Sunday, October 6, 2019

Books 15-21

City of Endless Night by Preston & Child
Image result for city of endless night by preston & child
When Grace Ozmian, the beautiful and reckless daughter of a wealthy tech billionaire, first goes missing, the NYPD assumes she has simply sped off on another wild adventure. Until the young woman's body is discovered in an abandoned warehouse in Queens, the head nowhere to be found.
Lieutenant CDS Vincent D'Agosta quickly takes the lead. He knows his investigation will attract fierce scrutiny, so D'Agosta is delighted when FBI Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast shows up at the crime scene assigned to the case. "I feel rather like Br'er Rabbit being thrown into the briar patch," Pendergast tells D'Agosta, "because I have found you here, in charge. Just like when we first met, back at the Museum of Natural History."
First of all I didn't know that this was, I think, #17 in a series.  They are all independent stories but if I had read the other books I think I would have had a better understanding of D'Agosta and Pendergast.  I did enjoy this book although I did feel a bit confused at the end.  I don't know what the ex Jesuit priest had to do with the story.  It was definitely a page turner and I will look for other books in this series.

Inside Out Girl by Tish Cohen
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Rachel Berman wants everything to be perfect. An overprotective single mother of two, she is acutely aware of the statistical dangers lurking around every corner—which makes her snap decision to aid a stranded motorist wholly uncharacteristic. Len Bean is stuck on the shoulder with Olivia, his relentlessly curious, learning disabled ten-year-old daughter. To the chagrin of Rachel's children, who are about to be linked to the most-mocked girl in school, Rachel and Len begin dating. And when Len receives terrible news, little Olivia needs a hero more than ever.
But the world refuses to be predictable. When personal crisis profoundly alters Rachel's relationship with a wild, very special little girl, this perfectionist mother finds herself drawn into a mystery from her past and toward a new appreciation for her own children's imperfect lives.
This was another book that I read on my phone so my reading time was a bit sporadic.  It's a cute, funny, at times heart wrenching story.  Having worked with 'special ed.' kids for many years a 'got' Olivia but I found the story was just too pat.  We are left wondering what is going to happen (sequel?).  I found the ending was too hearts and flowers and rather unrealistic the way it came together.  It was as if the author ran out of time and had to wrap it up before she had really finished the story.

Slow Burn by Julie Garwood
Picture 1 of 1
An unpretentious beauty who radiates kindness, Kate MacKenna doesn't have a bad bone in her body-or an enemy in the world.  So why are bombs igniting everywhere she goes?  The first explosion brings her face-to-face with a handsome Charleston police detective.  The second one sends her into the arms of her best friend's brother-a Boston cop who's a little too reckless and way too charming for comfort.  But Dylan Buchanan won't let emotion prevent him from doing his job: Someone is trying to kill Kate, and Dylan is the only one standing between her and the monster who wants her dead.
I didn't realize that this book was part of a series.  I don't think you needed to read the others before reading this one.  I found it pretty light weight, although interesting.  I had an idea who the bad person was but the story did keep you guessing.  

The Late Show by Michael Connelly
The Late Show
Renee Ballard works the midnight shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing few as each morning she turns everything over to the daytime units.  It's a frustrating assignment for a once up-and-coming detective, but it's no accident.  She's been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.
But one night Ballard catches two assignments she doesn't want to part with.  First, a prostitute is beaten and left for dead in a parking lot.  All signs point to someone with big evil on his mind.  Then she sees a young waitress breathe her last after being caught in a nightclub shooting.  Against orders, Ballard works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night
As the investigations entwine, Ballard is forced to face her own demons and confront a danger she could never have imagined.  To find justice for these victims who can't speak for themselves, she must put not only her career but her life on the line.
I did enjoy this book although it does annoy me when a person (Renee) who should know better, does such stupid things.  She put herself in harms way so many times it was a little hard to believe.  It did keep me interested right the way through and I have read that this is a new series.  I would probably read more books in this series.

