Discussion:
Just finished and now reading
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Carol Dickinson
2017-05-22 09:07:51 UTC
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Just finished

Dr Nightingale Traps the Missing Lynx - Lydia Adamson - I've kind of lost interest in her as an author. The continuing characters are just too much. This was written 18 years ago, and still was better plotted than the modern mid-lists but I'm past those now. I had most of the mystery figured out about 100 pages in. I have a couple more of hers to read. But I'm not excited about getting to them.

The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star by Susan Wittig Albert. I am liking the series set in the 1930's. Lots of period detail and the plots are fun. I like the characters, all of them women who are starting to realize there is a new freedom for women blowing in the wind but not quite knowing what to do with it. I do hate the name Darling Dahlias though. Darling is the name of the town and the Dahlias are a garden group named after a lady named Dahlia. But could't she have picked something better. At least it is not devoted to gardening. Its just a club. They grow flowers and food but mostly the gossip and the protagonist investigates mysteries.

Bound for the Promised Land by Richard Markus - this has been in my TBR pile for years. Dunno why I ever picked it up. But it read like a Michner for a long time except it was a downer. Adam Cloud whose father abandoned the family to head for California gold fields decides after his mother's death to sell the farm and go join his father. The night before he sets off an unknown cousin Harry shows up so the head off together. They met Ishtar Baynes and her husband on the road to Nashville, very annoying people and never can get rid of them. Just after the cross the Mississippi they run into the 3 brothers Jennings, their wives and children a more totally unprepared group of migrants one could not find. All these folks stick to Adam. He then meets up with an old mountain man who shows him how to survive the journey. They cannot get shed of these people. They are 2 months late starting out. Much disaster befalls them. But by then I was almost through the book and decided to see how it ends. They story stops about the time the reach the eastern side of the mountains. Then suddenly its a year later, and Adam is in a good place, sort of. Last chapter, a lifetime later we find out the end of the story for the other annoying people. It felt like a let down and not the way a Michner would end. The mystery here is why I stuck with it for 500 pages.


Then I read "Poor Tom is Cold" #3 in Maureen Jennings Murdoch mystery series. This was written more or less in the same style of the first one which I liked but it wasn't plotted well. It is basically Murdochs investigation of the supposed suicide of a young constable. But it was written like a Columbo episode where the reader knows almost everything that Murdoch doesn't buts so disjointed even the reader can't figure out why the author is leaping about between storylines that don't seem to connect. Murdoch follows a lot of clues that lead nowhere, and doesn't find out the who, and why until the very last page. Not as thrilled with this one.

And today I start "Dreams of Joy" by Lisa See - sequel to Shanghai Girls. These are biographical about her family and not her mysteries, which are good. I will read anything by her so I'm hoping for more pleasure in the experience than the last 4.

Carol
Mike Burke
2017-05-23 03:01:23 UTC
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Post by Carol Dickinson
Just finished
<Snipt>

Just finished a couple of Belinda Bauer mystery books of extraordinary
quality. The first in the series, so far of three, is called Blacklands.
Can't recommend them highly enough, although I'd definitely advise that you
read them in order.

Among other things, I'm currently reading the fascinating account of two
brothers retracing the Oregon Trail with a mule team and a covered wagon,
"The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey" by Rinker Buck. This is a bit of
a Boy's Own adventure, but it's well-written and shows the sorts of
difficulties and hardships with which the pioneers had to contend.

Highly recommended.
--
Mique
Nyssa
2017-05-23 15:47:15 UTC
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Post by Mike Burke
Post by Carol Dickinson
Just finished
<Snipt>
Just finished a couple of Belinda Bauer mystery books of
extraordinary
quality. The first in the series, so far of three, is
called Blacklands. Can't recommend them highly enough,
although I'd definitely advise that you read them in
order.
Among other things, I'm currently reading the fascinating
account of two brothers retracing the Oregon Trail with a
mule team and a covered wagon, "The Oregon Trail: A New
American Journey" by Rinker Buck. This is a bit of a Boy's
Own adventure, but it's well-written and shows the sorts
of difficulties and hardships with which the pioneers had
to contend.
Highly recommended.
That Oregon Trail book sounds like something I'd enjoy.
Thanks for the pointer, Mique.

