Friday, May 29, 2015

38. Second Son - a short story by Lee Child

Jack Reacher #15.5
read by Dick Hill
listened to audio through Audible
2011 Transworld Digital
32 pgs.
Adult mystery
Read on 5/27/2015
Goodreads rating: 3.93
My rating: 3
Setting: Base housing, 1970's Okinawa

My comments: It was interesting to look at Jack Reacher with a family, living in a house in a bedroom of his own....but to truly believe that a 13-year old could think in the way that he did left a little question mark in my head.  Of course Reacher was probably a detecting/investigative prodigy, but this one went a little over the top to be completely believable.  Ah, well.   A short story from Lee Child - fun.

Goodreads synopsis:  In this short story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child, available exclusively as an eBook, a young Jack Reacher knows how to finish a fight so it stays finished. He knows how to get the job done so it stays done. And, in one of his earliest challenges, he knows that his analytical brain is just as important as his impressive brawn.
          Okinawa, 1974. Even at thirteen, Jack Reacher knows how to outwit and overpower anyone who stands in his way. And as the new kid in town, that’s pretty much everyone. His family has come to the Pacific with his father, who’s preparing for a top-secret Marine Corps operation. After receiving a rude welcome from the local military brats, Reacher and his older brother, Joe, intend to teach them a lesson they won’t forget. But it’s soon clear that there’s more at stake than pride. When his family’s future appears to come crumbling down, it’s the youngest Reacher who rises to the occasion with all the decisive cunning and bravura that will one day be his deadly trademark..

Sunday, May 24, 2015

37. Playing God - Kate Flora

Joe Burgesss #1 Portland, ME police detective
read on my iPhone/Book/listened to audio CD/Audible...
2006 Five Star (ME)
286 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery
Finished 5/24/15
Goodreads rating: 3.73
My rating: 4
Setting: a contemporary winter in Portland, ME

First line/s:  "The small black dog skittered into the street, shining eyes registering canine astonishment that a vehicle dared to be out at this hour.  Burgess stomped on the brakes, the Explorer responding with orgasmic ABS shudders, stopping just short of the beast."

My comments:  I like Joe Burgess. A lot. Love the setting – Portland, Maine. A dead doctor, without compassion for anyone including his wife and especially his patients,disliked by everyone– including Joe Burgess. Various leads, including one that Burgess was a little reluctant to pursue. But listening to his mother's admonitions not to play God he's relentless in pursuit.  Lots of food for thought in the way he thinks, the sorts of feelings and virtues he accepts and does not accept, and interesting thinking in the way/s he views his own life.

Goodreads synopsis:

36. Half a Chance - Cynthia Lord

read by Maria Cabezas - lovely
4 unabridged cds (4.75 hrs.)
2014 Recorded Books
218 pgs.
Middle Grade CRF
Finished 6/1/15
Goodreads rating:  3.97
My rating: 4
Setting: contemporary summer in New Hampshire

First line/s:  "Lucy, we're going to love this place!" Dad called to me from the porch of the faded, red-shingled cottage with white trim.  "We can hang a swing right here and watch the sunset over the lake.  And these country roads will be great for biking."

My comments:  I have an affinity for Cynthia Lord and her stories about kids in Maine.  This one takes place on a lake in New Hampshire...the sort of place where I've spent many a summer as a kid.  The setting is described beautifully.  The story deals with dementia, friendship, jealousy, parent-child and grandparent-child relationships, moving, ecology, bird-watching, loons, photography - yup, a lot. I liked it.

Becky's review from Becky's Book Reviews

Goodreads synopsis:  A moving new middle-grade novel from the Newbery Honor author of RULES.
          When Lucy's family moves to an old house on a lake, Lucy tries to see her new home through her camera's lens, as her father has taught her -- he's a famous photographer, away on a shoot. Will her photos ever meet his high standards? When she discovers that he's judging a photo contest, Lucy decides to enter anonymously. She wants to find out if her eye for photography is really special -- or only good enough.
          As she seeks out subjects for her photos, Lucy gets to know Nate, the boy next door. But slowly the camera reveals what Nate doesn't want to see: his grandmother's memory is slipping away, and with it much of what he cherishes about his summers on the lake. This summer, Nate will learn about the power of art to show truth. And Lucy will learn how beauty can change lives . . . including her own.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Week 11 of My Hexie Fever

I think I've figured out what I want to do with the small batik diamonds....
(graph paper is cool!)
I think black rather than white....
And after arranging, rearranging, changing, and thinking, I've pretty much decided that this is what I'm going to do with the scrappy flowers (but what color for the single hexagon setting? Gray, maybe?)

