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July Photo a Day

>> Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tomorrow is July 1st. It's time for another new month of Photo-A-Day prompts. If you haven't joined in yet, or haven't been keeping up with the daily photo posting it's a great chance to start new or fresh. If you haven't joined yet, give it a try for a month.

Click on the image to see larger and save to your computer
It's time for my monthly reminder and review post about Photo a Day. There are two parts to this monthly post. One is to recruit more of my friends to participate and the other is to share my favorites of my photos from the previous month. The Photo a Day Challenge is hosted by Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim. I've been doing this daily photo thing since the middle of March of 2012. It's fun having more of my online and in person friends join in. I love seeing everyone's photos and how creative folks can be with the daily prompts.

It's not hard and you can participate in so many ways. The flexibility is what makes this easy and fun. Now that I've done this for over a year it's turned out to be a bit of photo journal and scrolling through my photos is a fun reminder of something that happened or caught my eye at some point each day.

Every month Chantelle posts a list of subjects or prompts for each day of the month. Chantelle's post about the July list includes some extra explanation and ideas just in case any of the prompts have you stumped.

Here is the short version of Chantelle's instructions:

How to play!

Playing along with photo a day is super easy:
♥ heck out the June photo a day list.
♥ Each day look at the daily prompt and take a photo according to whatever the prompt is. For example for day 1 the prompt is ‘B is for..’ so share anything you see that starts with the letter B. It’s a great opportunity to get creative. Be inspired by a little creativity and see what you come up with.
♥ Once you've taken the photo it’s time to share it. There are loads of places you can share it. See below for more details.
♥ Check out other people’s photos. You can browse through them on my Facebook page, in the FMS Photo A Day Facebook group. Or on Instagram or Twitter just search for the #FMSphotoaday hashtag to see them all.

Where to play?

There are loads of places to be social and share your photos with the #FMSphotoaday community:

♥ Instagram: Just upload your photo, use a fancy filter, add a caption and the hashtag #FMSphotoaday and then share.
♥ Facebook: There are a few options here. You can simply share on your own personal page, among your own friends. Or you can upload to my page’s wall, or I’ve created a Facebook group for 2013. You can join it here:
♥ Blog: If you have a blog, you could share each day or do a wrap up of all the photos at the end of the month.
♥ Tumblr: Add your daily photos to your Tumblr feed.
♥ Flickr: You can get their app {for free if I remember correctly} and share your photos there, or upload on their web version. We also have a photo a day group here.
♥ Twitter: You can share on Twitter by uploading the photo and sharing the hashtag #FMSphotoaday. Easy.

I try to keep this easy and just use my phone for taking the photos. Between Instagram and a few other photo applications I have plenty of options for editing photos on my phone. It's been a lot of fun for me to see what I can do using just my phone and apps.

If you’d like to check out my previous photos they’re on my Tumblr blog at at Whimpulsiveness

I love using ShutterCal too. It gives me several ways to review my daily photos. Montly collages or scrolling through them all. It's a bit of a visual journal. You can see all of my Photo A Day photos in a calendar format. I think this is my favorite way to scan through my past photos. If you decide to use Shuttercal, be sure to let me know or link up with me there.

The most important thing to remember about this is don't work to hard and make this diffucult by overthinking it. For me, using only photos from my phone makes it low pressure so I don't feel like I have to have a perfect shot. That helps me to just relax and have fun with it. Even with the photo prompts that are repeated it's fun to try to come up with something different. Sometimes a prompt that was used a couple of months ago can spark a totally different meaning depending on my mood or circumstances that day.

If you've been participating I hope you'll continue or give it another try if you've gotten out of the habit. Please let me know where you are sharing your photos so that I can find them.

