Current Reading, October 13 – 19, 2014

We decided to revise some things in the garden, old shrubs out and moving things around, and we’re having 5 yd. (135 cubic feet) of soil amendments delivered. Of course it’s supposed to rain that day, but we have tarps to cover it until our garden-landscape fellow comes a couple days later, when it’s also supposed to rain.

Well Read, Then Dead
I decided to try a book mentioned by Bill Crider on his blog. Well Read, Then Dead is the first of a new series by Terrie Farley Moran. It’s a cozy set in Florida, the protagonist and her best friend run a bookstore-café named Read ‘Em and Eat. Yes, plenty of cutsey in this one, along with lots of “characters”, a heroine who persists in making bad decisions and incorrect guesses and doing foolish things. Of course it all works out fine. Lots of food talk and a recipe in the back. This is the type of cozy that puts me off reading them, though I’ll open a book by Christie, Sayers, Allingham, Aires, or any of the classic Brits in a heartbeat. If this sounds like fun, go for it. If not, avoid.

Murder Most FowlDeath on the MoveSpeaking of Bill Crider – and we were – I figured it’s high time I read a few more of his books, especially some older Dan Rhodes I’d missed. So I got these from the library and spent some enjoyable hours with Rhodes and the folks in Blacklin County.

Barbara  finished Above Suspicion by Lynda La Plante, and says she liked it and will read the next in the series. She is also taking a try at The Remains of An Alter, Phil Rickman’s 8th Merrily Watkins novel that I didn’t finish. She’s having the same problems with it that I had, but sometimes she’s more stubborn about finishing books than I am. Also, she has another Reacher in the wings.

What are you reading?

Posted in Current Reading, mystery | 16 Comments

ffb: Our Jubilee Is Death by Leo Bruce

this is my 900th post, and the 155th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books

Our Jubilee Is Death by Leo Bruce © 1959, this edition Academy Chicago Publishers, 1986 paperback, mystery – featuring Carolus Deene

Our Jubilee Is DeathCarolus Deene receives a letter from his niece saying there’s been an unpleasant occurrence in the seaside town of Blessington-on-Sea. It seems a woman has been found on the beach, buried standing up with only her head above the sand. The tide has washed over her at least once, and she is quite dead. Her relatives and members of her household are frantic and afraid. Could Carolus please come and straighten things out?

Well of course he could, it’s just the sort of thing he does on vacation from his position as Senior History Master at Queen’s School, Newminster. He has a reputation for solving difficult crimes, though the police are not always pleased with his “interference” which is certainly the case this time.

Denne arrives on the scene and begins to question the household, both relatives and hangers on. The deceased is a famous and wealthy mystery writer, much disliked by everyone for her arrogant, controlling, belittling ways. Deene immediately discovers two things: they all had a motive and they all are lying to him and the police. Stonewalled as he is, the slightest slip of the tongue or inconsistency between what one and another say is about all the help he is likely to get.

Naturally the murderer is discovered, but not before another murder – or is it suicide? – occurs, and as the lies continue Deene throws hands up and quits the case. But then, as he is leaving Blessington-on-Sea, there is yet another death… Of course he must stay and see the thing out.

Bruce writes the Carolus Deene books with a good deal of humor, coming close to the edge of my admittedly low tolerance for such in a mystery, but it does add entertainment value. I have read several of these, my favorite remains Death at Hallows End but this is a weak but entertaining entry in the series. Bruce also writes the Sgt Beef stories, which are quite entertaining.

Several of the Bruce books listed below have been reprinted by Chicago Academy Publishers.

Sergeant Beef series

  • Case for Three Detectives (1936)
  • Case Without a Corpse (1937)
  • Case With Four Clowns (1939)
  • Case With No Conclusion (1939)
  • Case With Ropes and Rings (1940)
  • Case For Sergeant Beef (1947)
  • Neck and Neck (1951)
  • Cold Blood (1952)

