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Everything posted by aggieamy

  1. Thanks everyone! That definitely helps!
  2. My family is planning a road trip to Montreal and Toronto in the beginning of August. We'll drive from Kansas City, spend the night in Detroit, spend three nights in Toronto, and then spend three nights in Montreal before heading home. Any suggestions on what part of town to stay in for Montreal and Toronto? We don't have plans in either city yet. Mostly we want to do some tourist stuff, look at historical things, take a boat tour, maybe do an interesting day trip. We'd love to stay someplace interesting but would like to balance that with being frugal. We love walking around cool places after dinner so someplace interesting to walk around would be a big bonus. Any other suggestions on fun things to do are welcome also!
  3. We also got back a couple of weeks ago from our London/Devon/Windsor trip. It was supposed to be a "beach" vacation but it ended up being 52 degrees and rainy everyday. We made do though and still had a great time. I'll share some pictures and try to make our trip sound literary! DD and DH went to the Globe for a show. They'd been wanting to do that forever. Most evenings John was ready for bed by six so one of us would stay in the room with him and two of us would go on adventures at night. We also got our traditional picture taken at the spot where we got the call that we had an adoption match six days before John was born. We hit lots of book stores. (@VioletCrown - we bought a ton of Enid Blyton books to read aloud!) We ended up in Agatha country but didn't make it out to her house because of the 30 minute walk and it was raining. A bunch! Did I mention how much it rained? Anyone recognize this setting for one of the Poirot shows? Sandy and her family drove down to spend our last day in Windsor with us. We were all excited to see her family and felt like we were visiting long distance cousins. It rained. A lot but still had a great time. After she left I felt like I could have spent about eight hours straight chatting with her.
  4. Looks like I picked the right week to jump back into the BaW thread. We're discussing James Herriott and Dave Barry?!?! *swoon* Two of my favorite reads. I haven't read Dave Barry in years but I remember reading one of his books when I was on a family vacation and my dad kept getting mad at me because I'd be sitting in the car reading and laughing like I was crazy. @Robin M - Week 28? Yikes. I am so far behind in my reading. I've DNF'd two mysteries this week. I don't know what's wrong with me. Nothing is catching my interest. I probably need to just reread a favorite mystery to get back in the mood. @SKL - I'm right there with you this year on being so impressed with everyone's reading and I'm even feeling a bit envious. Some years are busier than others. I think your girls are pre-teens now? That's the age when I thought everything would get easier and I'd have more time but really now I'm just doing tons of driving!
  5. It's been a crazy week around here. I finished up my WIP book and sent it to a professional editor on Tuesday. Wednesday I drove a friend to Witchita for a doctors appointment because she's in a clinical medical trial and I ended up getting strep throat so my friend had to drive me home. Daughter-for-a-year is going home in ten days so we're trying to pack as much fun as we can in these last few days. Right now I would seriously pay someone to come over and do my laundry! While in Witchita and sick in bed with strep throat I did read a Miss Silver book. She Came Back. It's one of her mysteries set during WWII which I just love. There's such a feeling of patriotism and believing in something so much bigger than yourself at play with the British then. I've started and abandoned a few other books. One was a DE Stevenson, who normally I just love, but this one didn't catch me at all. I'm behind on the challenges but I've got high hopes for this month because I just picked up the Peter Zac book from the library!
  6. I know many of you have read the Tana French series (Dublin Murder Squad). Should I start with book one? Is there a better place to start? Your DD might like the Miss Silver books. Similar level of violence and smut to Agatha Christie (almost none) and time period but they have a different feel to them. Don't start with book one. Check out @tuesdayschild blog for her reviews. I agree with everything she says.
  7. Anyone here a Danielle Steel fan? This article about her writing process is going around and it's very interesting. I'd love to hear everyone else's opinion on her. I'm sure I read a few of her books when I was trapped on vacation with my parents and I failed to plan properly and ran out of books to read but I don't remember any specific books. They were the type of books that always seemed to be on the shelf of a lake cabin for the desperate reader. Actually I might be thinking Mary Higgins Clark! The two are interchangeable in my mind.