As long as I'm here, I'll piggyback by latest read list
onto this thread too.

I finished a couple more in the Knitting Mystery series,
#11 "Close Knit Killer," #12 "Yarn Over Murder." and am
currently reading #13 "Purl Up and Die." #12 was unusual
in that it worked the wildfires that hit northern Colorado
a few years ago into the story. The only unfortunate thing
was the mystery sort of took a back seat to the wildfires
and how they affected the characters and the local ranchers.
#11 had a better plotted mystery more in keeping with the
rest of the series. I've only got one more left in the
TBR pile, and I'll be sorry when I run out. I guess I'll
have to find another light, interesting cozy series to
fill in.

In between the Knitting Mysteries, I've read "The Fourth
Horseman" by David Hagberg, part of the long-running
Kirk McGarvey thriller series. It holds up well against
the earlier books, although the reader begins to wonder
how long before the aging McGarvey runs out of both luck
and steam. This one has a double agent in the CIA working
for Pakistan and planning some really nasty stuff that
ties into the nuclear arsenal that Islamabad has on hand
and will overthrow the current Pakistani regime as a
side benefit. There's enough going on to keep things
interesting.

I also finished an eARC I got from NetGalley after receiving
a invitation email from the publisher's publicity firm.
Since it was a title I had noticed on Amazon as a pre-order
that looked interesting, I took the bait.

It made me glad that I didn't spend money to buy the thing.
The authors were Lis Wiehl "with Sebastian Stuart" and
titled "The Separatists" which is part of a series called
The Newsmakers. I haven't read either of the two previous
in the series or I might have known to pass this one up.

I wrote my review yesterday and was pretty rough on it.
While reading it I was thinking "three stars" but after
reading up on the authors' backgrounds I subtracted another
star since Wiehl has been a journalist for several networks,
specifically as a legal analyst and she's an attorney and
former prosecutor who should know better.

The premise is a network hotshot news anchor gets in on
the ground floor of a big story in North Dakota where
a group led by a wealthy couple, the Bellamys, is having
a recall campaign against the sitting governor. According
to ND law, a recall campaign automatically means a new
election for governor and Mary Bellamy becomes a candidate.
Her agenda is for the state to seceed from the US and become
a country known as the Homeland of North Dakota. Lots of
skullduggery, murder, and questionable deaths ensue.

The main plot is pretty good, but the execution has problems.
The subplots are all about the star reporter's problems with
her marriage, her daughter, and her mother reading more
like a soap opera than a thriller and getting very tedious
with the repeated interruptions of the main story.

But the real problems are stupid mistakes that show poor
editing and worse research. Example: a character is made
second-in-command of an army post but is a CORPORAL. No,
it's not a typo since he's called a corporal in at least
a dozen places. And he's a graduate of West Point with
20 years in the military. Yet he's supposed to be a
corporal. You don't need to be a veteran of the armed
forces to know better than this. But it got through both
authors and presumably an editor. (No, this isn't self-
published; it comes from a branch of Harper Collins.)

There are more examples, but one of the big ones for me,
especially when I saw that the main author was a lawyer
(It could be considered a spoiler, but somehow I doubt
any of the ram readers will bother with this turkey.)
was ignoring the Posse Cometatus Act and having a SEAL
team land in Bismarck to "abduct" the now-elected governor
after she's declared ND independent of the US at gunpoint
on order of the US president. Not the FBI sent to arrest her,
but a military team in a helicopter with automatic weapons
blazing. Later the same president sends *jet bombers* to
attack and drop bombs on the state capital. Collateral damage
indeed.

Needless to say, my review is quite scathing. If anyone
cares, I'll post it to ram. I'm all for rip-rousing
political thrillers, but I at least expect them to follow
the rules unless it's made clear that it's taking place
in an alternate reality with different branches of government,
a different constitution and laws, and even different
military ranks.

The Knitting Mystery is a nice, normal, *rational* change
from that disaster.

Next?

