Sunday, January 15, 2012

Resolutions

Finally I came up with a resolution that shows a little common sense. For years (at least 12) I have belonged to Poisoned Pen Bookstore's First Mystery Club first means I buy 24 books each year that are, obviously, an author's first published mystery. This year I am going to read those books and decide if I am getting enough books that I like to make the club worthwhile. If I want to support the store I could buy 24 books each year that I really wanted to read and keep instead of getting 24 automatically that I may or may not read.

There are some books there that I like very much but there are too many, I think, that I was never tempted to open or read very far if I opened them. I know I haven't read half of the books but I'll try and see if I like what I have.

This year I read Alice LaPlante's Turn of Mind, which I thought was very good but at the same time very sad. I'm not even sure if I would classify it as a mystery, although there was crime. The main gist of the book was the protagonist sinking deeper and deeper into dementia and what is going on around her as this happens.

I also read Clean Cut by Theresa Monsour from 2003 that I liked. I'll see if I keep reading these books and my opinion of the ones I read. Maybe I should do it monthly to keep me going.

After the snow and freezing temperatures of last week, we have a virtual heat wave this week. Love it. Temps are in the high 30s again, the sun is shining, and the snow is melting.

My other reading resolutions are to keep up with Kerrie's All Over the World Challenge and read books I have had on my shelves for a long time. This month is M, N, O. I think I can combine that with the Poisoned Pen Challenge since they seem to overlap.

Now I'll go finish The Confession, Charles Todd's latest Ian Rutledge, which is excellent. I like the series and this one is exceptionally good, imo. Then I'll start my Buddy Read book by Henning Mankell, The Man Who Smiled, which is an M mystery that has been on my shelf for over a year.

With Downton Abbey on PBS tonight, I have a busy day but one I can certainly enjoy to the max.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Top Reads of 2011

I just looked back to last year's books and I read more books in 2010 than I did in 2011 but maybe that's because I started playing Bridge again and that's taking up a lot of time. First I joined a regular bridge club which led to a duplicate bridge group followed by subbing and then three marathon games. Hmm, went from none to almost too many. I'm still playing Mah Jongg once a week also but not very regularly: too many distractions for the group.

Back to books. I read 159 in 2010 and 147 in 2011, that's almost a whole month of reading. Did I lose a month this year? On the other hand, there were a lot of really good books that I read. Maybe it was quality over quantity. Why not?

My top reads were:
Watson, S J, Before I Go To Sleep
Adler-Olsen, Jussi, The Keeper of Lost Causes
Followed by
Nesbo, Jo, The Leopard
Meyer, Deon, Thirteen Hours
The next ones were all equal
Connelly, Michael, The Drop (He has always been one of my 10 favorite authors)
Crombie, Deborah, No Mark Upon Her (Another favorite author)
Penny, Louise, A Trick of the Light
Finally
Hurley, Graham, Borrowed Light
James, Peter, Dead Man's Grip
Kepler, Lars, The Hypnotist
There were several more that very easily could have been on that list like The Boy in the Suitcase or The Day is Dark or A Thousand Cuts.

Next I'm going to check for how well I did with my reading resolutions. More later.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year/New Resolutions

My new resolutions are to write more regularly, read more of the books that have been languishing on shelves for years and be more organized in what I do. Not to be pessimistic but these resolutions will probably go the way of most of my others which is nowhere.

It's only the 7th of January and I'm starting one of them: I'm here writing. The others are still waiting for their turn.

I have my top ten reads of the year so I have accomplished one bit of organization. I still have to sort by country and see if I met my goals from last year. That sounds like a job for tomorrow.


I loved these first two books and I still keep thinking about them.
Watson,  S J, Before I Go To Sleep
Adler-Olsen, Jussi, The Keeper of Lost Causes


These were my next two favorites and then the others are tops to make ten in no particular order.
Nesbo, Jo, The Leopard
Meyer, Deon, Thirteen Hours

Crombie, Debora, No Mark Upon Her
Connelly, Michael, The Drop
Kepler, Lars, The Hypnotist
Hurley, Graham, Borrowed Light
James, Peter,  Dead Man's Grip

I had a really good reading year with only a few clunkers. I read 146 books or at least I remembered to enter that many in my log. Sometimes I forget and then may or may not catch it.

So far this year I've read a so-so book by Peter Lovesey, Stagestruck, which wasn't up to par for him and now I'm reading Ian Rankin's The Impossible Dead which is much better. Even though it's not a Rebus, I'm enjoying the adventures of Fox and his crew from the Complaints. The mystery is intriguing and I have no clue who the present day killer is.

I think it's time to go find out a little more about what's going on in Scotland with crime so I'm off to my book

Friday, July 22, 2011

Where Have I Been?

It's hard to believe it has been so long since my last post. The longer I waited the harder it was to do it but here I am.

Yesterday I played duplicate bridge for the first time and, once I was over my initial nervousness, really enjoyed it. I had some good cards and played some hands well and as always messed up some. The things I messed up where bridge things nothing to do with duplicate. I liked comparing what we did with what the other group did. I came in next to the bottom but I learned a lot. I need to ask how my partner had more points than I did because I don't understand the scoring.

Today hasn't been as much fun as yesterday since I've spent most of the day in the car going back and forth to and from the swimming pool. Sang in the choir for a funeral which was nice; big family, big crowd. Bridge, Kelsey, Elyse and I had lunch but even that wasn't easy. I dropped them off so they could order while I made a trip to the pool with the boys but they didn't try to get served because there was a sign that said no unattended children. They waited for me to get back and we just went somewhere else. Wonder if they would have been served if they had explained that I was returning but I guess I'll never know the answer.

