Books

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Books 24-28

 One Left Alive by Helen Phifer


When the body of a woman is found hanging from a tree in her front garden, rookie Detective Morgan Brookes is first on the scene. But Olivia Potter is past saving. And when her husband and daughters cannot be traced, Morgan knows there is more to this tragedy. And then she finds them. Lying huddled together in the dark basement, each of their faces covered with a small cotton cloth, their bodies cold to the touch.
But as Morgan kneels beside the family, she realises that one of the girls is still breathing. As she holds Bronte’s fragile hand in hers, begging her to hold on, she vows to find out who has done this.
Every day Morgan wakes at 4:25 AM, her old insomnia now mixed with a new fixation on the case. But every clue about the murdered family leads to a dead end. Until, trawling through old files, she discovers a link to a cold case from years ago. Another family was murdered in this house, and the killer was never caught.
When Morgan returns to the scene of the crime to discover more about this forgotten case, she finds another body.
With Bronte still unconscious in hospital, Morgan must act fast to solve this case and lay two families to rest, before the killer returns for the girl left alive…
I enjoyed this book, it kept me wanting to read to find out 'who did it'.  I had an inkling but it was still rather shocking at the end.

Long Dark Night by Susan Lund


Two teenage boys went missing from a park in King County a decade ago. While one of the boys was found days later, his body discarded in a ravine in the forest on Tiger Mountain, the other boy was never found.
Until now.
After a property developer’s front end loader unearths the skeletal remains of several teenage boys from around Washington State, the missing boy’s remains are identified. As a result, King County Cold Case Investigator Michael Carter looks into the cases. He suspects they are linked to several current disappearances of teenage boys who were either living on friend’s sofas or on the streets. Believing he has another serial killer on his hands, Carter works with the FBI’s CARD Team to try to locate the missing boy.
When Carter gets too close for comfort, he becomes the target of the serial killer’s rage, leading to a showdown between the two adversaries on one long dark night…
This was an interesting book about a sick, sick serial killer.  It became quite exciting and stressful towards the end.

When Birds Fall Silent by Shana Frost

Blaine Macgregor vanished on a summer’s night fifteen years ago. Now, DI Callan Cameron is investigating his case one last time. But for Callan it means unearthing a bygone summer he’d rather forget.

Amateur sleuth Aileen Mackinnon overhears a guest’s puzzling conversation and can’t stop asking questions. Is she being duped again? With Callan refusing to open up about his case, Aileen needs a distraction. What better than a case of her own?
As Aileen and Callan balance on a thin rope of backstabbing and trust, one question haunts them: Is Blaine still alive?           This had me guessing who the bad guy was.  I found some of it quite silly and unrealistic but the mystery kept me reading.

All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny


On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand's godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man's life.
When a strange key is found in Stephen's possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d'Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art.
It sends them deep into the secrets Armand's godfather has kept for decades.
A gruesome discovery in Stephen's Paris apartment makes it clear the secrets are more rancid, the danger far greater and more imminent, than they realized.
Soon the whole family is caught up in a web of lies and deceit. In order to find the truth, Gamache will have to decide whether he can trust his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past. His own family.
For even the City of Light casts long shadows. And in that darkness devils hide.
Lots of corruption, corporate espionage, fraud, murder, betrayal, doctored evidence, dirty politics, and the inappropriate, and deadly use of a chemical. I found the story confusing at times because there were so many characters it was hard to keep them all straight.
Coming Out by Danielle Steel                                  
               
 

Olympia Crawford Rubinstein has a busy legal career, a solid marriage, and a way of managing her thriving family with grace, humor, and boundless energy. With twin daughters finishing high school, a son at Dartmouth, and a kindergartner from her second marriage, there seems to be no challenge to which Olympia cannot rise. Until one sunny day in May, when she opens an invitation for her daughters to attend the most exclusive coming-out ball in New York–-and chaos erupts all around her. One twin’s excitement is balanced by the other’s outrage; her previous husband’s profound snobbism is in sharp contrast to her current husband’s flat refusal to attend.
For Olympia’s husband, Harry, whose parents survived the Holocaust, the idea of a blue-blood debutante ball is abhorrent. Her daughter Veronica, a natural-born rebel, agrees–-while Veronica’s identical twin, Virginia, is already shopping for the perfect dress. Then there’s Olympia’s ex, an insufferable snob, who sees the ball as the perfect opportunity for a family feud. And amid all the hubbub, Olympia’s college-age son, Charlie, is facing a turning point in his life–-and may need his mother more than ever. But despite it all, Olympia is determined to steer her family through the event until, just days before the cotillion, things begin to unravel with alarming speed.
From a son’s crisis to a daughter’s heartbreak, from a case of the chicken pox to a political debate raging in her household, Olympia is on the verge of surrender. And that is when, in a series of startling choices and changes of heart, family, friends, and even a blue-haired teenager all find a way to turn a night of calamity into an evening of magic. As old wounds are healed, barriers are shattered and new traditions are born, and a debutante ball becomes a catalyst for change, revelation, acceptance, and love.      I guess the above says it all.  I did find this book about on a par with a  Harlequin romance!  
That would be the end of all the books read in June. 



