Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Month in Review - November

The weather is colder (well maybe cooler is better for us in Virginia) and I am snuggling in to read.  There is nothing on television with the exception of the Dancing With the Stars Finals and an occasional football game.  We have spent our evenings heads in books.

My month was highly productive both in quantity and quality.  There were no "losers" and several "winners."  Without question my two favorites were by Truman Capote.  He has a gift for words and his memories are heart tugging.  I feel as if I know the people in his stories because they fit so perfectly with the people in To Kill a Mockingbird.  He is Dill, you know.

I would recommend any one of the titles below and I think December will be just as satisfying.

The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille  ****
Outlander by Diana Gabalon ***
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie ****
Armageddon File by Stephen Coonts ****
Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens *****
Red Bones by Ann Cleeves ****
Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell ****
Spartan Gold by Clive Cussler ***
Pacific Vortex by Clive Cussler ***
Iceberg by Clive Cussler ***
Memory Man by David Baldacci ****
The Last Mile by David Baldacci ****
The Fix by David Baldacci ****
The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote *****
A Christmas Journey by Anne Perry  ****
A Christmas Hope by Anne Perry ****
A Christmas Escape by Anne Perry ****
A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote *****
Obsidian Chamber by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child ****
Hardcore Twenty Four by Janet Evanovich ****
Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves ****
A Christmas Grace by Anne Perry ***

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

First Chapter, First Paragraph

"Fran sat with her eyes closed. The small plane dropped suddenly, seemed to fall from the sky, then levelled for a moment before tilting like a fairground ride. She opened her eyes to see a grey cliff ahead of them. It was close enough for her to make out the white streaks of bird muck and last season’s nests. Below, the sea was boiling. Spindrift and white froth caught by the gale-force winds spun over the surface of the water.
Why doesn’t the pilot do something? Why is Jimmy just sitting there, waiting for us all to die?"
                                                                                                 Blue Lightning, Ann Cleeves

Every Tuesday, Bibliophile by the Sea hosts this meme.

I shared the first paragraph from Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves.  Published in 2010, Blue Lightning is the fourth book in Cleeves' Shetland Island mystery series.  These books focus on Jimmy Perez policeman from Fair Isle in the Shetlands.  The stories are intense and like the islands they are often bleak and cold.  

There is also a television series currently on Amazon Prime that is based on these books.

Does this intro draw you in?  It is hard to "love" Jimmy, but he is relentless in pursuing the guilty.  

Monday, November 27, 2017

2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge

It is time for the 2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge.  I've listed the categories on the sidebar.  It's an impressive set of criteria.  Are you up for the dare?  I am going to give it my best shot.

There are 50 suggested topics and that can be pretty scary but as they have said over at PopSugar, the point is to read and broaden our horizons.  50 books includes the advanced section so if that is not doable go for the basic list of 40.

What comes after the reading?  Here is what they suggest at PopSugar.

"So you've decided to take the reading challenge — what now? We'd suggest joining this Goodreads group, which is made up of more than 8,000 readers who participate in the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge every year. In addition to keeping you accountable, the group's impressively well-read and supportive members swap book ideas for the prompts and discuss their favorite (and least favorite) reads throughout the year. You'll also be able to track which books you've read and rate them on the site."

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What better way to start a new week than a laugh out loud escapade with Stephanie Plum and her sidekick 'ho turned bounty hunter, Lulu.  

All the regulars are on hand:  Joe, the cop, Grandma Mazur and Stephanie's family, the bail bond staff, and Ranger.  In this installment Diesel returns to upset Stephanie's already shaky love life.

No doubt I will breeze through this but the tbr stack is toppling over.  Next up is Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves one of her Shetland series and several more Chistmas novellas by Anne Perry.

I'm ready to rock and roll.

This meme is hosted by Book Date.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Full House Challenge 2018

I do not need an excuse to read but it makes me feel much more productive if I can claim I am meeting a challenge.  With that said, I am signing up for The Full House Challenge hosted by Book Date.

Here is the description from the Book Date site:

  • Challenge will run from Jan 1st to December 31st 2018
  • Write and publish a post stating your intention to participate. In the post please include the Challenge graphic and a link back to this post. Then link your intention post at the bottom of this post.  Make sure it is the actual post and not just a generic link to your blog.  If you do not have a blog, leave a comment with stating your intention below and how you are going to track.
  • Add your reviews back here on the link in this post. At the end of every three months there will be two prizes of  U.S. $15 prize with a book of your choice from the Book Depository or U.S. Amazon voucher, for the entries. There will be a new linky then for the next quarter and so on to the end of December.
  • Reviews are not mandatory and if you prefer to keep a list of the books read and the category they cross off the card, then you can still enter for the completion of a Full House by linking to that list on the final linky or in a comment. The list could be kept on somewhere like Goodreads or in a Google doc.  If you are on Goodreads but don't have a blog you might like to link your reviews to the linky to be in to win the quarterly prizes.  Or any place where you do reviews on the web.
There is a list of categories as well as this Bingo-like card.  I am going to put the list on the sidebar and as I read a book, I will replace the descriptor with the title.  
Prizes are always nice but the challenge is my reward.  Who am I kidding?  I just want to be able to say "I must finish this one book for my challenge!"