Carolus Deene series

  • At Death’s Door (1955)
  • Dead for a Ducat (1956)
  • Death of a Cold (1956)
  • Dead Man’s Shoes (1958)
  • A Louse for the Hangman (1958)
  • Our Jubilee Is Death (1959)
  • Furious Old Women (1960)
  • Jack on the Gallows Tree (1960)
  • Die All, Die Merrily (1961)
  • A Bone and a Hank of Hair (1961)
  • Nothing Like Blood (1962)
  • Such Is Death (1963)
  • Death in Albert Park (1964)
  • Death at Hallows End (1965)
  • Death on the Black Sands (1966)
  • Death of a Commuter (1967)
  • Death at St. Asprey’s School (1967)
  • Death on Romney Marsh (1968)
  • Death with Blue Ribbon (1969)
  • Death on Allhallowe’en (1970)
  • Death by the Lake (1971)
  • Death in the Middle Watch (1974)
  • Death of a Bovver Boy (1974)
Posted in Friday Forgotten Book, mystery | 9 Comments

New Arrivals, October, 2014

New Arrivals Because I was in the mood for some quiet British mystery, I decided to pick up a few more of these novels by Leo Bruce. I got them all from PaperBack Swap.

Leo Bruce (pseudonym for Rupert Croft-Cooke (1903-1979) wrote this series featuring Carolus Deene, Senior Master of History at Queen’s School, and another series featuring Sgt. Beef, a sometimes bumbling but more-clever-than-he-looks Policeman. The Deene series has all the traditional elements: murder, suspects with secrets, red herrings and hidden clues, a denouement reveal. There is humor, which many readers will appreciate though it’s near my admittedly very low tolerance level for it in mysteries. Fortunately it doesn’t get in my way of enjoying these. I’m not sure the best label for these, for those who insist on such. Classic British mystery, the violence always occurs off stage, puzzle to be solved, murderer not revealed until the end but fair play for the sharp reader to solve from the clues. They might be called cozy-like in the same vein as a Margery Allingham or Catherine Aird novel.

 Kudos to Chicago Academy Press for bringing these back into print. I’ll have a review on Our Jubilee is Death in a few days.

Any comments on these books or this author? Have you read any of these?

Posted in mystery, New Arrivals | 9 Comments

Current Reading, October 6 – 12, 2014

The beautiful Fall weather we’ve been having has been a treat. Saturday we had light rain, some fog, light breeze; just about perfect for reading, sitting on the deck watching the geese fly south, enjoying the beginnings of color on the trees.

m after mid
I got the fifth Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis novel by Jeffrey Siger, Mykonos After Midnight. To my thinking, it’s the best one yet. If you’re not reading this series, you should be. Start with the first one, Murder on Mykonos, as there is a lot of character development as the series progresses. We saw Siger on a panel at Left Coast Crime in Monterey last Spring, and were intrigued enough to try the first book. Now it’s one of our favorite series.

Our Jubilee Is DeathAfter that I read Our Jubilee is Death, a new arrival, which was pretty typical of the Carolus Deene series. I enjoy these books, and I’ll have a review of this one soon, either as a mid-week review or a Friday Forgotten. Stay tuned.

Finally, I started The Remains of An Alter,  Phil Rickman’s 8th Merrily Watkins novel. I read a dozen pages the first afternoon, 30 more in the evening and quit. I didn’t like the writing, setting or characters. I guess there would have been a story / plot sometime, but I saw little evidence of it and didn’t want to wait around for it. So the book was a DNF (did not finish) and I doubt I’ll try another by this author.

Next up? Possibly a cozy suggested by Bill Crider that I have on hold at the library. I don’t read a lot of cozies, and especially avoid the cutesy ones, so we’ll see, but at least it’s good weather for one.

Barbara finished Final Notice by Jonathan Valin, second in his Harry Stoner series. This is the second Valin she’s read and she’s enjoying the characters as they develop. She is now reading Above Suspicion by Lynda La Plante, another new author recommended to her.

What have you been reading lately?

Posted in Current Reading | 19 Comments

ffb: Willy and Joe

This is the 155th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books

These are far more than a couple books of cartoons. The contents of these books are a documentary of the ground soldiers’ life in European theater World War Two. It’s both humor and insightful criticism. Most of all, these are well worth reading.

Willie and Joe, The WWII Years by Bill Mauldin [Fantagraphics 2011 large soft cover]. This is 692 pages of Mauldin’s work just before and during WWII, when he served in the Infantry, 45th Division, mostly as a staff member of one military newspaper or another. The cartoons express the reality of soldiers on the ground in the war in Italy and Germany, as opposed to the “reality” of the Army publicity departments shown back home in the U.S. As such, there was a lot of criticism on the part of some. Patton loathed Mauldin and his cartoons, said it was bad for morale. Eisenhower liked the cartoons, saying the dose of reality was what was needed. Whatever opinion then or now, the drawing and humor make this and the following book well worth a look.

