December Photo A Day

>> Friday, November 30, 2012

Yikes! Tomorrow is December!!!
Well that means it's time for my regular monthly reminder and recruitment post about rhe Photo a Day Challenge hosted by Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim. I've been participating in this daily photo challenge for eight and a half months now and today will be my 260th day of posting a daily photo. It's been fun to have so many of my online and in person friends join in to participate in this. I love seeing everyone's photos and how creative folks can be with the daily prompts.

If you haven't tried it yet, December is as good a time as any to start. It's a good chance to try it out and see if you want to try giving the full year of 2013 daily photos a try.

Every month Chantelle posts a list of subjects or prompts for each day of the month. Chantelle's post about December's list includes some extra explanation and ideas just in case any of the prompts have you stumped.

This is the list for November and Chantelle's instructions:

December Photo a Day
click to view full size

Joining the photo a day challenges is super easy and just as much fun! The first rule is, there are no rules. It’s all about being creative and just getting involved. Everyone is welcome to play along. Yes, even you Aunty Nancy.

Questions previously asked by photo-a-day photo-takers

What on earth is this photo a day?
Each month I reveal a list of daily prompts. All you have to do is use any camera you have {iPhone, Smartphone, Digital, DSLR, Polaroid … seriously anything that captures photos} and use the daily prompt as inspiration. For example if the day one prompt is ‘peace’, just take a photo of something that represents peace to you.

Why would I want to play?
Did I mention it’s fun? It is. It really is. It makes you take a little time each day to stop and take notice of what’s around you, as well as be a little creative. There’s also a rockin’ community of photo-sharers that like and comment on each other’s photos. Oh, and Pink {the singer, not the colour} played along in June. All the cool kids are doing it.

How do I share my photos?
This is the fun part. If you’re into sharing, then you have a few options. Just share to whichever social media platforms you like. The photo a day community is shared across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Blogs, Tumblr and more.

If you’re sharing on Instagram or Twitter – make sure you use the monthly hashtag {ie #photoadayjuly} so that people can find your photos.

If you’re sharing on Facebook, you can share on your personal page, on your business page {if you have one} and/or over on my blog’s Facebook page. You can find it here.

I like to be nosey. How can I see other people’s photos? Please.
Once you’ve shared your own photo, why not check out everyone else’s pics? Check them out on the social media platforms mentioned above. Like them, love them, leave comments and enjoy being part of the photo-a-day community.

My dog was sick. I lost my iPhone charger. And I forgot to take a photo yesterday. What do I do now? Am I failure?
Never. Photo a day is all about having fun. So you skipped a day, so what? It doesn’t mean you have to fall off the photo-a-day bandwagon completely. You can either just pretend yesterday didn’t happen, or you can take two photos in one day. If you skipped a whole week, then just decide whether you want to make up some days or just start on the current day. Remember, there are no rules. By the way, I hope your dog gets better.

I choose to participate in this challenge using only photos from my phone. Between Instagram and a few other photo applications I have plenty of options for editing photos on my phone. It's fun for me to see what I can do using just my phone and apps. I highly recommend Snapseed. It's a bit more than I usually pay for an app but it's got some amazing editing options.

If you’d like to check out my previous photos they’re on my Tumblr blog at at Whimpulsiveness

I'm also now using ShutterCal too. You can see all 260 of my Photo A Day photos in a calendar format.

The most important thing to remember about this is the flexibility. For me, using only photos from my phone makes it low pressure so I don't feel like I ahve to have a perfect shot. That helps me to just relax and have fun with it.

I have created a Google Calendar for those who would like to have the daily prompts in their google calendar. Here is a link to the Instructions for subscribing to that.

If you've been participating I hope you'll continue or give it another try if you've gotten out of the habit. Please let me know where you are sharing your photos so that I can find them.

Here are a few of my favorites from the November Photo a Day Challenge. Click on the individual photos if you want to see a larger version.

a favourite thing
November 6th - a favourite thing
reflection
November 7th - reflection
the view from your window
November 16th -
the view from your window
work/play
November 19th - work/play

sky
November 25th - sky
big
November 29th - big

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Stumptown Volume 1 by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth

>> Thursday, November 29, 2012

Stumptown Volume 1 by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth

Stumptown Volume 1 by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth

Genre: Mystery (Graphic Novel)
Series: #1 in the Stumptown series
Publisher: Oni Press
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 144
Source: Library


The Short Version:
Dex Parios is a female PI with a gambling problem who agrees to work off her debt to a tribal casino by finding the missing granddaughter of the casino’s boss.

Why I Read It:
I heard about this series when someone on Twitter shared a list of new comic releases and mentioned that he couldn’t wait to read the next in the Stumptown series. Once I found out the premise included a Portland setting and a female Private Investigator, I was destined to read it.

The Book:
This volume 1 is a compilation of four issues in the first story arc and a bonus mini comic from the series.

From the publisher:

Dex Parios is the proprietor of Stumptown Investigations, and a fairly talented P.I. Unfortunately, she's less adept at throwing dice than solving cases. Her recent streak has left her beyond broke - she's in to the Confederated Tribes of the Wind Coast for 18 large. But maybe Dex's luck is about to change. Sue-Lynne, head of the Wind Coast's casino operation, will clear Dex's debt if she can locate Sue-Lynne's missing granddaughter. But is this job Dex's way out of the hole or a shove down one much much deeper?

My Thoughts:
The bad part is that I now have to wait for Rucka and Southworth to finish the next story arc in this series before a compiled volume two can even be published.

The story is interesting with some great flashes of humor in the midst of the gritty dark and dangerous action scenes. Even if you don’t have a Portland connection this detective story is a good one. The introduction (unfortunately printed in black font on a dark background that is difficult to read) calls it reminiscent of The Rockford Files and I have to agree. Dex is tough but she’s got a good heart like the best of the well-known TV detectives. She’s responsible for her mentally handicapped brother and there are some good supporting characters that I expect to be regulars in the series.

The artwork is moody and atmospheric. Seeing some familiar Portland locations in the backgrounds and the accurate feel the images portray of various places I know was an added bonus. Don’t let the difficult to read introduction formatting throw you off. The rest of the story is visually excellent. This story is told as much if not more through the artwork than through the dialog.

You can check out a preview of the first 19 pages of Stumptown at the Oni Press site.

If you’re a crime fiction fan you should check this one out.

As I was looking up information for this post, I discovered that Rucka has an action thriller novel published by Mulholland Books (one of my favorite imprints). Looks like I need to take a look at his traditional print books as well as his graphic novels.


4 stars Rating 4/5

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Wordless Wednesday #163

>> Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Reflections

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Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout

>> Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout

Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout

Genre: Mystery
Series: #1 in the Nero Wolfe series
Publisher: Bantam Books
Publication Date: Originally published 1934. This edition 1992
Pages: 285
Source: Library

The Short Version:
The first novel featuring the eccentric Nero Wolfe who solves mysteries without ever leaving his house.

Why I Read It:
I read a later book in this series earlier this year and enjoyed it so I decided to go back and start at the beginning.

The Book:
From the publisher:

As any herpetologist will tell you, the fer-de-lance is among the most dreaded snakes known to man. When someone makes a present of one to Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin knows he's getting dreadfully close to solving the devilishly clever murders of an immigrant and a college president. As for Wolfe, he's playing snake charmer in a case with more twists than an anaconda -- whistling a seductive tune he hopes will catch a killer who's still got poison in his heart.

My Thoughts:
This series pretty much ignores the passing of time. There really isn’t any ongoing storyline and Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin don’t age so the series order is not important at all.

That said, going from the 23rd book in the series back to the first there was a definite difference in quality. This first one was OK, but in all honesty if it had been the first book in this series that I’d read I would have been unlikely to pick up any others. Stout definitely improved over the years.