I had fun with the June prompts and loved that the 'family' prompt landed on a weekend that I was spending with my cousins. I managedto pick six to feature today. If you want to see the whole month check the month view on Shuttercal.

a moment
June 2nd - a moment
after dark
June 4th - after dark
June 10th - you
June 16th - family
negative space
June 24th - negative space
June 28th - red

Just a reminder - click on any of the photos to see a larger version


Weekend Updarte June 29, 2013

>> Saturday, June 29, 2013

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I finished reading Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft. This was an impressive debut (review coming next week) and I enjoyed it a lot. It’s about a Boston private investigator who does most of her work for her family’s law firm and it was both suspenseful and a lot of fun.

Since finishing Loyalty I’ve been focusing my reading on catching up with where I need to be in Under the Dome by Stephen King for the readalong. I’m recording the TV series. I know the TV show is not the same as the book. In fact there’s a great letter on Stephen King’s website that clearly shows his support for a TV show that took the ideas of his book and made a different version of it for a different media. This actually makes me look forward to watching the show after I finish the book.

As for graphic novels, I read the second volume of Saga by Brian K. Vaughan (who also worked on the Under the Dome TV series). I totally loved the first volume of Saga and the second doesn’t disappoint one bit. I’m going to try to get The Hubster to read this series. He’s been enjoying reading the Fables series along with me so I think he’ll like this graphic series too.

On audio I finished listening to Death of a Cad by M.C. Beaton. It’s the second in the Constable Hamish Macbeth series. It takes place in the Scottish Highlands. It was fun and I liked the second book quite a bit.

My new audiobook is Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell. It’s narrated by Xe Sands. This is the first in a cozy/paranormal mystery series in which the main character is a witch who runs a vintage clothing shop in San Francisco.

Other than books and reading:
After some cool and wet weather we’ve got summer with a vengeance for the next several days.

Today we’re headed to North Portland for the North American Organic Brewers Festival.

We first went to this brew festival a couple of years ago. We liked it so much we went back last year with some friends. We’ve been looking forward to this year’s event ever since.

It’s going to be warm there today but it’ll be fun.

Browsing my phone photos from this week:

I just love this picture I got of Abby this week. It still makes me laugh every time I look at it.


  This bird sat on the gutter the whole time I was on the treadmill one afternoon. It drove Abby nuts. I laughed.
bird taunting Abby

Finally, a couple from one of my walks this week.
cool clouds

unknown red flower
Hope you’re having a great weekend!


The Unwritten .Vol. 7: The Wound by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

>> Friday, June 28, 2013

The Unwritten .Vol. 7: The Wound by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

The Unwritten .Vol. 7: The Wound by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

Genre: Fantasy (Graphic Novel)
Series: #7 in the Unwritten series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 144
Source: Library

The Short Version:
A new story arc in this series takes Tom’s story in a new direction and introduces some interesting new characters, some good, some rather evil.

Why I Read It:
have become addicted to this series and was on the waiting list for this one at the library before it was even released. I will be doing the same thing with the next one. In the meantime I’ll be reading Fables like mad because a Fables – Unwritten crossover is in the works.

The Book:
This volume 7 is a compilation of issues 36 - 41 of the comic series plus several bonus half issues.

From the back of the book:

A year after unbearable tragedy and loss, Tom Taylor is finally pulling himself back together. However, disconnected from the power of Leviathan, and the manipulations of the Cabal, the real world and the fictional world are facing a hurricane of chaos. And the damage seems to be spreading. That's precisely when a rash of mysterious disappearances catches the eye of young Aussie detective Didge Patterson. Didge's investigation suggests that the cult known as The Church of Tommy is involved. But when a gaggle of ghosts, a familiar vampire and an annoying unicorn are added to the mix, Tom Taylor finds an even bigger crisis unfolding before his eyes. Can Tom and Didge discover the secrets behind the cult's mysterious facade and heal "The Wound" before the real and fictional world crumble?

My Thoughts:
This is such an interesting series, particularly for a booklover because the literary references are so important. In this volume, however it shifts a bit an takes Tommy’s story in a new direction. The theme of the importance of stories hasn’t changed though. The introduction of some new villains and some new good guys was fun. Didge the Australian detective is smart and I like her. Also a unicorn with some sass and attitude. Yeah I know that sounds crazy but believe me in the context of this series it works.

I liked that the last episode featured Richie Savoy. He’s been through a lot for and with Tommy and his story is an important one so I’m glad he was featured in the final episode.

The previous volume seemed to tie up a lot of ongoing storylines so I knew this one would be the kickoff of a new major story arc. It worked well and I’m still as hooked as I’ve been since volume one. I will be re-reading this before I have to return it to the library.

The artwork is interesting and well done and continues to be a strong part of the story.

I cannot wait for the next volume to see where this will go next.

I highly recommend this series. If’s a great graphic novel series that everyone, but particularly booklovers can enjoy.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5


Touring my TBR Spreadsheet and Shelves – Some Favorite Non-Fiction

>> Thursday, June 27, 2013

Touring my TBR Spreadsheet and Shelves

This month I’m talking about some of my favorite non-fiction that I’ve read in recent years. I’m skipping the biographies and memoirs because that’s a topic for another month.

Last summer I had to seriously weed out the bookshelves in preparation for recarpeting the house. These are some of the non-fiction titles that survived the “Great Bookshelf Purge of 2012” for one reason or another. I may never re-read them but they’re books I couldn’t get rid of. Some I kept because I enjoyed them so much. Others I may not have loved at the time but I still think about them and routinely recommend them.
The Great Bridge by David McCullough The Great Bridge by David McCullough: It's about the design and building of the Brooklyn Bridge. An incredible engineering feat that took years and ultimately the life of it's designer. I was fascinated by the information about how the bases of the towers were dug into the riverbed. I had no idea that Decompression Sickness got it's common name "The Bends" during this project. John Roebling and his family lived the building of the bridge with his son and daughter in law taking the lead on the project after his death. It's a huge epic about the bridge, the Roebling family and the time of the late 1800's. It's a bit dry in parts but still fascinating.
Lincoln's Greatest Speech by Ronald C. White Lincoln's Greatest Speech by Ronald C. White: Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address was only 703 words long but the 210 pages of this book about it are fascinating. It's one that I still think about even though I read it nearly six years ago. I do want to read it again. It's a wonderful book about the precision of language and oratory and how Lincoln carefully put together a speech that laid the groundwork for putting the country back together.
Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson:I'll admit that I waited until my brother was no longer in the submarine service until I read this story of the discovery and exploration of a World War II sunken German U-boat. The drama of the deep wreck divers who found and explored the submarine is only part of the story. The other part is about their efforts to identify the submarine, which took 6 years worth of research and diving and cost the lives of 3 men.
The Devil in White City by Erik Larson The Devil in White City by Erik Larson: This is part true crime story and history. The parallel stories of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and of a serial killer at the same time and place made it seem almost like reading two books at the same time. Just about the time I was getting ready for a break in the story of building and operating the fair, the story would shift to the story of H. H. Holmes and his macabre killing spree.
Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Road Trip into the Heart of Fan Mania by Warren St. John Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Road Trip into the Heart of Fan Mania by Warren St. John:It's no secret that I love college football and that we've had season tickets to University of Oregon football for many years. I've been going to games since 1991.

Warren St. John, a reporter for the New York Times, took a leave of absence to spend a football season with the RVers who travel to the Alabama football games. A devoted Alabama fan himself, St. John wrote this book about his experience. This is part travel memoir, part cultural anthropology about sports fans, and mostly just a whole lot of fun.
What about you? What are some of the best non-fiction titles you’ve read in the past few years?