Willie and Joe, Back Home by Bill Mauldin [Fantagraphics 2011 oversized hardcover]. Comments on the above book apply here, except this is the way Mauldin and many G.I.s returning home found the reality of returning to civilian life. Funny, sad, engaging and sometimes anger-inducing, these are political cartoons of the finest caliber.

Posted in art and illustration, books, New Arrivals | 10 Comments

Current Reading, September 29 – October 5, 2014

It’s been much hotter here than is usual for early October, hitting 86 today. We’re ready for real Fall. While in recovery mode from the 2,850 page fantasy quartet I read, I wanted something lighter. The first two I read were new arrivals just a week or two ago.


Murder in the Maze, published by Coachwhip Publications

I finished The Phantom: The Ghost Who Walks as by Lee Falk but written by Basil Copper. It was just okay, not great, but is the lead-in to the rest of the series, telling the origin story of the Phantom through the twenty-first one. I’ll read the next book in the series, The Slave Market of Mucar (1972) one of these days. I also finished the graphic novel Astro City – Through Open Doors by Kurt Busiek which I enjoyed, as I do all of the Astro City books. I wouldn’t mind seeing novelizations of this series.

I just finished Murder in the Maze by Golden Age author J.J. Connington (the pseudonym of the distinguished Scottish chemistry professor Alfred Walter Stewart), a classic country house mystery originally published in 1927. I had a yen for a classic British mystery and this fit the bill. I became aware of this while reading the fine The Passing Tramp blog. The novel is Connington’s third mystery, but the first with Sir Clinton Driffield as detective. The book was highly praised at the time and considered in following years as one of the best country house mysteries of the 1920s. Coachwhip Publications has published three of the Driffield novels (so far?).

Next up? Not sure. I have a Jeffery Siger novel coming from the library and just got another English mystery, this one by Leo Bruce. Choices, choices.

Barbara read Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child and Bill Pronzini’s Bones. She’s just started Final Notice by Jonathan Valin. She’s read nearly twice as many books so far this year as last, but says she’s not getting as much quilt work in.

Posted in Current Reading | 10 Comments

ffb: The Jewel That Was Ours by Colin Dexter

this is the 154th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books

The Jewel That Was Ours by Colin Dexter, Ballantine (Ivy), 1991, paperback, mystery, police procedural – Inspector Morse

Jewel That Was OursThis is Inspector Morse’s ninth outing, if I have the count right, and though I’ve tried to read these in order it’s been a while and I think I pulled this off the shelf out of order. Still, little seems to have changed, perhaps Lewis is slightly more confident, and Morse is an angrier, sadder, boozier man than I remembered from the last one I read.

I liked John Thaw as Morse on the Mystery! and now I can’t read these books without picturing him in the role. No problem there.

This story concerns a group of tourists, all from California, on a tour of Oxford and other historical cities. One of the group is going to present an Oxford museum with The Wolverton Tongue, part of a buckle artifact originally set with three rubies (only one left now). The woman has a heart attack, the “jewel” is stolen, then a lecturer is murdered. Morse is attracted to a woman who drinks too much and is one of the lecturers to the group. With two deaths and a theft, the tour halts while Morse and Lewis investigate the many clues.

Dexter is a pleasure to read, though the last chapter seems overly drawn out in this book. Still, the motives are sound, the red herrings sufficiently convincing, the language satisfying, the clues well if scantily placed, and it’s another good Morse outing. These books are satisfying enough that I never seem to want to read two in a row, but each time I pick one up I’m glad I did. I think I still have a couple unread, so there is more to enjoy ahead. I was lucky enough to meet him at a signing some years ago in southern California, he was a very personable fellow.

If your only experience with Morse is with the televised series, I encourage you to try the books, these are very good.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

More Friday Forgotten Book posts
can be found at Patti Abbott’s fine blog Pattinase


Posted in Friday Forgotten Book, mystery | 5 Comments

New Arrivals and Current Reading, September 22 – 28, 2014

I’m changing my format on these post somewhat. Since I have few new arrivals these days, I’ll do a post on those as things come in.
I’ll continue to do a Current Reading post each Monday. 

New Arrivals
Surprise! I did get some things. Thanks to the generosity of friend Jerry House, whose fine blog can be found at Jerry’s House of Everything, I got the three paperback Phantom novels which Jerry recently reviewed (here). Thanks, Jerry!

I also received a pre-order I’d forgotten was even going to come. So here’s the goods:

Since Jerry’s Friday Forgotten review of these is so complete, I won’t try to duplicate it. You see the covers, now go read his entry (link is above in case you missed it).

The Story of the Phantom (1972), The Slave Market of Mucar (1972), The Scorpia Menace (1972) all as by Lee Falk (written by Basil Copper), [published by Avon Books, used copies, gift] – adventure hero, pulp character novels. This kind of thing is usually a blast to read, and a nice change from doorstop SF-F or mysteries.

Astro City – Through Open Doors by Kurt Busiek (writer), Brent Anderson (pencils), Alex Sinclair (colors) [Vertigo 2014 graphic collection (Collecting issues 1-6 of Astro City, 2013), purchased new] – collection of 6 issues of the Astro City comic from 2013. This is one of two collected comics that I still buy and read, the other being Fables. They’re both very well written and recommended.

Current Reading
I finally finished the four volume Inheritance quartet by Christopher Paolini, which consists of Eragon, Eldest, Brisinger and Inheritance. The four books total a mind-blowing 2,850 pages. I’ll do a review of the set once I catch my breath.

After that, I needed a change, so I read the collection (see new arrivals, above) Astro City, Through Open Doors and have started the first of the Phantom books I just got, but may also start a mystery.

Barbara finished The Lime Pit by Jonathan Valin and liked it, especially the P.I., Harry Stoner. She has the second one on order from the library. Now she’s reading another Reacher novel, Gone Tomorrow and has Bill Pronzini’s Bones next up.

What new books did you get, and what have you been reading?

Posted in Adventure, Current Reading, graphic novel, New Arrivals | 19 Comments

New Arrivals and Current Reading, September 15 – 21, 2014

New Arrivals
I’m on a roll, I guess, nothing new again. After a few days with cooler temperatures, we’re back in the mid-high 80s and beyond. No rain in the forecast for weeks yet, making this the driest late Summer-early Fall ever on record.

Barbara went to San Diego for a few days to visit daughter and grand daughters while I held the fort here. The glasses finally came and they are an improvement, but then they would have to be.

Current Reading

Waiting for glasses I tried an e-book which I could make large. I had picked up a $1 cheap e-copy of On Basilisk Station by David Weber, which I’d been planning to re-read anyway, and it went pretty well. I finished that and now I’m back to Inheritance, the 4th volume of the Eragon books.

Barbara finished World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters, and is now reading Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child. On her trop she wanted to take a paperback so I suggested one of Jonathan Valin’s books. She picked The Lime Pit but she said she only read a little of it on the plane.

What new books did you get, and what have you been reading?

Posted in Current Reading, fantasy, mystery, New Arrivals, science fiction | 12 Comments

ffb: Stakeout On Page Street by Joe Gores

this is the 153rd in my series of forgotten or seldom read books

Stakeout On Page Street by Joe Gores
Crippen & Landru, 2000 hardcover, mystery – short stories – DKA

Stakeout on Page StreetI like Gores’ DKA [Daniel Kearny Associates] novels a lot and have read them all a couple times each – or more – but perhaps it’s the short stories that are the most fun.

Gores takes his experience as a P.I. and the cases he worked or knew of and turns them into his stories. There is the ensemble cast for the DKA  and all of the stories in this book include them. With these stories it’s not the what so much as the how that matters, and the character’s interaction with each other and the people with whom the case brings them into contact. Of the stories here I especially liked “The O’Bannon Blarney File” and “The Maimed and the Halt”. Very enjoyable and highly recommended.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

More Friday Forgotten Book posts
can be found at Patti Abbott’s fine blog Pattinase


Posted in Friday Forgotten Book, mystery | 9 Comments

Concrete Angel by Patricia Abbot

Patricia Abbott, short story writer extraordinaire, will be releasing her debut novel, with Polis Books, in the Summer of 2015.