  8. Happy Mother's Day friends! My people surprised me with a picture book of Scotland and Pride & Prejudice. We now have four copies of P&P I still love those people. (They also got me stuff from Lush so I might tease about them on here but I have no real complaints.) Finished a book Sandy recommended a month ago. The Last Victim by Karen Robards. I could nitpick all the things that were wrong with the book but I'm not going to because it was fast paced and interesting and there was a ghost but it was interesting. It's the love child of a suspense book and a romance and a magical realism book and a police procedural book from the 90's when authors didn't do good research on how police departments operate. @Kareni - Have you read any Karen Robards? I think you'd like her.
  9. Does everyone else have plans on Friday night or what? I feel like I'm talking to myself a bit. Back to the read along ... how do we decide which book we're going to read? Democratic vote? Does someone get to be a dictator and just choose for us? Draw a book title out of a hat?
  10. Speaking of Golden Age mystery writers ... I came across this listing and thought it was really interesting. Lots of authors on here that I know and some new names. I'd love to hear everyone's favorites from the list. The only thing that I don't like about some Golden Age mysteries is how a great number of them are battling against a super powerful unnamed conglomerate of criminals. A secret society apparently devoted only to doing evil and our hero must bring them down. It's just a little too much Inspector Gadget vs the Claw for me. All I want is some foppish younger son to work with Scotland Yard and figure out who bopped the mean uncle over the head with a candlestick. Knitting old ladies are not only allowed but encouraged.
  11. Really wish you'd gone with Attica. That's a fantastic name. You run in highbrow circles ... I think they would have figured it out. And if they didn't just think about how awesome it would be for people to think you named one of your daughters after a prison riot. They'd make all sorts of crazy speculations on that.
  12. I've been thinking about trying to read some of the names from the Golden Era of Mysteries this summer too. Ones that I haven't read before like Crispin (The Moving Toy Shop) or Bentley (Trent's Last Case) or Carr (Scandal at High Chimneys) but I don't know how well they'd do as read alongs. Most are short. And @Robin M might have somethings similar planned since she's got a year of fun mysteries planned for us.
  13. I think one summer Sandy (@mumto2) and I read almost all of the books she had released. It was one of those deals where I would finish a book in the series at 11 pm and instantly buy the next one on my kindle and be up all night reading. I think there's been a few more books released since then. I'll have to check them out. You might also really like the Julian Kestrel mysteries. The author died young and only wrote four but it's similar setting and so well done. Since there's no Hemingway on that list I would read any of those! And the first time I ran into an Atticus it was so cute. His father was an English teacher so it was clever. And now it's probably a top ten name. I read this in high school and had no idea what I was supposed to be getting from it. I would retry it.
  14. Please do! Kevin just finished Great Expectations and spent thirty minutes telling me how JK Rowling ripped off the story idea for Harry Potter from Dickens and added wizards. That was the only change according to him.
  15. My vote would be for one of those classics that we were supposed to read in high school (or that we did read) but are better understood as adults. I don't know what exactly though. As long as it isn't Hemingway!
  16. This is me. Or the week before. I'm in such a reading rut. Ugh. I hope this isn't creepy but she's so cute I kinda want to hold her close and smother her in kisses. In a friendly BaW auntie type way. Not in a creepy internet weirdo type way. Please don't get a restraining order. I know just what you mean. A block from my house a man had a seizure while driving and hit a 14 yo girl walking home from school ON THE SIDEWALK. My DD didn't know her because they went to different schools but the neighbor girl did. She was drug half a block and died. Two blocks away there's a family that's devastated by a random tragedy. And yet my children are healthy and happy and doing great. ((HUGS))
