Saturday, October 31, 2015

Review: B is for Burglar

B is for Burglar B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book 2 in my re-read of this series. I had completely forgotten the entire book -- or maybe I never read it in the first place? Kinsey Milhone is investigating the disappearance of Elaine Boldt at the request of her sister Beverly. Her investigation leads her to Florida and back to CA, and a new recurring character is introduced as a possible romantic partner for Kinsey.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review: The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose

The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A good cozy read for a chilly afternoon. Verna Tidwell, honest as the day is long, is suspected of embezzling $15,000 in county funds while Miss Rogers is worried about losing her job at the library. As always, the Darling Dahlias gather round their friends to help them through their difficulties.

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Review: Widow's Tears

Widow's Tears Widow's Tears by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another cozy read by Susan Wittig Albert, this time in her China Bayles series. The story focuses on Ruby and her extrasensory perception gifts, and the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. It's a ghost story too. China is a peripheral character serving more as an observer/narrator than active participant.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Review: A is for Alibi

A is for Alibi A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a re-read for me. I am waiting for Grafton's newest installment in the series, and it's been so long since I read any of the books, I decided to start at the beginning and re-familiarize myself with Kinsey Milhone. This is the first of the series, where 32 year old Kinsey Milhone introduces herself as a P.I. Kinsey is investigating an eight year old murder on behalf of the woman who had been convicted of it, and still claims she's innocent. One of the things that was really interesting to me this time around was the California territory. Since I first read this book, way too long ago to actually remember, I've actually gotten familiar with some of the setting places. While I'd completely forgotten the plot line, I knew it would involve a wrong turn or two, some close escapes, and eventual solution. On to volume 2!

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Some Knitting Projects

I haven't posted anything about my knitting in a long time.  Here are a couple of projects I've recently finished.

The most recent is this sweater, Mindy, pattern by Julia Farwell-Clay.  I had fun knitting it and I learned a new skill-the attached I-cord button band.  I used Cascade Yarns Pure Alpaca Paints which I purchased at Webs.  I think the yarn has been discontinued.  I really like the way it came out.  It took me six months from start to finish, but I admit it was on again-off again knitting!  I don't like working on sweatery projects when it's hot!

Another project I finished was one I mostly knit while I was on a bus tour in the UK.  It was fairly mindless knitting.

I used a cotton ribbon yarn called ONline Line Arona and a free  pattern I was given at checkout.  (At Webs, of course!)  I am currently using another color of this same yarn to knit Let It Go, another cowl.

In between knitting and reading, we took two big trips - one to the UK and one to Italy.  One of these days I get some pictures uploaded.  You'd think that with retirement, I'd have the time to keep this blog updated.   Hmm.

Review: Skinner's Rules

Skinner's Rules Skinner's Rules by Quintin Jardine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ACC Bob Skinner has a set of rules, or code that he lives by, even if doing so jeopardizes his career, and perhaps even his life. A series of brutal murders is blamed on a Japanese diplomat, but Skinner thinks they missed something. As he quietly investigates further he discovers a web of secrecy and lies that go to the very top of British intelligence. Eventually his trail puts his life and the lives of his family at extreme risk.

I really enjoyed this first in a series novel. First of all it's set in Edinburgh, one of my favorite cities, so it was fun to recognize places. Skinner is an interesting character, balancing his work and personal life, and the politics v. justice. As most good characters do, Skinner has a dark side which is uncovered as a result of his investigation. I like the other characters too. I am looking forward to reading more in the series.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Review: Life and Other Near-Death Experiences

Life and Other Near-Death Experiences Life and Other Near-Death Experiences by Camille Pagán
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a Kindle First book. When Libby is diagnosed with a terminal cancer, she rushes home to tell her husband Tom. Before she gets a chance to share her devastating news, Tom shares his news: he's gay. The plot follows Libby as she reacts to both traumatic events. I found the whole premise pretty unrealistic. While I liked Libby's character, I kept thinking she was pretty lucky to have enough money to act the way she did.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Review: The Third Girl

The Third Girl The Third Girl by Nell Goddin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a free ARC.