CONCRETE ANGEL“Eve Moran has always wanted “things” and has proven both inventive and tenacious in both getting and keeping them – she lies, steals, cheats and swindles, paying little heed to the cost of her actions on those who love her.

When Eve kills a man she picks up in a shoe repair shop, she persuades her twelve year-old daughter, Christine, to confess to the crime. The girl, compelled by love, dependency and circumstance, is caught up in her mother’s deceptions

It’s only when Christine’s three year-old brother, Ryan, is drawn into his mother’s schemes that she finds the courage to try to end Eve’s tyranny.” – from the author

Set in 1970s Philadelphia and packaged to match, Concrete Angel pits a vindictive and manipulative mother against a daughter with just enough of her mother’s immorality to fight back.

Posted in books, mystery | Leave a comment

New Arrivals and Current Reading, September 8 – 14, 2014

New Arrivals
Once again, nothing. The hot weather continues, several days in the 90s, very windy, humidity in the low teens and we have had zero rain since early July. We’re parched! Many fires burning, one just 22 miles east of us. The air is full of smoke.

world of troubleI take my glasses in tomorrow (Monday afternoon) to have yet another set of lenses installed, will be without glasses for a 2-3 days (again), by Friday I hope, so no reading until then.

Current Reading
I’m working my way through the 4th volume of the Eragon books. It’s 850 pages, I’m at the 240 mark.

Barbara is reading World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters, the third of his The Last Policeman trilogy. She says “the astroid will hit soon”.

What new books did you get, and what have you been reading?

Posted in Current Reading, mystery, New Arrivals | 13 Comments

Meme: 25 Rock ‘N’ Roll songs

rock-n-rollWhat 25 songs would you pick to describe your personal history with rock ‘n’ roll?

You can start whenever you like, end whenever you like, include whomever you like. This is more of a “favorites” list that shows your history with the music than anything academic, so just have fun with it, and then leave your list in comments, put the meme on your blog, pass it along.

My list:

  1. At the Hop – Danny and the Juniors
  2. La Bamba – Ritchie Valens
  3. I Saw Her Standing There – Beatles
  4. Satisfaction – Rolling Stones
  5. Come See About Me – Supremes
  6. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – The Platters
  7. Surfin’ U.S.A – Beach Boys
  8. Heard it Through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
  9. Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
  10. Light My Fire – The Doors
  11. White Rabbit – The Jefferson Airplane
  12. Purple Haze – Jimmy Hendricks
  13. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida – Iron Butterfly
  14. Sittin’ On The Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding
  15. Teach Your Children – Crosby Still & Nash
  16. Hotel California – Eagles
  17. It’s Only Rock ’N’ Roll (But I like It) – Rolling Stones
  18. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? – Chicago
  19. Soul Man – Sam & Dave
  20. You Should Be Dancing – Bee Gees
  21. Love Train – The O’Jays
  22. Bad Girls – Donna Summer
  23. Bette Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes
  24. Hey Nineteen – Steely Dan
  25. Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears For Fears
Posted in Music | 29 Comments

New Arrivals and Current Reading, September 1 – 7, 2014

New Arrivals
No books, CDs, etc. Nada. The new refrigerator and freezer come sometime Monday, that’s it. It’s continued quite hot here, and I’ve been under the weather too, including my eyes bothering me a lot. Another new pair of glasses are on the way in a week or two.

Current Reading
I finished the Louise Penny The Long Way Home. I also read the fourth Jeffrey Siger Inspector Kaldis book, Target: Tinos which I thought was the weakest of the series. I understand the next one, Mykonos After Midnight is better. Generally, it’s a series I like.

Barbara just finished Bad Luck and Trouble and Nothing to Lose by Lee Child so she’s catching up on the Reacher series. She’s now reading Louise Penny’s newest, The Long Way Home.

What new books did you get, and what have you been reading?

Posted in Adventure, Classical Music, Current Reading, mystery, New Arrivals | 12 Comments

ffb: Rocket to the Morgue

this is the 152nd in my series of forgotten or seldom read books

Rocket to the Morgue 
Anthony Boucher – first published as by H.H. Holmes, Dell – 1942 – paperback mystery novel (newer edition shown)

rocket to the morgue“Leona Marshall stretched her long legs out on the bed and clasped her hands comfortably behind her red head. “Isn’t it nice I couldn’t nurse her?” she murmured. “Think how awkward it would be for you to take over a feeding.”