29 single flowers finished
     (and 22 waiting)
44 double flowers finished
     (and 9 waiting)
1 triple flower finished
11 bulls-eye diamonds finished
26 small batik diamonds finished
     (and 35 waiting)
74 5-inch novelty hexies finished

2276 hexies made so far (up 122 from last week)
2701 edges sewn (up 241 from last week)
GRAND TOTAL (4977) up 363 all together from last week!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

35. A Week in Winter - Maeve Binchy

Listened to audio on Audible...
Read by Rosalyn Landor
2012, Orion
464 pgs.
Adult CRF set in western Ireland & Dublin
Finished 5/16/2015
Goodreads rating: 3.77
My rating:5/enchanting

First line/s: First person:  CHICKY  "Everyone had their own job to do on the Ryan's farm in Stonybridge."

My comments:  This was an enchanting story, told from many perspectives and linked together so that the first few characters are still the major ones. The plot was fascinating, but the character development was superb, putting the reader into the life of each and every one of the 11 or 12 characters, major and minor.  So many stories rolled into one! And the setting, on the western coast of Ireland - I truly loved listening to every word.

Goodreads synopsis:  Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know one another. When Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is crazy. Helped by Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the house) and Orla, her niece (a whiz at business), Chicky is finally ready to welcome the first guests to Stone House’s big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms. John, the American movie star, thinks he has arrived incognito; Winnie and Lillian are forced into taking a holiday together; Nicola and Henry, husband and wife, have been shaken by seeing too much death practicing medicine; Anders hates his father’s business, but has a real talent for music; Miss Nell Howe, a retired schoolteacher, criticizes everything and leaves a day early, much to everyone’s relief; the Walls are disappointed to have won this second-prize holiday in a contest where first prize was Paris; and Freda, the librarian, is afraid of her own psychic visions.

Friday, May 15, 2015

MOVIE - Pitch Perfect 2

PG-13 (1:55)
Wide release 5/15/15
I saw it the evening before it opened, Thursday 5/14/15  at Roadhouse Cinema
RT Critic: 70   Audience:  81
Cag:  3 - Liked it
Directed by Elizabeth Banks
Universal Studios

Anna Kendrick, Elizabeth Banks

My comments: Funny, yes.  Cute, yes.  Good music, yes.  Entertaining, yes. Even sweet.  But overall, when I put it all together, it wasn't really satisfying.  I can't figure it out.  My reaction was a wholehearted .... eh.

iMDB Summary:  After a humiliating command performance at Lincoln Center, the Barden Bellas enter an international competition that no American group has ever won in order to regain their status and right to perform.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

34. Never Go Back - Lee Child

Jack Reacher #18
listened to audio CD AND Audible.
audio read by Dick Hill..
2013 Delacorte Press
400 pgs
Adult mystery
Finished 5/12/2015
Goodreads rating: 3.98
My rating:4
Setting:  Contemporary Washington DC & LA

My comments:  Lee Child - and Jack Reacher - always seem to grab me immediately and not let go.  There were a few places in the story where I had to pause for a moment and try to figure out how two plus two equaled four; and my anger at politics and government/armed forces/police hierarchy made me crazy, but good stories should attract strong emotions, right?  If you read this book only to take a look at Reacher and his beliefs, lifestyle and aggressive genius, you won't go wrong.

Goodreads synopsis:  After an epic and interrupted journey all the way from the snows of South Dakota, former military cop Jack Reacher has finally made it to Virginia. His destination: a sturdy stone building a short bus ride from Washington D.C., the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. It was the closest thing to a home he ever had.
          Why? He wants to meet the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner. He liked her voice on the phone. But the officer sitting behind his old desk isn’t a woman. Is Susan Turner dead? In Afghanistan? Or in a car wreck?
          What Reacher doesn't expect to hear is that Turner has just been fired from her command. Nor that he himself is in big trouble, accused of a sixteen-year-old homicide. And he certainly doesn't expect to hear these words: ‘You’re back in the army, Major. And your ass is mine.’
          Will he be sorry he went back? Or – will someone else?

March of the Hexagons - Week 10

Sunday, May 10th marks the end of my tenth week working diligently - and almost crazily - on hexagons!

I don't like the way these look like this.  
I've done some drawing and brainstorming.  I think I'm going to use some sort of black around them to make it look more stained-glassy.

I love the way these look.