Wednesday, July 3, 2024

WATER!!!

Finally, after 26 days the indoor  water restrictions have been lifted!! That means indoor swimming pools will be refilled, hockey arenas flooded and carwashes can resume. We have been told that we can go back to normal at home but have been asked to practice restraint.  If you have 4 loads of laundry to do please try to spread it over 4 days rather than all at once as the water is still only running at 50% capacity. So I ran the dishwasher Monday night, did a load of laundry yesterday and one today. We still haven't been told when outdoor restrictions will be lifted so still no watering of gardens by hosepipe, just by rain barrels and the miraid of containers that people have been using to collect rain water, which we have had a lot of recently.  Temperatures are supposed to be in the 30s this coming week so hopefully the restrictions will be lifted soon. Also the Calgary Stampede starts tomorrow.  It is a 10 day event and over 1.4million people usually attend, many from around the world.  If you've never been it is quite a spectacular event. It also brings a LOT of money into the city over the 10 days.  The push was really on to have the water issue solved by the time Stampede starts! I'm just glad to be able to have a longer shower, flush the toilet everytime and do laundry!  Simple pleasures!!!

DH had his checkup with the surgeon.  Everything is fine, see you at 6 months! The location of the clinic is right downtown. A place we never ever go, except to the Hip and Knee clinic which is where we both had to go.  I'm sure there is more construction going on downtown than in 6 cities put together.  Because we never go down there nothing is familiar anymore and it is like gridlock due to the amount of traffic and construction.  We have been very lucky as for myself and DH our youngest son always taken us down there for our appointments and brought us home.  As well as his regular job he sometimes worked as an Uber driver so he knows all the short cuts and would get us there in no time.  This appointment he had to go out of town for work and couldn't take us.  DH was so stressed about this but we did manage to get GD Kelsey to drive us down and her husband picked us up to bring us home, phew! I think the older we get the more stressful stuff like this becomes. It's also a little annoying when you go through all this to spend 2 minutes with the surgeon, who probably asked 2 questions and the same with the physio.  We were in and out in about 10 minutes. At least everything is fine.

Monday, June 17, 2024

New Hip

 DH had his hip replacement 6 weeks ago on Thursday.  I am amazed at his recovery.  I can only compare it to my knee replacement and it is like night and day. He went down the basement stairs on the third day post op, it took me months before I could do that. He used a 2 wheel walker for 3 days and then transitioned to his cane. He use that for about 2 weeks and now he just carries it. If we go to a grocery store he will use a scooter if they have one, if not he will hang onto the grocery cart.  He also likes to walk a lap of the mall everyday as well.  I have finally convinced him that walking the grocery store and the mall in the same day is too much as he does pay for it over night. It's one or the other, at the moment. He only took Tylenol3 for 3 days and then stopped because of the consequences of the codiene.  Now he just takes Tylenol Arthritis. He's virtually pain free, which he hasn't been for 2 years. He is faithfully doing the excercises, using the ice machine and elevating the leg every day and it seems to be making a difference. He's anxious to see what they say at his 6 week checkup on Wednesday.

On June 5th there was a massive water main break in our city. It directly impacted 1 neighbourhood and indirectly impacted the entire city-1,665,000 people. The one neighbourhood had to boil water and get their water from water wagons. The rest of the city was told to limit water use drastically as we could run out of water.  This is a major water line that is 11Km long.  The pipe is 2 meters high and across. By day 5 the leak has been located and that section of pipe is removed.  By day 10 robots have been sent down the pipe and they have found 5 more leaks. So now there is a massive search across N. America to try to locate the parts to do the repairs. We have some here but not everything for something of this magnitude. So on day 11 the city is put on a State of Emergency and we are told that this will take 3-5 weeks to repair!!!!  Of course, everyone is hoping it will take a lot less time. May 25th long weekend, Victoria Day, is the traditional planting date here when the chance of frost has hopefully past.  Most people have bought all their bedding out plants and planted all their flowers and vegetables. Now we are not allowed to water anything outside.  Fortunately we got a lot of rain on the 11th day and everyone put out every container they owned to collect the rainwater.  So today we are 13 days into this, the original break has been repaired and they are starting on the other breaks. I don't think people realize how much water you actually use until you're told to conserve, conserve, conserve. Hopefully this will be resolved sooner than we've been told.  We can only hope!!