Nyssa, who wonders if Harper Collins laid off all of their
editors and researchers in a cost-cutting move
Carol Dickinson
2017-05-24 23:36:25 UTC
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I've only got one more left in the
Post by Nyssa
TBR pile, and I'll be sorry when I run out. I guess I'll
have to find another light, interesting cozy series to
fill in.
Have you tried Rys Bowen? She does 3 different series. The
lightest would be the Royal Spyness series set in the 30's
featuring Lady Georgiana 34th in line to the throne. She is
broke and makes her living secretly being a maid. Terribly
in love with an unsuitable Irish rake. The mysteries are
well plotted fit in the cozy genre.

She also writes the Molly Murphy series set in Turn of the
last century New York. These are also very well plotted, not
as light as Spyness but not dark either. Good suspense. She
is an Irish immigrant who brought 2 children with her to deliver
to their father after their mother died, but he and the rest
of the family cannot care for them so they live with her.
As genre requires she is in love with a police officer, and
eventually married him. But before that she lives by herself
in a small house and is good friends with a couple of lesbians
who live across the street, hangs around with a bunch of artsy
theatre people and works as a private detective. Lots of
modern woman suffragette stuff.

Or Carola Dunn. Also set in the 1930's and rather light in tone.

Maddy Hunter's Passport to Peril series. Her character escorts
travel tours for her grandmother's Iowa retirement home friends.
She is divorced and her ex-husband is a transexual which confuses
her grandmother no end. In the second of the series, her ex shows
up on the tour with her new husband. These are quite funny.

Have you discovered Leslie Meier. Her lead character Lucy Stone
is wife and mother, works are a reporter for the weekly newspaper
in their New England town. In the early ones she has a daughter in
prechool. These days her kids are grown Most of her books center
around holidays so I try to read them around those days. She has
created a really nice little town and lots of regular residents.

Or you might look for Jennnifer Crusie. She writes stand alones.
There is always a light romantic element in them but I don't think
they qualify as romances because they don't follow the genre "rules".
There is always a mystery. And she throws in a good dash of humor.
The first one of hers I read was "Agnes and the Hitman" I just had
to read it with a title like that. It was suspenseful but fun.

Or Jane Heller who also writes in that vein. I can highly recommend
"Sis Boom Bah" or "Lucy Stars" as a start.
Post by Nyssa
Nyssa, who wonders if Harper Collins laid off all of their
editors and researchers in a cost-cutting move
Sounds like it. Although I have never been particularly fond
of things they publish. I can't believe you stuck with it through all
that crap.
Nyssa
2017-05-25 13:42:38 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Nyssa
I've only got one more left in the
Post by Nyssa
TBR pile, and I'll be sorry when I run out. I guess I'll
have to find another light, interesting cozy series to
fill in.
Have you tried Rys Bowen? She does 3 different series. The
lightest would be the Royal Spyness series set in the 30's
featuring Lady Georgiana 34th in line to the throne. She
is broke and makes her living secretly being a maid.
Terribly
in love with an unsuitable Irish rake. The mysteries are
well plotted fit in the cozy genre.
She also writes the Molly Murphy series set in Turn of the
last century New York. These are also very well plotted,
not as light as Spyness but not dark either. Good
suspense. She is an Irish immigrant who brought 2 children
with her to deliver to their father after their mother
died, but he and the rest of the family cannot care for
them so they live with her. As genre requires she is in
love with a police officer, and eventually married him.
But before that she lives by herself in a small house and
is good friends with a couple of lesbians who live across
the street, hangs around with a bunch of artsy theatre
people and works as a private detective. Lots of modern
woman suffragette stuff.
Or Carola Dunn. Also set in the 1930's and rather light in
tone.
Maddy Hunter's Passport to Peril series. Her character
escorts travel tours for her grandmother's Iowa retirement
home friends. She is divorced and her ex-husband is a
transexual which confuses her grandmother no end. In the
second of the series, her ex shows
up on the tour with her new husband. These are quite
funny.
Have you discovered Leslie Meier. Her lead character Lucy
Stone is wife and mother, works are a reporter for the
weekly newspaper in their New England town. In the early
ones she has a daughter in prechool. These days her kids
are grown Most of her books center around holidays so I
try to read them around those days. She has created a
really nice little town and lots of regular residents.
Or you might look for Jennnifer Crusie. She writes stand
alones. There is always a light romantic element in them
but I don't think they qualify as romances because they
don't follow the genre "rules". There is always a mystery.
And she throws in a good dash of humor. The first one of
hers I read was "Agnes and the Hitman" I just had to read
it with a title like that. It was suspenseful but fun.
Or Jane Heller who also writes in that vein. I can highly
recommend "Sis Boom Bah" or "Lucy Stars" as a start.
Post by Nyssa
Nyssa, who wonders if Harper Collins laid off all of
their editors and researchers in a cost-cutting move
Sounds like it. Although I have never been particularly
fond
of things they publish. I can't believe you stuck with it
through all that crap.
I've been on the lookout for an inexpensive copy of the
first book of the Her Royal Spyness series to give that
one a try. For some reason the prices of used books on
amazon all jumped up at once. I have to wonder if there
was some collusion of the major dealers since the timing
of the increase was too convenient (and comparatively large)
to be random chance. Gone are my penny plus postage bargains
these days.

