Wednesday, March 20, 2019

2019 Books 1-4


Frozen Out by Quentin Bates
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The discovery of a corpse washed up on a beach in an Icelandic backwater sparks a series of events that propels the village of Hvalvik's police sergeant, Gunnhildur, into deep waters.
Although under pressure to deal with the matter quickly, she is suspicious that the man's death was no accident and, once she has identified the body, Gunnhildur sets about investigating his final hours. The case takes her away from her village and into a cosmopolitan world of shady deals, government corruption and violence.  The police sergeant finds herself alone, less than welcome in this hostile environment, as she tries to find out who it was that made sure the young man drowned on a dark night, one hundred kilometers from where he should have been-and why. 
I enjoyed this book, although, as usual, struggled with all the Scandinavian names!  I didn't know at the time of reading that this is the first book in a series by this author.  The main character Detective Gunnhilder - Gunna for short a detective in a small rural office with three people!  She's very determined and once you get into the story it makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens.  I would probably read more books in this series.

Don't Let Go by Harlan Cohen

Suburban New Jersey detective Napoleon 'Nap' Dumas hasn't been the same since his senior year of high school, when his twin brother, Leo and Leo's girlfriend, Diana, were found dead on the railroad tracks-and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation.  For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother's death.  And now, it looks as though he may find what he's been looking for.
When Maura's fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions-about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana-whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.
I enjoyed this book.  It had lots of twists and turns. The ending was surprising but when you think back on the story, not so much.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
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Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.  He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He's a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener, and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister.  Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all.  You might not want to like them, but you do.  You're hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw.  You'd like to get to know Grace better.
But it's difficult, because you realize that Jack and Grace are inseparable. 
Some might call this true love.  Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone.  Or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn't work.  How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim.  
Or why  she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen.  Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows.
Some might wonder what's really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed. 
This book includes abuse of women, including intended abuse on a handicapped girl. It's dark to say the least.  So many things can happen in the life of a married couple and we wouldn’t know it.  I found the ending a little anticlimactic but wondered how else the situation could be resolved given everything that had happened previously.

The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash
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It's been ages since Rachael West has seen the man she once believed she couldn't live without.  Receiving his wedding invitation is bittersweet-she's oddly touched he asked her to come but knows that facing him at his wedding would be the hardest thing she'd ever have to do.
But her friends and family convince her to attend.  After all, it's an all expenses paid trip to Paris!  Surely she can get through that one day and spend the rest of the time discovering all the delights of that magical city.
So Rachael leaves her small town, setting off for the City of Lights with her best friend, two feuding neighbors, and a suitcase full of home-sewn couture.  She's determined to let Paris work its magic-and it does by way of a handsome photojournalist.  Before her adventure is over, Rachael will be faced with yet another choice.  But this time, hers isn't the only happiness at risk....
Racheal really annoyed me.  Some of the decisions she made just made me shake my head.  This is a typical romance story so you can probably figure out the ending.  Probably the best part was the setting.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Finally!!

Sunday we had our first day of above 0degreeC since January 31st!   We have had temps ranging from -3 to -31 and that doesn't include the wind chill that has sometimes sent it to the lower -40s!! It's been damn cold and we've had a few big dumps of snow as well.  Sunday was +1, Monday +12 and right now it's +3.  It's supposed to be between +2 and +13 during the day for the rest of the month-we'll see.  As I'm writing this it has started to snow and we are supposed to get 3-5cm.  Can't have everything.  Hopefully with the warmer temperatures it wont stick around too long.  We still have over a foot of snow on our covered deck roof.  DH will try and pull some of that off later today.  We still have over 4' on the lawns where I have had to shovel it.  
Sure hope the forecast for the day time temps. are right!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Eggnog Fruit Bread



This recipe is originally from 'Taste of Home' an American magazine that has lots of good recipes

Eggnog Fruit Bread

Makes 2 loaves
Oven 350F

3 eggs
1 cup veg. oil
3/4tsp. vanilla extract
3/4tsp. rum extract
1 1/2cups eggnog
3 cups flour, divided
2tsp. baking powder
1/2tsp. salt
1/2tsp. gr. nutmeg
1 cup glace cherries and pineapple combined
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In large bowl beat eggs and oil.  Beat in sugar, extracts and eggnog.
In another bowl combine 21/2 cups flour, b.p.,salt and nutmeg.  Gradually add to eggnog mixture.
Cut cherries and pineapple in half, toss with remaining flour.  Stir into batter.  Fold in walnuts.     Pour into 2 greased 8" x 3" loaf pans.Bake 60-65 mins. 'til toothpick comes out clean.
Cool 10 mins. then remove from pans and cool on wire rack.

This is great to use up all that eggnog we bought for Christmas, that I said we didn't need!!  Eggnog freezes well.









Sunday, February 3, 2019

OMG!!

It is soooooooo cold!!  -29C with a wind chill between -40-45C!!  Thank goodness our neighbour shoveled the front this morning.  I had shoveled the driveway yesterday when it was only -19C and there has only been about an inch since so it can stay until it warms up a bit!

Took a picture the other day of me au natural.  This is for my sister so she remembers what I look like, haha!!

Decided to do some baking.  These are eggnog loaves with glace cherries and pineapple!  Quite good.

Always love scones.  These are made with dried cranberries and blueberry yogurt.  Really good!

 Beautiful sunset the other night when we were coming home.  Too bad I had to take the picture over an industrial area.

The trees looked beautiful, from inside the house, yesterday.
Trying not to freeze here.  Take care.


Friday, January 11, 2019

Books 19-25 for 2018



Last of the 2018 books read.  Don't seem to get beyond the mid twenties every year!
The Moon Trilogy by C.L.Bevill
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Donovan is a werejaguar sworn to fight against his enemies, the dreaded werewolf clan - the Whitelaws. Isabella is an uncommon librarian, a member of the Committee. When she faces down the Whitelaws to retrieve a very dangerous book, she encounters Donovan and their lives will never be the same. 
Image result for the moon trilogy by c l bevill
Mirie is a Committee agent and sent to watch a handsome elvish prince. The prince allegedly has the Eyes of the Amber Moon, a magical artifact, that can be used to destroy the world. She quickly learns that all is not as it seems and the mystery of who she really is is connected to the enigmatic elfish realm. She must fight for herself, the relic, and her love for the halfling prince. 
Image result for silver moon trilogy by c l bevill
Jack Drake must discover what the secretive third part of the moon relic is and destroy it before it can be used to decimate
the world. The mysterious Asta is hot on Jack’s tail, eager to
gain his trust and find the Silver Moon’s Mystery. Together the pair must endure a trial of fire, dragons, and werewolves. 
These were 3 novellas that I read on my phone.  They were total fluff.  Very far fetched but at the same time kept you reading.  Not something I would buy but okay for reading when I was waiting at an appointment or in the car.
Hope this colour of green is easier to read than the previous one.
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Image result for Into the Water by Paula Hawkins review
A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.
I have to say I wasn't crazy about The Girl on the Train and I wasn't crazy about this book either. There's definitely a reason for the cast of characters at the beginning of the book.  I kept having to refer back to it to keep everyone straight. It  doesn't focus  on any one character, but rather moves between the perspectives of many members of a British town. On the whole I found it very disjointed. It is about who drowned, when they drowned, and why they drowned. After bouncing me around from one character to the next through the first half of the book, my interest quickly started to wane. At no time did I feel any suspense building nor could I form a connection with any of the unlikable characters. I found the ending was very lackluster. I don't think I will read another book by this author.
The Girl Before by J P Delaney
Image result for the girl before by j p delaney dust cover 
The Girl Before spins one woman's seeming good fortune, and another woman's mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.
Emma: Reeling from a traumatic break-in. Emma wants a new place to live and discovers One Folgate Street: an architectural masterpiece sleekly designed with soaring ceilings.  But there are rules for tenants.  The house's enigmatic architect likes to retain full control of the surroundings, mandating, among other things, no clutter of any kind.  The space is ingeniously crafted to transform its occupants.
Jane:After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start.  She is instantly drawn to One Folgate Street-and to its aloof but seductive creator.  Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home's previous tenant.  As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same pattern, makes the same choices, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.
Both women look alike, and both were involved with Edward Monkton, the architect and mastermind behind One Folgate Street--both also happen to bear an eerie resemblance to Edward’s deceased wife. Jane begins to investigate Emma’s death, and by doing so, puts herself in danger.  The women in this story were rather annoying.  They put up with so much crap and still didn't get the hell out of there.  They just annoyed me.  Parts of the book were intriguing but on the whole-stupid!
The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton
Image result for The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton
In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.
Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London,uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.
Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? As Elodie pursues these clues, the lives of the many people who have passed through the house are revealed.  There is Radcliffe, whose love affair with his model and muse consumes him; his sister Lucy, who opens a school for young ladies; Leonard Gilbert. a soldier and scholar who retreats to Birchwood after WW1 to heal and to write a biography of Radcliffe; Juliet. a young widow who takes refuge there with her three small children during the Blitz; and, in the present day, Jack Rolands, who has come from far away to search for lost treasure and who meets Elodie when she eventually arrives at the house.
Intricately layered and told by multiple voices across time, this is a kaleidoscopic story of murder, mystery, and thievery, of art, love, and loss.  And flowing through its pages like a river is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clock maker's daughter.
I have to say I have read all of Kate Morton's books and for the most part, really liked them. This one, not so much.  I had a difficult time following the jumping time lines and in turn, connecting with the characters. With so much going on I had a hard time connecting to the characters and story. Quite often I wouldn’t know who I was following and had to keep looking back. In the end I’d say this one just wasn’t my cup of tea but I’m sure some readers will love it.