Nero Wolfe is an obese gourmand who spends scheduled hours each day cultivating his prize orchids. He’s eccentric and never leaves his house. His assistant Archie Goodwin narrates the stories and does all the legwork. In this first one Stout relies too heavily on Wolfe’s genius to discern what happened seemingly out of thin air. His explanations for his theories just feel too thin based on the available facts. In the later book there was a better balance of clues before theory.

I’ll keep reading the Nero Wolfe books because they’re a little like reading the old black and white mystery movies I grew up watching on Saturday afternoons. This particular one however, is easily skipped,


2.5 stars Rating 2.5/5

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Weekend Update November 25, 2012

>> Sunday, November 25, 2012

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I finished reading Fer de Lance by Rex Stout. It’s his first Nero Wolfe story. Earlier this year I read a later book in this series (The Golden Spiders) all because of Beth Fish Reads “Creepy Crawly” category for the What’s In a Name? Challenge. I thought it was good and wanted to read more of the series. This was his first and while not as good as the later series book it was OK and I’ll keep reading more from the series. They’re very much 1930’s movie type mysteries

I’m still reading Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie. Because of Holiday stuff this past week I didn’t get much reading time. I’ll be glad to get back to this one. This is the first of the Miss Marple books and I’ve wanted to read more of those since I read some of the short stories last year.

I started a new graphic novel series. Stumptown by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth is set in Portland and is about a female private detective with a gambling problem. I picked it up the other day to read the introduction which suffers from an unfortunate font and background choice.

Hard to read introduction
Luckily the rest of it is much easier to read
This was tough to read but luckily once I got past this and actually started the real story I was hooked. I had intended to skim a few pages but ended up reading a good chunk of the story. It’s a good story and interesting artwork and I’m loving the familiar Portland settings.

As for audio, I finished listening to Death of a Gossip by M.C Beaton. It’s the first in her Hamish Macbeth series. I’d been hesitant to listen to this series because I found Beaton’s Agatha Raisin character from her other series so unlikeable. I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed Hamish Macbeth and the setting in the Scottish Highlands. I’m looking forward to continuing with this series. It’s generally considered a cozy mystery series despite the fact that Hamish Macbeth is actually a police constable. Typically cozies feature amateur sleuths but this very much has a cozy mystery feel to it.

I started listening to the latest Andy Carpenter book by David Rosenfelt. Leader of the Pack is fun so far and as always, Grover Gardner's narration is wonderful.


Cozy Mystery Week:
This is a perfect opportunity for me to remind you that Cozy Mystery Week event coming up soon. Jenn at Jenn's Bookshelves has announced Cozy Mystery Week for December 1st through the 8th.


Here's more info from her sign up post
During the first week of December, before the holiday hustle and bustle takes over my life, I will feature my favorite cozy mystery series. Each day I will focus on a favorite series of mine. A fan of cozies yourself? Join me!
Obviously I’m reading a lot of cozies right now in preparation for this but I’d love to have more of my friends join in. Check out the link above for details and sign up.

Other than books and reading:
Thanksgiving week was the usual mix of family stuff, wine tasting and football for us.

ORRC Turkey Trot Packet Pickup
Wednesday evening we did our now traditional stint working the packet pickup for our running club’s Turkey Trot race. It’s fun and fairly close to home and we don’t usually have stuff going on the night before Thanksgiving so it’s a nice way to help out the club.

Potato peeler
time to peel the potatoes
Thanksgiving day we headed to my Sister-in-Law’s place for a nice relaxing day with family. The Hubster got to put his new peeler tool to good use for the mashed potatoes.

Friday was wine tasting day. The holiday weekend is a big winery event weekend around here but we only went to a couple of our favorites that happen to have tasting rooms just a few blocks apart.
Remy Wines
Remy Wines is a fun little place with excellent wines.

Grüner Veltiner jelly,
Grüner Veltiner jelly - YUM
Matello is a long time favorite winery of ours. This time around our wine club box included some jam made from Gruner Veltliner white wine grapes. I just had some this morning on biscuits and it was yummy!