Saturday, June 1, 2024

Books 16-23

 Throwaway Jane by Scott William Carter


Former FBI agent Karen Pantelli lives by a simple philosophy: never, ever care. Three years after a tragic mistake ends her once-stellar career, she drifts from one dead-end job to another, quickly moving on when she finds herself getting too attached. A new city. A new life. A new way of forgetting and being forgotten.
Until one chilly night behind a seedy bar, when a frightened girl leaps out of the back of a speeding van.
As they end up on the run in a thrilling chase that spans half the country, Karen soon realizes it's much easier to say you don't care than to actually mean it. And that unlocking the secrets in this girl's extraordinary mind might not only save both of them, but bring down one of the most sinister organizations the world has ever known.
I did enjoy this book.  It was very fast paced and therefore a quick read.  I think the main character was made to be a bit over the top with her super duper marshal arts skills.

Partners by Nora Roberts

Long before he met her, Matthew Bates loved Laurel Armand. Working with her brought both pleasure and pain, because the sexy Southern belle kept him at a professional distance. Then the rival reporters were thrown together on a case of murder and madness—where much more than love was at stake.
This book had the typical ending but it wasn't too bad getting there.

The Art of Deception by Nora Roberts

Adam Haines was an artist visiting the Fairchild mansion to do some undercover digging, and that was a problem for a man who preferred to be straightforward. An even bigger problem was Kirby Fairchild, daughter of the world-famous painter he'd been sent to investigate. She was part child, part elf, and the most fascinating woman he'd ever encountered. However, Kirby had a disconcertingly fluid sense of right and wrong -- one completely at odds with Adam's own code of ethics. Adam wished he wasn't wrapped quite so tightly around her little finger . . .
This book was so ridiculous I don't even know why I finished it.  Not a book I would recommend
I have a bunch of Nora Roberts books that I gave to the annual charity book sale that I donate to every year without reading them  The ones I kept to read I am trying to get through and then I doubt I will buy another one of her books.  It's funny because I really like the books she writes as J.D.Robb.

Something Blue by Emma Jameson
Lord & Lady Hetheridge, Book Three

Anthony Hetheridge, ninth baron of Wellegrave and chief superintendent for New Scotland Yard, will marry Kate Wakefield in three weeks. It’s inevitable–-the invitations are out, the flowers are ordered, the cake is chosen. But murder waits for no man, and no wedding.
In London’s prestigious West End, a disgraced CEO has been murdered at Hotel Nonpareil, an exclusive destination. No one, it seems, liked Michael Martin Hughes. Not his estranged wife, Thora, or his defiant son, Griffin. Not Hotel Nonpareil’s manager, its head of security, or perhaps even the other two women in Hughes’s life: his future bride, Arianna, or his other girlfriend, Riley. Still more ominously, before Hughes died, he incurred the wrath of a potentially more unforgiving foe: Sir Duncan Godington, longtime nemesis of both CS Hetheridge and DS Deepal “Paul” Bhar.
For the first time, CS Hetheridge, Kate and Bhar find themselves under tremendous pressure to uncover the killer in the shortest time frame ever. Has Scotland Yard, not to mention Downing Street, lost confidence in Hetheridge? Will the murder conviction rest on hard forensic evidence, a mountain of circumstantial details, or an impulsive theft?
I've really enjoyed these books.  There is a continuing story from book to book but there is also a different crime to solve in each book.  I really liked the ending of this book.

