My Week . . .

The weather here is terrible, but I’m having a good reading week. Sometimes bad weather makes me want to snuggle in and just read. Do you have the same reaction? Here’s what I’ve been reading:

The Likeness by Tana French

I first met Cassie Maddox when I read In The Woods. She is a detective on the famous Dublin Murder Squad. Cassie is asked to report to a murder scene where the victim looks remarkably like her. To add to Cassie’s feeling of horror, she finds the victim’s identity is that of Lexie Madison. That’s the very same name Cassie has used when working undercover! Who is this young woman and who killed her? Does it have anything to do with Cassie?

Cassie is not assigned to investigate the murder. Her boyfriend is. The detective who is head of the undercover team wants Cassie to go into the big house where the victim lived with four other graduate students. After much back and forth and over the protests of her boyfriend, Cassie moves into the mansion and poses as the murdered woman. It appears that no one is the wiser and Cassie is able to get closer to the identity of the victim and the murderer.

A highly charged and tense story in addition to being very long – 20+ hours/466 pages. Well worth it, however. I highly recommended.


I also read:

The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly

This is the latest Harry Bosch novel in the series. Harry is working as a Reserve Officcer in the San Fernando office investigating a seriel rapist/killer. Another job he’s working on is that of finding a possible heir to a billionaire who is dying. Harry is still very busy in his “retirement.”  The actor, Titus Welliver, who plays Bosch on the Amazon Prime series, is the one who narrates the audiobook. To me, he is Bosch. Great story and story-reader. I enjoyed the San Fernando part of the story because I went to high school there.

The Last Mile by David Baldacci

This is book #2 is the author’s newest series, the Amos Decker series. In the first book, Memory Man, we met Amos, a former pro-football player who suffered a head injury that left him with the inability to forget anything. This remarkable brain makes for a great detective. Amos is now working on a special task forced for the F.B.I. It was a good story, although a little slow in spots.


And now here’s what I’ve been watching:

The Crown (on Netflix)

I absolutely loved this beautifully filmed “historical drama.” It follows the early years of the current Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain, played by Claire Foy.

Here are some things I loved:

  • The settings and details – rooms in the castle, the cathedral and other buildings around the UK.
  • The clothes and jewelry – Elizabeth’s wedding dress, the coronation ensemble and even her everyday outfits. All historically accurate.
  • The portrayal of Winston Churchill by John Lithgow was brilliant.
  • The drama between Elizabeth and her husband and also the problems Elizabeth had with her sister. This is stuff that never reached the newspapers.

It’s not exactly like Downton Abbey, but if you like British dramas, I think you should give this one a try. There’s not a lot of action (no car chases) as this is an in-depth character study. The cinamatography is so good that its just beautiful to look at. So far, there’s only one season with 10 episodes, each lasting about an hour. I believe there is at least one more on the way.


You may have heard that northern California is experiencing enough rain to send us into flooding. Within six months we’ve gone from drought conditions to serious flooding. There have been times when our house is completely surrounded by water, some spots deeper than others. It heads off for the streams and creeks whenever the rain stops. We’re okay and not worried. The good thing about weather is that its always changing.

Happy week ahead.

Posted in Books, Movies | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Wondrous Words #379

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

I found this word in the NY Times while reading about Obama’s reading habits:

peripatetic: “— from his peripatetic and sometimes lonely boyhood, when “these worlds that were portable” provided companionship,”

Peripatetic means traveling from place to place.

I have no idea where I found this sentence and its new word:

neural: Our minds are neural minds. The mind is physical, constituted by the neural circuitry of our brains and bodies.

Neural refers to a nerve or the nervous system


That’s it for me this week. I hope you found some words worth celebrating. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the details.

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What Am I Reading? Alexander Hamilton

I’ve been following the popularity of the broadway show. In the slim hope that I might get to see it when the road show performed in San Francisco, I thought I should read the book. It doesn’t look like I will get to see the show, but I’m glad I’m reading the book. Here’s the first paragraph:


Alexander Hamilton claimed Nevis in the British West Indies as his birthplace, although no surviving records substantiate this. Today, the tiny island seems little more than a colorful speck in the Caribbean, an exotic tourist hideaway. One million years ago, the land that is now Nevis Peak thrust up from the seafloor to form the island, and he extinct volcanic cone still intercepts the trade winds at an altitude of 3200 feet, its jagged peak often obscured behind a thick swirl of clouds. This omnipresent mountain, looming over jungles, plunging gorges, and verdant foothills that sweep down to sandy beaches,d made the island a natural fortress for the British. It abounded i both natural wonders and horrors: in 1690, the first capital, Jamestown, was swallowed whole by the sea during an earthquake.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?


firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.


Posted in First Paragraph | 12 Comments

My First Book Of The Year, Plus A Few Others

As you may have noticed, Joyfully Retired is having a slow start to the new year. My husband and I went to Portland for the holidays, but we extended our stay to see our eldest granddaughter’s high school dance performance. Seeing the show was worth the wait. Then when we got back on the highway heading home to California, the weather was not interested in cooperating. First Oregon gave us black ice and snow and then California pelted us with hard rain, high winds, and flooding. We are finally happy to be back home. Now it’s time to get back to blogging.

I had a good time reading while I was gone. There are always quiet times for good stories. My first book of the year was this one:

Mom & Me & Mom
by Maya Angelou.
Random House, 2013

After reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I came away loving the writing style of Ms. Angelou and a tremendous admiration for her courage in surviving the early part of her life. I also ended up disliking young Maya’s mother and father. If you remember, Maya’s parents put her (when she was 3) and her brother (he was 4) – by themselves – on a train from California to their grandmother in Arkansas. Five years later, at age 13 while visiting her mother, was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. I came to this new book with a bias against Ms. Angelou’s mother.

Mom & Me & Mom focuses on Ms. Angelou’s life from age 14 when she went to Oakland, California to live with her mother. In this book I saw the mother in a different light. I can’t say I came to love her, but I did understand her as Ms. Angelou did. Vivian Baxter was small in stature, but definitely a force to be reckoned with. She was a savvy business woman and an advisor to Maya. The remainder of the book covers Maya’s career and includes her mother’s role in and out of her life.

Here are some of the other books I read in the last couple of weeks. As you can see, I was on a women-author, feel-good roll.

  1. The Quilter’s Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini. This is book #1 in the Elm Creek Quilt series which is now at number 20!

2.  Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts: Part mystery, part romance set in a massive beach house above the Atlantic Ocean in Massachusetts.

3.  What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey: Inspirational essays taken from the author’s monthly column in her O Magazine.


Last year I gave up on trying to review every book I read. For me it was a matter of time. Did I want to spend my time writing reviews or more time reading. Reading won. This year you will see me doing what I did above – a short reviews and a couple of “mentions” about books I’ve read.

I’ve also reached the point where I no longer finish books I don’t like. I just abandon them. Life is too short. So, you can assume that if a book makes it to this blog, I liked it. I’ll let you know if I really liked it.

*Mom & Me & Mom was borrowed from the library. It also qualifies for the What’s In A Name? challenge.

*Whiskey Beach was also borrowed from the library.

Posted in Nonfiction, Woman's Fiction | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments