Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Summary: 11 January 2015

This first full week of the new year was very busy. After two weeks of vacation, I returned to work with a full in-basket and the need to take care of 4th Quarter and Year-End closeouts. I also needed to start organizing the next several months of work. My calendar is a disaster, but I think I know the most important things I'll be doing for the first two months of the year.

This week also brought the first read-a-thon of 2015, the always popular Bout of Books. Held three times each year, this was the 12th occurrence and I happily joined in with over 700 participants.

And, as the New Year began, I started putting together plans for reaching my reading goals and completing challenges. I've elected some interesting challenges, some of which should be easy to meet (such as reading at least 50 library books) and others will be stretches (such as completing 200 books or writing 42 reviews of SF items). There's always a lot of enthusiasm when starting a new project. The trick will be to stay enthusiastic throughout the year.

Where I've been reading

I'm still at home. Now that the holidays are over, I'm settling down to a more normal schedule. I'm at work before 8am, take a lunch break, and wind up the day around 6pm. Most days I don't have a commute, I simply connect my laptop to the corporate network and plunge into the day's activities. I almost always read during lunch and then again at bedtime. And, I'll fit in reading whenever I can outside of work hours.

What I've been reading

Book Cover: Poison Flower by Thomas Perry Format: Hardback
Source: borrowed from North Richland Hills Public Library
Completed: 5 January


The title, Poison Flower refers to the flowers of the water hemlock, a plant whose roots are highly poisonous. As we learn in this book, the Seneca would traditionally take two bites of the root to commit suicide. Jane Whitefield is a guide who helps innocent people adopt new identities to escape from those who would do them harm. Having promised these people that she will carry their secrets to her death, Jane carries a small vial containing the distilled juice from the roots of the water hemlock.

All of this becomes important when Jane is taken hostage by criminals who want her to reveal the location of someone she has spirited away. Not only will they torture her to get this information, they plan to sell her to others who are also searching for their relocated victims.

This seventh episode in Thomas Perry's mystery series is the grittiest of them all. Jane must examine how much her promises really mean to her and the value she places on the Seneca traditions which motivate her actions. I wish there had been more interaction between Jane and her husband—more development of this side of her life. But all-in-all, it was another well written adventure for Jane.

Book Cover: A String of Beads by Thomas Perry Format: eGalley
Source: review copy from NetGalley
Completed: 8 January


Jane returns from a long run to find eight clan mothers waiting outside her home. They want her to find her childhood friend, Jimmy, who has been falsely accused of murder, and escort him safely home so he can surrender to the police. But as she searches for her friend, things quickly escalate when Jane discovers that it's not just the police who are seeking Jimmy. The man who framed him is determined that Jimmy not live to stand trial.

A String of Beads is the eighth book in Perry's mystery series, and there's a major deviation from the theme of earlier books. In Jimmy's case, Jane isn't helping him establish a permanent identity, she's simply trying to keep him hidden long enough to smoke out the bad guys who are hunting him and make it safe for Jimmy to turn himself in. Another departure from past stories is that Jane is actively trying to solve the murder so that Jimmy doesn't have to stay hidden for the rest of his life.

I have to admit that I enjoyed A String of Beads much more than the previous book, Poison Flower. Jane is at her best as she is evading her pursuers and utilizing the alternate identities she has carefully cultivated over twenty years. There's lots of action with a number of close calls and a big showdown at the end. I'll repeat my request from just above, I want to see more interaction between Jane and husband Carey. He has yet to become a fully fleshed character.

Book Cover: Echo Burning by Lee Child Book Cover: Time Voyage by Steve Brezenoff
Book Cover: Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson Book Cover: Unbreakable by W C Bauers
My “currently reading” list is a little bit longer than usual. I'm reading an ARC of Unbreakable with a review planned for next week. The other books are just for fun.

Two of these are for my MG/YA goal for 2015. Time Voyage is the first of four books which comprise the “Return to Titanic” saga, a time-jumping adventure starring two eighth-grade students. Peter and the Shadow Thieves is the second in the Peter Pan prequel series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. I'm listening to the audio book, excellently read by Jim Dale. Finally, I'm reading Echo Burning by Lee Child, the fifth book in his Jack Reacher mystery series.

Two of the current books are also library books, so Echo Burning and Time Voyage will both count toward my Snagged @ the Library goal.

This Week on the Blog

There were lots of posts on the blog, particularly because of this weeks' Bout of Books read-a-thon. I also posted two reviews, signed up for another challenge, and joined in some online memes.

  1. Book Blogger Hop: 2-7 January, 2015
  2. Bout of Books 12: Starting Position
  3. Ah heck! What's another challenge or two?
  4. Review: The Galaxy Game
  5. Bout of Books 12: Day 1 Update
  6. Bout of Books 12: Day 2 Update
  7. Bout of Books 12: Day 3 Update
  8. Bout of Books 12: Day 4 Update
  9. Review: A String of Beads
  10. Stacking the Shelves (18)
  11. Bout of Books 12: Day 5 Update

And, as usual, I'm linking up with The Sunday Post, hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on the blog, showcase books and things received. Share news about what is coming up on the blog for the week ahead.


  1. Enjoy your book haul and have a great week ;)

    1. Hey thanks! I'm glad you stopped by today.

  2. I can't wait to read Echo Burning. Love the series!
    That first full week back at work is a killer. I'm ready for spring break! LOL

    My Sunday Post -