Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Summary: 31 May 2015

The year is flying by. This is probably a good time to review my progress toward the reading goals I set at the beginning of the year. The primary challenge was to read 200 books and at least 50,000 pages. I'm ahead of schedule—barely—when it comes to total number of books, but blowing the top off the page-count goal. I've completed 83 books containing almost 23,000 pages. And, two of the books I completed this week count toward the categories in the Eclectic Reader challenge.

Where I've been reading

I started this week with flights from Richmond, Virginia, to Dallas, returning from my weekend visit with my sister and her family. I was at home for a couple of days which allowed me to attend another graduation ceremony. This time it was my grandson graduating from pre-school. Add in a quick overnight trip to Austin for a meeting with a customer, and then back north for a weekend at home.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (34)

I try, I really do try, but books call out to me. I have more than enough books on hand to supply reading material for the rest of my expected life. But I cannot resist a new book. This week, I broke down and spent a little bit of the gift card money on a cozy mystery and the rest of the books were free: two picked up from the library and the others free copies to keep.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review: The Firebird Mystery

Book Cover: The Firebird Mystery by Darrell Pitt The Firebird Mystery by Darrell Pitt
Published May 2015 by Text Publishing Company
Source: eGalley ARC from NetGalley

Jack Mason grew up as an acrobat in a circus. After the tragic death of his parents, he was sent to live within the gloomy Sunnyside Orphanage in London, a city of fog and snow, filled with airships, steamcars, and metrotowers stretching into space.

That's until he is taken under the wing of the brilliant and eccentric detective Ignatius Doyle. But when a girl named Scarlet Bell comes seeking Mr. Doyle's help, little does Jack know how dangerous life is about to become. Scarlet's father has been kidnapped, and the future of the world itself may be at stake. Is the evil hand of Professor M pulling the strings? Mr. Doyle and Jack know there is no time to lose.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Summary, 24 May 2015

Can you believe that May is almost over? This is Memorial Day weekend here in the US of A. It's the unofficial beginning of summer. Swimming pools open for the first time. In many places, the school year is over. Graduation ceremonies abound.

Where I've been reading

After 10 days away from home, I was glad to arrive home in Texas. I didn't get to stay there very long—on Thursday, I flew out to Virginia to attend my nephew's graduation ceremony. He has just completed a two year program training as a Surgical Technician. He's following in his family's footsteps. His mother and elder sister are Registered Nurses and his next older sister is a Laboratory Technician. His dad even had a bit of a sojourn in the medical field, working in IT for a large health insurance company.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (33)

At the beginning of the week, I was so very glad to be back home in Texas. It was just a short stop-over, since I traveled to Virginia on Thursday to cheer my nephew on as he graduated from his training as a Surgical Technician. (And we're celebrating that he has already gotten a job!)

New books this week were from the library and the weekly SYNC audiobook downloads. It was week 2 at SYNC Audiobooks—the program that offers free weekly downloads of audiobooks throughout the summer. Pairing one contemporary young-adult book with a classic, this week was all about Charles Dickens. (see below)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Bout of Books: Progress

Bout of Books Well, another Bout of Books has come to an end. My personal schedule didn't allow me to be as social as I would have liked, but it was still enjoyable to be part of the event. I did complete three books this week—The Devil's Novice by Ellis Peters, A Nomadic Witch by Debora Geary, and The Firebird Mystery by Darrell Pitt.


Daily status

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Review: Beyond Reach

Book Cover: Beyond Reach by Siobhan Davis Beyond Reach by Siobhan Davis
Published 1 May 2015 by Siobhan Davis
Source: review copy supplied by the author

Back on Earth, Ariana is caught in a dangerous crossfire between clandestine rebel organization Clementia and the power-hungry government. Refusing to divulge the location of the secret information entrusted to her by her late father, she desperately tries to bargain for her Mom, Lily, and Cal’s rescue. She’s fighting a losing battle, and the clock is ticking.

Presented with evidence of her fiancĂ© Cal’s apparent betrayal, she loyally defends him despite her concerns. With her emotions in turmoil, matters become even more complicated as she grows closer to her ex-boyfriend Zane.

When the stakes are raised, a succession of shocking revelations rocks her world, setting her on a path that will not only change her destiny but the fate of humanity.

Confronted by a memory so abhorrent comes a truth she would do anything to forget.

But some things just can’t be undone.