This is the first novel in a mystery series set in a small French village. American Mollie Sutton, almost 40, purchases a small property with a rental cottage, after a divorce. She quickly adjusts to life in the small village and begins to make friends. A student at the local art school goes missing, and the village is upset because the missing girl is the third woman gone missing. Mollie is instrumental in solving the mystery of the disappearance.

This series has a lot of potential, but it's not quite there yet. I thought that the author did a terrific job in setting the scene. Her depiction of life in a small village was well-done. Her characters need more development however. Mollie is in her late 30's agonizing about the fact that she's unlikely to have children. Yet her behavior and reactions to events seem to be of somebody who is just out of college. She seems to lack the confidence and self-knowledge you'd expect from someone who has been in the working world and has been married for a number of years. Other characters also have potential, but need to be fleshed out. At the moment they feel more like "outlines." The plot needs to be developed a bit more too. The police and Mollie spend several weeks attempting to figure out who kidnapped the woman, yet there are few details that follow the actual investigation. Most of the investigative details were of the "today we talked to x,y,z and searched a bunch of outbuildings".

I will read the next book in the series which I've also received free, since I liked Mollie, and I do think that there is potential for the series.

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Review: Starting Now

Starting Now Starting Now by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If you're in the mood for a completely predictable, even sappy book, than this is it. And I was in the mood for it. Definitely a quick read, and you just know exactly how it will all play out. Not the best in the Blossom St series, but a pleasant way to spend a chilly evening. Plus, it was the first PHYSICAL book I've read in ages . . .it used to be I read so few ebooks that I had a special shelf for them. I think I need to start a "real" book shelf category!

High-powered attorney Libby, expecting to be made partner, is instead laid off. She is forced to rediscover who she really is and what she really wants as she faces long-term unemployment. Knitting, babies, a pregnant teen, and a romantic interest work together to solve her problems.

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Review: Breaking Point

Breaking Point Breaking Point by C.J. Box
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There's more than one breaking point in this novel. Butch Roberson is pushed to the edge when the EPA suddenly starts fining him $70,000 per day until he restores the fully permitted construction site of his dream home to pristine condition. Two EPA agents are murdered, and Butch goes on the lam into the wilderness surrounding his home. Joe Pickett is drafted by his new Fish and Game director to provide the Feds with full cooperation when they take over the local investigation. His breaking point comes when he discovers the truth behind the EPA's actions. Even Marybeth reaches a breaking point when her dream of restoring an abandoned hotel is scuttled. It's a tense plot, and the questions it raises about the reaches and limits of government power make it all the more realistic. The basic novel premise is based on a real-life case too.

I really enjoyed this installment in the Joe Pickett series, and I'm eager to discover what's in store next for the Picketts.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Review: A Man of Some Repute

A Man of Some Repute A Man of Some Repute by Elizabeth Edmondson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's the Cold War era, and two important intelligence agents have just been unmasked as spies working for the Soviet Union. Hugo Hawksworth is sent to Selchester ostensibly to work as a statistician at The Hall. He is in reality part of English intelligence and has been charged with reviewing personnel files in an attempt to identify possible additional traitors. He and his teenaged sister Georgia are lodged at the Selchester Castle. Its owner, Lord Selchester mysteriously disappeared almost seven years previously, and the only family now living there is his niece Freya. When Selchester's skeleton is unearthed in an unused part of the castle, Freya and the now-deceased son of Selchester are the prime suspects. Hugo who also holds a brief to monitor the investigation into Selchester's murder is convinced that Freya and her cousin are innocent. As the truth is uncovered, long-held family secrets are revealed.

I enjoyed this first entree in this new-to-me series. I liked the characters, especially Hugo's sister Freya. I also like the way the plot was resolved, with just enough hints for continuation.

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