Silk by Penny Jordan
Image result for silk by penny jordan,
Cheshire, the 1920's, a time of great glamour and decadence, high living and loose morality, a time where anything goes-and does.
Amber Vrontsky is the heiress to the Pickford dynasty, presided over by the formidable Blanche.
Obsessed with social climbing, Blanche wants nothing more for her granddaughter than a titled husband-something which, despite her immense wealth, she failed to secure.
But free-spirited Amber is intent on forging her own artistic career with the silk she loves so much.  Unable to disobey Blanche, however, she moves to society London to become a debutante-and enters a world of illicit affairs, drug-taking, gambling, lavender marriages and corruption.From the lavish decadence of aristocratic London to the opium dens of the Far East, the chic boutiques of Paris to the Nazi-controlled streets of Berlin, Silk reveals the scandal and glamour of a tumultuous period in history.

I did enjoy this book and have since found out that it is the first book in a trilogy.  I will definitely look for the other two.  

The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham
Image result for The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham
When she was only ten years old, little Tilly Dunnage was forced to leave her hometown of Dungatar in rural Australia under a black cloud of accusation.
Years later Tilly, now a couturier for the Paris fashion houses, sweeps back into town hoping to make peace with her mentally unstable mother.
But mid-century Dungatar is a small town, and small towns have long memories.  At first she wins over the suspicious locals with her extraordinary dressmaking skills.  But when the eccentric townsfolk turn on Tilly for a second time, she decides to teach them a lesson...
Maybe the movie was better!! This might be one of the worst books I've actually finished reading. And I finished reading it because it is relatively short and I wanted to see if it would get any better. It didn't.  One of those books where you really don't like most of the characters, and there were so many of them to try and keep track of, but still read on to see what happens.  The towns people were not portrayed in a flattering light, and that was the entire town!  Didn't like most of the ending, I didn't think it made much sense.

Sunday, September 29, 2019


 We had a busy month.  Some of the highlights were my birthday.  We went out for a shrimp feast. It was sooooo good!!

 The dessert was to die for.  

 We went to Vernon BC to visit son #1 and DIL.  They moved there 3 years ago.  They live about 30 meters from Okanagan Lake.

 The deer were regular visitors to their back yard.
 DIL ready to go out and spray for spiders.  They get quite a few, but they mainly stay outside, thank goodness.
 Had a couple of visits with my sister and her family.

 Went out for a delicious birthday supper at a Greek restaurant for Garry's birthday.

 Bought some beautiful Mum's for DIL Rhonda for their deck.  The plant is about 30" across and has over 2 hundred blooms on it.  It will last much longer there because they don't get the winters we get.
 They're munching away across the street. 
 And then we came home to this!!
 All my pots and hanging baskets are buried.

 I don't think the solar lights will come on!!
 There's a hanging basket under there!
 The water barrel!
I think all my tomatoes are buried under a mountain of snow and will end up in the green bin.
I hope it brightens up in October.  It's way too early for all this white crap!!!

Thursday, August 29, 2019


No, we're not moving, but a house down the street did a couple of days ago.  I mean the entire house, all they left behind was the basement!
It took many days to get it to the point of actually moving it off the foundation. 
This is when they had it on a huge trailer and were moving it out onto the street.  At this point they had already turned it sideways as it was too wide to move it from the front.

 They unhooked it from the truck in the above picture.
 The truck below is the one that will move it to it's new location.  The cab part is parked in front of our house and the end of it is 2 houses down!!

It sat there until midnight when they would start the move.  It would take 2 hours to get to the city limits, which is a distance of 10 km, and then another 4 hours to get to the small town it is going to, which is another 90 km.  We heard the truck start up at midnight, we were in bed so didn't go out and watch.
The next morning all that was left were 3 big oil patches on the road in front of our house, thanks guys, and a big hole where the house was.
That was something we'll probably never see again!!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Books 10-14

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks
Image result for two by two by nicholas sparks
At thirty-two, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six-year-old daughter, and a successful career as an advertising executive.  But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear...and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down.
In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter London while struggling to adapt to a new and baffling reality.  Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and rewarding-one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined.
When a chance encounter with an old flame tempts him to take a chance on love again, he will navigate this new opportunity with trepidation and wonder.  And in the hard-won lessons of fatherhood, Russ will finally come to understand the true nature of unconditional love-that it is a treasure to be bestowed, never earned.
I did enjoy this book although I found it quite annoying at times.  The wife is a real piece of work and how Russ put up with so much of her behaviour drove me crazy.  It was quite predictable although the ending wasn't quite what I expected.

