Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Book Review Tuesday

Boy I haven’t done this for a while! I was just telling Dr. M that these posts require my brain & I don’t have one on Monday nights, so I’m writing this on Saturday. On Saturdays I have half a brain :)

In the 8 weeks since I last posted I’ve read fourteen (14!) books. Granted, some of them were pretty short, but still… I do recall some late night reading. A number of the books were recommended on my book a day calendar from last year – I had saved up the ones that looked interesting for times when I wanted something different. So there’s a little more variety than usual.

[Editor’s Note: I can’t inflict 14 books on you at once! I’m just going to post 7 today & the rest next Tuesday. You’re welcome.]

1. The Cypher (Guardians Inc. #1), by Julian Rosado-Machain. This book is two stories in one. A glimpse into a multinational company that is in reality the oldest of secret societies … guiding and protecting humanity from creatures and forces that most of us believe are only mythology and fairy tales. The other is the story of Thomas Byrne, a young man thrust into secrets he shouldn't be aware of and dangers he shouldn't face, but that he ultimately will, for he is a Cypher. The only one who can steer humanity's future. The ultimate conspiracy theory is that Magic is real. Kept in check by technology, but every five hundred years the balance can shift and, if it does, technology will fail and those creatures we've driven into myth will come back with a vengeance.

The Bug Says: This was my Kindle freebie for book club for February. The story was pretty interesting – although it was yet another case of a boy saving the world. Don’t girls ever get to be heroes too? Unfortunately, being self-published, it was full of typos & such, so I gave it 2 stars. I’m reading the second book in the series right now. I’m going to try to power past the typos & enjoy the story. We shall see how it goes.

2.  Sycamore Row (Jake Brigance #2), by John Grisham. Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?

The Bug Says: I listened to this one on audio – I loved the southern accent of the narrator. And I really really wanted to love the book. It’s the first Grisham book I’ve read in a while. The main character was in the very popular A Time to Kill (you might remember that Matthew McConaughey & Sandra Bullock were in the movie version). But this book was very formulaic. I just was never really drawn in by the characters. And, I can’t believe I’m saying this, it was just too feel-good for a Grisham book. I gave it 3 stars.

3. Obsession in Death (In Death #40), by J.D. Robb. Eve Dallas has become the object of one person’s obsession. Someone who finds her extraordinary, and thinks about her every hour of every day. Who believes the two of them have a special relationship. Who would kill for her — again and again...

The Bug Says: I can’t believe we’re 40 books into this series! A few books ago I was wondering if the magic was fading, but the last several have been great (to me anyway). I gave it 4 stars.

4. What Happened to Cass McBride? by Gail Giles. Kyle Kirby has planned a cruel and unusual revenge on Cass McBride, the most popular girl in school, for the death of his brother David. He digs a hole. Drugs Cass. Kidnaps her. Puts her in a box-underground. He buries her alive. But Kyle makes a fatal error: Cass knows the power of words. She uses fear as her weapon to keep her nemesis talking - and to keep herself breathing during the most harrowing 48 hours of her life. 

The Bug Says: I found the book interesting, although by the end of it the only character I really liked was David, and since he was dead… The older brother was self-centered & slightly psychopathic, and Cass was what (I imagine) most teenage girls are like. By the end, neither of them had much of my sympathy! I gave the book 3 stars.

5. A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness, Jim Kay (Illustrator), Siobhan Dowd (Conception). The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming... This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

The Bug Says: What an interesting way to tackle a very painful subject! I won’t give away what the monster is after, but I will say that it was a really good look at all the emotions involved when a teenager goes up against something he thinks he can’t handle. I gave it 4 stars.

6. Gods and Beasts: An Alex Morrow Novel (Alex Morrow #3), by Denise Mina. It’s the week before Christmas when a lone robber bursts into a busy Glasgow post office carrying an AK47. An elderly man suddenly hands his young grandson to a stranger and wordlessly helps the gunman fill bags with cash, then carries them to the door. He opens the door and bows his head; the robber fires off the AK47, tearing the grandfather in two. DS Alex Morrow arrives on the scene and finds that the alarm system had been disabled before the robbery. Yet upon investigation, none of the employees can be linked to the gunman. And the grandfather—a lifelong campaigner for social justice—is above reproach. As Morrow searches for the killer, she discovers a hidden, sinister political network. Soon it is chillingly clear: no corner of the city is safe, and her involvement will go deeper than she could ever have imagined. 

The Bug Says: Oh I love me some Alex Morrow! So much more than a police procedural. Denise Mina is one of my new favorite authors. I gave it 4 stars.

7.  The Uninvited Guests, by Sadie Jones. One late spring evening in 1912, in the kitchens at Sterne, preparations begin for an elegant supper party in honour of Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday. But only a few miles away, a dreadful accident propels a crowd of mysterious and not altogether savoury survivors to seek shelter at the ramshackle manor - and the household is thrown into confusion and mischief. One of their number (who is most definitely not a gentleman) makes it his business to join the birthday revels. Evening turns to stormy night, and a most unpleasant game threatens to blow respectability to smithereens: Smudge Torrington, the wayward youngest daughter of the house, decides that this is the perfect moment for her Great Undertaking. 

The Bug Says: It took me a minute to figure out what the heck was happening in this very charming book. After I finished it I decided that it was a cross between Pride & Prejudice & Rocky Horror Picture Show. A LOT of fun! I have it 4 stars.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

2015 Project 365 – Week Thirteen

There aren’t very many pictures this week, & once again we very nearly missed getting a photo on one day. I’m just glad I took a random selfie (I have NO IDEA why I took the picture, except maybe to demonstrate that my hair is kind of out of control with static these days).