Yes, that eARC was a surprise. I had already noted the
book on amazon when they put it up as a preorder, but
there was no way I would buy an unknown author(s) at
the price point they were asking. It's set at $7.99
now and IMO it wouldn't have been worth 99 cents.

Now I'm having trouble getting into NetGalley to post
my review of the thing. I've tried several browsers,
but none will load the login page or main page. I'm
wondering what their programmers broke in the last
few weeks. I'm really getting tired of having to jump
through hoops just to get logged onto a website anymore.
If it goes on too long, I simply stop visiting those
sites, so NetGalley and the publishers may never get
to see my review until I put it up on amazon. Considering
how scathing my review is, they probably wouldn't want
to see it anyway.

I'm 2/3rds through Knitting Mystery #13 "Purl Up and Die."
I've got another McGarvey thriller on deck behind that.

Meanwhile I've got a couple of first books in new (to me)
series on my Kindle to try once I run out of knitting
cozies. One is the "Retired Soldiers Club" that might suit
me. I'll report into ram once I dig down my TBR pile enough
to get to it.

Nyssa, who is hoping the rain is finally gone so she can
get outside to work in the garden this afternoon
Carol Dickinson
2017-05-26 12:37:38 UTC
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Post by Nyssa
I've been on the lookout for an inexpensive copy of the
first book of the Her Royal Spyness series to give that
one a try. For some reason the prices of used books on
amazon all jumped up at once. I have to wonder if there
was some collusion of the major dealers since the timing
of the increase was too convenient (and comparatively large)
to be random chance. Gone are my penny plus postage bargains
these days.
I noticed that too. There are a couple authors I've been interested in that are from earlier times. Of course whenever I search for any book Amazon comes up. I noticed in the Father Dowling series book #1 was over $120 but book number three was under two. So of course I decided I didn't need the actual first one.

Carol

Who is also waiting for the rain to stop. Today we had heavy rain, clouds, sunny skies, downpour, then pea sized hail, then sunny again

A moose ate all the garden starts I was hardening on my porch last Saturday. I managed to save the roots for the pansies and the strawberries but lost all the veggies except 1 tomato. But the weather has been so horrid I didn't get out to see if they survived either drowning being pounded to death by hail.
Nyssa
2017-05-26 15:19:29 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Carol Dickinson
Post by Nyssa
I've been on the lookout for an inexpensive copy of the
first book of the Her Royal Spyness series to give that
one a try. For some reason the prices of used books on
amazon all jumped up at once. I have to wonder if there
was some collusion of the major dealers since the timing
of the increase was too convenient (and comparatively
large) to be random chance. Gone are my penny plus
postage bargains these days.
I noticed that too. There are a couple authors I've been
interested in that are from earlier times. Of course
whenever I search for any book Amazon comes up. I noticed
in the Father Dowling series book #1 was over $120 but
book number three was under two. So of course I decided I
didn't need the actual first one.
Carol
Who is also waiting for the rain to stop. Today we had
heavy rain, clouds, sunny skies, downpour, then pea sized
hail, then sunny again
A moose ate all the garden starts I was hardening on my
porch last Saturday. I managed to save the roots for the
pansies and the strawberries but lost all the veggies
except 1 tomato. But the weather has been so horrid I
didn't get out to see if they survived either drowning
being pounded to death by hail.
Substitute "deer" for "moose" and you've got the situation
here. Nice deep foot prints in the garden beds and deer
poop on the paths between them. Ick. And my neighbor had
all of her flowers eaten. It seems lilies especially are
considered a prime dessert by deer.

