Happy (almost) summer! The beginning of this week was incredibly summery. Right now, not so much. In fact, as I type, Pat is out trying to start the grill in the rain.
But time moves on. The kids have 2 weeks left of school, which translates to 3 more days in school. I think they will both be happy to be back in the classroom full time in the fall. It seems weird that the school year is ending because they only started back in hybrid in the beginning of April. Of course, this entire year has been weird. I do have to applaud the teachers–both kids’ teachers have done an amazing job this year, having to teach online and then online and in person at the same time.
We are slowly moving out of the pandemic. Lillie had her second Pfizer shot on Friday. She felt dizzy and had a headache Friday night, and then was completely out of it most of Saturday. Then, at about 9pm, she jumped up and felt just fine. I guess that is how it goes with the side effects.
As for me, my baby step towards normality is that I got my first mani-pedi since quarantine started. Folks, let me tell you, my tech earned her tip! My feet were a mess! I went to a new place which is much closer and I think I will go there from now on. I know it seems like such a silly thing, but it really seemed like a landmark when I went. We’ve been more cautious than most and vanity indulgences like mani-pedis went out the window without a second thought. And now they are back and it feels kind of strange, but in a good way.
Before I get into the weekly stuff, I just wanted to say that I won’t be doing a Weekly Reads post next week as I’ll be visiting my dad in Arizona. Another step towards normality! But, I’ll catch everyone up on my books (of which I hope there will be many as I plan to get a lot of reading done while I’m down south!) the following week.
Now, for real, onto the books! As usual, I’m linking up with Kathryn at Book Date and her It’s Monday…What Are You Reading? blog hop.
Last week, I finished reading:
Purgatory Ridge (Cork O’Connor #3) by William Kent Krueger
When some people go for page turners, they go for what they consider “brain candy” (I don’t like that term), but I go for Cork O’Connor).
I really enjoy this series. I definitely find it less taxing that Krueger’s standalones, but it stands on its own. There is some darkness, but I’m one who is accepts my dark and twisty side. I do, however, feel like this series gets just a little darker with each book. I’m almost afraid to see what the most recent books are like.
But, yes, reading this is nonstop action. This particular book was unusually well-crafted. Krueger’s books are always well-crafted, but this one was twisty and turny in a way that I didn’t know what to expect as the story progressed. If you read a lot of mysteries, that becomes harder and harder to find, so I appreciated this.
I am hoping to read the fourth book while on vacation–yes, this series qualifies as a “beach read” for me (or at least desert read…no beaches in Arizona!). I highly recommend it!
An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten (translated: Marlaine Delargy) (audiobook; narrator: Suzanne Toren
What an oddly charming book about an 88 year old serial killer. I loved Maud–she uses the preconceptions about older adults to her advantage, even though none of them actually apply to her. She is the epitome of no longer havinge F’s to give. While the murders were interesting (and entertaining), what I admired most was that Maud was true to herself and wasn’t going to give in to anyone.
My one complaint about this book is that the short stories put together as a novel didn’t mesh as well as I would like at times. There were times when the same territory was covered multiple times and, while I understand why that happened, it was still disconcerting.
I listened to the audio of this, which I highly recommend. Suzanne Toren does a fantastic job of giving all the characters their own personality. I did up the speed to 1.25, which I think worked a bit better than normal speed (if you are not averse to slightly fast talkers).
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
I came to this book with very high expectations–everyone I know who had read it had raved over it. Never have I gone into a book with such expectations and then had those expectations met. This book did not meet expectations.
It exceeded them on every count.
I loved this book from beginning to end (and I didn’t want it to end). I loved Linus and Arthur and all the magical children and just wanted to hug them all–even the son of Satan! The truths in these pages are ones that everyone needs to hear and believe and Klune expertly weaves them into his narrative.
The love story included here is one of the best plotted ones I’ve read. We all know it is coming but it is purely delicious to watch it develop. (For those concerned about a spice factor, this is a closed-door romance). Every time I had to put this book down, I held it to my chest for a moment, just to try to absorb the magic. And while the love story is delightful, the entire book just exudes love.
And, purely as an aside, Klune is from my home state of Oregon, but this felt very much like a British book. When I was reading this, all the characters had an English accent in my head. Take that as you will.
This is only the second novel I’ve ever read that I ended up caressing the book once I was done. That is an honor I very rarely bestow and this one earned it.
Last week, I started reading:
No Angel (The Spoils of Time #1) by Penny Vincenzi
I spoke a bit about this book in my Big Books of Summer post. This title had the honor (?) of being the longest novel on my TBR bookshelf, so it is the first one I’m tackling.
I’m quite liking it. I think the easiest way of describing it is it is Upstairs/Downstairs (more Upstairs than Downstairs) meets Dynasty. It’s a family saga and I think it probably is more about what this family goes through than actual plot, but I am here for that.
I am reading just a bit a day and hope to finish it by the end of June. Truthfully, I’ll probably finish before that as this is the only print book I’m going to bring to read on vacation (everything else will be eBooks on my Kindle).
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
This book was recommended to my by both myTBR.co and one of my bookish BFF’s. I’m very intrigued by it. The prologue warned that this book is “life changing” but so far–and I’m less than 20% in, so this is not a criticism–it seems like an English village mystery. I am enjoying it so far and the writing is very strong. However, I don’t think I can say much more about it until I finish. I have a feeling it might be a wild ride.
As this is an eBook, I’ve mostly been reading just a bit of it before bed. However, I’m not going to start any new print books until I’m back from Arizona, so this is now my “main” read.
I’m still reading:
Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston (audiobook)
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan
Monument by Natasha Trethewey
Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie