Wednesday, October 28, 2020

135. When She Was Good by Michael Robotham

#2 Cyrus Haven
borrowed from Library and listened on Libby
narrated by Joe Jameson
Unabridged audio (11:25)
352 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 10/28/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.33 - 4181 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: Contemporary Nottingham/Manchester, England

First line/s: "Late spring.  Morning cold.  A small wooden boat emerges from the mist, sliding forward with each pull of the oars."

What I posted on Goodreads:  Part two in a 2-part mystery, finished quite satisfactorily.  Great narration, wonderful mystery.

My comments: Part two, finishing a story begun in a prior book (Good Girl, Bad Girl) quite satisfactorily.  I enjoyed the way it flip-flops between the two man characters, a forensic psychiatrist and an 18-year-old girl who has been abused and/or on the run for most of her remembered life.  The setting of Nottingham/Manchester, England and the perfectly accented and accentuated male reader enhanced my reading experience.  Plot, setting, characterization, and narration worked perfectly together in this excellent mystery.

Goodreads synopsis:  Criminal psychologist Cyrus Haven and Evie Cormac return in this new thriller from author Michael Robotham. Who is Evie, the girl with no past, running from? She was discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime. Her ability to tell when someone is lying helped Cyrus crack an impenetrable case in Good Girl, Bad Girl. Now, the closer Cyrus gets to uncovering answers about Evie’s dark history, the more he exposes Evie to danger, giving her no choice but to run. Ultimately, both will have to decide if some secrets are better left buried and some monsters should never be named...

Thursday, October 15, 2020

134. We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez

read on my iPhone/Kindle/Book/Audible
narrated by Marisa Blake
Unabridged audio (9:31)
326 pgs.
Adult/YA CRF 
Finished 10/15/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.56 - 1060 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: contemporary migration from Guatemala to US

First line/s: "When you live in a place like this you're always planning your escape."

What I posted on Goodreads:  Horrifying story of three young people (12, 14, and 16) who make the arduous, perilous journey from their barrio in Guatemala to the U.S.

My comments: What a horrifying story!  Three young people (12, 14, 16) make the arduous journey from their barrio in Guatemala to the United States.  Their dreams are huge but reality is more than harsh.  One loses their life, the other two come very close.   Fleeing horrors like we can't imagine into different horrors that are just as fatal and terrifying.  It shows, with what I am sure is harsh accuracy, what happens to children that are caught on the border and detained in cages.  This was an extremely difficult book to read.  After living in southern Arizona for so many years, I can feel the heat of the desert and now that if I still lived there I would get up in the morning and go find an agency where I could physically actually do something to help the plight of these incredibly brave people. A hard book to get through and finish.  What a story.

Goodreads synopsis:  A ripped-from-the-headlines novel of desperation, escape, and survival across the U.S.-Mexico border.
          Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña have no false illusions about the town they've grown up in and the dangers that surround them. Though their families--both biological and found--create a warm community for them, threats lurk around every corner. And when those threats become all too real, the three teens know they have no choice but to run: for the border, for the hope of freedom, and for their very lives.
          Crossing from Guatemala through Mexico with their eyes on the U.S. border, they follow the route of La Bestia, a system of trains that promise the hope of freedom--if they are lucky enough to survive the harrowing journey. With nothing but the bags on their backs and the desperation that courses through their very veins, Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña know that there's no turning back, dangerous though the road ahead might be.
          In this powerful story inspired by real--and current--events, the plight at our southern border is brought to painful, poignant life.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Picture Poetry Book: Dictionary for a Better World by Irene Latham & Charles Waters

Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z
Illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini
2020, Carolrhoda Books
120 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.68 - 213 ratings

Goodreads blurb:  How can we make the world a better place? This resource for middle-grade readers is organized as a dictionary; each entry presents a word related to creating a better world, such as ally, empathy, or respect. For each word, there is a poem, a quote, a personal anecdote from the authors, and a "try it" prompt for an activity.


Ears open
Mouth closed
To the other person
Helping them know
Yes, they matter.

                Charles Waters
                 an acrostic poem


courage can be
getting up to face life's
stormy world when you'd rather hide
in bed.

                  Charles Waters
                   a cinquain


Kindness boards a bus.

Kindness stands
so you can sit.

Kindness unwraps
a sandwich
and gives you the bigger half.

                    Irene Latham
                    a cherita (a three-stanza poem that tells a story.  The first stanza has one line and sets the scene, the second stanza has two lines, and the third stanza has three lines.)

a poem for two voices

I like to shout                I like to whisper
loud, proud,                   tender,
strong words                  remember-me words.
                 words have power
words can split a city     words can rain down,
with the speed                 bringing spring bouquets
of an earthquake              to a barren desert

Monday, October 12, 2020


 I have always loved cinquains, and I love teaching kids to write them.  "Invented" by Adelaide Crapsey, they follow a syllabication rule:  five lines, 2-4-6-8-2.