My Thoughts

Sunday Summary: 17 May 2015

Where I've been reading

Most of the week was spent in Las Vegas where I was attending a conference. My days were very long and I had to work very hard to squeeze in some reading time each day. Then we drove home on Friday and Saturday, giving me a lot of uninterrupted time to read.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (32)

Since we've been away from home all week, the only new books (well, that I know of) are those few eBooks that I've been able to get online. I love traveling with my Kindle because I can buy whatever books I want, whenever and wherever I happen to be. Oh yes, it was also week 1 at SYNC Audiobooks—the program that offers free weekly downloads of audiobooks throughout the summer. They pair one young-adult book with a classic each week. The books are only available for 7 days, so I have to be on my toes to make sure that I remember to download each week.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Interesting books at Freading

It's been three months since I posted about books available through If you're not familiar with it, Freading is a provider of electronic books for libraries. I'm so excited that my local public library subscribes to Freading as I have found so many books in their catalog that I want to read. By the way, unlike most of my posts, the cover images are linked to the Freading catalog rather than to


An author whose books I like very much is Wanda Brunstetter. She writes romance novels set in Amish communities. The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club introduces Emma Yoder who has decided to offer quilting lessons. A rag-tag group of people sign up for her classes. What started out as a diverse group become friends over time. The subsequent books, The Tattered Quilt and The Healing Quilt follow Emma as she teaches additional classes. Disparate people come together and slowly friendships are formed and healing happens.

Book Cover: The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club by Wanda E Brunstetter Book Cover: The Tattered Quilt by Wanda E Brunstetter Book Cover: The Healing Quilt by Wanda E Brunstetter


I found a fantasy set in a Japan that never was, the Tomoe Gozen Saga. Originally published in 1981-84, new eBook editions are now available.

In a land of gods and monsters, there is nothing more powerful than a samurai's honor—and there is no samurai more honorable than Tomoe Gozen. A woman fighting in a man's world, she has the power to topple kingdoms and bring the gods to their knees. Tomoe’s journey begins in The Disfavored Hero, when an evil wizard brings her back to life, forcing her to dishonor herself by fighting against her master. In The Golden Naganita, Tomoe flees her father’s house and goes in search of a cursed blade, and in Thousand Shrine Warrior, she attempts to make a new life as a nun, but finds that she cannot escape her bloody destiny.

Book Cover: The Disfavored Hero by Jessica Amanda Salmonson Book Cover: The Golden Naginata by Jessica Amanda Salmonson Book Cover: Thousand Shrine Warrior by Jessica Amanda Salmonson


Book Cover: The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario A young mother and her son have sought refuge in a convent on a remote island. When the mother mysteriously dies, her son disappears. Maggie O'Shea is a concert pianist, grieving the death of her husband, and godmother of the missing boy. When she goes looking for her missing godson, she finds herself tangled up with terrorists and stolen art and musical artifacts.

Did you every run across a book that just yelled at you, “Hey! Look at me!”? Well, The Lost Concerto did just that. I can't count the number of times I've been browsing the catalog at Freading and have clicked on the cover to see the description of the book. This book just demands my attention.

So why haven't I borrowed the book already? Because it's “coming soon”. According to Goodreads, it's due to be published on July 1st. Guess I'll be waiting a while before I can read it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review: Blanche Cleans Up

Book Cover: Blanche Cleans Up by Barbara Neely Blanche Cleans Up by Barbara Neely
Published 5 May 2015 by Brash Books
Source: eGalley ARC from NetGalley

The third, ground-breaking mystery featuring African-American maid and amateur sleuth Blanche White by Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Award winning Author Barbara Neely

Blanche White is working as a temporary cook and housekeeper for a right-wing, Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Alistair Brindle when someone tries to blackmail him. It's an ugly mess that Brindle's political team is eager to sweep under the carpet and that Blanche can't resist cleaning up herself…especially after a young black man is killed who knew too much about Brindle's dirty laundry. Her investigation raises dark secrets involving sex, environmental contamination, and political corruption, difficult stains on the white, conservative Brindle family that someone is trying to remove with murder.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bout of Books 13: It begins

Bout of Books It's just past midnight Pacific Daylight Time here in Las Vegas, so Bout of Books 13 has officially begun for me. I just checked the Bout of Books web site, and there are 609 readers who have signed up for the week-long event. That's a lot of readers. I cannot imagine how many books will be read in seven days. I'm hoping to finish at least 5, and it everyone read that many it would total more than 3000 books!

