A Look At My Week

I’ve had an “easy” reading week. Nothing major to think about with these books. They’re just enjoyable stories. I read two books by the same author, Nora Roberts. They’re the kind of stories I love:  big families, some romance, and the family business. Also — each book contained a mystery at the heart of the story. Let me tell you a bit about them:

Come Sundown is author Nora Roberts’ latest book (May 30). The story is set in western Montana on an enormous ranch and resort owned and operated by the Longbow family. Daughter Bodine Longbow oersees the operation of the business although there are lots of people hired to help out in addition to the rest of the family. One of the newest staff members is Callen Skinner who has come home after years working on Hollywood movies managing the horses and other animals. Bodine had a crush on Cullen when she was in high school and she doesn’t seem to have lost her interest. There are some additional aspects to this story: Someone in the area has killed two women and there is a parallel story about a young woman who was captured and held against her will for many years.

The running of the ranch an resort, a couple of romances, and the mystery of the women make this a very compelling story. As is usual from Nora Roberts, the reader also gets to know the people involved as well.

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The other Nora Roberts book I read is The Villa (2002). In this story we have two families, the Giambellis and the MacMillans. They have merged their two Napa Valley wineries to create a masterful business. This is a three-generational business, run by the grandparents who married after the deaths of their spouses. As the story opens, the grandparents are about to announce a change in the management of the business. They are paving the way for their future retirement and preparing their two grandchildren to take over. The two grandchildren are already involved in the business: Tyler MacMillan is an accomplished vintner and Sophia Giambelli handles the marketing and public relations. Neither one really wants to do more than they are currently doing, but the grandparents present a compelling case. As Ty and Sophia work closely together to run the business and accomplish the merger, their personal lives begin to merge. Things are smooth however as someone is trying to sabotage the business. It’s not petty sabotage, as the murder of two people will show.

The Villa is my favorite of these two novels. It was just a bit more exciting than Come Sundown, especially the mystery part. I did not see the “whodunit” nor anticipate the ending. All very satisfying.

What We Did For Fun:

My husband, Jay, and I attended a great fund-raiser for the library this week. The organizers secured a theater and a big-screen version of Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Do you remember this 1981 Steven Spielberg clasic?

We choose seats down front in the center of the third row. It was amazing to be right there in the middle of all that action and super close to handsome Harrison Ford! (No, it didn’t hurt my neck.)

I don’t know the exact figures of how much money was raised, but I do know the theater was sold out, which at $25 per person was a good amount. They also sold a ton of raffle tickets for all sorts of donated gift baskets. Also donated was the bag of popcorn and bags of chocolates (the really good stuff) every attendee received. There were lots of happy people that night, including Jay and me. What kind of fund-raisers does your library have?

That’s it for me this week. I hope your week ahead is filled with fun. Happy Reading.

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Book Beginnings: Come Sundown by Nora Roberts

I’m joining Rose City Reader as she encourages fellow bloggers to share the beginnings of a book we are reading.

I’m an old Nora Roberts fan. Summertime and a Nora Roberts romance just go together. Here’s the beginning of her newest novel:

 

Dawn bloomed, pink as a rose, tinting the snow-drenched mountains with delicate color. Elk bugled as they swam through mists on their morning pilrimage, and the rooster crowed his insistent alarm.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

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Wondrous Words #404

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.

In the New York Times Opinion newsletter I found this interesting word that I couldn’t quite understand:

back-channeling: “There’s lots of back-channeling, backbiting, and lots of leaking,” John Dickerson, the host of Face the Nation, said on the Slate Political Gabfest.

There are several variations on the meaning of back-channeling:

  • a real-time online conversation using networked computers that takes place alongside live spoken remarks.
  • Track II diplomacy, an unofficial channel of communication between states or other political entities
  • an organizational practice in business that involves bypassing recognized or official chains of command in order to create vulnerability[clarification needed] at the level(s) skipped

Okay, now I get it. I hope you do too.