The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson
Image result for The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson

Miranda Brooks grew up in the stacks of her eccentric Uncle Billy’s bookstore, Prospero Books, solving the inventive scavenger hunts he created just for her. But on Miranda's twelfth birthday, Billy has a mysterious falling-out with her mother, and Miranda doesn’t hear from him again until sixteen years later when she receives unexpected news: Billy has died and left her Prospero Books, which is teetering on bankruptcy—and one final scavenger hunt.
When Miranda returns home to Los Angeles and to Prospero Books—now as its owner—she finds clues that Billy has hidden for her inside novels on the store’s shelves, in locked drawers, in mailed packages. Miranda soon finds herself drawn into a journey where she meets people from Billy’s past, people whose stories reveal a history that Miranda’s mother has kept hidden—and the terrible secret that tore her family apart.
Bighearted and trenchantly observant, The Bookshop of Yesterdays is a lyrical story of family, love and the healing power of community. It’s a love letter to reading and bookstores, and a testament to how our histories shape who we become.
I actually enjoyed this book even though the ending was very predictable.  I loved the premise of the scavenger hunt and there were enough twists and turns to keep it interesting.

Well, that's it for 2018. 
I think my favourite books for the year were  
The Cuckoo's Calling,  The Silkworm and  Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith.
I also enjoyed
What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan  
Gray Mountain by John Grisham  
Name of Dead Girls by Eric Rickstad  
The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter 
I hope I have more favourites in 2019 than in 2018.


Saturday, January 5, 2019

All gone!


So here is the tree in all its glory.
 After about three weeks it's now undressed.
 And the house is back to normal for another year!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Where did the time go?


 I think I blinked and the time just flew by!  We were busy, busy, busy!! It was our wedding anniversary on the 22nd and we went out to one of our favourtite restaurants with friends. My side of the family got together at one of my brothers on the 23rd-17 of us with about a dozen missing!  On the 24th we had the kids and friends at our house-15 in all! Christmas day we went to friends, Boxing day out for Chinese food with family. 27th we went to BFF's for fondue! Phew!! 28th we had to go out and do a little restocking and finally on the 29th and 30th we got to stay home, by ourselves, and get some rest, do laundry, tidy the house, watch tv and eat leftovers!!
So with all that company and visiting others I managed to take virtually no pictures! 
We will be having 5 coming here for New Years dinner and then that's it for another year. I'll then be taking several days to take down the tree and decorations.
So from our house to your house we wish you a 
Happy and Healthy New Year!!