Wordless Wednesday #193

>> Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Freshly Watered Rose
Edenvale Winery in Medford, Oregon

Freshly watered rose
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By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder

>> Tuesday, June 25, 2013

By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder

By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Series: #5 in the Little House series
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: originally 1939, this edition 1971
Pages: 290
Source: library

The Short Version:
The Ingalls family moves yet again to South Dakota and become among the first to settle near what will become the town of DeSmet.

Why I Read It:
I started my re-read of this series thanks to a Read-along that seems to have fizzled out but I can’t leave it unfinished at this point.

The Book:
The Ingalls family follows Pa’s job with the railroad to South Dakota. Elder sister Mary is now blind and Laura has been tasked by Pa to ‘be Mary’s eyes’ which gives Laura the voice of describing much of the scenery and action in this book.

Long lost relatives from the Big Wood reappear and help Pa secure a job with the railroad as a bookkeeper. When the railroad construction shuts down for the winter the family is offered the opportunity to use the surveyor’s house for the winter.

In the spring Pa makes the trip to file for their homestead claim. He builds a storefront building in the new town of DeSmet which the family stays in until they can begin building a home on their homestead.

Almanzo Wilder and his brother finally cross paths with the Ingalls family.

My Thoughts:
I am not going to worry about spoilers with this series.

As I’ve done with previous books in the series I’m just going to post a few random thoughts that ran through my head as I read this.

I am continually surprised at what things from the books have stuck with me over the years. As soon as I saw the drawing of Laura and the older girl at the railroad camp I remembered that her name was Lena. Why that character’s name stuck in my head from so many years ago I have no idea. Maybe it was because she was fun and interesting character.

No prairie fires this time but lots of potentially scary encounters with some scary folks.

Even though I remembered Lena I had totally forgotten about Mr. and Mrs. Boast. I really liked them.

Almanzo and his brother truly drive by the Ingalls family in this one and for some reason it made me laugh.

Pa didn’t annoy me as much this time around but perhaps that’s because they’re finally settling some place they’ll be for a while.

I’m still enjoying re-reading these. It’s a mix of bringing back happy memories of reading them as a child and seeing them from a much different perspective many years later.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

Click on the photo for a link to the details


Weekend Update June 23, 2013

>> Sunday, June 23, 2013

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I started reading Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft. This is so good! I hope to finish it today. It’s about a female private investigator from Boston. Most of her work is for her family’s legal firm but this time around the case is not about one of their clients it’s about her own family. Fina Ludlow is one of the best new characters I’ve met recently. I think the author’s dedication to creating believable stories and characters is clear from her biography from her website

INGRID THOFT was born in Boston and is a graduate of Wellesley College. Her interest in the PI life and her desire to create a believable PI character led her to the certificate program in private investigation at the University of Washington. She lives in Seattle with her husband. Loyalty is her first novel.
I haven’t read much in Under the Dome by Stephen King this week. After I finish Loyalty I’ll get back to it and try to catch up to where I should be to keep up with the Readalong. I’ve set the DVR to record the TV series which starts tomorrow. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Brian K. Vaughan who writes two of my favorite Graphic Novel series (Y: The Last Man and Saga) was involved in the development of this for TV.

Speaking of graphic novels and Saga in particular, I’m reading the second volume of that series and it’s just as wonderful as the first. I managed to get an electronic edition and I must say that I like reading graphic novels on my ipad. I can zoom in and move around to look at the detail of the illustrations and in the case of Saga that’s nice. The artwork in that series is just excellent..

On audio I’m listening to Death of a Cad by M.C. Beaton. This is the second it the Constable Hamish Macbeth series set in a small town in the Scottish Highlands. It’s been fun. I’m enjoying the second one better than the first.

Other than books and reading:
We were in South Lake Tahoe last weekend. It was a get together of all seven cousins on my Mom’s side of the family. It’s been many many years since we were all together and we had a great weekend.

The scenery was simply beautiful and The Hubster and I are already making plans for a return trip to that area. One of the highlights was the gondola ride up Heavenly Mountain. It was a gorgeous clear day and the view was simply stunning.

