keep her out of law enforcement. And as a deadly ice storm makes it way to Bad Axe, tensions rise and long-buried secrets climb to the surface.

As freezing rain washes out roads and rivers flood their banks, Heidi finds herself on the trail of a missing teenaged girl. Clues lead her down twisted paths to backwoods stag parties, derelict dairy farms, and the local salvage yard—where the body of a different teenage girl has been carefully hidden for a decade.

As the storm rages on, Heidi realizes that someone is planting clues for her to find, leading her to some unpleasant truths that point to the local baseball team and a legendary game her husband pitched years ago. With a murder to solve, a missing girl to save, and a monster to bring to justice, Heidi is on the cusp of shaking her community to its core—and finding out what really happened the night her parents died. 

July 23

The Last Astronaut by David Wellington

Series: Unknown

Published by Orbit

Genre: Science Fiction

400 pages

Synopsis: The object entered our solar system, slowed down off the rings of Saturn, and began a steady approach towards Earth. No one knows what its purpose is. It has made no attempt at communication and has ignored all of NASA’s transmissions.

Having forsaken manned flight, the space programs of the world scramble to enlist forcefully-retired NASA legend Sally Jensen–the only person with the first-hand operational knowledge needed to execute a mission to make contact.

With no time to spare she must lead a crew with no experience farther than mankind has ever traveled, to a visitor whose intentions are far from clear…and who, with each passing day, gets closer to home. 

July 31

Atmosphæra Incognita by Neal Stephenson

Series: Unknown

Published by Subterranean Press

Genre: Science Fiction Novella

104 pages

Synopsis: Atmosphæra Incognita is a beautifully detailed, high-tech rendering of a tale as old as the Biblical Tower of Babel. It is an account, scrupulously imagined, of the years-long construction of a twenty-kilometer-high tower that will bring the human enterprise, in all its complexity, to the threshold of outer space. It is a story of persistence, of visionary imaginings, of the ceaseless technological innovation needed to bring these imaginings to life. At the same time, it shows us our familiar planet from an entirely new perspective, and offers vivid snapshots of the unique beauties and unexpected hazards of the “atmosphæra incognita” that lies between this world and “the deep ocean of the cosmos.” The result is pure pleasure, pure excitement, pure Neal Stephenson. No one with an interest in Stephenson’s work, or in science fiction at its most thoughtful and ambitious, can afford to miss this latest edition to an extraordinary body of work. 

What books are you excited about this month?