Monday, November 19, 2018

The 17th Suspect

The latest Women's Murder Club novel from the prolific James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. Someone is targeting San Francisco's homeless population, but they haven't yet committed a murder in Sergeant Lindsay Boxer's jurisdiction. Yet, thanks to her confidential information, she has been first on the scene to three different murders, leading her to believe her fellow investigators may be padding their hours. Assistant District Attorney Yuki Castellano, meanwhile, tries a high profile assault case that could change legal precedent, if her client is telling the truth. And the search for a murderer is hampered by Boxer's unusual medical symptoms. But her friends are with her each step of the way. This book is just fast moving fluff. I got hooked on this series from the beginning and read each new one when it comes out. The series is basically a soap opera in book form. I kind of hate to admit I read it....

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Island of the Mad

One of the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R. King. I love this series! I'm this one, Russell and Holmes help an old friend track down a missing, and aunt. Lady Vivian Beaconsfield has spent most of her adult life in one asylum or another since the loss of her brother and father in the Great War. Her mental state seemed to be improving, but she's now disappeared after an outing from Bethlem Royal Hospital (better known as Bedlam). Together, Russell and Holmes search Bedlam to Venice, only to find the increasing shadow of Benito Mussolini.

Vinegar Girl

A modern retelling of The Taming of the Shrew by Anne Tyler. Kate Battista is running life for her scientist father and stuck-up sister, Bunny. She also works at a preschool where the children love her but the parents don't. Dr.Battista is close to a breakthrough, but his brilliant lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. If that happens, all will be lost. So Dr. Battista hatches a plan, expecting Kate to help him. She is furious;it's too much! Yet the very ludicrousness is touching.

Leave no Trace

Fascinating novel by Mindy Mejia. Ten years ago, Lucas Blackthorne and his father trekked into the Boundary Waters wilderness; and didn't come out. They were presumed dead. Until... a decade later, mostly mute and prone to violence, Lucas walks out. He is put in a psychiatric hospital. Maya Stark, assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection. She has secrets of her own, and abandonment issues. She's drawn closer to Lucas, and will risk all to reunite him with his father.

The Shadow of the Wind

A gorgeous novel by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, translated from Spanish by Lucia Graves. Daniel works with his father in their bookstore in Barcelona just after the war in 1945. He is initiated one night into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, where he findsa a novel by Julian Carax called The Shadow of the Wind. Daniel loves the work so much, he sets out to find the rest of Carax's body of work. Only someone has been there first, systematically destroying all the Carax books he can find. Daniel must find the truth of his quest which has opened up one of Barcelona's deepest secrets, or those he loves will suffer greatly.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Catholic Writers Guild

I was privileged to attend the live conference of the Catholic Writers Guild this year. It is held in tandem with the Catholic Marketing Network and this year was in Lancaster, PA. I am currently working on a memoir of my child -bearing years; over the course of 6 pregnancies I spent 1 1/2 years on bedrest! I also converted to Catholicism, and received 2 medical diagnoses that could have been devastating. The book will tell how we managed and, I hope, be a tool for women put on bedrest in their own pregnancies.

I learned much at the conference. I signed up for a non-fiction critique group July 31, and really scrambled to get 10 pages of my manuscript ready to go. Arriving at the group, the leaders had no idea who I was, and had not received my manuscript! We agreed O could audit the session. It was God's hand! As I listened to the conversation and took notes, I realized, my work is not ready to be critiqued. It needs real reworking. I intend to join the Guild, join the online non-fiction critique group, and submit my manuscript a piece at a time then.

The first day of the conference was informative and interesting. I may have found a niche for myself. I wish we could have stayed longer. We took it as a girl's trip, with my mom, two daughters (we celebrate each girl starting her period by including her on a trip: one more daughter to go), and myself. My eldest daughter and I attended the conference; she is a poet. There was a poetry critique group scheduled, however, my daughter was the only signee. She was rewarded with an hour of one-on-one time with the leader, an established poet. An excellent confidence builder for my girl! But my mom had to be home for another obligation, so we  had to leave the second day of the conference. And, although there is ample opportunity for Mass, we didn't get to attend this time. We had a lovely time anyway.

I am now in a fibromyalgia flare because we drove from IN to PA in one day. I can't get my mom to understand my limitations. We did break up the trip back; after 8 hours we found a motel. We were heading to IL and 12 hours driving was a little more than mom could do. So I am in pain and fatigued. Apparently, the conference has been in Schaumburg, IL in the past. Perhaps it will be moved back. Lancaster was difficult to negotiate, we found. Still, a good time.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Wives and Daughters

A novel by Elizabeth Gaskell. I read and enjoyed Gaskell's book North and South, so I thought I would enjoy this classic as well. I was wrong. The pace was slow, for one thing, and I just couldn't be enthusiastic about any of the characters. I can see the worth of the novel, but I finally had to abandon it. A rare thing for me. Perhaps it just wasn't the right time and if I pick it up again someday I'll be able to enjoy it. Perhaps not.