This is a minute and a half of the ride down the mountain

A couple of other photos from the weekend:

The view from the downstairs deck at the house we rented

South Lake Tahoe

From the observation deck partway up the gondola ride
Observation Deck Heavenly Gondola South Lake Tahoe

Hope you’re having a great weekend!


Audiobook – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

>> Friday, June 21, 2013

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2006 Harper Collins (Book originally published 1960)
Length: 12 hours, 21 minutes
Read by: Sissy Spacek
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Scout Finch is perfectly brought to life in this audio version narrated by Sissy Spacek.

Why I Read It:
When I first heard that Sissy Spacek was doing the 50th anniversary audio version of To Kill a Mockingbird I wanted to listen to it but I wanted to listen to it together with The Hubster. We had two road trips on back to back weekends so the timing finally worked out.

The Book:
From Powell's
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior-to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 15 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

My Thoughts:
I don’t care how many times you’ve read this book. I don’t even care if you’ve listened to a different audio version. If you haven’t listened to Sissy Spacek read this book you have seriously missed out on an amazing experience.

I already loved the book and I’m not going to spend time here trying to convince you that this is a book you should read. It’s been well established as excellence in literature. I loved it when I read it in high school and I loved it even more when I read it as an adult. I have an unabashed literary crush on Atticus Finch.

This audio edition is the absolute perfect match of book and narrator. She brilliantly captures all of the characters and all of the emotions of this book. Her voice is almost exactly how I ‘heard’ Scout in my head when I read the print editions.

I have a friend who is a native of Alabama and I loved what she had to say about this audio edition so I got her permission to quote her in this review.
When we listened to that audiobook, I was so delighted to hear Spacek employ the many subtle shifts in the southern accent that speak of class, culture, education -- it’s something that actors who aren't from here never seem to get right. It was a perfect marriage of reader and book.
To have someone born and raised in Alabama feel that way about a Texan narrating this book tells you something about how good it is.

Do not miss this.

5 stars Rating 5/5 for the book

5 stars Rating 5/5 for the narration

SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.


Wordless Wednesday #192

>> Wednesday, June 19, 2013

At Edenvale Winery
Medford, Oregon

At Edenvale Winery
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Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Short Stories by Truman Capote

>> Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Short Stories by Truman Capote

Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Short Stories by Truman Capote

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: The Modern Library
Publication Date: This edition 1994 (originally published 1958)
Pages: 161
Source: Library

The Short Version:
The novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s and three short stories are combined in this volume and showcase some of the variety of Capote’s work

Why I Read It:
When I read Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society the first book for the book group was Breakfast at Tiffany’s which reminded me that I had never seen the movie nor read the book.

The Book:
In Breakfast at Tiffany’s the narrator looks back and tells of meeting and getting to know his neighbor in a New York Brownstone in the mid 1940’s. Holly Golightly is young, carefree and attractive. She doesn’t have a job and seems to live off the wealthy men she meets. He gradually gets to know her and at the same time realize just how much he doesn’t know her,

House of Flowers takes place in Haiti and tells the story of a prostitute named Ottilie who falls in love and turns down a wealthy client to run away and marry her local boy. Her life with him is complicated by his grandmother who lives with them and hates Ottilie.

A Diamond Guitar takes place in a prison. An older man serving a life sentence befriends a new inmate. Their relationship is tested when the younger man proposes an escape plan.

A Christmas Memory is a look back at the last Christmas that a young boy and an elderly woman who is a distant relative. They make fruitcakes to send to people and give each other Christmas gifts. The memory is one that remains a significant one for the young boy for all of his life.

My Thoughts:
I have never seen the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The only thing I know about it is photos of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. I found that as I read this I both pictured Audrey Hepburn as Holly and had a hard time picturing Holly as Audrey Hepburn.