Sunday, March 22nd    
I had a very busy day today – church, taking communion to a sick parishioner, and then book club! I was laughing because we’re all about digital books in our book club (that thing that sort of looks book-like is the menu for the cafĂ© – ha!).

Monday, March 23rd
Dr. M saw some canvas-backed ducks today!

Isn’t this the saddest sight you ever saw?

Tuesday, March 24th        
Apparently Tuesdays are getting to be a problem – last Tuesday I had to use pictures from Dr. M’s university’s website. Today, you get me.

Wednesday, March 25th
Canada geese on the move…

And a random racing pigeon that just showed up in our neighborhood! Dr. M did some research & thinks it belongs to a racing club in Illinois. I think it was just a bit off course!

Thursday, March 26th   
I ran out of lettuce, but I was determined to have a salad anyway. Heh.

Dr. M got some great pictures of a blue heron in flight. Go to his blog here to see more.

Friday, March 27th  
Tree, or Ent – you make the call.

Fish & Chips Friday – yum!

Saturday, March 28th            
I didn’t have anything I needed to do today – such a nice feeling! So I spent some time watching spring training baseball & crocheting.

Well, we did have one thing to do – we attended a play at Dr. M’s university. It was very well done – and educational. Go here to read about the Living Newspaper type of production. Interesting!

The moon!
Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

2015 Project 365 – Week Twelve

Boy was it hard to get adjusted to being back at work this week! I felt sluggish & unproductive – although I did actually get a lot done. Dr. M took some great pictures this week & once again helped me out by posting them on his blog. Check it out here!

Sunday, March 15th   
Scenes from our back yard. Good to be home! 

Monday, March 16th  
Oh look – a cardinal! We never see those around here… :)

My daily walk – OUTSIDE! Ah…

Tuesday, March 17th        
Dr. M & I both forgot to take a picture today!!! I think this is the first time in several years (although I guess I could share my screen shot of my daily walk on the gazelle). However, I do have a couple of pictures to share – Dr. M gave a lecture at his university as part of a new installation there about the dust bowl. Good job sweetie!

Wednesday, March 18th
I had a busy day – work, then a meeting with our Rector, then this worship team meeting. Choir practice afterward…

While I was at the meeting I finished this scrubby dishcloth. I’m not sure about how effective it will be, but it was a LOT of fun to make.

That evening I thought this prayer for a Wednesday in Lent was especially relevant.

Thursday, March 19th   
Not content with the scrubby I decided to make a bath pouf. I’ve already used this & I would like to note that perhaps washing it first would have been a good idea – it was alarming to see the shower water run red. Ha!    

Dr. M got a wild hair & decided to pierce his ear again. Although I would also like to get another piercing in one of my ears I don’t think I’ll use his method.

Friday, March 20th  
Early morning on campus – were-deer!

Here they are in the light of day…

I started a new afghan square. The middle of it is pretty unusual – basically you crochet all these short rows & then sew it together to get a circle. I was skeptical until I tried it. Interesting!

Saturday, March 21st           

Dr. M was in his happy place out on the swing, so I had to join him.

My daily walk – I pushed myself to go further than usual. Ugh – yet another reminder that using a gazelle is NOT the same as actual walking! I need some more pretty days (& fewer meetings) so I can get more fit out in the real world.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

2015 Project 365 – Week Eleven

We were travelling this week so of course we have a lot of pictures. Fortunately, Dr. M posted a couple of blogs with sheep & bird pictures – so this post is only moderately long instead of really long :) Go here and here – really, you don’t want to miss out if you haven’t seen these photos!

Sunday, March 8th   
Headed to NC!! Scenes from the road.

The first thing I did after we unloaded the car was take a walk around my dad’s property. Spring!            

Monday, March 9th  
I missed seeing these crocuses yesterday – I laughed because I specifically went out to find them & got distracted by daffodils.

Dr. M always enjoys watching the birds from my dad’s sun room.

Daddy, Amy, & I did some mall walking.

And then I sat outside and crocheted for a while!

Tuesday, March 10th        
Dr. M went to visit his dad today, and of course wandered around a bit.

Meanwhile, I was taking pictures for my 10 on 10 post. (By the way, I went back & replied to all of your comments)

Wednesday, March 11th
Today I went with Dr. M to visit his dad. I wandered around his property.

Then we sat around for a while just talking about nothing in particular. Can you see the two cats in the bottom right picture?

And then we decided to take a swing that Dr. M’s dad had made a number of years ago. I’ll be excited to sit in it this spring & summer. It’s funny – we’ve been trying to bring my car (Daisy) on long trips, but this time Dr. M wanted to bring the Bugly. I guess now we know why!

Cool sky on our way back to Daddy & Amy’s house.

Thursday, March 12th   
Daddy & I went to a local parking lot to take my daily walk.

This plant grows in my dad’s yard in the winter – one or two leaves come up every year. There are never any blooms. Facebook seemed to think it’s trillium – what does blogland say?           

Friday, March 13th  
We headed home today and took our usual short detour to check out the critters.

We stopped at Tamarack & wandered around so I could get my daily walk. We called the sculpture “B.O. Man” – but if you read what it’s about it’s actually very powerful.

Saturday, March 14th          
Dr. M sprained his ankle while we were in NC (a dream battle involving the Simpsons + and a bed too near the wall = crunched ankle). Anyway, he was supposed to be taking it easy. I came home from the grocery store to find him cutting back honeysuckle vines. Men!

My daily walk – outside!! It was a bit breezy, but otherwise quite wonderful. Yay!

Hope everyone has a great week!

2024 Project 365 – Week Twenty-three

As I had hoped, this week was a bit less chaotic – I worked a lot of hours, but they were orderly and I made headway on some of the tasks on...