With a book that’s been written about and discussed as significant in the genre, a classic, or similar accolades, it’s often hard for me to define the point at which expectation leaves off and the novel carries it’s own weight. It’s certain, however, that point is further into the book than the point where a simple jacket blurb or short review would place it. When I open a book that has established it’s place in the literature of the genre I always wonder, perhaps fear is a better word, how long I should stay with it should it turn out that the thing is unreadable.

I was at a collectable paperback show, and talking to Art Scott. I told him I had found lots of good stuff, spent my money, but was unable to locate a copy of Rocket to the Morgue. He steered me to a copy, (thanks again, Art!) and promptly I read it.

There was no problem with readability with Rocket to the Morgue. I fell in step with Boucher’s light patter right away, and stayed with him to the end. I’ll tell you right out that I saw the solution when I was barely halfway through. Whether this is due to my keen insight or Boucher’s lack of effort in fooling me I’m not sure, but I suspect the latter. I read Boucher’s The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars not too many months before this one and though I figured that one out too, it was much later in the book than this one.

I’ve read it and I’m glad I did. I enjoyed it, but my socks are still on, if you catch my meaning. Boucher writes light, airy, entertaining stories. I recommend them but only for what they are. Significant? Maybe. Groundbreaking? I don’t think so. Entertaining? Definitely.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

More Friday Forgotten Book posts
can be found at Patti Abbott’s fine blog Pattinase

Posted in Friday Forgotten Book, mystery | 12 Comments

oooh! New, shiny!

When we bought this house, it had an Amana refrigerator/freezer, which has worked just fine for us for several years. Until last week.

Suddenly we had things in the refrigerator part freezing, things in the freezer thawing. We adjusted every setting on the thing to no avail. It was obvious the thing needed help, time to call the repairman. But wait, looking into the paperwork, we found the unit was nearly sixteen years old. You don’t repair a major appliance that old, you replace it.

So we spent a few miserable days of frozen milk and eggs, thawed meats and soupy ice cubes, doing research, and came up with a short list. With that in hand off we went to look at refrigerators. We started at Home Depot, which had a sale and the best price on the ones we wanted to look at. After a certain amount of door opening, bin rattling and looking at functionality, we settled on the one that we felt gave us the best combination of features and price. We spent more than we’d originally intended, but a counter-depth unit in the exact right dimensions limited our choices.

So we ordered it: LG 24.6 cf French Door (3 door) in stainless, counter depth, with ice and water in door. Plus, while we were there we bought a Maytag 15.8 cf upright freezer for the garage to replace our small chest freezer that had grown too small for our needs.

You want cold, we got cold.

Now all we have to do is wait a week for delivery, while wrestling with the faulty unit and it’s ills. Come on, September 8th.

Posted in At Home in Portland | 15 Comments

New Arrivals and Current Reading, August 25 – 31, 2014

New ArrivalsThe Long Way Home
Another pre-order I’ve been eagerly anticipating arrived Tuesday, plus I picked up some classical music.

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny [Minotaur Books August 2014, purchased new] – mystery novel. The latest Chief Inspector Gamache novel. I can’t overstate how much I love these!

Holst Cotwolds Symphony, Walt Whitman Overture  Indra, Japanese Suite, A Winter Idyll by Ulster Orchestra, JoAnn Falletta [Naxos 2012 CD 8.572914, purchased new] – classical, English symphonic. I already have another recording of the Cotswolds Symphony, but wanted the other pieces on this one.

Moniuszko Overatures – The Haunted Manor, Paria, Halka, The Fairy Tale Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Antoni Wit [Naxos 2014 CD 8.572716, purchased new] – classical, symphonic. I had none of this composer’s music before purchasing this one.

Respighi Brazil Impressions, La Boutique Fantasque Royal de Leige Philharmonic Orchestra, John Neschling [BIS 2014 super audio CD, purchased new]

Current Reading
I’m still reading the lengthy Inheritance Cycle of four books, Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, Inheritance. As I said last time, these are 500-600 pages so reading the set is no small undertaking. I’ve now finished the first three and am taking a break before starting the last to read the new Louise Penny shown above, which I’m about 100 pages into.