Holly is part naïve sex kitten and part conniving liar. I really didn’t like her much at all. While I appreciated Capote’s excellent writing I had a hard time with the novella because I didn’t like the character who was the focal point of the story. Nevertheless I liked the way that the story told how this girl deeply affected the people who lived on the periphery of her existence and social gallivanting.

The short stories were varied. I didn’t like House of Flowers all that much. I thought The Diamond Guitar was quite good. A Christmas Memory was actually quite touching.

It was nice to read more of Capote’s work but I need to re-read In Cold Blood to decide which style of Capote’s writing that I like best.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5


Weekend Update June 16, 2013

>> Sunday, June 16, 2013

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I’m still reading Under the Dome by Stephen King. I’m close to being where I need to be to keep up with the Readalong. I’m enjoying this one. The cast of usual suspects is there for King and in some ways the characters have me trying to match them up with characters from The Stand and a few other King stories. It’s been fun to return to reading King after a long break.

I did finish By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder for the Little House Readalong. I’m not sure the readalong is still a thing but I’m continuing with the series. I checked out The Long Winter from the library and it’ll be my next treadmill book.

I haven’t picked up a new graphic novel yet. I’ve got several out from the library and need to get to them before they’re due.

On audio I finished listening to Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson. It’s the third in the Walt Longmire series and I really enjoyed it. We’ve started watching the first season of the TV series based on these books. We’re only two episodes in but it’s very good and well done. It’s true to the characters in the book without being a direct rehash of the books.

Last week The Hubster and listened to most of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. We’ll be finishing that up this on this weekend’s driving time. It’s read by Sissy Spacek and they could not have found a better narrator for this book. She is absolutely perfect as the voice of Scout. This is the second time I’ve re-experienced this book since high school and I’m once again amazed at how good it is.

Other than books and reading:
We’re off on another weekend getaway. All seven cousins on my Mom’s side of the family are getting together for the first time in many many years. We’re in South Lake Tahoe for the weekend and I’ll hopefully have photos to share next weekend.

In the meantime here are a few photos from this past week.

I really enjoy my morning walks on the Bear Creek Trail when we're in Southern Oregon

Bear Creek Greenway

I've always had a thing for noticing interesting shadows created by nature.

Shadows on the Bear Creek Trail

And then when I got home I had my "office assistant" who loves the printer. As soon as she hears the first click she comes running from wherever she is in the house.
Abby and the printer

Hope you’re having a great weekend!


Audiobook – Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson

>> Friday, June 14, 2013

Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson

Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson

Genre: Mystery
Series: #3 in the Walt Longmire series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2007 Recorded Books (Book originally published 2007)
Length: 8 hours, 42 minutes
Read by: George Guidall
Source: Library

The Short Version:
The Sheriff Walt Longmire series shifts location from Wyoming to downtown Philadelphia when Walt and his friend Henry take a trip that does not go as planned.

Why I Read It:
It’s all because of Jen at Jen’s Book Thoughts that I even started this series and she certainly didn’t steer me wrong. Because of her I went with the audio format over the print and that has been an excellent decision and why I’ll continue with audio.

The Book:
Sheriff Walt Longmire and his friend Henry Standing Bear head out on a road trip to Philadelphia. Henry is involved with an exhibit of Native American photographs for the Philadelphia Art Museum. Walt is tagging along so that he can visit his daughter Cady.

When Cady ends up in the hospital in serious condition, Walt is soon involved in the investigation and hunt for her assailant.

From the author’s website:
With Henry, Deputy Victoria Moretti, the entire Moretti clan of Philadelphia police officers, and Dog as backup, Sheriff Longmire intends to introduce a little western justice from his saddlebag of tricks to the City of Brotherly Love, where no act of kindness goes unpunished.

My Thoughts:
The location of Absaroka County Wyoming is a key part of the Walt Longmire series. Taking a series in which place is so crucial out of it is a risky thing. Craig Johnson makes it work.