Rain is stopped for now, so I hope to get outside this
afternoon for a bit. Still too wet to mow or do much
digging though.

I'm still reading Knitting Mysteries #13 "Purl Up and Die"
in between working on knitting a sweater.

Nyssa, who is also cooking a big pot of vegetable chowder
and baking some cinnamon rolls for a neighbor having
surgery today
b***@gmail.com
2017-05-28 23:48:56 UTC
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Post by Nyssa
Post by Mike Burke
Post by Carol Dickinson
Just finished
<Snipt>
Just finished a couple of Belinda Bauer mystery books of
extraordinary
quality. The first in the series, so far of three, is
called Blacklands. Can't recommend them highly enough,
although I'd definitely advise that you read them in
order.
Among other things, I'm currently reading the fascinating
account of two brothers retracing the Oregon Trail with a
mule team and a covered wagon, "The Oregon Trail: A New
American Journey" by Rinker Buck. This is a bit of a Boy's
Own adventure, but it's well-written and shows the sorts
of difficulties and hardships with which the pioneers had
to contend.
Highly recommended.
That Oregon Trail book sounds like something I'd enjoy.
Thanks
Post by Nyssa
for the pointer, Mique.
As long as I'm here, I'll piggyback by latest read list
onto
Post by Nyssa
this thread too.
I finished a couple more in the Knitting Mystery series,
#11
Post by Nyssa
"Close Knit Killer," #12 "Yarn Over Murder." and am
currently
Post by Nyssa
reading #13 "Purl Up and Die." #12 was unusual
in
Post by Nyssa
that it worked the wildfires that hit northern Colorado
a
Post by Nyssa
few years ago into the story. The only unfortunate thing
was
Post by Nyssa
the mystery sort of took a back seat to the wildfires
and
Post by Nyssa
how they affected the characters and the local ranchers.
#11
Post by Nyssa
had a better plotted mystery more in keeping with the
rest
Post by Nyssa
of the series. I've only got one more left in the
TBR
Post by Nyssa
pile, and I'll be sorry when I run out. I guess I'll
have
Post by Nyssa
to find another light, interesting cozy series to
fill
Post by Nyssa
in.
In between the Knitting Mysteries, I've read "The Fourth
Horseman"
Post by Nyssa
by David Hagberg, part of the long-running
Kirk
Post by Nyssa
McGarvey thriller series. It holds up well against
the
Post by Nyssa
earlier books, although the reader begins to wonder
how
Post by Nyssa
long before the aging McGarvey runs out of both luck
and
Post by Nyssa
steam. This one has a double agent in the CIA working
for
Post by Nyssa
Pakistan and planning some really nasty stuff that
ties
Post by Nyssa
into the nuclear arsenal that Islamabad has on hand
and
Post by Nyssa
will overthrow the current Pakistani regime as a
side
Post by Nyssa
benefit. There's enough going on to keep things
interesting.
Post by Nyssa
I also finished an eARC I got from NetGalley after receiving
a
Post by Nyssa
invitation email from the publisher's publicity firm.
Since
Post by Nyssa
it was a title I had noticed on Amazon as a pre-order
that
Post by Nyssa
looked interesting, I took the bait.
It made me glad that I didn't spend money to buy the thing.
The
Post by Nyssa
authors were Lis Wiehl "with Sebastian Stuart" and
titled
Post by Nyssa
"The Separatists" which is part of a series called
The
Post by Nyssa
Newsmakers.
I haven't read either of the two previous
in
Post by Nyssa
the series or I might have known to pass this one up.
I wrote my review yesterday and was pretty rough on it.
While
Post by Nyssa
reading it I was thinking "three stars" but after
reading
Post by Nyssa
up on the authors' backgrounds I subtracted another
star
Post by Nyssa
since Wiehl has been a journalist for several networks,
specifically
Post by Nyssa
as a legal analyst and she's an attorney and
former
Post by Nyssa
prosecutor who should know better.
The premise is a network hotshot news anchor gets in on
the
Post by Nyssa
ground floor of a big story in North Dakota where
a
Post by Nyssa
group led by a wealthy couple, the Bellamys, is having
a
Post by Nyssa
recall campaign against the sitting governor. According
to
Post by Nyssa
ND law, a recall campaign automatically means a new
election
Post by Nyssa
for governor and Mary Bellamy becomes a candidate.
Her
Post by Nyssa
agenda is for the state to seceed from the US and become
a
Post by Nyssa
country known as the Homeland of North Dakota. Lots of
skullduggery,
Post by Nyssa
murder, and questionable deaths ensue.
The main plot is pretty good, but the execution has problems.
The subplots are all about the star reporter's problems with
her
Post by Nyssa
marriage, her daughter, and her mother reading more
like
Post by Nyssa
a soap opera than a thriller and getting very tedious
with
Post by Nyssa
the repeated interruptions of the main story.
But the real problems are stupid mistakes that show poor
editing
Post by Nyssa
and worse research. Example: a character is made
second-in-command
Post by Nyssa
of an army post but is a CORPORAL. No,
it's
Post by Nyssa
not a typo since he's called a corporal in at least
a
Post by Nyssa
dozen places. And he's a graduate of West Point with
20
Post by Nyssa
years in the military. Yet he's supposed to be a
corporal.
Post by Nyssa
You don't need to be a veteran of the armed
forces
Post by Nyssa
to know better than this. But it got through both
authors
Post by Nyssa
and presumably an editor. (No, this isn't self-
published;
Post by Nyssa
it comes from a branch of Harper Collins.)
There are more examples, but one of the big ones for me,
especially
Post by Nyssa
when I saw that the main author was a lawyer
(It
Post by Nyssa
could be considered a spoiler, but somehow I doubt
any
Post by Nyssa
of the ram readers will bother with this turkey.)
was
Post by Nyssa
ignoring the Posse Cometatus Act ...
I've spent years in college and the US Military Reserves during a part of my life and the notable thing is "punishment". People in these two environments are notoriously vulnerable and always have been.