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Anne Perry

Readers are frequently asked to name their favorite authors.  This question always causes me distress.  Asking me to name my favorite authors is akin to asking me to pick a favorite child.  One of the authors I continually turn to for challenge and entertainment is Anne Perry.  Perry is an English author who is primarily known for her two Victorian detective series, one featuring  Thomas and Charlotte Pitt and the other with William Monk and Hester Latterly; however, additionally, she has written an outstanding quartet centering on World War I and a collection of Christmas novellas.

The Christmas stories feature minor characters such as sisters, brothers, grandmothers or bosses from the two detective series.  While these stories contain some elements of mystery, their primary focus is to give a glimpse into these characters' personal  growth or turmoil and to provide more of their back story.

The first in this collection is A Christmas Journey.  This story features Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould an in-law of Charlotte Pitt's sister Emily.  Lady Vespasia is a woman who is still beautiful and influential despite her old age; however, In A Christmas Journey,  she appears as a young woman feeling unsettled with her life after an earlier involvement in an Italian revolutionary attempt.  In the story, a guest at a weekend Christmas house party commits suicide seemingly as a result of a vicious criticism.  The woman who issued the unkind comment is forced to carry the suicide note to the victim's mother and admit her part in the death.  Lady Vespasia volunteers to travel with the woman  hoping to regain some of her lost passions. The journey is full of discomfort and detours before the letter is delivered.

The mystery is secondary to the personal redemption of several of the characters and the spiritual revitalization of Lady Vespasia.  The strength of the novella lies in the development of Cumming-Gould's back story in the Pitt Series.  Reading this provides further dimension to the already well developed character.

Perry has released a Christmas novella every year since 2003.  A Christmas Return is the 2017title.  Although Christmas is not the primary focus of these books, they are a well spent seasonal evening's entertainment.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Let The Holidays Begin

Yesterday with Thanksgiving, the Holiday season began.  In the spirit of the day, I spent time reflecting on the things for which I am thankful.  I have a wonderful husband, a loving family, and without a doubt the very best friends.

I would be disingenuous if I let readers believe I sat in quiet contemplation all day.  No, I ate, read and screamed...(at football).  All this comprised my Thanksgiving traditions and for this too I am thankful.

"Madison Avenue" executives would have us believe today is black Friday; but, not for me.  I stay in.  I continue my own personal read-a-thon and football marathon and I begin the decorating frenzy. My reading consists of Christmas stories.  December is devoted to stories of the season from Thanksgiving Friday until New Year's Day.  I begin listening to holiday music as well.  In that vein, yesterday I read The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote and I began reading A Christmas Journey by Anne Perry.

Now, today, it all begins.  I have a list of books to fill the season, the remote control to switch from game to game, and boxes of decorations close at hand.

To name only three things for which I am thankful seems so limited despite the fact that two are broad categories.  I am thankful for so much more.  In addition to family and friends, I have my faith, my freedom, and the ability to enjoy all.

.....Let the Fun Begin

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Classics Club

I recently discovered "The Classics Club" calling itself "A Community of Classics Lovers" which would include me!  The goal of this group is for each person to make a list of classics to read and set a date to complete the reading.  Sounds simple.

Here are the simple instructions from their site:
  • choose 50+ classics
  • – list them at your blog
  • – choose a reading completion goal date up to five years in the future and note that date on your classics list of 50+ titles
  • – e-mail the moderators of this blog ( with your list link and information and it will be posted on the Members Page!
  • – write about each title on your list as you finish reading it, and link it to your main list
  • – when you’ve written about every single title, let us know!'''
I am starting my list today and will post it here on my blog.  My goal is to read the 50 chosen books and post a discussion on each by December 31, 2022.  

I already see what my problem will be -  selecting only 50.  

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Life Goes On

-  or does it?  I have not been writing for several moths.  It seems as though I have been busy, but not really.  I have been existing.  Life is uncomfortable tor me.  I am happy but not.  I need a change and I know one is coming, but can I wait.

We moved to Chesapeake, Virginia in September of 2015 to be near family.  After two years it is apparent that our move does not make a world of difference to the Navy so family is gone and we are stuck  -  alone.  I feel like I am in prison.  We have no friends here; we didn't bother.  We had family.  Now we have no one

Gloomy?  Sounds like it, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  When our lease is up in March of 2018 we will return to Delaware, our home.  This is where all our friends are.  This is where we have family rooted at the beach.  This the where friends from our careers can come to visit.  This is where we belong.  I can't wait.

I am not going to stop living while I wait.  I have let too much time slip by already.  To be clear, Jim and I have fun.  We travel.  We read.  We binge watch TV.  We laugh and we are enjoying our year old German Shepherd, Maggie.  But come spring we are packing up and heading home.

In the meantime, I am here.  I am going to get back to what makes me feel like I have accomplished something - a way to prove that I am living not simply existing.

Join me on this journey from nothing to oh so much something.