The fact that Philadelphia was already an important location to more than one character helps. Longmire’s daughter lives and works there and Deputy Vic Moretti is from there and her family still live there. What seems a bit out of place in this one is the element of the trip is Henry’s and his exhibit at the Art Museum in Philadelphia was the element that felt like a stretch to me. The rest worked just fine, although I will be glad to see Walt and the rest of the characters back in Wyoming.

The mystery of why Cady was hurt and who is responsible is a good one. I liked how the investigation involved some of the Moretti family yet they were not the primary investigators. Walt working with the Philly cops reminded me a bit of the old TV series McCloud with Dennis Weaver playing a New Mexico Marshall in New York. The difference in this book was that for Walt Longmire this was personal.

I enjoyed how the change of venue for the series allowed for the introduction and addition to the backstory of Vic’s family and her relationships with them.

The story moves along quickly with a mix of police investigation, a father’s fear for his daughter, a little romance, a lot of action and occasional bits of humor to break the tension.

I like Walt and I love the way George Guidall tells the story from his viewpoint. His delivery fits Walt’s character and his voice characterizations for the other characters work well.

I highly recommend this series and definitely recommend the audio format. We have just started watching the first season of the TV series Longmire and so far I like it a lot. It’s a well done compliment to the books. The stories have some similarities but they definitely veer off from the books and become complimentary rather than annoying because of the differences. It’s easy to enjoy both the books and the TV series.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the narration

SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.


Wordless Wednesday #191

>> Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Morning at Bear Creek
Medford, Oregon

Morning at Bear Creek
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Fables Vol 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham et al.

>> Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fables Vol 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham et al.

Fables Vol 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham et al.

Genre: Fantasy (Graphic Novel)
Series: #4 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 240
Source: Library

The Short Version:
The Fairytale characters in exile find themselves under attack and battling for their survival.

Why I Read It:
This series just gets better and better with every volume and now that The Hubster is recovered from his eye surgery he’s back to reading it along with me.

The Book:
This volume 3 is a compilation of issues 19-24 and 27-31 plus the one shot The Last Castle of the comic series.

From the back of the book:

To The Barricades! For centuries the Fables have watched the gateways between our mundane world and their lost magical homelands, ever on guard for signs of invasion. Now, after decades of quiet, it seems that someone has finally escaped the Adversary's oppression and made it to sanctuary. But appearances, as always, can be deceiving, and there's plenty about this refugee's story that smells wrong to the right noses. In fact, things are even worse than they suspect - plans are already under way for the complete destruction of Fabletown, and every one of its citizens is about to get a refresher course in the unforgiving lessons of war.

My Thoughts:
I am so glad that The Hubster is recovered from his eye surgery and can read graphic novels again. I try to get this series from the library when he can read it shortly after I do before I have to return them. It’s been a few months and I’m glad to be back to this series.

This volume opens with a one shot section that actually gives some good background. Since most of the story so far has taken place after the Fables have been exiled from the Homelands it was good to hear Little Boy Blue’s story of the last days of the battle against the Adversary and how the last Fables to get out got away.

The rest of this volume is a multipart story that begins with the first new arrival in Fabletown in centuries. Naturally Bigby Wolf is suspicious but he seems to be the only one. When some creepy guys show up in town who look a little like Pinocchio meets Men in Black you just know it can’t be good. It sets up for a battle for Fabletown. It’s exciting and scary and sad. When it’s over it’s not over. The instigator is still around and has met her match from an unexpected place.

Along the way there is plenty of other story. Prince Charming continues to be a source of amusement for me. He’s got plans and he’s always scheming but somehow he still makes me laugh.

Bigby Wolf is still my favorite character. His relationship with Snow White is at a crucial point at the end of this one. I clearly need to get to the next volume soon.

I absolutely recommend this series but please start at the beginning with Fables: Legends in Exile. The stories are interesting, the artwork is wonderful and the familiar characters are cleverly re-imagined yet recognizable.