The Cottage by the Loch by Kennedy Kerr

The cottage stood alone on a rocky outcropping at the edge of the loch.  Standing in the garden amongst the wildflowers, shw felt the weight of the tattered envelope in her hands.  Maybe there was somehing keeping her here in Scotland, a secret waiting to be uncovered...
New Yorker Zelda Hicks has jusr lost her mother, and the only thing she knows about her father is that he was from Scotland. So a work trip tp the Scottish village of Loch Cameron couldn't
be better timed. Maybe a break in the beautiful rolling hills of heather will help her reconnect with her roots and recover from her grief.
Then, on a walk around the loch one bright morning, she comes across a tiny, tumbledown cottage, nestled on the edge of the forest.  The elderly owner, Gretchen Ross, invites her in  for buttery shortbread, and after learning that Gretchen might lose the cottage that has been in her family forever, Zelda vows to help her.  She didn't bargain on butting heads with the handsome, blue-eyed laird Hal Cameron in the process.  Zelda can't seem to forget Hal's shy smile and she soon learns they might have more in common than she first thought.
But when Zelda discovers a bundle of old letters hidden in the back of an antique wardrobe at the cottage, they lead her back to the mysterious Hal.  Pushing Zelda to examine her own family history, the letters reveal a secret that the community has kept hidden for over a generation.  Hal says he wants to help Zelda, but just as she begins to open up, she learns he isn't being entirely honest either...Can Zelda trust him, and finally come to terms with her own past, or will uncovering this secret force her to leave Loch Cameron for good?
This was a cute story.  Typical light reading and ready for a book 2.

An English Garden Murder by Katie Gayle

Julia Bird's picturesque Cotswolds cottage has everything she could want. Rustic charm, cosy fireplaces and, it turns out, a dead body in the garden...
Recently divorced and reluctantly retired, Julia Bird has fled London to enjoy idyllic rural life in the Cotswolds. Determined to have the perfect English garden, her first job is to tear down the old shed, where she unearths much more than she'd bargained for...A body, apparently buried for decades. But who could it be, and who killed them? The police draw a blank, and even the gossip-fest that is the local bookclub can't remember anyone going missing in the village.
Unable to get on with her garden until the mystery is resolved Julia decides to conduct her own clandestine investigations. So, together with her wayward chocolate Labrador puppy Jake, Julia begins a whirlwind tour of the local residents.  And everyone, it seems, has something to hide in this village. As she gets closer to the truth, Julia uncovers something even more shocking...Another body, this time of someone she actually knows.
Determined to unmask the killer and find out what connects the two dead bodies, Julia-newly nicknamed the Grim Reaper-ups the stakes and hones in on the most likely suspect. But if she hasn't deduced correctly, then there is someone else in the village who has killed twice already. Will they be prepared to make it third time lucky to keep their secret safe? 
This was interesting and did keep me guessing almost to the end.

Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy


Clara Casey has more than enough on her plate. Her daughters Adi and Linda were no problem during the usually turbulent teens. Now Adi is always fighting for or against something: the environment or the whale or battery farming; while Linda lurches from one unsatisfactory relationship to the next. As if this wasn't enough, Clara, a senior cardiac specialist, has a new job to cope with - and now her ex-husband wants something from her...
For Ania, meeting Clara is a miracle. She never intended to leave to leave Poland - but perhaps a new job in a new country will mend her broken heart?  Declan is looking forward to joining the clinic - but what should have been a straightforward six-month posting brings him far more than he expected.
Then there's Father Brian Flynn, whose life is turned upside down when his reputation is threatened; and the beautiful, cheerful nurse, Fiona, who can't leave her troubled past behind...
I think this was one of Maeve Binchy's better books. It was like a bunch of short stories that end up all connected. I had a little confusion about some of the characters because, for the most part, I have read a lot of her books out of order.
 




Sunday, May 5, 2024

Books 12-15

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley 

Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.
The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.
The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge
Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.
This is about Ben and his step-sister Jess getting involved with a 'family' of disfunctional people that are hiding many secrets. After arranging with Ben to come and stay with him he's nowhere to be found when she arrives. As Jess digs deeper to find him she realizes she needs to be afraid. Something is not right here and now she may be next on the chopping block. Interesting but pretty weird!

The Lost Girls of Ireland by Susanne O'Leary
A story about family secrets and one woman’s escape to dreamy Sandy Cove on the stunning west coast of Ireland.
The picturesque beach of Wild Rose Bay is the last place Lydia Butler thought she’d be. But having just lost everything, the run-down cottage she inherited from her Great Aunt Nellie is the only place she can take her daughter, Sunny. Hidden away in a tiny Irish village, she can protect Sunny from the gossip in Dublin, and the real reason they have nowhere else to live…
The cottage is part of the old coastguard station and other eccentric residents are quick to introduce themselves when Lydia arrives. Lydia instantly feels less alone, fascinated by the stories they have about Nellie, and she’s charmed by American artist, Jason O’Callaghan, the mysterious man who lives next door.
But the longer Lydia relaxes under the moonlit sky, the more the secret she’s keeping from Sunny threatens to come out. And as she finds herself running into Jason’s arms, she knows she must be honest and face up to the past she has tried to forget. Has she finally found people who will truly accept her, or will the truth force her to leave the cottage for good?
Interesting story.  Light summer type read where everything falls nicely into place.  