Here's one by Charles Waters from the book Dictionary for a Better World:


            courage can be
       getting up to face life's
stormy world when you'd rather hide
                    in bed.

And here are several more, written by Tristan Kilko:

Spin webs of silk
Walk on eight long, thin legs
I see an arachnid and scream

Exciting game
Hanging out with buddies
Jaxson's my arena partner

Easy trick shots
V-bucks for cosmetics
Skins, back blings, gliders, pickaxes,
Fun game.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

133. Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

listened to library borrow on Libby
narrated by Richard Armitage
Unabridged audio (9:55)
309 pgs.
Adult Historical Fiction
Finished  10/10/2020
Goodreads rating: 3.80 - 16,129 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: Post WWII Hampshire, England

First line/s: "He lay back on the low stone wall, knees pulled up, and stretched out his spine against the rock."

What I posted on Goodreads:  A lovely historical fiction set in a tiny village in Hampshire, England, in the winter of 1946, where eight people, all lovers of Jane Austen novels, come together to form a society to preserve the little village where she wrote her last three books.  Full of bittersweet joy and sadness, it was entertaining and delightful to follow the actions and thought of these eight people who had great insight into the mind of Jane Austen and her many characters.

Goodreads synopsis:  Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.    
          One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England's finest novelists. Now it's home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen's legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen's home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

What I've Got Waiting on Audible & Chirp - with Links to Goodreads

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi - Americanah (17:28) yg. Nigerian couple, 2013 (4.31)
Baldacci, David - Saving Faith (12:46) government-mystery, 1999 (3.89)
Boyd, Natasha - The Indigo Girl (10:32) 1739 SC plantation, 2017 (4.27) Chirp
Brown, Sandra - Mean Streak (11:51) myst/suspense, 2014 (4.06)
Burdick, Serena - The Girls with No Names (12:24) 1910 NYC Work house, 2020 (4.07) 
Carter, Scott William - Bury the Dead in Driftwood (10:16) #6 Garrison Gage, 2019 (4.44)
Child, Lee - A Wanted Man (14:12) #17 Jack Reacher, 2012 (4.02)
Child, Lee - Personal (12:55) #19 Jack Reacher, 2014 (3.95)
Erdrich, Louise - The Round House (12:39) 2012 (3.94)
Eugenides, Jeffrey - Middlesex (21:21) 2002 (4.01)
Frear, Caz - Sweet Little Lies (11:58)  Cat Kinsella #1  26 yo Det Const in London, 2018 (3.79)
French, Tana - In the Woods (20:24) #1 Dublin Murder Squad, 2007, 3.77
Gabaldon, Diana - Outlander (32:12) 1991 (4.23)
Grey, Iona - Letters to the Lost (16:56) 1942 London & present, 2015 (4.16)
Halls, Stacey - The Familiars (9:44) 1612 Gothic Mystery 2019 (3.89) Chirp
Harris, Charlaine - An Easy Death (9:48) female gunslinger in dyst. America, 2019 (3.84)
Healey, Jane - The Beantown Girls (11:13) 1944 US , 2019 (4.31)
Ibrahim, Laila - Paper Wife (9:47) 1923 China, 2018 (4.09)
Jiles, Paulette - News of the World (5:58) 1870 reconstruction TX, 2016 (4.07)
Johnson, Craig - The Cold Dish (13:17) #1 Walt Longmire, 2004 (4.13)
Kadish, Rachel - The Weight of Ink (23:19) 1660s & now, 2017 (4.09)
Kearsley, Susanna - A Desperate Fortune (15:42) "timeslip" romance," 2015 (4.00)
McDermid, Val - The Mermaids Singing (14:12) #1 Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, 2002 (3.96)
Mikulencak, Mandy - Forgiveness Road (10:19) 1970s Mississippi, 2019 (3.85) Chirp
Patchett, Ann - Bel Canto (11:20) 2001 (3.93)
Perry, Thomas - Strip (11:22) multi-characters on the seedy side of LA, 2010 (3.68)
Preston, Douglas & Lincoln Child - Blue Labyrinth (14:11) #14 Pendergast, 2014 (4.09)
Quinn, Kate - The Alice Network (15:07) 1947, got part way, 2017 (4.27)
Sandford, John - Shadow Prey (12:08) #2 Lucas Davenport 1990 (3.97)
Segovia, Sofia - The Murmur of Bees (14:20) 1918 Mexico, 2015 (4.27)
Shamsie, Kamila - Home Fire (7:54) 3-Brit/Pakistani siblings, father a terrorist 2017 (4.06) Chirp
Tucker, K. A. - Keep Her Safe (14:31) 2 ygish people mystery/suspense, 2018 (4.04)
Verdon, John - White River Burning (14:12) #6 Dave Gurney, 2018 (4.02)
Bray, Libba - The Diviners (18:14) YA hist. fantasy: 1926 NYC, 2012 (3.95) Chirp
Brown, Pierce - Red Rising (16:12) YA dystopia, 2014 (4.25)
Clare, Cassandra - Clockwork Angel (14:36) YA dyst, 1878 London, 2010 (4.32)
Harper, Molly - Changeling (8:21) YA Magical Institute, 2018 (4.07)
Maas, Sarah J.  A Court of Thorns and Roses (16:07) YA Fantasy, 2015 (4.23)
Meyer, Marissa - Winter (23:30) #4 Lunar Chronicles,  2015 (4.45)
Nelson, Jandy - I'll Give You the Sun (12:57) YA, twin boys, 2 pov, 2014 (4.14)
Tanger, N. J. - Chimera (11:16) YA SciFi, 2015 (4.20) Chirp
Mid Grades
Gaiman, Neil - The Graveyard Book (8:24) 2008, (4.13)
Korman, Gordon - Restart (5:51) Mid Grades, 2017 (4.24)
Bradbury, Ray - Fahrenheit 451 (5:01) 1953 (3.99)
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia - One Hundred Years of Solitude (14:04) Magical realism/Colombia, 1967 (4.08)
Mitchell, Stephen - Gilgamesh (4:04) 4000 yr old retelling, 2006 (3.69)
Woolf, Virginia - Mrs. Dalloway (7:05) 1925 (3.79) 