This is my favorite so far but I know I have many more volumes to read and that make me very very happy. I love this series and I’m glad to have much more to look forward to.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5


Weekend Update June 8, 2013

>> Sunday, June 9, 2013

Weekend Update

Since my last update:

I finished Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. The edition I had also included three of his short stories. I enjoyed all of them. He really was an amazing writer. The only thing of his I’d read before was In Cold Blood so it was good to read some of his work that was so completely different from that.

I haven’t started anything new in print though. I've been continuing with Under the Dome by Stephen King. I need to keep up with that one in order to not lag too far behind the readalong. I’m really enjoying this one. I devoured everything King wrote in the 70’s and 80’s but sort of fell out of the Stephen King habit around the time of Rose Madder. It’s been good to return to the kind of Stephen King book I really enjoy with this one,.

I've also been reading By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder for the Little House Readalong. I’m still behind schedule in this readalong but I think that maybe the readalong has kind of lost its legs at this point. Nevertheless I plan to finish my re-read of the series. I can’t leave it unfinished at this point and I’m having a good time both enjoying the books and thinking snide thoughts as I read them.

My graphic novel reading this week was The Unwritten Vol. 7, The Wound. I wasn't sure where this series was going after the last one but this newest release has me eagerly awaiting volume 8.

I've got a couple of graphic novels out from the library right now so my next one will either be the fourth in the Y: The Last Man series or Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon which comes highly recommended by a friend.

On audio I’m making good progress in the third book in the Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson. It’s Kindness Goes Unpunished and it’s read by George Guidall. This one takes Walt out of his normal element to Philadelphia. I’m enjoying it so far. It’s been interesting to have Walt out of his normal environment and there are some very interesting developments in the ongoing storylines for this series in this one.

For our road trip audiobook this weekend The Hubster and I are listening to To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It’s read by Sissy Spacek and they could not have found a better narrator for this book. She is absolutely perfect as the voice of Scout. We won’t finish it before we get home tonight but we've got another trip with some driving time next week and we’ll probably finish it then.

I do think it’s interesting that I started my week with Truman Capote and I’m finishing it with Harper Lee.

Other than books and reading:

It’s Rose Festival time in Portland and Pioneer Square has been decorated with this year’s logo in flowers. I can’t get high enough to get the best shot of his but it still looks pretty good. I like that they set out tables and chairs for folks to use. This was early morning but they've been well used in the afternoons.

Pioneer Square Rose Festival Display

Note: As always - click on photos for a larger version

We’re down in Southern Oregon this weekend. It’s one of our routine trips to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival with a couple stops at some favorite wineries added to the mix.

Friday night we saw Cymbeline in the outdoor Elizabethan theater. It was fun but a little odd all a the same time. It just opened this week and I’ll be curious to read the reviews. I predict that they’ll be very mixed. That would fit with the play though because it’s a mix of tragedy, romance and comedy.

The Elizabethan theater is an outdoor theater and this time of year it’s fun when the weather is as nice as we had this weekend. The play starts in daylight and when it ends the stars are out and the big dipper is straight overhead.

OSF Elizabethan Stage for Cymbeline

Saturday night we saw A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. I have never seen this play and I've also never seen the movie. This one was in one of the indoor theaters but we hadn't been able to work it in to our spring visit so we added it to this trip.

We stopped at Edenvale Winery on Friday and Saturday’s visit was at Trium Wines. Both are favorites of ours that we try to visit at least once a year while we’re down here.

Edenvale Winery

Edenvale was exceptionally pretty because it was a beautiful day and all of their roses are in bloom right now.

This is from inside the tasting room at Trium.
Trium Wines Tasting Room

This is from the deck where we relaxed with a glass of wine and read our books for a while. Just a great way to spend part of a weekend afternoon.

Trium Wines Deck

Hope you’re having a great weekend!


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