15 single flowers finished
44 double flowers finished
1 triple flowers finished
11 bulls-eye diamonds finished
12 small diamonds finished
74 5-inch novelty hexies finished

2154 hexies made so far (up 296 from last week)
2460 edges sewn (up 108 from last week)
    grand total (4614) up 408 all together from last week

33. The Survivor's Club - J. Carson Black

read on my iPhone
2013 Thomas & Mercer
364 pgs.
Adult murder mystery
Finished 5/7/15
Goodreads rating: 3.54
My rating: 4
Setting: mostly in Tucson, AZ, with a little outside LA

My comments:  Plot, characters, setting.  It's the setting that was most wonderful for me in this fairly grizzly mystery - in and around and south of the streets and mountains I know so well - from the Rincon foothills of Tucson to Patagonia and Nogales, even the lonely close-to-the-border ghosts towns where I snooped when I first arrived in this city-in-the-desert. (I never realized the danger I might be in until a few years later, but that's another story!)  The protagonist is okay, quite smart and real, making occasional choices that might be a bit questionable, which makes her even more believable.  The plot, although interesting, is difficult to totally believe, since I don't think Ms. Black ever really gave enough information about why this family did what they did - all as adult siblings. I can understand one of them, and maybe two, but I needed more proof as to how the other two might have been motivated to participate in some of the things they took part in.  All in all I enjoyed its many facets, its many personalities, and its many stops along the route!

Goodreads synopsisDetective Tess McCrae investigates a grisly crime scene in the ghost town of Credo, Arizona. The evidence suggests a cartel drug hit. But Tess, with a nearly faultless photographic memory, sees what others might miss: this is no drug killing. Someone went to gruesome lengths to cover their tracks.
          The killer’s trail leads from Tucson to California — from anti-government squatters to the heights of wealthy society. As Tess follows the trail of gore and betrayal, perfect and indelible in her memory, she uncovers far more than one man’s murder and solves much more than one isolated crime.

Monday, May 11, 2015


Atlas Quest and the "official" Letterboxing site are the two ways that one can find locations of letterboxes  I also have discovered an app that I use on my phone, but not all the boxes are found on all the sites.

I'm hoping this will be my ongoing list of letterboxing adventures.

1.  Girl Scouts Rock! (LbNA) COULD NOT FIND (LaTorte Spring Trail, nr. Carlisle, PA) with Ella 4/8/15
2.  Gloria's Pepsi (AQ) COULD NOT FIND (King's Gap, nr. Carlisle, PA) with Ella 4/11/15
3.  Beautiful Spring (AQ) FOUND! (I-81 N Rest Stop just south of Carlisle, PA) with Ella 4/11/15
4.  Irish Bell (AQ) (LbNAFOUND (Michael Perry Park, Tucson) 4/19/15
5.  Daisy Gordon: GS Series (AQ) COULD NOT FIND (Quincie Douglas Library, Tucson) 5/10/15
6.  This One's For the Kids (LbNA) COULD NOT FIND (Children's Memorial Park, Tucson) 5/10/15

Tip 1:  If a box has not been found in a number of years, even though it's still "active," it might not be worth the time and effort you put into trying to find it - unless your stroll/walk/hike is the main reason for your adventure.

Tip 2:  I know that I'll be adding more and more as I become a more experienced letterboxer.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Letterboxing Attempt #3 - To No Avail

Yup, it was a bummer day letterboxing today, although I'm not too frustrated and I enjoyed both of my attempts. A great Mother's Day adventure, I guess!

The first was "Daisy Gordon: GS Series ," which took me to the Quincie Douglas Library in South Tucson.  It wasn't there.  The Bear Essentials container was completely empty, inside, out, and under.  However, I found a couple of good picture books that I haven't read, and loved looking around this lovely library.

The second, this time off River Road just west of Oracle, was at the Children's Memorial Park. I'm discovering that Tucson is FULL of small, lovely parks that are well kept and full of playgrounds and ball fields for the kids of Tucson.  This one was right on the River Bike Path and commorated children who died shortly after birth.

It took me a bit to figure out all the clues, but I know with 100% certainty that I found the right spot.  The only flagstone that I could see had been pulled away from an apparent empty hole.  I would have poked and prodded a little more, but it was under a mesquite tree and those long, sharp pricklers kept catching on my brand-new shirt....I was afraid I'd get a hole or a rip.  I'm pretty sure it wasn't there.

 The copse of rocks where this was located was pretty cool, and somewhat of a hideaway, on a short trail that joins River Road to the bike path along the wash.

Better luck next time!

MOVIE - Five Flights Up

Wide/Limited release
Viewed date at
RT Critic:    Audience:   
Cag:  6/Awesome  5/Loved it  4/Liked it a lot  3/Liked it  2/It was okay  1/Didn’t like it
Directed by
Based on the book by


My comments:

RT Summary:

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Ninth Week of Hexie Happiness!