Ice Blue by Emma Jameson
Lord & Lady Hetheridge, Book One

Anthony Hetheridge, ninth Baron of Wellegrave, Chief Superintendent for New Scotland Yard, never married, no children, no pets, no hobbies, and not even an interesting vice, will turn sixty in three weeks. With the exception of his chosen career, too sordid for his blue-blooded family to condone, his life has been safe and predictable. But then he meets Detective Sergeant Kate Wakefield — beautiful, willful, and nearly half his age. When Hetheridge saves the outspoken, impetuous young detective from getting the sack, siding with her against Scotland Yard's powerful male hierarchy, his cold, elegantly balanced world spins out of control. Summoned to London's fashionable Belgravia to investigate the brutal murder of a financier, Hetheridge must catch the killer while coping with his growing attraction to Kate, the reappearance of an old flame, and the secret that emerges from his own past.
This is the first book in the Lord and Lady Hetheridge series.  I quite enjoyed this book with some interesting characters.  I look forward to reading the second book.

Blue Murder by Emma Jameson
Lord & Lady Hetheridge, Book Two

Two Dead Men
In London’s fashionable Chelsea, a Halloween bash goes terribly wrong. Emmeline Wardle, daughter of a frozen foods baron, throws a party which results in the demise of two university schoolmates. Handsome golden boy Trevor Parsons is dead. So is pasty computer nerd Clive French. Both died on the Wardle estate within minutes of one another, and both died the same way – an axe to the skull. Given the social connections of all involved, New Scotland Yard sends a real baron to investigate: Chief Superintendent Anthony Hetheridge, also known as Lord Hetheridge, ninth baron of Wellegrave.
Two Prime Suspects
This time around, Detective Sergeant Kate Wakefield and her partner, Detective Sergeant Deepal “Paul” Bhar, have their work cut out. Bhar must contend with Emmeline Wardle, a spoiled blonde with a penchant for the finer things, including a certain illegal white powder. Kate must decide if Kyla Sloane, model-pretty and delicate, is being truthful about the events of that fateful night. And if Kyla’s connection to a former lover of Bhar’s means nothing – or everything.
This book kept me guessing right to the end.  Good read.

That's it for books for April.


Wednesday, May 1, 2024

May came in like a LION!!!


Monday was a beautiful day.  Neighbours were out doing yard work, mowing lawns . I noticed that I had one little crocus in my flower bed and probably about 100 tulips all in bud. Nice end to April.

Er, no!  


Woke up yesterday morning and this is what we saw!! Five inches of wet, heavy snow. Fortunately for us the neighbours had already shovelled the walks for us.  The temperature was high enough that the snow on the roads soon turned to sloppy soup and dried up.  But not before there had been many accidents around the city. All the lawns are white and will be for a while. We are expecting the same amount of snow again today.  It's times like this we are so glad we are retired and don't have to go out if we don't want/have to. 
Garry's surgery has been delayed.  It's now May 9th.  Fortunately only one weeks delay.  We were told we are very lucky it is only a week as some were delayed for over a month!  No reason given. 

 

Monday, April 1, 2024

Books 7-11

 A Friend of the Family by Stuart Field


Families are dying. No matter how hard DCI Platt tries, he's not seeing a pattern; not even after his own wife and daughter are targeted. Young Melanie has forgotten what life outside Larksford House was like. She's been in for so long. But when Toby joins the team, she starts to remember. She really shouldn't be there. Professor Hicks is delighted that Toby has made the breakthrough for him. It might actually allow Hicks to improve his own fortunes. Bill Brown sells security; his business improves with every strike of the family killer. As fear in the community grows, Bill's ability to gain a stranger's trust comes to the fore. But what is he hiding? As the clock ticks, can Platt get closer to the killer, and will Melanie remember the truth?

You would think that with the length of the book and number of chapters there would have been a few things resolved, even though there is another book in the series. I did enjoy this book but the ending left much to be desired!