Yesterday was all about watching football for us. Looks like the Oregon Ducks will be headed to the Fiesta Bowl in January and that could shape up to be a good game.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Happy Thanksgiving

>> Thursday, November 22, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving

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Wordless Wednesday #162

>> Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Squirrel: 1
Birdfeeder: 0

Squirrel beats birdfeeder
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Aunt Dimity Detective by Nancy Atherton

>> Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Aunt Dimity Detective by Nancy Atherton

Aunt Dimity Detective by Nancy Atherton

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: #7 in the Aunt Dimity series
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 229
Source: Library


The Short Version:
A small village in the Cotswolds is torn apart by a murder that has everyone suspecting everyone else.

Why I Read It:
I’ve read the earlier and while I keep threatening to break up with this series I somehow keep reading it.


The Book:
From the publisher:

When Lori Shepherd returns from her trip to America, she is shocked to hear that Prunella "Pruneface" Hooper has been killed. This is the first murder in the village of Finch in more than a century, and everyone is in an uproar. Before the town implodes in the wake of this scandal, Lori sets out to solve the murder. Unfortunately, nearly everyone in Finch had a reason to want Mrs. Hooper dead. With the help of the ghostly Aunt Dimity and Nicholas, the enigmatic (and charming!) self-defense instructor, Lori aligns motive, means, and opportunity to unravel this delightfully tangled and gossip-filled whodunnit.

My Thoughts:
This may be the book that makes me break up with this series. The things I like are the character of Aunt Dimity and the setting in the small village of Finch with it’s quirky collection of personalities. Aunt Dimity may be dead but she’s my favorite character in the series. She communicates with Lori by writing in a journal and she’s got a sharp wit and a lot of personality for a character whose interactions are limited to this form of communication. Unfortunately in this book Aunt Dimity wasn’t involved much at all.

What I don’t like about the series is that I’m not sure why the author married off Lori and had her give birth to twin boys if her husband is going to continue to be conveniently busy or out of town while Lori spends every book being attracted to the new man in town that she’s working with to investigate the mystery. I could handle it once but it’s become a regular storyline in every book.

At least this time around other characters including Aunt Dimity and Lori’s husband called her on it. I’m not sure it gives me enough hope to continue with the series though.

I enjoy the setting and the mysteries, characters and settings are fun and entertaining but my growing dislike for Lori is becoming an issue.

If you’ve read further in this series tell me – should I continue or give it up?


2.5 stars Rating 2.5/5

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Touring my TBR Spreadsheet and Shelves - November 2012

>> Monday, November 19, 2012



This month I’m going to talk a bit about Graphic Novels.

I never read any graphic novels until earlier this year but I’m quickly becoming a fan. I’ve only read a few but I’ve got several series I have either started or will be starting soon. I’m extremely lucky that my library has an extensive graphic novel collection. Maybe I’ll have my own little graphic novel theme week coming up here soon.
The Drops of God by Tadashi Agi
Not only was this my first graphic novel it was also my first foray into Manga. It was a little odd reading from left to right but I got used to it. I hope to read at least the second one in this series before the end of the year.

The gist of the story is that two rivals are competing for a prize of extremely valuable wines. The story is interesting, and I actually learned a lot about wines and wine tasting from the first book.
The Unwritten series by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
I started this series based on recommendations from a couple of trusted book blogging friends. The reason I started this one was because at the time there were only 5 volumes published. (each made up of several individual issues compiled into a story arc. I have now read and loved the first five volumes and am currently number three on the waiting list at the library for the recently released 6th volume.

This story is about Tom Taylor. His father wrote a best selling series of books about a boy wizard named Tommy Taylor and then disappeared. Tom has long resented his father but at the same time has pretty much made his living by appearing at events as the living embodiment of the character of Tommy Taylor. A series of events leads Tom to a journey to discover the truth about his heritage and his true connection the fictional character of Tommy Taylor. He discovers a deadly conspiracy that has been manipulating public opinion and events through stories.
Fables by Bill Willingham
This is another series that I heard about from trusted book bloggers. I’m more likely to take someone’s recommendation for a graphic novel if I know we have similar tastes in other books.

I have the first volume of this one out from the library and I’m really looking forward to starting it. Familiar fairy tale characters are living in exile in New York. There are a ton of books in this series so it’s a bit intimidating to start but I’ve heard such good things that I’m excited about starting it soon.

Stumptown by Greg Rucka
I found out about this series from a story someone on Twitter posted about upcoming releases.

A series set in Portland featuring a female private detective who has a gambling problem? Oh yes, I’m in. I love reading book set in Portland. It’s fun to see familiar settings and things that might be more meaningful to Portlanders than folks who aren’t from here. I’ve skimmed through this one a bit since I picked it up from the library and it looks quite good.

What about you? Are you a graphic novel fan? What graphic novels have you read that you’d recommend?

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Weekend Update November 18, 2012

>> Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I finished reading Aunt Dimity: Detective by Nancy Atherton. It was just OK. I think it might be time for me to break up with this series but more about that later this week in the review. I've started a couple of older mysteries and I’m enjoying both of them. I’m reading Fer de Lance by Rex Stout. It’s his first Nero Wolfe story. I've read a later one in this series and liked it. I’m also reading Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie. It’s the first novel featuring Miss Marple. I've read several of the Miss Marple short stories and have wanted to read this book for a while now.

I have a few graphic novels out from the library that I hope to start this week. They’ll make an interesting mix with the two 1930’s vintage books I’m reading.

As for audio, I finished listening to The River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters (narrated by Barbara Rosenblat). I’m already looking forward to the next book in the Amelia Peabody series but I want to listen to a few other books first. I've started listening to Death of a Gossip by M.C Beaton. It’s the first in her Hamish Macbeth series. I listened to several of her Agatha Raisin series a few years ago and finally broke up with that series because the main character was so darn unlikable  I've been told by a few trusted fellow bloggers that the Hamish Macbeth series is good so I’m giving it a try. This one is narrated by Davina Porter and I like her so that’s a point in it’s favor.

Cozy Mystery Week:
Just wanted to remind you that Cozy Mystery Week event coming up soon. Jenn at Jenn's Bookshelves has announced Cozy Mystery Week for December 1st through the 8th.


Here's more info from her sign up post
During the first week of December, before the holiday hustle and bustle takes over my life, I will feature my favorite cozy mystery series. Each day I will focus on a favorite series of mine. A fan of cozies yourself? Join me!
Obviously I’m reading a lot of cozies right now in preparation for this but I’d love to have more of my friends join in. Check out the link above for details and sign up.

Other than books and reading:
Holiday preparations have begun. We keep a pretty low key and low stress routine for the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas are pretty routine and low key so that helps. I've started shopping for stocking stuffers for The Hubster. His sister and my brother join us for Christmas day so I do stockings for them too. That’s pretty much the extent of my Christmas shopping. All the stuff we did on the house this year is our Christmas present to ourselves.

Browsing the iphone photos from this week I realized I didn't take much other than my Photo a Day stuff:

Yesterday was the last home game of the season and despite the loss we still had fun.


rainy drive
The weather was nasty at times


Parking lot mud pit
We had to navigate the giant mudpit in the parking lot

break in the rain
But we had some breaks in the weather and most importantly good times with good friends.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Audiobook – A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters

>> Friday, November 16, 2012

A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters

A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters

Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: #19 in the Amelia Peabody series publication order, #12 in story chronology order
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2010 Recorded Books (Book originally published 2010)
Length: 11 hours, 7 minutes
Read by: Barbara Rosenblat
Source: Library

The Short Version:
The Peabody-Emerson family and friends are persuaded to assist with an expedition to Palestine to search for the Ark of the Covenant but find themselves in new kinds of trouble.

Why I Read It:
This is one of my favorite series to read via audiobook and it's one I always look forward to returning to.

