Hello out there, I'm still around. I've been reading but lax about keeping up with reviews with so much going on as the year comes to a close.
We had a Christmas luncheon for my library book group last week (11) showed up at my favorite restaurant - it was great gathering and we got our list of books to read in 2022 (more about this next week). We had 2" of snow on Wednesday our first snowfall - (late this year). It looked quite pretty and now it is nearly gone - 60 degrees today! Crazy weather.
This weekend we our going to the theatre for a live on stage holiday show and music festival. It was an annual tradition for us but last year COVID put a halt to it. This year, it is a go but, masks and proof of vaccination is required which makes me happy!!! This coming week is my birthday week and we have something special planned that we are both looking forward to - more about that next week.
I still have some gift cards to purchase and some gifts to wrap. We haven't finalized Christmas get together plans as with the girls in school (they are vaccinated) we still need to play it by ear as there have been some COVID cases in the classes - will this ever end? We already made reservations for an early New Years eve dinner reservation - that too of course is subject to weather and COVID.
How has your December been and do you have any special plans coming up?
Here's an attempt to catch up on what I've read and what I'm reading now.
Harper and Harper Audio - 2021
Rating - 5/5 stars
The Sentence is a very different kind of story by Louise Erdrich. It begin's on All Soul's Day, November 2, 2019 and ends on the same day in 2020. Yes, it takes place during the pandemic, in Minneapolis amidst the George Floyd protests and the setting of local Indie bookstore that is haunted by one of the staffs least favorite (now decreased) former customers - Flora. The ghost is determined to stick around until Tookie, the ex-con, who developed a love of books in prison and now works at the bookstore can figure out why she is still around.
Tookie is a great character who did something dumb that landed her in prison. She ends up marrying the tribal police officer who was involved in her sentencing. I loved how she has discovered a newfound love and appreciation for books that helped her survive her time behind bars.
The story has a lot going on but is so well done. Like most of the author's books there is Native American folklore and the struggles of the indigenous people. Books and specific book titles play a nice part in this story and, as always, the author's writing left a lasting impression. There are some funny moments but yet this story is much deeper than it may seem from my brief ramblings. The audiobook was narrated by the author and it was pitch-perfect! Don't miss it!
(audio download from my public library - eGalley provided at no charge by Harper Books and Edelweiss)
St. Martin's Press and Macmillan Audio - January -2022
Rating - 4.5/5 stars
This was a book I almost passed on but am so happy I had a chance to experience it. It has history, mystery and real social issues that were all so well done. Told in dual timelines - 1965 and 2010, the story takes place in Round Hill, NC.
(2010) Kayla Carter is a recent widow with a 4-year old daughter. Kayla's husband died in accident which happened as their dream house was being built. The house is a a grand McMansion with some fifty windows and, it is now ready to move in when Kayla has a strange woman that shows up at her office. Kayla is also an architect as was her late husband and, the woman advises Kayla against moving into that new home. Who is this woman and should she take this as a threat or at least report this to the police? Does the woman have anything to do with the strange things that begin happening once Kayla and her daughter move in?
(1965) Ellie Hockley is a college student from Round Hill involved in The Scope Project -- students who were committed to registering Blacks so that they could exercise their right to vote. This, of course. in the 1960s South had to be done secretly. Ellie couldn't even tell her parents as they never would have approved. What, if anything, does Ellie have to do with the present day story involving Kayla?
I loved this story and the way it played out. I really felt like I got to know the characters, especially Ellie and, even though the story was sad at times and it mad me mad as well, it was an important story to tell. and the author did a great job. The audio book was read by Susan Bennett who did a great job. Highly recommended.
(audio download provided at no charge by Macmillan Audio and NetGalley.)
William Morrow and Harper Audio - 2020
Rating - 3.5/5 stars
I actually purchased this audio book last December through Libro.fm but, I never listened to it until this month. Honestly, I haven't had the best of luck with the Agatha Christie books I've tried in the past but, a short story, winter collection seemed right up my alley.
There are (12) short stories featured and the only one I was familiar with was Three Blind Mice, (which I liked a lot) the stories in the collection were:Christmas at Abney Hall
Three Blind Mice
The Chocolate Box
A Christmas Tragedy
The Coming of Mr. Quin
The Clergyman's Daughter/The Rose House
The Plymouth Express
Problem at Pollensa Bay
The Mystery of Hunters Lodge
The World's End
The Manhood of Edward Robinson
The stories feature familiar Christie characters like: Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence, Harley Quin and Parker Pyne. Miss Marple is a favorite as I like the way this elderly lady operates - such fun. Three Blind Mice, Sanctuary, Christmas Adventure and The Clergyman's Daughter were the ones that I liked best.
While I can't recommend the audio version as, at least for me, I found the narration by (Fennella Woolgar) a bit difficult to understand at times. Fortunately, having the print edition was a bonus. Overall, while I liked a few of the short stories, several left me somewhat disappointed. I guess Agatha Christie isn't for all readers.
Reading Now -
Library Books - (waiting to be read)