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That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

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My Week In Review

Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by to check on my week. I’ve had a fun week. My reading has been highlighted this week by Stories — with a capital S. Every thing I read contained

Did you know that there are Grammy Awards given for the Best Spoken Word Album? Yes, they’ve been doing it for several decades. The winner for 2017 is In Such Good Company. Its a memoir of sorts by the comedian, Carol Burnett. Ms. Burnett wrote the book and then is the narrator. I swear, my whole face smiled just hearing the opening paragraph. Carol Burnett is the ultimate entertainer whether she’s acting on TV or writing and reading her memoir. The book is chock full of info about her time on her long-running weekly variety show. From the publisher, here is a little bit of what is in the book:

• how the show almost didn’t air due to the misgivings of certain CBS vice presidents;
• how she discovered and hired Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and Tim Conway;
• anecdotes about guest stars and her close freindships with many of them, including Lucille Ball, Roddy Mcdowell, Jim Nabors, Bernadette Peters, Betty Grable, Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme, Gloria Swanson, Rita Hayworth, and Betty White.

It was such a treat to listen to this book. I can see why she won the Grammy. It felt as if she were telling just me all about the people on her show and the various characters they all created. There are so many great stories in here and I strongly recommend you grab this one.

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The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware is a mystery about a young journalist, Lo Blacklock, who works for a travel magazine. She’s given the assignment of a trip on the maiden voyage of a sleek cabin cruiser. Its a luxury liner and the trip is a real perk. However, on her first night she meets a woman in the cabin next door – Cabin 10. In the middle of the night she hears what she thinks is someone going overboard. When Lo reports this to the person in charge of security, he doesn’t believe her, nor does anyone else. Everyone tells her that Cabin 10 has been empty the whole trip. Is Lo crazy or is something else going on? This was a very tense story with a good mystery that was not known until the very end, which is how good mysteries should be.

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There’s nothing like a good legal thriller to round out my summer reading list. Best would be one by one of my favorite authors, John Grisham. Since he has a new book out, I grabbed it without reading the blurb. I assumed this would be a legal thriller, but I was wrong. This is not a bad thing. Camino Island is great storytelling. Its actually about the theft of rare manuscripts of F. Scott Fitzgerald and what happened after. The story I enjoyed the most was the tale of an independent book seller on Camino Island. Everyone seems to think the stolen manuscripts are coming his way. As usual, a very satisfying story.

 

What I Watched:

After I finished reading/listening to the Carol Burnett audiobook I checked out some of her shows on dvd. The library had a bunch of them. Those old variety shows are amazing for the quality of the singers and dancers. For example, one of the highlights was the Jackson Five. The sketches were also excellent — probably the real genius of the show. I loved the Tim Conway segments, but Carol Burnett is the heart of every show.

Well, I must say I laughed so much this week that my mouth hurts. It’s okay, though. Laughter is very therapeutic. I hope you have something to make you smile and laugh this week.

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Book Beginnings: The Woman In Cabin 10

I’m joining Rose City Reader as she encourages fellow bloggers to share the beginnings of a book we are reading.

I found The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware on the New-Arrivals shelf at the library. I was hooked by the end of the first chapter.

 

In my dream, the girl was drifting, far below the crashing waves and the cries of the gulls in the cold, sunless depths of the North Sea. Her laughing eyes were white and bloated with salt water; her pale skin was wrinkled; her clothes ripped by jagged rocks and disintegrating into rags.

Most of the story takes place aboard a luxurious cabin cruiser heading toward Norway. A young journalist sees a woman in the cabin next door, but then the woman is never seen agin. Tfhee’s no proof she went overboard. Where did she go? This is a great mystery.

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Wondrous Words #403

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.

In Dave Leonhardt’s Opinion in the NY Times there was a word that caught my attention:

scrum:  “Meanwhile, for anyone trying to make sense of the Senate’s confusing health care scrum, Vox’s . . .