The Book:
From the publisher:
August 1910. Banned from the Valley of the Kings, Amelia Peabody and husband Emerson are persuaded to follow would-be archaeologist Major George Morley on an expedition to Palestine. Somewhere in this province of the corrupt, crumbling Ottoman Empire—the Holy Land of three religions—Morley is determined to unearth the legendary Ark of the Covenant.

At the request of British Intelligence, Emerson will be keeping an eye on the seemingly inept Morley, believed to be an agent of the Kaiser sent to stir up trouble in this politically volatile land. Amelia hopes to prevent a catastrophically unprofessional excavation from destroying priceless historical finds and sparking an armed protest by infuriated Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Meanwhile, Amelia's headstrong son, Ramses, working on a dig at Samaria, encounters an unusual party of travelers and makes a startling discovery—information that he must pass along to his parents in Jerusalem . . . if he can get there alive.

My Thoughts:
Note on series order: I read this one out of publication order because I’m reading the series in order of the story. You can find the chronology at this link.

Elizabeth Peters had always intended that the timeline of this series would end with the 1922-1923 excavation season in which King Tut’s tomb was discovered. She has written additional books that fill in some of the gaps where the series originally skipped over several years. I have chosen to listen to the books in the chronological order of the storylines as best as I can.

It was interesting to have the series shift location away from Egypt where most of the action has taken place previously. For much of the book the action is taking place in two separate locations. The Emersons’ son Ramses is off on his own for significant portions of the story. His parts of the story are once again told interspersed with Amelia’s journal as excerpts from “Manuscript H”.
As usual there were plenty of moments when Amelia’s observations and comments made ma giggle.
In fact I had heard all I needed to hear. Men like to create unnecessary organizations and give them impressive or mysterious names; this usually ends in increase confusion and should therefore be ignored.
The men had scattered in all directions, which men are inclined to do when women leave them to their own devices for any length of time. I believe that they are easily bored.
I never lie unless it is absolutely necessary, so I did not reply.
Barbara Rosenblat delivers these gems perfectly. Just seriously enough to indicate that Amelia firmly believes what she says but at the same time with just enough of a wink in her voice to let the listener know that she’s giggling inside too.

This continues to be one of my favorite series to experience via audio but you really need to start at the beginning with Crocodile on the Sandbank.

3 stars Rating 3/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the narration



SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.

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Wordless Wednesday #161

>> Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Looking Up

looking up
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The Night Season by Chelsea Cain

>> Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Night Season by Chelsea Cain

The Night Season by Chelsea Cain

Genre: Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Series: #4 in the Archie and Gretchen series
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 320
Source: Gift from a friend

The Short Version:
The river is rising in Portland and so is the body count as Detective Archie Sheridan hunts a seiral killer.

Why I Read It:
I have been a fan of Chelsea Cain since she wrote a column for our local paper and have continued to be a fan of her novels

The Book:
Rivers are rising in Portland and so is the body count. A series of recent drowning deaths is determined to be something far more sinister. Archie Sheridan will always carry the physical and emotional scars of his years hunting Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell. Even though she’s locked away, Archie will never be totally free of her bur right now he’s after a new serial killer while the city is in crisis due to the rising floodwaters.

Reporter Susan Ward is not only following the story of Archie’s current case, she’s also on the possible trail of a murderer from years ago. The rushing floodwaters have washed out an old skeleton that might date from the 1948 flood that washed away a town north of Portland.

With Archie’s partner out of commission, Susan and Archie pursue the leads as they try to track down a killer and battle the weather at the same time.

My Thoughts:
In all honesty I was glad to see Gretchen have nearly no presence in this installment in the series. She’s always a part of Archie and she is mentioned yet she does remain offstage (well as offstage as Gretchen can)
“She's not crazy. She just likes killing people.”

The killer in this one isn’t Gretchen but the killer is pretty darn twisted. Interestingly enough I just happened to read two books in a row with similar methods of killing the victims. That was an odd coincidence.

The story this time brings in some real Portland area history with the Vanport flood of 1948. I would like Chelsea Cain’s books anyway but the fact that she uses familiar local settings and now history add to the fun.

This book, while it has plenty of psychologically twisted stuff going on isn’t nearly as bloody and gruesome as others in the series. It could easily be read as a standalone.


4 stars Rating 4/5

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Weekend Update November 11, 2012

>> Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I finished reading Eggsecutive Orders by Julie Hyzy as part of my preparation for the upcoming Cozy Mystery Week (more about that later). I also read The Night Season by Chelsea Cain. Her books are always fast reads for me because I can’t seem to stop reading once I start. It was kind of funny that these two books I finished this week shared a common method of murder because other than that they’re nothing alike.

I started another cozy mystery this week. I’m reading Aunt Dimity: Detective by Nancy Atherton. I’ve got a couple of graphic novels out from the library that I plan to read when I’m done with that.

On audio I’m still listening to The River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters (narrated by Barbara Rosenblat). Amelia Peabody such a great series for audio. I always enjoy returning to this series.

Cozy Mystery Week:
As I mentioned above there’s a Cozy Mystery Week event coming up soon. Jenn at Jenn's Bookshelves has announced Cozy Mystery Week for December 1st through the 8th.


Here's more info from her sign up post
During the first week of December, before the holiday hustle and bustle takes over my life, I will feature my favorite cozy mystery series. Each day I will focus on a favorite series of mine. A fan of cozies yourself? Join me!
I knew Jenn was planning this and have been planning for by getting the next book in a few of my favorite cozy series from the library. If you're a fan of cozies click on the link or image above to get to Jenn's sign up post and join the fun.

Other than books and reading:
I made my first batch of crock pot applesauce last week and I can promise you it won’t be my last. I don’t know how I missed hearing about this until now but I’m pretty darn happy with my first effort. I’m going to make another batch today so I can stock up some in the freezer.

The deal I made with The Hubster was that I’d make applesauce if he peeled the apples. This resulted in him making a trip to buy a new kitchen tool.
I think he was attracted to the "medieval torture device" appearance. He’s also in charge of mashed potatoes every Thanksgiving so he plans to use this for that as well as apples. After peeling his first apple with it his reaction was “Oh I’ll get $15 worth of fun out of this”. I’m married to a dork.

Browsing this week’s phone photos:
Germantown Road Trees
Pretty drive over the hills into town

Abby stretch
Kitty Yoga

Howard the Pathetic
Howard the Pathetic

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Weekend Cooking - Southwestern Slow Cooker Chicken and Potato Soup

>> Saturday, November 10, 2012

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Southwestern Slow Cooker Chicken and Potato Soup

It's soup season and I made a batch of one of our favorites this week. It's been a while since I posted a Weekend Cooking post and I thought I'd share this one.

I discovered this recipe through Weight Watchers and it's become a favorite of ours. It's hearty without being heavy.

This is the Original Weight Watchers Recipe but there are variations all over the internet.


When I first read through the list of ingredients I wasn't sure if I would like this combination of ingredients but I think the sweet potatoes really balance out the slight spiciness of the chiles in the diced tomatoes.

After the first time making the recipe as written I tweaked it a bit for our preferences. Both The Hubster and I thought it needed more tomatoes so I use Three 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles. I also feel strongly that a little cumin goes a long way so I use less cumin than the original recipe. Other than those minor changes it's as written. I usually use a couple of large sweet potatoes and end up with 6 large servings.

Soups are great for us in the fall and winter because I can make up a batch and dish it up into individual microwave safe containers and it's great for either lunch or dinner.

3/4 pound(s) uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast(s), cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium uncooked sweet potato(es), peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large uncooked onion(s), chopped
29 oz canned diced tomatoes, salsa-style with chiles, undrained
14 1/2 oz fat-free chicken broth
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 cup(s) frozen corn kernels, not thawed
Instructions
Mix all ingredients, except corn, in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker; cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours.
Stir in corn and cover slow cooker; cook on high heat until chicken is no longer pink in center and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes more. Yields about 1 1/4 cups per serving.

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