Sunday, February 01, 2015

Sunday Summary: 1 February 2015

Resumption of travel for work has resulted in a reduced presence here on the blog. But those flights—four of them—gave me plenty of time to read.

Where I've been reading

I spent part of the week in Canada. I flew to Ottawa on Monday, attended a meeting there on Tuesday and then flew to Toronto on Tuesday evening. After a meeting in Toronto, I flew home to Texas on Wednesday evening. It was nice to be back on the road again.

What I've been reading: Completed this week

Book Cover: Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neely Format: eGalley
Source: review copy from NetGalley
Completed: 28 January


Originally published in 1992, Blanche on the Lam won the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel (1993), Anthony Award for Best First Novel (1993), and Agatha Award for Best First Novel (1992) for author Barbara Neely. It tells a story from the perspective of a black domestic worker in the deep south. When Blanche gets in trouble with the law over a bounced check, she's happy that a new job as a housekeeper takes her out of town when her employers relocate to their coastal get-away.

I found Blanche on the Lam to be a pleasant cozy mystery. But it was more than that. With recent events drawing attention to issues of race in America, I was continually asked to think about my attitudes toward not only those of color, but those who perform essential but menial work.

Book Cover: The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord Format: Hardback
Source: borrowed from Sanger Public Library (ILL from Midland County Public Library)
Completed: 30 January


For me, Karen Lord's first science fiction novel is a rousing success. It was such a refreshing departure from the long string of military SF that I had been reading for the past year or so. The Best of All Possible Worlds takes an anthropological and cultural approach. In Lord's universe, there are four primary races—all human—which evolved on different planets and which are struggling to get along together.

As the book begins, the Sadiri are still reeling from the destruction of their home planet. Those who were off-planet are making an attempt to rebuild their society, even though very few Sadiri females survived. To aid in these objectives, a small research team is given the mission to visit various taSadiri (mixed-race) communities to assess the extent to which they have maintained Sadiri customs and whether there are females with sufficient Sadiri traits who would be available to be wives to the large number of single Sadiri men.

Told in the first person by Grace Delarua, a biotechnician and liguist member of the research team, The Best of All Possible Worlds slowly unfolds through a series of episodes in which we learn about the history of this universe, the traits of those who people it, and the individuals who carry the story.

Book Cover: Echo Burning by Lee Child Format: eBook
Source: borrowed from Aubrey Public Library (via Overdrive)
Completed: 31 January


Echo Burning is the fifth book in Lee Child's mystery series featuring former military investigator Jack Reacher. Having left his house behind and resumed rambling around the country, Reacher hitches a ride with a young woman who asks him to kill her abusive husband. He refuses, but offers to take a job as a ranch hand in hopes that he can protect her instead.

It's not very long before the story gets more complicated. There are a couple of murders, including the woman's husband, and a group of professional killers are out to eliminate Reacher. There are twists and turns—truly good people, truly despicable people, and some ordinary people who sometimes do good things and sometimes don't. All in all, this was a decent addition to the series and I'm looking forward to reading the next book.

What I've been reading: In progress

Book Cover: Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson Book Cover: The Leper of Saint Giles by Ellis Peters I an continuing to listen to Peter and the Shadow Thieves, but I only do so when I'm alone in the car—listening as I run errands. I'm also reading The Leper of Saint Giles, the fifth book in the Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters.

This Week on the Blog

This past week the blog was very quiet. No new posts since last week's Sunday Summary. I have a couple of reviews which I need to finish and post. And, since I didn't get any new books this week, there was no Stacking the Shelves post.


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. You have been traveling. I hope the weather hasn't caused any delays for you. The Best of All Possible Worlds looks good. Have a lovely week my friend!

    1. So far, so good. I'm heading to Green Bay today and I'm told it will be "bitterly cold". Since the temp dropped below freezing here in TX overnight, I'm a little bit worried about Wisconsin.

      Definitely get The Best of All Possible Worlds. It was an *outstanding* book.

  2. Wow! I bet Texas felt pretty good after Toronto! I want to read Peter and the Shadow Thieves. I love Dave Barry and this sounds like a fun series. Have a great week!

    1. Texas was much warmer. I was in Canada while it was in the 70s in TX, but it was still in the mid-50s until the front went through last night. Now it's below freezing. I was so glad to pick up a free audio recording of the first of the Peter books in last summer's Sync give-away. Not only have I bought Peter and the Shadow Thieves, but I also have a copy of Peter and the Secret of Rundoon (book 3) ready to start when I finish.

  3. I have an IT consulting friend and she spent a long time in Hawaii. That would work for me! My post:

    1. Now *that's* living right. I've never been to Hawaii. It would be a much nicer place to go in January than Green Bay or Minneapolis!