As to that above-mentioned observation regarding military officers, soldiers and sailors, etc... I always thought that the President of the United States can over-rule others and place a soldier or sailor anywhere he likes within in the US military unless the presiding courts or legislature are strong enough to formally or informally deny him this power.
a***@yahoo.com
2017-05-30 18:22:09 UTC
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Raw Message
Just finished Once Upon A Crime an anthology of short stories; some of them quite twisted. You can find out what kind of sick bastard would kill Santa.
Nyssa
2017-05-30 23:13:41 UTC
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Post by a***@yahoo.com
Just finished Once Upon A Crime an anthology of short
stories; some of them quite twisted. You can find out what
kind of sick bastard would kill Santa.
Just finished "End Game" by David Hagberg. Nice combination
of the world of CIA field agents combined with a serial killer
mystery. An especially brutal string of murders occur on the
CIA campus in Langley, Virginia, plus a couple of others pop
up in Athens, Greece. Our heroes, McGarvey and Otto connect
the dots to figure out all the victims were part of a field
assignment in Iraq shortly before the second war. The team
in Iraq found something mysterious that they hid, now someone
is killing all the agents involved to keep the big secret.
Nice!

I'm more than halfway through Knitting Mystery #14, the last
in the series until the new one comes out next month. This
one isn't as well edited as the rest of the series, and I'm
finding continuity errors that are minor but still bug me.
I'll take a wild guess that a new/different editor was
involved in this one. Either that or it was behind schedule
and rushed to press for some reason.

The mystery in this one is slow-moving and over-shadowed by a
couple of sub-plots involving series regular characters. I'll
still be sad when I finish it since I still haven't checked out
other cozies to take its place as a fluffy-filler type book to
read between the more serious ones. Besides the knitting theme
of this series has done wonders for motivating me to knit
stuff. lol

Nyssa, who should have been out pulling weeds instead of reading
and knitting this afternoon

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