Something really major, for me, in this book was the need for a proof reader. There were so many spelling mistakes and grammatical errors that it became quite distracting

Homecoming by Kate Morton


Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959: At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek on the grounds of the grand and mysterious mansion, a local delivery man makes a terrible discovery. A police investigation is called and the small town of Tambilla becomes embroiled in one of the most shocking and perplexing murder cases in the history of South Australia.
Sixty years later, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for almost twenty years, she now finds herself laid off from her full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call out of nowhere summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Nora, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and been raced to the hospital.
Nora has always been a vibrant and strong presence: decisive, encouraging, young despite her years. When Jess visits her in the hospital, she is alarmed to find her grandmother frail and confused. It’s even more alarming to hear from Nora's housekeeper that Nora had been distracted in the weeks before her accident and had fallen on the steps to the attic—the one place Jess was forbidden from playing in when she was small.
At loose ends in Nora's house, Jess does some digging of her own. In Nora's bedroom, she discovers a true crime book, chronicling the police investigation into a long-buried tragedy: the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959. It is only when Jess skims through the book that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous crime—a crime that has never been resolved satisfactorily. And for a journalist without a story, a cold case might be the best distraction she can find…
I have read all of Kate Mortons books and usually enjoy them but I found this one really dragged. In fact I was quite bored in parts. I think it could have been condensed into 300 pages instead of 500. I found the last 100 pages, for the most part, beyond belief.

The Boardwalk Bookshop by Susan Mallery


When fate brings three strangers to a charming space for lease on the California coast, the Boardwalk Bookshop is born. Part bookstore, part gift shop, part bakery, it's a dream come true for Bree, Mikki and Ashley. But while their business is thriving, their personal lives are…not.
Bree, wounded by brilliant but cold parents and her late husband's ultimate betrayal, has sworn to protect her heart at all costs. Even from Ashley's brother, a writer and adventurer who has inspired millions. He's the first man to see past Bree's barricades to her true self, which terrifies her. Mikki has this divorce thing all figured out—somehow, she's stayed friends with her ex and her in-laws…until a new man changes how everyone looks at her, and how she sees herself. Meanwhile, Ashley discovers that the love of her life never intends to marry. Can she live without being a wife if it means she can have everything else she's ever wanted?
At sunset every Friday on the beach in front of the Boardwalk Bookshop, the three friends share a champagne toast. As their bond grows closer, they challenge one another to become the best versions of themselves in this heartachingly beautiful story of friendship, sisterhood and the transformative power of love.
Easy read, very predictable but I enjoyed it.

The Girls of Mersey Square by Pam Howes
 


Mersey Square, Stockport, 1959. Jane Wilson’s parents met during the war in the north of England, but Jane is more interested in listening to the new rock music than hearing stories about the Blitz. When she meets handsome drummer Eddie Mellor, with his sparkling blue eyes and cool black leather jacket, she knows her life is about to start.
But Jane’s parents think Eddie’s rebellious ways will lead their beloved daughter into trouble. They forbid her from seeing Eddie, telling Jane to get a proper job as a nurse. But Jane cannot stand the idea of life without the boy she loves and secretly continues to see Eddie. The day she finds out that Eddie has betrayed her, she is utterly distraught. Were her parents right all along?
Jane is desperate to rebuild her life. Her friends rally round to support her and she gets a job at the local music shop she loves, when to her shock, Eddie invites her to his family home and begs her to reconsider. Just as Jane is feeling tempted, someone pounds on the door of the house bringing shocking news that will change both of their lives forever…
Can Jane find happiness with Eddie? And if she does, will her family ever forgive her?

This is a story about randy, horny boys and silly, niave girls all between the ages of 14 and 17. The ending was a bit abrupt obviously ending that way so you will buy the next book.  If it comes up free on my book app I'll read the next one.

Her Sister's Death by K.L.Murphy


When her sister is found dead in a Baltimore hotel room, reporter Val Ritter’s world is turned upside down. What’s worse—an empty pill bottle at the scene leads the police to believe the cause of death is suicide. With little more than her own conviction, Val teams up with a retired detective who has his own personal interest in the case.
But digging into the corners of her sister’s life and retracing her last days, will lead them to the hotel’s dark, sordid history. In 1921, another guest on the brink of womanhood, will soon marry an eligible older man, sure to be a comfortable match—or is it?
With time running short, Val races to uncover the truth behind her connection to the woman in 1921, and the detective who knows more than he should about her sister, the hotel, and its sinister secrets.
There were two timelines in this book. One was present day and one in the 1920s. How the two events are connected don't come together until the end of the book. The present day story line kept me guessing until pretty close to the end.  The 1920s storyline was pretty brutal and hard to read but I wish that part of the story had gone on longer than it did. I did like this book and would read another book by this author.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Our usual spring storms


Since last Tuesday evening we have had six straight days that it snowed ALL THE TIME!! Enough, enough, enough!!  It didn't snow yesterday so we went out and got a few groceries. We had a skiff of snow over night and now it is bright sunshine but still cold.  We are suposed to get +1C for the next 3 days and then back to the minuses and more snow.  We have had over 65cm of snow so far.