Barbara has read The Heckler by Ed McBain, Target: Tinos and Mykonos After Midnight by Jeffrey Siger. His books are good as always, especially Midnight. She has just started another Lee Child/Reacher series book in an attempt to catch up there as well. Louise Penny’s newest soon.

What new books did you get, and what have you been reading?

Posted in Adventure, Classical Music, Current Reading, mystery, New Arrivals | 10 Comments

Long, Hot Summer, continued

3789711442_22b06f7fe6There’s just no let-up. It’s been in the 90s a lot. The most 90 degree days we usually get here is 11 per summer. We’ve already had 16, and today was another.

Though we keep the thermostat set at 80, the air conditioning has been kicking on at 10:am and it’s still running at 9:pm.

If I have to leave the house, I do it early, then I’m indoors the rest of the day and evening. I really don’t like this weather one bit.

Posted in At Home in Portland | 6 Comments

Brookside fruit-chocolate snacks

In my situation, it’s rare I can have any kind of sweets, but that’s not true of everyone. So I want to share something really delicious. These are incredibly good!

How do I know? Because yes, I have eaten them. On those occasions when my blood sugar runs low, which does happen sometimes, this is my go-to solution. Yes, these have sugars, fats (no trans-fat though) and sodium. Honestly, it seems almost everything has some of those, but these are sweets, after all. Still there is another thing to consider: flavor, which these deliver in abundance. I’m telling you, these are to die for.

I saw the ads on television and decided to have some on hand for a sweet snack when I could have one, and I was delighted with the flavors. Plus Acai berries have healthy properties. Try these, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Here is the Brookside website, though there is little information, and it doesn’t show the clusters.

Posted in At Home in Portland | 8 Comments

New Arrivals and Current Reading, August 18 – 24, 2014

New Arrivals
This was a very good week. Three pre-ordered books all came through the door on Tuesday, things I’ve been looking forward to. Plus, shown after the books, two jazz albums. Goodness!

Windigo Island by William Kent Krueger [Atria Books August 2014 hardcover, purchased new] – mystery novel. The latest Cork O’conner novel. Ex-sherriff O’Conner, now a private eye, takes a case involving the disappearance and subsequent death of a teenage girl. I love Krueger’s books. Can hardly wait to read this.

Sherlock Holmes – The Spirit Box by  George Mann [Titan Books 2014 trade paper, purchased new] – mystery, Holmes pastiche. The next of Mann’s adventures of the famous detective. I enjoyed the first one, The Will of the Dead very much.

Darkness, Darkness by John Harvey [Pegasus Crime 2014 hardcover, purchased new] – mystery novel. Harvey has taken a long break from his Charlie Resnick series, which had seemed to be finished, but now he returns one more time to tell of Resnick’s last case. I couldn’t be happier that Resnick is back.

Also these jazz albums, which I once had on vinyl but never got on CD until now.

The Soothsayer by Wayne Shorter [Blue Note Records 1979] I think this is one of Shorter’s best albums, but then they are all great.

Speak No Evil  by Wayne Shorter [Blue Note Records 1965] This could be his best known album, but he’s so good who can say which is “best”?

Current Reading
My eyes seem better, at least enough for me to launch into a book rather than the occasional short story. If only the rest of my health would also improve! Anyway, I’ve decided to tackle a four book fantasy quartet, Christopher Paolai’s The Inheritance Cycle: Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, Inheritance. These are doorstop-sized books, in the 500-600 page range, so reading the set is no small undertaking. I’ll take breaks between books to read short stories. I’ve now finished Eragon and Eldest. and am about halfway through Brisinger. I had read Eragon when it came out (nearly ten years ago!), but only remembered parts of it.

I’m also eager to read the new books that just came today, so we’ll see. Plus, when the new Louise Penny book arrives in a day or so I’ll drop everything and read that.

Barbara has read three Ed McBain 87th Precinct novels: Doll, Give the Boys a Great Big Hand and Eighty Million Eyes. She also read Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child. She just finished Windigo Island by William Kent Krueger that was noted above, loving it.

What new books did you get, and what have you been reading?

Posted in Adventure, Current Reading, mystery, New Arrivals | 19 Comments