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Wordless Wednesday #198

>> Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hiking in the clouds

Hiking in the clouds
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Bout of Books Read-a-thon . . . I'm in!

>> Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Bout of Books is scheduled for August 19 - 25, 2013 and I'm planning to join in.


I've never participated in the Dewey's Read-a-thon or various other Read-a-thons because they always seem to be scheduled on weekend or holidays or other time when I'm busy doing other things like spending time with The Hubster.

This recurring event caught my eye back in May when Bryan at Still Unfinished participated onofficially. I was intrigued and checked it out.
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 8.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
I like that it's not asking for a commitment to completely put my life on hold to read. It's more flexible and about reading more than I normally do for a week. I can do that. I'm looking forward to it. The timing for the August Bout of Books works out well for me because it's a week I don't have a lot on the calendar and The Hubster will be running the Hood to Coast Relay and it's my annual weekend to myself.

I haven't set any specific goals for the Bout of Books yet but I think I'll plan on replacing some of my typical Twitter, Facebook and other online time sucks with reading.

There's plenty of time to check out the details and join in if you want.

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Weekend Update July 28, 2013

>> Sunday, July 28, 2013

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I read Death of the Demon by Anne Holt. This is the third book in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series which features a female detective in Oslo. I liked this entry in the series a lot.

I also finished the graphic novel Stumptown by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth. I enjoyed the detective story set in a slightly fictionalized Portland. I also really enjoyed the series of essays included in each issue in the compilation that Rucka wrote about the Private Investigator genre.

Continuing with Graphic novels I’m about halfway through The Drops of God, volume 2. It took me a bit to get back into the right to left reading format because it’s a Japanse Manga series. After a few pages it gets easier This series is about wine tasting and pairing wine with food. It’s a fun story about a competition between young rivals but it’s also quite informative about wine.

As for audio I’m still listening to Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson and narrated by George Guidall. It’s the fourth book in the Walt Longmire series. This one includes flashbacks to Walt’s time in Vietnam interspersed with a current story.

We were on vacation this week so for our road trip audiobook The Hubster and I have been listening to The Terra-Cotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri (narrated by Grover Gardner). This is the second in the Inspector Montalbano series. He’s a detective in Sicily. It’s a fun series with an interesting main character and setting. Plus Grover Gardner narrates it wonderfully.

Other than books and reading:
We’ve been on vacation at the Oregon coast this past week. I always end up reading less than I expect when we’re there because I get so entranced just watching the waves on the rocks in the ‘back yard’ of the house we rent. (it's 25 seconds but watch it all - there's a good one at the end)


We did get out for a hike

Carl G. Washburne State Park trail
They should really film an episode of Grimm here

Got some photos of my favorite view of the Heceta Head lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse

And spent a week watching baby seagulls grow up and begin to learn to fend for themselves.

Juvenile seagull and parent
I just love their cute spotted heads.

Juvenile seagulls
Thing 1, Wilbur and Thing 2
Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

>> Friday, July 26, 2013

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 328
Source: Library



The Short Version:
In 1986 Omaha, a couple of high school misfits experience both first love and troublesome times.

Why I Read It:
Pretty much everyone I know who has read this book had good things to say so I requested if from the Library.

The Book:
Park is just trying to stay under the radar and not get involved in the drama of the ‘cool kids’ in school. When a new girl gets on the school bus Park knows she’s destined to be never fit in. When she sits next to him on the bus it begins a daily ritual that starts with them ignoring each other but soon they’re becoming friends and more.

Not only are they different from each other they’re both different from their classmates. Park is a Korean Ameircan kid who likes punk rock music. Eleanor is big and awkward with a mass of red curly hair and weird clothes. Park’s parents met in Korea and are still in love. Eleanor’s home life is a mess.

The rest of the details of Eleanor and Park’s story are best left for the reader to learn.

My Thoughts:
This book was charming, funny, sad, heartbreaking and I loved it. I could empathize with both Eleanor and Park for many of the reasons each of them felt like an outcast at school.

Park is not subject to derision the way Eleanor is but he’s still a bit of an outsider. As the story continues the details of Eleanor’s troubled home life come out. Park feels like a disappointment to his father but his family feels like the Cleavers to Eleanor. They each have issues of their own and their relationship opens them up for even more.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Both main characters were well written and their relationship is believable. It brought to mind both the good parts and the horrible parts of my own high school experience. It’s both wonderful and terribly sad and a book I highly recommend.


