Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Summary: 22 February 2015

Here I sit in Las Vegas—the famous one in Nevada, not the one in New Mexico. I'll be attending the IBM InterConnect 2015 conference this week. It will be a very busy week, so I won't get much reading done until next weekend.

Where I've been reading

We drove to Las Vegas from our home near Dallas, TX. It's a SERIOUS two-day drive involving early mornings, late nights, and speedy bio breaks along the way. Hubby drove the entire way and I read except for those times I was napping. We had our almost 5-year-old granddaughter with us as we are returning her to her mother's house after a month-long visit with her family in Texas. She's such a good traveler. Nana and Papa will definitely include her in road trips as she gets older and can appreciate visiting historical sites and National Parks.

What I've been reading: Completed this week

Book Cover: Longitude by Dava Sobel Format: audiobook
Source: purchased from Audible
Completed: 17 February


In the 18th century “the longitude problem” was the most significant scientific challenge. Sailors had long been able to accurately calculate their latitude, but as soon as they lost sight of land, they were unable to determine their longitude—often with disastrous consequences. Ships were lost at sea or sometimes run aground, all because the captain had no accurate way to know where they were. For centuries, scientists—particularly astronomers—had been trying to come up with a method of determining longitude by observation of the moon and stars. A lone inventor, John Harrison, took a mechanical approach to the problem. His vision was a clock which would keep accurate time at sea, allowing the navigator to compute longitude as the difference between local noon and noon at a known fixed location.

Longitude tells the story of Harrison and the prejudice he experienced at the hand of the scientific community in England. In 1714, England's Parliament offered £20,000 (equivalent to millions of dollars today) to anyone who could solve the problem. While Harrison's timekeepers passed all the tests established by Parliament, the committee charged with evaluating the applicants and awarding the prize refused to acknowledge Harrison's success. They kept holding out for a “scientific” and astronomical solution rather than a mere “mechanical” one.

This historical account by Dava Sobel is a fascinating look at one man's determination as he strove to be recognized for his invention and the scientific obstructionism he faced. I found it entertaining, enlightening, and educational. Sobel has a talent for taking a historical and scientific accounting and making it read like a novel.

Book Cover: The Virgin in the Ice by Ellis Peters Format: eBook
Source: borrowed from Sanger Public Library via Freading
Completed: 19 February


The 6th chronicle of Brother Cadfael. In the winter of 1139, Brother Cadfael is asked to travel to another monastery to assist in the care of a severely injured monk. Arriving there, he discovers that the monk was escorting a young nun who had last been seen accompanying two young orphans as they fled from a battle at Worcester. Now the teens and the nun are lost and the injured monk is unable to answer any questions about them. Cadfael sends for Deputy Sheriff Hugh Beringar to lead the search for the missing nun and her charges.

From the beginning, you know from the title—The Virgin in the Ice—that one of the young women is dead. The story moves slowly but methodically through the revelation of her identity, and the mystery of what happened to her. I think the Brother Cadfael mysteries just get better and better with each episode. I'm looking forward to the next one.

Book Cover: Jack Staples and the Ring of Time by Mark Batterson & John N Clark Format: eGalley
Source: review ARC from NetGalley
Completed: 19 February


What a lovely fantasy for teens! Jack Staples has been leading an ordinary life when he is thrown into extraordinary circumstances. When mysterious creatures attack his village, Jack discovers that he is no ordinary boy. Jack can see the real world.

Most people can only see a shadow of the world, their vision blinded by invisible scales that cover their eyes. While some people (the Awakened) have had the scales fall away, Jack was born without scales—able to see reality all of his life. In fact, Jack is the “Child of Prophecy” who is destined to battle the Assassin and save the world. Or he is destined to join forces with the Assassin and destroy the world. The Prophecy isn't clear.

This was a fun story filled with interesting characters and non-stop adventure. It simply ended too soon. Yes, the battle was over, but there was no real conclusion. Fortunately, a sequel is due out in March. I'll be reading it soon and reviewing the two books together.

Book Cover: Pony Crazy by Bonnie Bryant Book Cover: The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner Book Cover: Surprise Island by Gertrude Chandler Warner With two full days in the car as we drove cross-country and several short novels written for mid-grade readers, I finished a record number of books this week. I'm lumping these three books together just to save some space in this already very LONG blog post.

