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Read so far in February

I have read the following three books so far this month and I am about half way through with a fourth. If I do complete that one before the end of February, I will post my review of it also.

I have been working on my novel more this month and I do feel like my focus is improving.

The first book I completed was The Thursday Murder Club. This was an enjoyable read. It is set in an English retirement center and the sleuths are four septuagenarians who meet to discuss old murders. When a developer is murdered near them, they jump at the chance to investigate an active crime. Of course, they do all the things you would expect older people to do, basically get in the way of the investigation, they do help catch the killer. While doing so, the reader does suspect each of them. The characters are quirky, which I like and the plot was complicated enough to make me want to keep reading. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next in the series.

Richard Osman is a well known face on British television as host of quiz shows. He has also created and worked as an executive producer Numerous UK and US television shows. This is his debut novel. He lives in London.

The second novel I read this month is The Butterfly Sister. I found this one from a local independent used book store. I had never heard of the author but I picked it up by perusing the shelves and was first drawn to the cover. It is the photo of the clasp and lock for an old suitcase.

In this one, a woman receives the suitcase of a missing woman she’d known at college. It was sent to her by the airlines because she’d once borrowed it and apparently the woman had not removed her name tag. The college holds bad memories and the woman is tempted to throw it away but tries to do the right thing and contacts the woman’s family. That is how she finds out about her disappearance. The protagonist agrees to deliver the case to the woman’s mother but before she turns it over to the police, she attempts to see if the contents would help her to locate the missing woman.

This was a good thriller and it did keep me wanting to read more. I did spend one late night finishing it. Messing up my wellness goal of going to bed earlier. But with the pandemic, I find myself stuck home most days anyway. So what if I do have a late night once in a while?

Amy Gail Hansen is a freelance writer and journalist living in Chicago at the time this book was written. This too is a debut novel. I would probably read more of her work but not the way that I read other series where I actually wait most impatiently for the next in the series.

The last book was All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny. This author is one of the authors whose series I don’t read immediately when I purchase her books, not because I don’t want to but because I know she only has one book come out a year and I try to pick a time that I can savor the read.

The only negative about this book was that it was not set in Three Pines, Canada but in Paris, France. So instead of getting to hang out with the residents of Three Pines we were introduced to new characters and visited a few of Armand’s family who’d moved to France. In this book, both Daniel, his son, and Annie, his daughter, live in France with their families. Armand’s daughter Annie is expecting their second child at any time and he and his wife have flown over to be there at the happy moment.

One evening after a family dinner, Armand and his wife witness an attempt on his godfather’s life when he is hit by a car. They go to his apartment and find the body of a stranger. The Paris police don’t believe there is a connection so Armand and his son-in-law Jean Guy – who was also his second in command on the homicide squad in Canada start investigating. That puts the whole family into danger.

The story gives you a better picture of Armand’s family dynamics and while he and his son Daniel have had a strained relationship, it slowly changes to give them a better outlook for their future by the end.

Louise Penny’s books are good for making you feel like you are present in the location and her quirky characters are part of the reason her readers are so loyal. Though she deals with serious subjects there is always a little humor sprinkled in. The only thing bad now is that I have to wait for fall for her next book.

If I manage to complete my current read – At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon, I will have another post later this week. If not, I will add it to my reads in March.

Until next time,

Virginia

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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January 2021 To Be Read

Today we are being pounded with a snow storm. Sounds like a good day to read a book. I am almost done with one of my December reads and plan to have a review posted on Thursday.

This is a fairly ambitious stack of books for next month but hey it doesn’t hurt to stretch ourselves. As always I will always feel good if I read at least four a month. Even though I am retired, I seem to have found so many things to do to keep busy. Besides starting a new writing project next month, I am also President of our local chapter of Sisters in Crime. Though we only meet monthly, and in 2020 most meetings were virtual. We will be continuing that until it is safe to meet in person. This year besides focusing on writing, we will be reading a few books and reviewing, as well.

I will post a follow-up for my December reads early in January. Did I meet my goal of at least four or did I surpass it? You will have to wait and see.

As I said, I am developing a new mystery novel to write and I am excited to start something new. After a conversation at my last Sinc meeting, it became clear most of the authors and writers swear by Hallie Ephron’s – Writing and Selling the Mystery Novel. I am basing my writing goals around using this book. Currently I am reading and filling out the worksheets to develop the story now. I will be aiming for a first draft by the end of June. I will slip a little bit about this goal into my blog posts to keep you informed, just in case you’re interested.

I am enjoying our rather one-sided conversations but it would be great if you could chime in once in a while. I would love to see how many other people out there actually read my blog and either like it or have some suggestions to make it better. I watch a lot of YouTube and the BookTubers on there. I am trying to fashion this blog after some of those. There is something comforting to hear others talk about books. My reviews are deliberately vague because I don’t want to be guilty of spoilers.

I also will be choosing my favorite book read each month and for the year. I will probably slip in more bookish content as I find it to add, as well. I do enjoy writing this blog and I do hope someone finds it interesting enough to follow.

I really would appreciate your comments and if you have a blog that you would like me to support, please comment and let me know.

Until next time, happy new year.

Virginia

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Live and Learn – Always

If you are anything like me, I am drawn to everything writer related. If I hear about a gathering of writers anywhere, I tend to check it out. I guess it is like that saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.”

Over the years, I have been fortunate to be able to attend several RWA and mystery writer related conferences and workshops, including one RWA national conference in Anaheim and Love is Murder, in Chicago. Today I’d like to promote a local writer’s conference – the 2011 Montezuma All-Iowa Writer’s conference. This is the second year for this conference and I was lucky enough to attend last year’s. For the first year, I thought it was a very informative day-long event that I have no doubt will be even better this year.

This year’s speakers are Iowa authors Lesley Langtry, Kathy Bacus, Kimberly Stuart, Carol Bodensteiner, S. C. Sherman, Mary Zucker Reichert, Rebecca Janni, Colleen Bradford Krantz, and Sharon Helgens. The all-day event promises writing tips, as well as tips on choosing a publisher and marketing.

The conference is held at the Montezuma Community Schools, 504 N 4th and runs from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., with registration at 8:30.

For a registration form and more information go to http://ourfrontporchbooks.com/about/.  Price is only $25 .

I have always felt that workshops and conferences are necessary for a writer to grow. If you spend one day and only pick up one new idea, it’s worth it and that doesn’t even consider the networking possibilities.

I continue to work on my novel and am thoroughly enjoying Cheryl St. Johns on-line workshop on Conflict. If you were unable to participate in this one, Cheryl frequently has workshops and I will let you know about them as they come up.  What really surprised me about this workshop is the number of participants who are multi-published. Don’t want to be a name dropper but if you signed up, you know what I mean.

Today is my day off from my real job so I have to get back to working on my novel.

Currently reading – Louise Penny’s latest ‘A Trick of the Light’. Love, love, love Louise Penny. Someday I hope to meet her.

As far as author’s I have met, Teresa Weir has a memoir out ‘Orchard’ and Oprah has picked it as her # 2 pick for the October O magazine. Might check it out; I met Teresa years ago at an awards luncheon for my local RWA chapter, Iowa Romance Novelists. Teresa lived in Iowa, at the time. She wrote several award winning novels using her own name back then. She currently has several paranormal suspense novels under the name of Anne Frasier now. Her memoir sounds interesting, another book to add to my- to be read list.

Happy reading and writing,

Virginia

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in What's Happening

 

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