4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Wordless Wednesday #197

>> Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Baby Seagulls

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Y: The Last Man Vol 4: Safeword

>> Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Y: The Last Man Vol 4: Safeword

Y: The Last Man Vol 4: Safeword

Genre: Science Fiction (Graphic Novel)
Series: #4 in the Y: The Last Man series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 142
Source: Library

The Short Version:
The post apocalyptic story of the last male human to survive a sudden plague continues with Yorick Brown and his companions all discovering hidden truths about themselves and each other.

Why I Read It:
The story lagged a bit in the third volume but I had to continue to find out what happens and I’m glad I did.

The Book:
This volume 4 is a compilation of issues 18-23 of the comic series.

From the publisher:

Now more than halfway across the country, Earth's sole surviving human male (Yorick Brown) and his companions (cloning specialist Dr. Allison Mann and government agent 355) are preparing for the final leg of their journey to San Francisco, where Dr. Mann's most important experiment awaits. But before they leave, they need to get antibiotics for the planet's only other living male - Yorick's monkey, Ampersand. For Yorick, that means an enforced stay in the back country of Colorado with one of 355's former associates, the retired agent 711.

But Yorick is in much more than a quiet weekend in the woods. Of all the dangers that he faced in his travels, what awaits him in 711's small cabin will be the hardest to confront - and will also prove to be the difference between life and death for the world's last man.

My Thoughts:
I thought that the previous volume and story arc was a bit weaker than the first two but things definitely picked up in this one. There are two major stories compiled in this volume.

In the first Yorick is left mostly on his own as Agent 355 and Dr. Mann seek out treatment for Ampersand. He’s a little Capuchin monkey but as far as they know he’s the only other surviving male mammal so they need to keep him alive. Conveniently they’re near where a retired fellow agent of 355’s lives in the Colorado woods. She subjects Yorick to some rather unconventional therapy but he ends up learning something important about himself.

The second section finds our little band of travelers reunited but between them and their goal of San Francisco is a militia made up of women sworn to defend the State of Arizona “even if it means lettin’ the rest of the Union die.” Yes, another band of militaristic survivors for Yorick and his friend to get by. This section has a bit more action and the balance of drama and humor is back.

Yorick is a bit less of a dork now (thanks to Agent 711). Agent 355 and Dr. Man have their back stories filled in a bit and turn out to make a great team in a pinch. I’m liking them both more and more with each volume.

The final two pages are a teaser for the next volume in which it’s clear that some characters who have been missing for a while will be returning. I’m looking forward to it.

The artwork in these is good but not spectacular. It’s got to be hard to come up with distinguishing looks for such a large cast of all female characters. The first half is drawn by Pia Guerra who has been the penciller of the series so far. The second half is drawn by Goran Parlov and it’s always rough when characters suddenly look different but from what I can find out this is the only story arc he did and Guerra remains the illustrator for the rest of the series.

This is still a fun series and I’ll be getting the next volume from the library soon. I have to know what happens next.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Weekend Update July 21, 2013

>> Sunday, July 21, 2013

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I finished reading Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I loved this charming heartbreaking yet heartwarming story of a couple of high school misfits finding love in 1986 Nebraska.

On audio I finished listening to Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell and narrated by Xe Sands. I enjoyed this cozy mystery about a witch who owns a vintage clothing shop in San Francisco.

My new audio is Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson and narrated by George Guidall. It’s the fourth book in the Walt Longmire series which I am thoroughly enjoying on audio.

I started a new graphic novel. I’m reading the second volume of Stumptown by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworlth. It’s about a female private investigator and set in Portland. It’s also got a series of essays by Rucka about the Private Investigator Genre which I’m enjoying as much as the story itself.

Other than books and reading:
Last weekend was our annual family BBQ that we call The Meatfest.

4 grills, a smoker and a griddle
4 grills, a smoker and a griddle
It was a lot of fun and as always way too much food.

Way too much food
Way too much food
My Sister-in-law's dog cracks me up. They have a dog feature in their water feature.

Chewy likes the fountain
Chewy likes the fountain


I had a good photo week this week:

My Trader Joe's Flowers this week
My Trader Joe's Flowers this week


Transit Center Fence
Transit Center Fence


Old reflected in the new
Old reflected in the new


And then there's these two . . . just pathetic . . .
Abby and Howe on the convertible
Abby and Howe on the convertible

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Hawkeye, Vol.1: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction

>> Friday, July 19, 2013

Hawkeye, Vol.1: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction

Hawkeye, Vol.1: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction

Genre: Superhero Comic/Graphic Novel)
Series: #1 in the Hawkeye series
Publisher: Marvel Now
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 136
Source: Library


The Short Version:
Clint Barton (AKA Hawkeye) has a life outside of his work with The Avengers.

Why I Read It:
A friend of mine convinced me that I should read this. I’m glad he did.

The Book:
This volume 1 is a compilation of issues 1-5 of the comic series plus issue #6 of The Young Avengers Presents.

From the publisher:

The breakout star of this summer's blockbuster Avengers film, Clint Barton - aka the self-made hero Hawkeye - fights for justice! With ex-Young Avenger Kate Bishop by his side, he's out to prove himself as one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes! SHIELD recruits Clint to intercept a packet of incriminating evidence - before he becomes the most wanted man in the world. You won't believe what is on The Tape! What is the Vagabond Code? Matt Fraction pens a Hawkeye thriller that spans the globe...and the darkest parts of Hawkeye's mind. Barton and Bishop mean double the Hawkeye and double the trouble.

My Thoughts:
I’ve never read much in the way of superhero comics or books however in the past year we’ve been watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, etc) and have been having a great time just enjoying the fun. When my friend mentioned this series as part of some of the re-launching of some of the classic Marvel comics series I was intrigued. I was a little worried about jumping in without a lot of background on the character history and backstories but I thought this was just a whole lot of fun.

I really didn’t know anything about Hawkeye (Clint Barton). We still haven’t watched the movie The Avengers yet and Hawkeye only makes a small cameo appearance in Thor. Despite being fairly clueless about the character I enjoyed this first volume of this series and will be keeping my eye out for more.

Fraction's stories are simply fun and interesting. The artwork by David Aja for the first three is excellent. The 4th and 5th are the work of Javier Pulido. While good, having them compiled in this same volume makes the differences noticeable and showcases Aja's work as at a higher level.

The additional 6th issue included is from the "Young Avengers Presents" by Fraction and drawn by Alan Davis. It's very different artwork and has a very different feel from the Hawkeye issues. It's a good story that tells about Kate Bishop's first meeting with Clint Barton.

Every episode begins with "Okay, this looks bad" and starts somewhere in the middle. The previous parts of that particular episode are interspersed with current action so the chronology is a little back and forth but still easy to follow and moves the story along at a fast pace.

I will be watching for the next volume in this series. It may be my only foray into the Marvel Superheroes world but I’ll read more about Hawkeye.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Wordless Wednesday #196

>> Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tahoe Moon

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Under the Dome by Stephen King

>> Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 1346
Source: Purchased

The Short Version:
An unexplained impenetrable dome isolates a small Maine town and chaos ensues.

Why I Read It:
It’s all Natalie, Trish and Les’s fault:


The Book:
I know if I try to write my own synopsis I’ll go off on tangents and it’ll be incomprehensible so I’m using the publisher’s description of this one.
On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when -- or if -- it will go away.

Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.

My Thoughts:
After I read Carrie way back eons ago when I was in high school I immediately became a Stephen King fan. I read nearly everything he wrote and even grabbed the Richard Bachman books once I knew he was actually the author. I kind of fell out of my Stephen King habit when I couldn't get in to the Dark Tower Series and I didn't like The Eyes of the Dragon. I was kind of hit and miss about picking up his books and I think the last one I read was Dolores Claiborne. The Stand remains one of my all time favorite books. I've read it several times and eagerly re-read it when the expanded edition was released.

I was intrigued enough by the idea of 11/23/63 to buy it but I still haven’t read it. I was very interested in Under the Dome when it was released but I kept telling myself that I should read 11/23/63 first. Then the Under the Dome Readalong came up and it gave me a reason to set aside my silly “I should read 11/23/63 first” nonsense.

This book made me realize that I have missed Stephen King. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The idea of a dome isolating a town out of the blue is just the kind of bizarre ‘what would you do if it happened to you’ situation that I loved about The Stand.

There were plenty of elements of this book that reminded me of The Stand. Certain character types from that book (Trashcan Man and Stu) are clearly represented in the cast of Under the Dome. Big Jim Rennie and his son are so perfectly evil I loved to hate them. As often happens in King novels the children and pets play key roles.

When the Dome isolates the town of Chester’s Mill it brings out both the best and worst in it’s citizens. I found the story of the citizens of Chester’s Mill and what happens to them after the Dome drops to be far more interesting than the story of why the Dome is there. In fact the final explanation of the Dome was probably my least favorite part of the story. Nevertheless the events that take place within the town after the Dome drops make for a fascinating and suspenseful story.

Even with the slight letdown regarding the explanation of the Dome I enjoyed this book a lot and recommend it.

I have been recording the TV series and I know that it differs a lot from the book and this has been (in my opinion) adequately explained by Stephen King. It will be interesting to watch the TV series with The Hubster who hasn't read the book.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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Weekend Update July 13, 2013

>> Saturday, July 13, 2013

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I finished reading Under the Dome. I liked it a lot and was glad to be back reading Stephen King after a break of many years.

I started Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. It's about a couple of misfit high school students in the mid-80's. I've barely started it but I like it so far and many people I trust have recommended it

On audio I’m still listening to Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell. I'll probably finish it this week. It’s narrated by Xe Sands and is the first in a series that features a woman who runs a vintage clothing shop in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco who just happens to be a witch. I've enjoyed it so far.

Other than books and reading:
It's our annual family BBQ weekend. Last year it was three grills and a smoker manned by The Hubster, my brother and my nephew.

3 grills and a smoker

There's a good reason we refer to this annual family event as The Meatfest.

These photos are from last year's event.

The guys at work


Oh yes, more meat


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Happy Seventh Birthday To My Blog

>> Friday, July 12, 2013



7 years

1290 posts

549 books

134 audiobooks

A bunch of book loving friends and countless acquaintances I never would have met if not for this blog.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for commenting. Thanks for chatting. Thanks for all the book recommendations.

Most of all, Thank You for making this fun.

I hope to keep chatting books with you for many years to come.

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Wordless Wednesday #195

>> Wednesday, July 10, 2013

South Lake Tahoe
from the Heavenly Mountain Gondola Observation Deck

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Saga Volume Two by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

>> Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Saga Volume Two by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Saga Volume Two by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Genre: Science Fiction (Graphic Novel)
Series: #2 in the Saga series
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 152
Source: e-galley provided by publisher through NetGalley


The Short Version:
A young couple in love attempt to keep their baby daughter safe in the midst of a galactic war while they’re on the run and being hunted.

Why I Read It:
The first volume of this series blew me away. It’s so different from anything I’ve read before and the artwork was amazing. I’ve been waiting for volume 2 ever since I read the last page of volume 1,

The Book:
This volume 2 is a compilation of issues 7-12 of the comic series.

From the Image Comics website about the series:

Saga is an epic space opera/fantasy comic book series created by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples, published monthly by Image Comics. The series is heavily influenced by Star Wars, and based on ideas Vaughan conceived both as a child and as a parent. It depicts two lovers from long-warring extraterrestrial races, Alana and Marko, fleeing authorities from both sides of a galactic war as they struggle to care for their newborn daughter, Hazel, who occasionally narrates the series

And about volume 2:
Thanks to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and alien monstrosities, but in the cold vastness of outer space, the little girl encounters her family's greatest challenge yet: the grandparents.


My Thoughts:
This is definitely a comic for adults with sexual content and violence.

It is however, imaginative, exciting, creative, inventive, and beautifully drawn. It’s also a series that I can heartily recommend.

I handed the first volume to The Hubster this weekend and all I said was “Just trust me”. He started it and read it straight through. He liked it and is looking forward to reading this volume.

This seems on the surface to be a science fiction story but there are so many elements of romance, adventure, and humor that you almost stop noticing that Marko has horns and Alana has wings. The bad guys are suitably creepy but at the same time their stories are expanded enough that you start sympathizing with them (well, some of them).

I liked that this volume progressed the story but at the same time included some flashbacks to round out Marko and Alana’s backgrounds.

The artwork is absolutely amazing. When you have otherworldy characters the sky is the limit but Fiona Staples has managed to create characters that have personalities without being mere creatures. I enjoyed reading the galley version of this on my ipad because it allowed me to zoom in and more fully appreciate the artwork.

Also, I would kill to have Alana’s hair and I wish at least one of our cats was a lying cat.

5 stars Rating 5/5

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Weekend Update July 7, 2013

>> Sunday, July 7, 2013

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
The only thing I’ve been reading this week is Under the Dome. I’m about 75% of the way through and enjoying it a lot. I hope to get a decent chunk of reading time this afternoon. I don’t plan on reading anything else until I finish this. Things are getting quite interesting at this point.

On audio I’m still listening to Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell. It’s narrated by Xe Sands. This cozy mystery series features a woman who runs a vintage clothing shop in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco. Oh and she’s a witch. It’s a lot of fun so far..

Other than books and reading:
Our heat wave last week was pretty miserable but it finally cooled down and the humidity levels returned to normal. It’s nice to be able to enjoy being outside again.

It’s been a busy week. We went to the North American Organic Brewers Festival last Saturday and had a great time despite the heat and enjoyed some good beers.


I think “I’d Like to Buy the World a Kölsch” from Old Town Brewing was the best beer name at the festival. It was also an excellent beer!

It was a weird week with the holiday on Thursday. I worked on Friday but from home so it’s kind of felt like a short vacation with a day of being logged into work inserted in the middle of it.

We didn’t do much on the Fourth. I went for a 10 mile walk in the morning and The Hubster ran a half marathon race. We relaxed and just enjoyed doing nothing much for the rest of the day.
On my walk

Last time I walked this route the trees hadn’t been fully leafed out yet. I had to duck in several spots but the shade was a nice thing on a sunny morning.

Yesterday we had our family Fourth of July Barbecue at my Sister-in-law’s house out in the country. It was a nice day to relax and enjoy being with family and friends.

Browsing the phone photos since last week:
This is where Howie and Abby hang out when it’s hot. They consider the convertible they’re own personal kitty hammock.
Howie and Abby

All the birds seem to care about this year is the sunflower seed feeder. Last year I couldn’t keep the thistle feeders full, this year they seem to be all about the sunflower seeds.
Chickadee and Goldfinch

So nice to see these blooming all along my walking routes this time of year.

Daisies

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Audiobook – Death of a Cad by M.C. Beaton

>> Friday, July 5, 2013

Dearh of a Cad by M.C. Beaton

Dearh of a Cad by M.C. Beaton

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: #2 in the Hamish Macbeth series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 1999 Recorded Books (Book originally published 1987)
Length: 5 hours, 56 minutes
Read by: Davina Porter
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Hamish Macbeth, the constable of a small town in the Scottish Highlangs deals with the murder of a guest at his friend’s home.

Why I Read It:
The first in this series was just OK but people I trust like this series and I like Davina Porter’s narration so I gave the second one a chance.

The Book:
From the publisher:
Independent-spirited Constable Hamish Macbeth, Lochdubh's one-man police force, has his hands full as he searches among hostile gentry for the killer of a boorish house guest. When beautiful Priscilla Halburton-Smythe brings home her fiance, a famous playwright, all of Lochdubh clamors to meet the London celebrity--except for her long-time friend Hamish. But the fiance is pushed aside when one of the guests, a widely-hated hunter, is found shot to death. Everyone is quick to point out it could only be a tragic accident, but Hamish suspects otherwise.

My Thoughts:
I had mixed thought about the first in this series. I liked Hamish Macbeth but there were elements of that book that reminded me of why I gave up on this author’s Agatha Raisin series. Enough people I trust recommended this series to make me give the second one a try.

I’m glad I did. I liked this one better than the first. It’s still a fairly average cozy mystery series in my opinion but it’s growing on me.

I like Hamish and some of the recurring characters. I nailed the guilty party early on in this one but I still enjoyed listening to it play out.

Davina Porter’s narration is a delight. Her voice characterizations and accents really do help me visualize the characters in my head.

I continue to have issues with Beaton’s female characters and how they seem desperate to find a man but I enjoyed listening to this book and will keep going in this series,l at least for now.

3 stars Rating 3/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the narration



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

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The Under the Dome Readalong Halfway Point Check In

>> Thursday, July 4, 2013

I joined up with the Under The Dome Readalong back at the end of May. I haven’t read as far as I’d hoped to by now but that doesn’t’ really matter. I’m enjoying the book

This is all because Natalie at Coffee and a Book Chick, Trish at Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity and Les at Prairie Horizons started talking about a readalong and I couldn’t resist.