Lee, Stacey - The Downstairs Girl
Bowling, Dusti - Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus (5:27)
Austen, Jane - Northanger Abbey
Cahalan, Susannah - Brain on Fire
Russell, Nick - Stillborn Armadillos
Hoffman, Alice - The Dovekeepers
Wells, Martha - All Systems Red
May, Julian - The Many-Colored Land
Kiernan, Stephen P. - The Curiosity
Hogarth, M. C. A. - An Heir to Thorns and Steel
Chambers, BEcky - A Closed and Common Orbit
Eskens, Allen - The Life We Bury
Mamatas, Nick - Sabbath (73% finished)
King, Lily - Euphoria (18% finished)

Cauliflower Soup

1 med. cauliflower, broken into florets
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
3/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Combine the veggies and broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, ans simmer for 12 - 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Do not drain.

In a large saucepan, melt butter.  Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper until smooth.  Gradually add milk.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook and stir for two minutes or until thickened.

Reduce heat.  Stir in the cheese until melted.  Add the cauliflower mixture.

1 cup: 159 calories, 11 g. fat, 35 mg. cholesterol, 10 g. carbs, 7 g. protein

Friday, October 2, 2020

132. One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow by Olivia Hawker

listened on Audible
narrated by Jackie Zebrowski
Unabridged audio (19:12)
493 pgs.
Adult Historical Fiction
Finished 10/2/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.26 - 16,304 ratings
My rating: 3.5
Setting: 1876 Wyoming prairie

First line/s:  "I was leading the cows to the milking shed when my pa shot Mr. Webber."

What I posted on Goodreads:  3.5 Yes, beautiful, descriptive writing, but too much of it.  The story could have been told without 18 hours of listening to much of the same thing over and over.  Good story all in all, but I couldn't WAIT to finally get to then end....

Goodreads synopsis:  From the bestselling author of The Ragged Edge of Night comes a powerful and poetic novel of survival and sacrifice on the American frontier.

Wyoming, 1876. For as long as they have lived on the frontier, the Bemis and Webber families have relied on each other. With no other settlers for miles, it is a matter of survival. But when Ernest Bemis finds his wife, Cora, in a compromising situation with their neighbor, he doesn’t think of survival. In one impulsive moment, a man is dead, Ernest is off to prison, and the women left behind are divided by rage and remorse.

Losing her husband to Cora’s indiscretion is another hardship for stoic Nettie Mae. But as a brutal Wyoming winter bears down, Cora and Nettie Mae have no choice but to come together as one family - to share the duties of working the land and raising their children. There’s Nettie Mae’s son, Clyde - no longer a boy, but not yet a man - who must navigate the road to adulthood without a father to guide him, and Cora’s daughter, Beulah, who is as wild and untamable as her prairie home.

Bound by the uncommon threads in their lives and the challenges that lie ahead, Cora and Nettie Mae begin to forge an unexpected sisterhood. But when a love blossoms between Clyde and Beulah, bonds are once again tested, and these two resilient women must finally decide whether they can learn to trust each other - or else risk losing everything they hold dear.