Pony Crazy is the first book in Bonnie Bryant's Pony Tails series for children. A spin-off of her very popular Saddle Club series for teens, Pony Tails books feature eight-year-old neighbors (and best friends) May and Jasmine, and their new neighbor and friend Corey. They’re totally horse-crazy. When they aren’t taking care of their ponies at home, they’re riding them at Pony Club meetings at Pine Hollow Stables. I enjoyed this introduction to the characters and the setting.

The next two books were the first ones in Gertrude Chandler Warner's classic series, The Boxcar Children. In the first book, The Boxcar Children, we are introduced to the Alden children, two boys and two girls who are orphaned and on their own as they try to avoid being sent to live with a grandfather they've never met. They set up housekeeping in an abandoned boxcar sitting on a rusted rail siding. Eventually they meet their wealthy grandfather and wind up moving into his home.

A year after moving in with their grandfather, the four Alden children spend their summer vacation on a private island. Surprise Island is occupied only by Captain Daniel and his temporary handyman. The youngsters set up housekeeping in a barn, much like the way they had lived in the boxcar. Captain Daniel picks up groceries for them each day and they supplement with fish, clams, and veggies from the garden. It's a grand adventure with only minimal supervision by adults.

What I've been reading: Temporarily abandoned

Book Cover: Hyperion by Dan Simmons I'm didn't finish reading Dan Simmon's Hyperion before the library lending period expired. Not only that, but I'm now at the beginning of a 2.5 week business trip and I do NOT want to take a risk of losing a library book [again], so I've returned it to the library. I'll borrow it again when I'm going to be in town for more than just a weekend and try to finish it then. Unfortunately, I won't get a chance to finish it by the end of the month along with the others in the Flights of Fantasy group at Goodreads where Hyperion is the February SF selection.

What I've been reading: In progress

Book Cover: The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow Book Cover: The Dante Connection by Estelle Ryan I'm still reading The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow, a steampunk mystery. I'm not enjoying it as much as I had expected, so I keep setting it aside and picking up another book. Now, this isn't to say that it's a bad book, it's just not living up to my expectations. I think it will become more appealing as I get further into it.

The other book that I'm reading is The Dante Connection by Estelle Ryan. It's the second book in her Genevieve Lennar mystery series and I'm simply racing through it. Dr. Genevieve Lennard is a psychologist and one of the world's most outstanding experts in non-verbal communication. She works as an investigator for a prestigious insurance company in Strasbourg, France. Oh yes, one reason why she became an expert in non-verbal communication is because she relies on facial and postural cues from individuals she interacts due to her autism and extreme literal-mindedness. Life is challenging enough, but now she's being stalked by an international criminal.

This Week on the Blog

I love, love, LOVE a road trip. Lots of time to read with no interruptions and no distraction by the TV and Internet. Of course, lack of Internet access means that I don't get too many things posted to the blog. Check out these posts:

  1. Top Ten Tuesday, 17 February 2015
  2. Recommendations from
  3. Stacking the Shelves (23)


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. I am bummed to hear you aren't enjoying The Iron Wyrm Affair. That is so wonderful your grandbaby is a good traveler an that you get that time with her.

    1. It's not that I *don't* enjoy it -- it's just not as thrilling as I had expected. I'm only 1/4 of the way into it and I may come to love it much more as I read further. I'm definitely not abandoning it.

      Yes. We're lucky that V behaves on long car trips. She entertains herself pretty well so that I get plenty of time to read. And, she's an early reader, so I'll be sharing books with her very soon.

  2. I've been thinking about reading Longitude. It seems really interesting.

    1. Oh do! I truly enjoyed it. There's a recent new edition with lots of photos in it. Although I do like the audio book, you miss out on photos.

  3. Several years ago, I devoured the whole Brother Cadfael series - I even visited Shrewsbury once :)

    1. I visited Ludlow (one of the sites in The Virgin in the Ice back in 1990. Would love to go back to Shropshire and maybe see parts of Wales as well. For now, I'm enjoying reading the books.