May 3, 2015 (forgot to post on the correct date, too busy sewing)
          Another week  of checking out people's blogs and quilts and tips about Grandmother's Flower Gardens, Lucy Boston, and hexagons in general.  Lots and lots more pinterest findings that contain so many cool ideas.  Starting two more quilts (or perhaps wall hangings?) without finishing my first (which is probably about 3/5 done.  And loving every minute of it!

New Project #1
Single Flowers - hopefully, pretty bright
7 finished so far
New Project #3
Small Diamond Batiks
6 finished so far

12 single flowers finished
43 double flowers finished
1 triple flowers finished
11 bulls-eye diamonds finished
6 small diamonds finished
74 5-inch novelty hexies finished

1858 hexies made so far!!  (up 322 from last week)
2352 edges sewn together (up 195 from last week)
   grand total up 517 since this time last week


Friday, May 8, 2015

DNF - Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

listened to audio on AUDIBLE (It's still in my cloud - what a waste of money for me!)
Kate Daniels #1
2007, Ace
280 pgs.- I listened to the equivalent of about 60 of them
"Urban Fantasy"
Ended 5/8/15
Goodreads rating:
My rating: I didn't enjoy it at all
Setting: Magical Atlanta, a short time in the future:

My comments:  I'm not going to rate this one, since I only got through about 60 pages.  It came highly recommended, but this genre (whatever it's called) just isn't my cup of tea.  There's too many books waiting for me to spend time reading something I don't enjoy.  It's probably a wonderful book, just not for me.

Goodreads synopsis:  Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up paranormal problems. Atlanta has two factions struggling for power. Masters of the Dead are necromancers who control vampires. The Pack are a paramilitary clan of shapechangers. When Kate's guardian is killed, she is caught between.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

MOVIE - Avengers: Age of Ultron

Wide/Limited release
Roadhouse Cinemas on Friday, 5/1/15 with Cyra
RT Critic: 75   Audience: 89   
Cag:  3.5 Liked it 
Directed by
Based on the book by

Actors:  James Spader; Robert Downy, Jr.; Mark Ruffalo, Scarlet Johanssen

My comments:

RT Summary:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

32. Gun Games - Faye Kellerman

Decker/Lazarus # 20
10 unabridged cds (on the road back and forth to school)
2012, William Morrow & Co.
Harper Audio read by Mitchell Greenberg - very well
375 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery
Finished 5/3/2015
Goodreads rating: 3.82
My rating: 3.5
Setting: Contemporary LA

My comments:  Actually, 3.5.  Reason?  About 50% of the story is about Decker's 15-year-old foster son, piano prodigy Gabe Whitman, who meets a shy 14-year old LA/Persian Jewish girl, falling, apparently and mutually, head-over-heels for each other.  He's a horny, 15-year old boy, but she's been raised as an Orthodox Jew in a very strict home, and the sex talk...then scenes...are more graphic and in-your-face than what I remember of previous books in this series.  I'm not a prude (at all!), but she was so young and innocent that in some ways her capitulation was believable, but in other ways not.  Of course, their story intersects with the case that Decker is working on (what a coincidence!) and everything turns out okay.... it was all okay - likable and interesting - but a little unbelievable.

Goodreads synopsis:  Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus are back in this gripping mystery involving a secret cabal of some of Los Angeles' most wealthy--and vicious--teens
          LAPD lieutenant detective Decker and his wife, Rina, have willingly welcomed fifteen-year-old Gabriel Whitman, the son of a troubled former friend, into their home. While the enigmatic teen seems to be adapting easily, Decker knows only too well the secrets adolescents keep--witnessed by the tragic suicide of another teen, Gregory Hesse, a student at Bell and Wakefield, one of the city's most exclusive prep schools.
          Gregory's mother, Wendy, refuses to believe her son shot himself and convinces Decker to look deeper. What he finds disturbs him. The gun used in the tragedy was stolen--evidence that propels him to launch a full investigation with his trusted team, Sergeant Marge Dunn and Detective Scott Oliver. But the case becomes darkly complicated by the suicide of another Bell and Wakefield student--a death that leads them to uncover an especially nasty group of rich and privileged students with a predilection for guns and violence. Decker thought he understood kids, yet the closer he and his team get to the truth, the clearer it becomes that he knows very little about them, including his own charge, Gabe. The son of a gangster and an absent parent, the boy has had a life filled with too much free time, too many unexplained absences, and too little adult supervision.
          Before it's over, the case and all its terrifying ramifications will take Decker and his detectives down a dark alley of twisted allegiances and unholy alliances, culminating at a heart-stopping point of no return.