I was suppose to post a halfway point post about a week and a half ago when the TV show started but that didn’t happen.

I actually hit the halfway point sometime on Tuesday.

I'm really enjoying the book. I'm glad that today is a holiday and that I don't have a lot planned. The weather looks like it's going to be great so I hope to spend a good chunk of my day today reading.

No, I haven't started watching the TV show. I am recording it but want to wait until I finish the book before we start watching.

After reading this letter to his fans from Stephen King I re-framed my expectations of the TV show. I don't expect it to be a re-telling of the book. I'm expecting to see a story that includes elements from the book but re-imagined for a different medium and type of schedule.

I’m fine with this because it’s similar to the way the Walt Longmire series adaptation for TV has gone. We finally started watching that several weeks ago and while the characters are ,mostly the same the stories and some key things from the book are very different in the Longmire TV series. As a fan of the books I’m thoroughly enjoying the television series and I’m hoping that with my re-framed expectations that the same will hold true for the Under the Dome television series.

From what I've been able to learn the producers of the TV series are hoping that this will be an ongoing series and not a mini-series of the book so that definitely requires some changes. Of course, I won’t know until I actually start watching and that’s not going to happen until I finish the book.

So – back to the book.

I’m reading the ebook edition because that’s my preferred format for big fat chunksters. As of last night I’m on page 760 out of 1348 so that’s a bit past halfway.

A few thoughts:

I find myself comparing characters in this story to other King stories (particularly The Stand). He definitely has certain types that show up in his books.

I'm a little hesitant to get attached to any of the characters because it seems like just about the time I do - WHAM!

Good guys and bad guys - Oh there are plenty of both and I love the way King does the Good vs. Evil thing.

I'm glad I'm not reading this in October with Halloween just around the corner.

I took a long break from Stephen King but I’m glad to be reading him again. This one is good. At least it is at this point. We’ll see what I think when I finish.

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Wordless Wednesday #194

>> Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Days of Wine and Roses?
Edenvale Winery in Medford, Oregon

Days of wine and roses?
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Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft

>> Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft

Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft

Genre: Mystery/ Suspense
Series: #1 in the Fina Ludlow series
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 405
Source: copy provided by the publisher

The Short Version:
Boston PI Fina Ludlow takes on the case of her missing sister-in-law and her dysfunctional family all at the same time.

Why I Read It:
The person who first told me about this book is one I’ve come to trust and when she’s as enthusiastic about a book as she was about this one I pay attention. I’m glad I did.

The Book:
From the publisher:

The Ludlows are a hard-charging family, and patriarch Carl Ludlow treats his offspring like employees—which they are. But his daughter, Fina, is a bit of a black sheep. A law school dropout, her father keeps her in the fold as the firm’s private investigator, working alongside her brothers.

Juggling her family of high-powered (and highly dysfunctional) attorneys, the cops and Boston’s criminal element is usually something Fina does without breaking a sweat. But when her sister-in-law disappears, she’s caught up in a case unlike any she’s encountered before.

Carl wants things resolved without police interference, but the deeper Fina digs, the more impossible that seems. The Ludlows close ranks, and her brother Rand and his unruly teenage daughter Haley grow mysteriously distant from the family. As Fina unearths more dirt, the demands of family loyalty intensify. But Fina is after the truth—no matter the cost.
My Thoughts:
Before I even started reading this book I was impressed with the author. In order to write a believable story about a PI she completed the certificate in private investigation program at the University of Washington. It paid off. This was an impressive debut and Thoft is an author I’ll be keeping an eye on.

Fina is a great character. Her role as an independent investigator makes her not wholly part of her family’s law firm even though the majority of her work is related to their business. In this case she ends up caught between the demands of her father to protect the family and her desire to do what’s right. It’s a great mix of both the story of the investigation and the story of Fina’s relationship with her family.

Fina is tough, smart, sassy and likable. She has to make some incredibly difficult choices as she follows through with the case of her sister-in-law.

The book has several storylines that gradually intertwine and it was suspenseful, sad and amusing all at the same time. Fina’s wit adds the fun to a story that is tense and at times tragic. Her rather nomadic lifestyle within the city of Boston made me like her even more. The supporting characters are great and I’m looking forward to seeing more of some of them as this planned series continues.

Do yourself a favor and get to know Fina Ludlow. You’ll be joining me in eagerly anticipating Ingrid Thoft’s next book.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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