  17. I keep meaning to pick up the second book in that series. I feel like this on a daily basis.
  18. Two books done! The Key ( a Miss Silver mystery). - Recommend. It's set and written during WWII which is always fascinating to me. It wasn't published until 1944 so it was probably written in 1942 or '43. The British were in the midst of it then and didn't know if they'd win the war or not. What a fascinating time! This is the ninth Miss Silver book I've read and still haven't gotten sick of them. They're formulaic but in way that is still fun. Really they make fantastic audiobooks. Revising Your Novel by Janice Hardy - Every writer should have this on your shelf. I read it cover to cover but it took me forever because it's more of a reference book. My entire book is filled with highlights and sticky tabs for things I want to remember. @Robin M @ErinE
  19. One of the most horrific stories I've ever read. I accidentally looked up pictures online once while I was reading in bed and had to wake up my DH to hold me while I cried. Why are all these things so much more traumatizing when you have children yourself?!?! This might be a semi-spoiler question. Probably not though. By book 21 have they given Ian Rutledge anything positive in life? A girlfriend? A superior officer that isn't out to get him? Mental stability? I love the writing and the time period but after six books (including some in the teens) I started to get depressed. I'd love to pick the series back up but won't until they help our hero out a bit. Ditto ditto. We're now on book 4 of the Boxcar children series. DH gets to read Chews on Books Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and I keep going with the Boxcar Children. We only have books 1-10 in the house. He'll have to discover there are more in the series when he goes to school next year. You and I seem to have the same taste in non-fiction so I'm eagerly awaiting your review on this!
  20. I love Brother Cadfael. It's a series my grandmother loved and she and I would sit on Sunday nights and watch him on PBS Mystery. I've since rediscovered him through audiobooks. Highly recommend listening to his books. Fantastic narrator and the writing is perfect for listening. I usually have to listen to the last hour at 2.5 speed because I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN AND I CAN'T BE CALM.
  21. She would have been an author I would have liked to know. From my attempts at internet stalking back in the early 2000's when she was still alive I couldn't figure out much besides she was married and still alive.
  22. A few tips for the Cat Who newbie (jump in here with your opinion @mumto2) : There's a few places to start the series ... The Cat Who Could Read Backwards is the start of the series. That's the beginning of the entire story. It was written in 1966 and I've read it many times and loved it. However, our beloved hero is a product of the 60's in that book and by modern standards is a bit of a sexist. Not over the top but kind of like a beloved grandfather who occasionally says stuff about a waitress that makes you cringe. Books 2 and 3 are published also in the 60's and set in the same location "down below". I think it's supposed to be Detroit. The Cat Who Saw Red (book 4) - is published twenty years later and feels slightly more modern. I think I would recommend starting with this book. It's still set in the Detroit location and it sets the stage for the exciting change that happens in the next book. You don't need to read the previous books to start here. The Cat Who Played Brahms (book 5) - lots of changes for our hero. He moves to a small town up north and meets an interesting crew of characters. This would be my alternate recommended starting location. I'd get immersed in the series starting with book 4 or 5 and then go back and read the earlier books because by then you'll love Qwill enough to go back and here about his younger days. The last books in the series were rumored to have been ghostwritten and to me ... let me put this delicately ... suck. The charm is gone and it's like comparing the beloved story of the first Boxcar Children book to Boxcar Children #347 The Mystery of the Day Old Loaf of Bread. My personal stopping point in the series in Book 20. So funny. I used to be that person and then I discovered home grown heirloom tomatoes and I'm a fan. But .. they have to be grown in a friend's backyard and they have to be interesting. Otherwise yuck! Is this for your DD overseas?
  23. So ... I loved the series so much and I ended with book #12. Everything was getting so dark and stressful. She finished one of the arcs up happily enough but I was really anxious getting there. I don't trust her not to kill a character or two that I love so I'm avoiding reading any of the rest of the series and skipping book descriptions. And as I write that out I sound like a sissy. But there you are! I wish she would start another series and be done with Three Pines because I love her writing but I don't like where she's taking that series. I also didn't read the last three in the Cat Who series for the same reason. In my mind that's not how it ends. If the author and I have differing views on how it should end then we'll just have to go separate ways.
  24. Pulling that one off my shelf to try tonight. I'm not trying to push him to listening to chapter books ... we still do tons of picture books but I just love having a story to come back to every night. DD loved everything and this guy is pickier. *heart* One of my favorite Lord Peter stories. I probably know the answer but have you attempted any of the "new" Lord Peter books such as Thrones, Dominations?
  25. Farmer Boy is a fail for DS. He loved Boxcar Children and wants something exactly like that for me to read to him. Ugh. I think he's just a little two young for the story. I love all the food descriptions but he's bored with it. I even tried editing on the fly but it's no-go. I'm a bit bummed. We'll try Henry Huggins tonight. I've finished my tenth (at least!) reread of The Great Gatsby. Loved it as always. But I remember we had some heated discussion on here last time I read it.
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