I have had the strangest feeling waking up the past few mornings. I finally realized what it was–it was the lack of the existential dread that hit me in the face every morning I woke up the last 4 years! I’ve been feeling so light that I’ve actually started cleaning my house! Amazing!
Before I give any further, here is my update on the Christmas decorations–Pat is putting them away AS I TYPE! The tree has been down for about a week, and I’ve packed everything up, but it just needed to be put away. Pat asked what I wanted to do today, and I told him I wanted my living room back to normal. So there you go.
I’m also typing this as the Packers are playing. I’m not watching it–I just got out of 4 years of stress, I don’t need another afternoon of it. Honestly, if they were playing any other team I’d be watching. But they lost so embarrassingly when they played Tom Brady and the Buccaneers earlier this year, that I can’t bear to watch now. I just comfort myself with the fact that, even if the Pack goes down today, they still went far further than the Seahawks.
I can’t say that I have much to report on this week–our life has just been such a rut of the same thing every day. The question of whether or not the kids will be back in the classroom this year is still up in the air. While I would love the kids to be back, I want it to be safe first and I feel like they are rushing it.
In GOOD Covid related news, my dad called to tell me that he is getting his “Fauci Ouchie” this week (tomorrow, I think). I was worried it would take a while for him to get it as Arizona is in a very bad state with getting the vaccines out. Fortunately, my dad was able to go through the VA hospital and they actually have a functioning system for vaccinations. He also already has an appointment for his second dose, so he I’m feeling a little less worried about him. As for me and my house, we are waaaaaaaay down on the list for the vaccines, so who knows when we’ll get our shots.
Now, onto the books! As usual, I’m linking up with Kathryn at Book Date for her It’s Monday…What Are You Reading? hop.
What I finished this week:
In the Bleak Midwinter (The Rev, Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries #1) by Julia Spencer-Fleming
(Goodreads review; 3.75 stars)
I started this book with equal parts excitement and trepidation. As an Episcopalian, the thought of a mystery with a Episcopal priest as one-half of the duo was right up my alley. However, I also strongly dislike mysteries where someone who has no business solving crimes is the one solving the crime. Was this going to be that kind of book?
The answer is…mostly not. Most of was Clare does during this book falls into congregational care and such and it is mostly Russ, the police chief, who does the police-type stuff. Mostly.
There are a couple of scenes in the book where this sort of went out the window and where Clare oversteps her pastoral boundaries (and where, honestly, she should have just called the police). Yes, I did find this annoying, but fortunately the other strengths of the book outweighed that.
As far as mysteries go, this is a well-crafted on. I had numerous incorrect theories about who the culprit was up until the moment that Spencer-Fleming makes it clear who the real villain is. That is something that doesn’t happen nearly enough in my mystery reading. I also felt that Clare and Russ’s relationship was interesting and Spencer-Fleming made it incredibly human. I am wary and curious of where it will go in future books.
And I will read on in this series. This was an enjoyable (and appropriately tense) reading experience and is the exact sort of stuff I want from my mysteries!
Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St. Mary #1) by Jodi Taylor
(Goodreads review; 3.75 stars)
Science Fiction is the genre I’m least at home in and I normally stay away from it. But I do like time travel (and, honestly, I think time travel is more historical fiction than science fictions!). I had not heard anything about these books until two friends, both of whom have tastes very similar to my own, both told me I had to read this series.
Folks, this book is just fun! I mean, it’s the kind of book you shouldn’t think too hard about (because it falls apart pretty quickly if you do), but it is also the book that will take your mind off of whatever ails you.
Don’t get me wrong, it is not high literature. However, I’m not going to go into authorial voice or story structure, because that would ruin it. Basically, if it were a movie, it’s the kind of movie you’d watch after putting back a few drinks.
But, hey! Don’t we all need that sometimes?
Last week I DNF’d:
The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian
I have had great luck with Chris Bohjalian in the past. I don’t think I’ve rated any of his books that I’ve read below 3.5 stars. When a podcast I found (A Killer Read podcast) said it would be their next book to discuss, I decided to pick it up.
I ended up DNF’ing this at 12%. As a thriller, it was strange because the killer is revealed very early on (I believe in the 2nd chapter). The main character, a flight attendant named Cassie, is just a royal mess. She’s a promiscuous drunk who continually puts herself in bad situations. Worse, she doesn’t seem to have any motivation to improve her life. I quickly lost patience with her and, since there was no suspense due to the fact I already knew who the culprit was, I just couldn’t waste another minute on this book.
Last week I started reading:
Find Me in Havana by Serena Burdick
I’m always here for a historical novel (that is not set during WWII. Really, authors? There are thousands and thousands of years outside of 1939-1945!) and this one caught my eye when I was perusing…something. I actually can’t quite remember where I first saw this book. Anyway, I ended up winning a copy in a Goodreads Giveaway and it happened to arrive just as I was finishing Just One Damned Thing After Another, so I decided to dig into it. Unfortunately, things have been a little crazy around here so I haven’t been able to read too far into it this weekend. However, I expect it to be a fairly quick read so I should be able to share my thoughts next week.
The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox (audiobook)
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Monument by Natasha Tretheway