The Grand Duchess of Nowhere by Laurie Graham
Image result for Laurie graham the grand duchess of nowhere
There is one great love in everyone's life.  For Ducky, Queen Victoria's granddaughter, it was her Romanov cousin.  But forced to marry a German cousin, Ducky seems doomed to be a pawn on a dynastic chessboard.
Yet Ducky is not so easily controlled.  In an era when death is considered preferable to divorce she fights for the freedom to be with her true love. From exile in Paris to the glitter of St. Petersburg and the carnage of the Eastern Front, she forges her own path.
As Russia descends into the chaos of 1917 and the Romanov dynasty falls, Ducky is right at the heart of events.  Exiled once more, she tells us her story.
I enjoyed this book although I did struggle a bit with all the relationships and who was related to who.  The main characters were mainly the Romanovs.  The story covers WW1 and the Russian Revolution but focuses on 'Ducky'. 

Island of Bones by Imogen Robertson
Image result for island of bones imogen robertson
Cumbria, 1783
The tomb of the Earl of Greta should have lain undisturbed on its island of bones for 300 years.  Inside, however, is one body too many.
A Broken Heritage
Gabriel Crowther's family bought the Gretas' land long ago, and has suffered its own bloody history.  His brother hanged for killing their father, the Baron of Keswick, and Crowther has chosen anonymity over the title for thirty years.  But the mystery calls him home at last.
A Secret History
Travelling with forthright Harriet Westerman, escaping her own tragedy, Crowther finds a town caught between new horrors and old, where ancient ways challenge modern justice.  And against the wild backdrop of fells and water, Crowther's past will not stay buried.
I didn't know that this book was part of a series-book 3 I think.  It probably would have helped the story if I'd read the first two.  This is about a secret that has been buried for 300 years resurfacing. Everything that Crowther thought he knew is thrown into turmoil. It is an interesting read with lots of twists and turns.

Liar's Candle by August Thomas
Image result for liar's candle by august thomas
Penny Kessler is an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.  She wakes up in a hospital on the morning of July 5th to find herself at the center of an international crisis.  The day before, the Embassy was the target of a devastating terrorist attack that killed hundreds of Penny's friends and colleagues.  Not only has a photograph of Penny emerging from the rubble become the event's defining image, but for reasons she doesn't understand, her bosses believe she's a crucial witness.
Suddenly, everyone is intensely interested in what Penny knows.  As she struggles to piece together her memories, she discovers that Zach Robson, the young diplomat she'd been falling for all summer, went missing during the attack.  And one of the CIA's most powerful officials, Christina Ekdahl, wants people to believe Zach was a traitor.
What actually happened?
Penny barely has time to ask before she learns that her own government wants her dead.  With only a single ally-a rookie intelligence officer fresh out of the Navy-Penny is running a perilous gauntlet, ruthlessly pursued by Turkey's most powerful forces and by the CIA.  This is her first real test-one she can't fail.
This is a very enjoyable spy-type thriller set in modern day Turkey.   It is entertaining and fast paced as long as you are prepared to believe that naive rookies Connor and Penny could have the luck to manage everything that happens in a 24 hour period.  It was quite  fast-paced and exciting story and I was eager to keep reading to find out what would be the outcome.

Family Pictures by Jane Green
Image result for family pictures by jane green
Sylvie and Maggie are two women living on opposite coasts with children about to leave the nest for school.  Both are in their forties with husbands who travel more than either would like.  The looming emptiness of their respective homes has left them feeling anxious and lonely, needing their husbands to be home now more than ever.  It isn't until Eve, Sylvie's daughter, happens to befriend Maggie's daughter that the similarities between these two women become shockingly real.  A huge secret has remained well hidden for years until now, and their lives will be blown apart as dark truths from the past come to the surface.  Can these two women learn to forgive for the sake of their children?  For themselves.
I think most readers would have figured out what was happening very early on but it took quite a while for the 'secret' to be revealed.  Without giving away the story I'll just say it was interesting how each woman dealt with the 'secret'.  Not a bad summer read.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Animals and flowers

Just a few pictures of some of the animals on display in a sporting goods store in one of our malls.

More flowers in the garden.

My blueberries were coming along nicely. There were a few ripe ones ready to pick but I thought I would leave them until the next day.  Went out the next morning and all the ripe ones were gone.  I think a rabbit came to visit.  The next morning all the small green ones were gone.  I don't think he'll be back because he didn't leave any for another day!!