I’m sure I’ve seen this word before, but I can’t say I get the meaning in that sentence. I checked the dictionary and found a long explanation about rugby. I’m positive that’s not what the author meant. I checked further and found much better explanation:

Scrum is a disorderly crowd of people or things.

For example, There was quite a scrum of people at the bar.

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That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

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A Look At My Week

I had a fun “sit-around” week of reading and watching Netflix. I didn’t do much else. It’s been so hot. We’ve been in the upper 90s and100s. Ugh!

First I read A Cold Day for Murder because I thought it might make me feel a little colder — at least, I hoped, mentally colder. It didn’t make any part of me feel colder, but it did take my mind off the heat for a while. The story is set in Alaska – in winter – and centers around Kate Shugak. Kate’s a native Alaskan who lives alone in the back country. She’s a former investigator with the Anchorage D.A.’s office.

Kate reluctantly agrees to help investigate the disappearance of a Park ranger and then the son of a congressman. I liked how Kate deliberately tracked down each clue and possible suspect and then very carefully put all the information together to figure out the guilty party. The book is the first of a long series by Dana Stabenow, so I have many more to read.

My husband and I both read Orphan X, a mystery-thriller by Gregg Hurwitz. We had similar reactions to this story about Evan Smoak who’s had an interesting past and now a very mysterious present. Smoak was a young orphan when he was taken and taught to be a very effective and secret assassin. Now he has disappeared from that life and he is doing what he alls “pro bono” work. When a good person has nowhere else to turn, Smoak will help them. However, someone has discovered Orphan X’s whereabouts and wants to destroy him. As you can expect, there were some very violengt sections in this book, but we both really liked the shadowy, spy-like behavior of Smoak. Very well written. We will read Book 2.

Last, but not least, I read Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. This is an interesting epistolary novel set in modern-day America with a strong nod to Jane Austen and other literary works. Its the story of Samantha (Sam) who was awarded a generous full scholarship to graduate school. There was only one condition: she must regularly write updates to Mr. Knightly, her generous benefactor. Through these letters we come to know the real Samantha and her heart-breaking childhood in the foster care system. Samantha’s main coping mechanism was to identify with the characters in the books she rerad. It was enjoyable to see Sam work through her past issues and move on into a productive adulthood. I especially enjoyed all the references and quotes to and from well-loved books.

What I Watched:

In my spare time I’ve been binge-watching the first season of West Wing. Do you remember the show? It began in 1999 and ran for seven seasons. (I’m partial to the first four or five.) I’m an avid observer of politics; I love to read, watch and follow politics. However, right now I’m having a hard time with all that’s going on so, watching the fictional version is a lot more fun. I love all the characters in the show, but in the first season C.J. and Sam are my favorites. They are both hard-working, smart, dedicated to doing the right thing, a little naive, and funny. Pure enjoyment. Do you have a favorite character?

That does it for me this week. Have a ggood one. Happy Reading.

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Book Beginnings: Dear. Mr. Knightley

I’m joining Rose City Reader as she encourages fellow bloggers to share the beginnings of a book we are reading.

I’m almost done reading Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay.

 

Dear Sir,

     It has been a year since I turned down your generous offer. Father John warned me at the time that I was making a terrible mistake, but I would’t listen. He felt that by dismissing that opportunity I was injuring not only myself, but all the foster children helped your foundation.

This is one of those Austen knock-offs, but in a good way. It’s set in modern times. I’ve enjoyed the look at the foster care system.

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Wondrous Words #402

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 have only one new word this week. I found it in the New York Times Daily Opinion newsletter.

innumeracy: “President Trump’s first budget has two themes: redistribution and innumeracy.”

Innumeracy is a derivative of innumerate which means a person lacking basic knowledge of mathematics and arithmetic. Oh my.

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That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

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