We did get some great news last Friday. Garry will have his hip replacement surgery on May 2nd! That took 6months from the referrel to the surgery.  Much better than the 2 years it took for me to get my knee replacement! He/we can't wait for it to happen.  He is in a lot of pain right now and only getting worse as time goes on.

GD Annika is working on The Abandons, a Western action drama series that is being filmed here.  She is the head lead paramedic. She is really enjoying it but it is very long days.

And just a few pictures to end on a happy note!!

Walker, 18months old!






Friday, March 1, 2024

Books 5-6

 The Innocent by Posie Graeme-Evans


The year is 1450, a dangerous time in medieval Britain. Civil unrest is at its peak and the legitimacy of the royal family is suspect. Meanwhile, deep in the forests of western England, a baby is born. Powerful forces plot to kill both mother and child, but somehow the newborn girl survives. Her name is Anne.
Fifteen years later, England emerges into a fragile but hopeful new age, with the charismatic young King Edward IV on the throne. Anne, now a young peasant girl, joins the household of a wealthy London merchant. Her unusual beauty provokes jealousy, lust, and intrigue, but Anne has a special quality that saves a vast knowledge of healing herbs. News of her extraordinary gift spreads, and she is called upon to save the ailing queen. Soon after, Anne is moved into the palace, where she finds her destiny with the man who will become the greatest love of her life -- the king himself. 

 If your looking for a book that is historically correct then this isn't the book for you. If you can ignore all that then it isn't a bad story.  It follows the life of Anne from peasant to living in the royal household. 

Man in the Water by Jon Hill


THE FALL WAS JUST THE BEGINNING...
An attempted murder.
A missing spouse.
And an international conspiracy that could change the world.
Jack Green has always been skeptical of so-called facts. Though he's forced to confront the reality about his wife's recent cancer diagnosis, he puts his own needs aside to make the best of what may be their last vacation. But he's shocked to be rudely awoken in his stateroom, abducted by masked men and thrown off the cruise.
Plucked from the ocean's cold grip of death, he fears the worst when he learns his spouse has disappeared. But when he returns home to find his mother-in-law and son missing, his frantic search reveals a staggering secret he refuses to believe... until someone tries to kill him.
Can Jack uncover the conspiracy surrounding his family before the next attempt on his life succeeds?
For me this story was so far fetched and ridiculous. The absurdity level at times really went beyond belief. Between the FBI, CIA, KGB, FSB and Russian spys nobody was believable. This was the first book in a series but I will not be reading any of the others.

Only two books for February but I do have 3 other books that I am more than halfway finished so they will be in the March group.

We are having quite the weather event at the moment. Yesterday morning it was -2C and sunny. Kelsey was at work downtown and would be coming here when she finished work. Kelseys husband, Joel, GGS Walker and DIL Rhonda would be coming from their house and picking up pizza for supper on the way. At about 5pm it was like someone had flipped a switch.  It became very windy, instantly dark and a blizzard was happening. We couldn't even see the end of our driveway it was coming down so hard.  I phoned DIL and they had already picked up the pizza and then it took them 30mins. to make a 5mins. drive to our house. Of course, when they left home it was quite nice.  I phoned Kelsey and she said she had been on the road 20mins. and she had gone one block. We decided that she should just go home as by the time she got here it would be past Walkers bedtime. It is 26Km. from her work to her home.  Normally it would take her 20 mins. but it took her almost 3 hours.  As soon as we had eaten the ones that came to our house were on the road to go home, a 14Km. drive which usualy takes 15mins. but it took them over an hour.  Fortunately everybody got home safe and sound. The temperature had also dropped to -22C.
I got up at 7:00 this morning and our wonderful neighbours had already shovelled all our snow, including the driveway.  It hasn't stopped snowing and is supposed to continue until Sunday. I think March came in like a lion!!

Monday, February 5, 2024

It could always be worse!!

 It's been snowing all last night and all day today.  Our wonderful neighbours have shoveled 3 times for us today, including the driveway

The deer sure seem to like it.  Three of them were jumping and dancing around on the lawn across the street!

And then there's the Maritimes!






We have nothing compared to them.  Some places got 150cm!!! Kids are happy-no school!








Thursday, February 1, 2024

Books 1-4

Shadow Falls by Wendy Dranfield

You thought your little girl was safe at summer camp. You were wrong…
The little girl drags her eyes open, realizing she’s starting to fade. She tries calling out—“Daddy?”—using all her remaining strength. But she’s too late and her voice just isn’t loud enough…
When Detective Madison Harper arrives at a remote summer camp in Shadow Falls, northern California, her heart breaks for Jenny, the sweet little girl last seen splashing in the lake with her friends before she vanished. Peering into the silent cabins filled with rows of neatly made beds, Madison knows this idyllic place is hiding a terrible secret.
The girl’s parents are distraught, and the local police have no leads—they desperately need Madison’s help. She’ll do whatever it takes to crack this case, because it’s the only way back to the son she lost to the care system years ago when she was framed for a crime she didn’t commit.
But with the camp staff keeping tight-lipped and her new partner on the edge of a breakdown, Madison can’t find any truth to her instinct that there is more to Jenny’s perfect parents than meets the eye. Until she discovers a disturbing family portrait Jenny drew at the local library. Was this angelic girl more troubled than anybody knew? Was she in danger from those she trusted most?
One thing is certain, if Madison doesn't find the answers soon, the lives of more innocent children will be at risk…

I enjoyed this book.  It was a very different backstory for the two main characters.  Towards the end of the story there were so many secrets and lies being told that it was hard to figure out what had happened. It was quite a surprise ending!!  Nothing is resolved with the two main characters, which was to be expected as this is the first book in a series.

 Silenced Girls by Roger Stelljer


She moved far away to try and forget her past. A past that would seep back in when she least expected it and crushed her soul over and over. She tried to keep the evidence packed away in boxes high up on a closet shelf like carefully packing away a tragic part of her life. As if sealing the boxes, was sealing away a time in her life she desperately wanted to go back and change. Until one day a mysterious letter arrives from an unknown sender that unravels everything.
FBI Special Agent Tori Hunter returns to her hometown of Manchester, Minnesota for the first time in twenty years to investigate the disappearance of a woman who is gone without a trace. She is desperate to solve a case that will cause her to confront her own painful past and question the motives of friends she thought she knew and trusted. It will plunge her and the other detectives into the crosshairs of a dangerous killer while in search of the truth.

I really liked this book.  It was quite wrenching at times with so many deaths.

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes


Frances Mayes entered a wondrous new world when she began restoring an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. There were unexpected treasures at every turn: faded frescos beneath the whitewash in her dining room, a vineyard under wildly overgrown brambles in the garden, and, in the nearby hill towns, vibrant markets and delightful people. In Under the Tuscan Sun, she brings the lyrical voice of a poet, the eye of a seasoned traveler, and the discerning palate of a cook and food writer to invite readers to explore the pleasures of Italian life and to feast at her table.
There were parts of this book I enjoyed but other parts I felt my eyes were glazing over.  The parts about the house and land were really interesting but I found the travelogue became boring very quickly.  I have to say I enjoyed the movie a lot more than the book.

The Stone Secret by Amanda McKinney

He spent twenty years in prison.
She spent twenty years living a lie.
At 2:00 a.m. Sylvia Stone awakens to a letter on her doorstep suggesting the handsome carpenter who was convicted of murdering her mother twenty years earlier is innocent. The anonymous letters continue, each one revealing details only the true killer would know, making Sylvia question her testimony so many years ago.
Newly released from prison, Rhett Cohen has spent the last two decades with only one thing on his Find the man who framed him for killing Marjorie Stone, and kill him. Rhett will do anything to get his revenge, including manipulating the late woman’s daughter.
But suddenly, Sylvia disappears.
Public interest in the twenty-year-old case reignites around Sylvia’s disappearance. The suspect? The man she accused of murder—the reticent former inmate, Rhett Cohen.
Under mounting pressure from the police and media, Rhett must find Sylvia, convince the angry small-town mob that he is innocent, and prove he was framed—or risk going back to prison for life.
In this twisted tale of revenge, deception, and forbidden love, there are two sides to every story, and two faces with every crime.

There were lots of twists and turns in this story. I had figured it out before the end but it was still a good read.

These are all the books I read in January. I'm going to try and post at the end of every month so that the book posts don't end up being so long.