I just finished listening to the Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton and really enjoyed it; however, I'm not sure I would have liked it as much if I had been the reader. There was a lot of repetition about the locks and safes. I'm reading Gallows Bird by Camille Lackberg which is also very good. I still don't know where the title came from or what it means.

Time out to pick up the boys at swimming. Arrrgh. Got half way there and they had another ride. Okay. Back home for the rest of the day because it's too hot to go anywhere. I'm ready for rain or some cooling down. This is crazy!

Must be time to read my book.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

This and That

Goodness it's been almost a month since I've been here. I don't know what I've been doing but I sure have been busy doing something. I had my first Kings Daughter's Circle meeting and that took some getting ready for. For once everything was put away and the house was neat and clean. I bet my lost library book is somewhere in that "put away" place where it may never turn up again.

I'm getting ready for my trip to Santa Fe for Left Coast Crime which is just a week away. The best part will be sunshine every day; I can hardly wait. For early March it hasn't been so bad that I can't get out in the yard to clean up the flower beds but I miss the sun on gloomy days like today. Every day I have a tour: Taos, Bandolier Monument, Literary Walking tour and Chimayo wine tasting and lunch. There are some panels I want to see also but I don't know if any will fit in with my tours. I'm looking forward to seeing my friends again whom I haven't seen since my last con in October.

Then there's daylight savings time which is another story entirely. It seems too early in the month to be changing. It just started being light in the morning and now it's dark again.

Noteworthy this month was the World War I reenactment that Ty and I went to last Sunday. There were tents set up and a trench. One of the soldiers explained about the equipment that each soldier had. The gas masks didn't look very efficient but I guess they were better than nothing, maybe. The battle was especially fun with smoke from the guns and gas. The museum was surprisingly well done and very interesting.

Laura and the girls are going to Disney World this week so I won't have any driving duties except for whatever I do with Ty. I know I'm driving the carpool to school tomorrow and Ty to Best Buy Tuesday (after Mah Jong) but that's it so far. There's still kitty sitting duties but that just takes an hour or so each day. Maybe I'll take some time out for shopping.

Book news later, I have to go read The Leopard by Jo Nesbo. It's too big to carry around with me so I have to read it here. Better get busy. No editing done today

Friday, February 18, 2011

Blood From Stone by Frances Fyfield

I always forget how well Frances Fyfield writes the psychological thriller, my label for the book, until I read her next one and I'm surprised all over again. Nothing is ever as it appears and every outing is just as fresh and frightening as the one before.

In this book, Marianne Shearer, a successful but disliked defense lawyer, dresses up in a kaleidoscopic silk skirt and throws herself out of a sixth-floor hotel window. So the question becomes not who but why. Marianne leaves a wealth of clues but they are well hidden and spread among several people.

The characters have so much depth that you appreciate even the ones you don't care for like the Lover and Thomas. I found the last person she defended, Rick Boyd, so scary that I was hesitant to pick up the book because I was afraid to find out who he was going to torture or kill, only to find he wasn't the worse person involved. Hen(rietta), her parents, and Peter were at the other end of spectrum: ordinary but strong.

It's just a good read with strong characters and a lot of tension. I gave it a 4.5 out of 5.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bits and Bobs and A Small Death in the Great Glen

It's been so long since I last wrote that I hardly know where to start.  Guess writing about a book I just read is as good a place as any.

I finished A Small Death in the Great Glen, a first novel by A D Scott, set in the Scottish Highlands. For starters the name of the editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper is McAllister which was my grandmother's maiden name. I belong to the McAllister clan which is huge here in the US. That caught my attention right away. The characters and the setting  are very well done. The book is set in the 1950s, so there's not all the modern methods solving crime. It takes more leg work and digging into files. The plot involves a couple of "accidental" deaths and finally a strangling. The local cop is a bully who hates anyone who is a foreigner which leaves the detecting to the newspaper staff.  The ending is a little weak but for a first effort not bad. I really liked it.

Next up is the mess in my house which seems to be getting worse instead of better. So far the painter has done the Great Room, the kitchen and dining area as well as two closets and the halls. He has the stairwell and the pantry left to do this week. I'm not sure if he'll be back after he recovers from an operation or next week to do the bedrooms and the family room. I suppose I should ask him when he returns tomorrow. If he is coming next week, I'll have to quickly decide on some colors for the bedrooms because I want some variety in those room; however, I like my off-white which, I think, has a green tinge that we just used. Not sure anyone would agree with me on the green.

Most of the mess comes from the books that I pulled from the bookcases that I'm trying to organize into two groups of read and unread (these are just the shelves in one room). It takes a long time to dust, check and sort. Then there are the pictures to be rehung and everything to be washed before it's replaced. Darn, I can spend a lot of time doing this.

Can't let it interfere with my reading, working out, and social life so it may be slow going, and to add to those difficulties it's springlike and I want to be outside cleaning up the flower bed and yard. It may be going to rain tonight but at this point, it is a beautiful day. The sun is shining, the snow is melting, and it's warm enough not to need a jacket. Wow! How long can it last?

I got my granddaughter an upgrade on her phone yesterday and now she can't do her email and I have no internet. Guess we're headed back to the A T & T store to get them fixed. It was my upgrade that we used so the guy probably garbled something. Irritating to say the least!