I'm starting out this week reading The Devil's Novice, the eighth book in the Brother Cadfael medieval mysteries written by Ellis Peters. I just started reading it around supper time on Sunday, and I'm just barely into chapter 2 on page 22. Other books I plan to read this week include The Firebird Mystery by Darrell Pitt, Mutant Legacy by Karen Haber, and A Nomadic Witch by Debora Geary. If I manage to finish all four of these, I'm not sure what I'll pick next—something will come to me. I'm traveling with a fully loaded Kindle, so I have plenty of books to choose from.

Book Cover: The Devil's Novice by Ellis Peters Book Cover: The Firebird Mystery by Darrell Pitt Book Cover: Mutant Legacy by Karen Haber Book Cover: A Nomadic Witch by Debora Geary

Review: Murder at Moot Point

Book Cover: Murder at Moot Point by Marlys Millhiser Murder at Moot Point by Marlys Millhiser
Published 5 May 2015 by Open Road Media
Source: eGalley ARC from NetGalley

Hollywood agent Charlie Greene gets tangled up in a world of holistic intervention, out-of-body experiences, and murder in this thrilling paranormal mystery

Hollywood literary agent and single mother Charlie Greene heads out of town to fog-bound Moot Point, Oregon, to meet a client, reclusive New Age author Jack Monroe. But Charlie barely has time to sample a veggie meal and bond with Jack’s bronze Buddha statue before she runs into trouble: Local gossip Georgette Glick and her Schwinn bicycle have just been found under the wheels of Charlie’s Toyota—which makes Charlie the prime suspect in Georgette’s murder.

Luckily, Moot Point sheriff Bennett discovers that Glick was shot, not run over, so Charlie is in the clear. But there are still too many unanswered questions. Who delivered the fatal bullet to Glick’s head? And why was the seventy-eight-year-old riding her bike on a night with zero visibility in the first place? Alongside Sheriff Bennett, whose interest in Charlie seems decidedly more than professional, she resolves to find the murderer among the town’s eccentrics, who include the suspiciously nongrieving widower, a holistic veterinarian, the victim’s terrified neighbor, and a Byronic artist whose painting of a century-old local shipwreck matches the one in Charlie’s recent nightmares. With the killer still at large, Charlie may be tempting an out-of-body experience of her own in this quirky and suspenseful novel.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Summary: 10 May 2015

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. Although I'm away from home, I received text messages from my grown kids this morning. My thoughts have turned to my mother and grandmother who were both instrumental in my upbringing. I miss them very much, particularly their wisdom and encouragement.

Hubby and I had a casual breakfast and then he took me shopping for a combined Mother's Day and birthday gift. (My birthday always falls around Mother's Day weekend.) We've been keeping a close eye on the extreme weather back at home in Texas. The Weather Channel has been featuring the county in which we live—and we text frequently to the kids who are back there.

Where I've been reading

Ah, a couple of days at home in Texas, and then a road trip to Las Vegas. I'll be attending a conference all of next week, so we decided to take a couple of days to drive out and then drive home. Being on the road with just the two of us is relaxing. We didn't have a strict schedule, so we could wake whenever we wanted, drive a while, stop as often as we wanted, etc. Sometime in the early afternoon, we'd look at the map, predict about how much farther we'd go before we were ready to stop for the night, and then call ahead to book a hotel room.


Saturday, May 09, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (31)

Oh my gosh! I have a ton of new books this week. I belong to a book exchange group at Each month, I send an eBook to one member of the group, and one month everyone else sends a book to me. My turn was May, so I received a bunch of new books for my Kindle.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Sunday Summary: 3 May 2015

Where I've been reading

After the respite from travel last week, this week saw a return to business trips. I spent the majority of this week in Chicago. The weather has been pleasant, though it cooled off a bit toward the end of the week. (Must have been the NFL draft going on!) I was quite busy all week and had to squeeze in reading time in the evenings. Even so, I managed to finish three books, two of which were fairly short.


Saturday, May 02, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (30)

I continue to fight the urge to spend money on books. Fortunately, I still have a balance left from the gift cards I received for Christmas, and this week I bought a book printed on paper! That's the first one in 2015—all other purchases have been e-Books. And, just after I left town, I received notice that two library books I had requested were now available for pick-up. Hubby went by the library on Friday afternoon and checked them out for me; now let's see if I can get both read before we leave for Las Vegas on the 7th.