Moonlight Murder
Waving hello!

I won't be around much for the next week or so - we're on the family vacation! I'll be checking in briefly, but I probably won't post much.

Bingo call: 9/9/19

Bingo call: 9/7/19

A brief update on Jack

 

 

My sweet boy crossed the rainbow bridge this afternoon at 4:30 PST. It's been coming for awhile as you know. He stopped eating 3 days ago and the time had come to do what was right by him, and ease his passing.

 

We were able to have a vet tech come to the house, and he passed gently, surrounded by the friends who loved him best. I will always be grateful for the extra time we had he with him. He was almost 14 when he left us for the last time.

 

 

 

Here he is, young and strong.

Review
2.5 Stars
A weak installment
Shadow over the Fens (DI Nikki Galena #2) - Joy Ellis

This is the weakest of any of the books by Ellis that I've read so far. The mystery made very little sense and the characters were pretty universally behaving like idiots (except for Cat). 

 

The Nikki Galena books are not nearly as good as the Jackman & Evans books - but they were her starting place and she's improved a lot as a story teller in the interim. I'm not giving up on Nikki Galena, and I'll be curious to see the series develop.

Review
5 Stars
Legend of Sleepy Hollow (audible edition)
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving, Tom Mison

2019: I skipped listening to this one the last couple of years, so it's with great delight that I've returned to it for the "Sleepy Hollow" square on my bingo card. My 2016 and 2013 updates are below.

 

As an aside, the new boy that I mention in the 2014 updates is now my daughter's fiancee and will become my son-in-law in just over a month!

 

 

 

2016

 

I'm doing my yearly listen to this wonderful narration of Irving's classic tale of humor and horror.

 

“He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock perched upon his spindle neck to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield.”

 

This is my third time through, and it is just as wonderful as the first time I listened. Actually, it might even be more wonderful, because it has taken on that patina that only the best and most comforting of reads ever acquires!

 

2014

 

 

Yes, that is Tom Mison, who plays Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow - one of my absolute favorite television shows.

 

Several weeks ago, someone pointed me in the direction of a free audible version of Washington Irving's classic short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (title links to audible page), brilliantly read by Tom Mison.

 

I had a chance to actually listen to the story on Friday, when I had a several hour drive to pick up my daughter at college and bring her home for the weekend. I am not sure that I had ever actually read this classic story, although I do remember seeing a play that had been adapted from the story. 

 

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a fantastic listen, with its arcane and beautiful language, read in Mison's buttery British voice. If you are a fan of the show, there is an enhancement in hearing him, with his agile and gorgeous voice, doing the reading (it always amazing to me how much a good narrator adds to the experience of listening to a story).

 

This isn't horror, though. It is gently comedic slice of American life stuff - the narrator tells the story of Ichabod Crane, gangling school-master and social climber, humorously, making a bit of fun of him. There are meditations on geography, local ghost stories, farming, teaching, women, and, most of all, food. Ichabod is more than a little obsessed with filling his belly, so the discussions of pie and cake are seemingly endless. The end is amusing, and just vague enough to make one wonder.

 

I loved it. My daughter - who was riding with me - was less amused, taking the position that out of the one hour and fifteen minute story, the last five minutes was the only part that really mattered. Of course, she spent most of the ride texting a new boy with whom she is smitten, and she doesn't really like pie, so who asked her anyway?

 

It is only an hour and fifteen minutes long, and is totally free on audible. I found it completely delightful.

 

In 2019, I will be using this one for:

 

Bingo call: 9/5/19

Review
4 Stars
More mystery than horror
Speaks the Nightbird - Robert R. McCammon

I ended up really enjoying this, although it could have been pared down significantly. McCammon's pace was a bit leisurely even for me, and I enjoy a slow-paced tale. 

 

Overall, though, I liked Matthew Corbett and thought that the historical aspects were very well done. Colonial America is not one of my areas of interest, so I'm not even an "amateur expert," but it rang very true to me and I liked the setting. There was an abundance of gore, bodily effluent, rats, leeches and other unpleasant elements that historical fiction often glosses over. 

 

This isn't really a supernatural story, and, although it would work for Spellbound with the witchcraft plot points, I've actually decided to use it for Creepy Crawlies, based on the prevalence of critters that scuttle, slither, bite and scratch that were part of the story.

 

I am really intrigued by the next book in the series, Queen of Bedlam, which has even better reviews than Speaks the Nightbird, although I'm not sure that I will get to it during Halloween Bingo. I'm vaguely planning on reading it for one of the squares that is not on my card (Serial/Spree killer, Modern Masters of Horror, or American Horror Story), so I won't start reading until I've blacked out my actual card.

Bingo call: 9/3/19

Review
5 Stars
The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

This was a reread - I first read this book around the time of publication, maybe 1987 or 1988. My daughter read it in high school, so I had it in my kindle library, and decided that I did need to revisit it before The Testaments is released later this month.

 

This is not a book to love because it is such a difficult and terrible read. Atwood constructs the book as a retrospective, the historical notes at the back tell us that Offred's story is discovered at the bottom of an old trunk, recorded onto cassette tapes like the tapes that held the mix tapes I made for, and received from, friends in 1988.

 

I was in college when Atwood published The Handmaid's Tale. It seemed impossible to me then. More impossible than it does now.

 

I find myself hating Gilead like it's a real place, and the Commander, and Serena Joy. and the Aunts. Like all of the Serena Joys who really existed - Phyllis Schlafly and her ilk, and the Commanders, who are real, too, who impose rules on others that they have no intention of following. 

 

This is why I didn't want to reread The Handmaid's Tale. It hits too close to home, cuts too close to the bone. It speaks of a world that wants to exist - that already exists in the minds of plenty of men, and even a few delusional and traitorous women, who want to subvert law and justice to make it so - and that scares the living shit out of me. I haven't watched one minute of the television show, because the thought of it makes my stomach roil.

 

I am half-afraid to read the sequel. We leave Offred - June - stepping into a van and the end the book knowing only that she must have survived to create the tapes, and that, some 200-odd years later, Gilead no longer exists. It's been swept away.

 

My currently reading stack!
Speaks the Nightbird - Robert R. McCammon The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood Shadow over the Fens (DI Nikki Galena #2) - Joy Ellis The Moor - Laurie R. King

I am into Halloween bingo big time and reading three four books all at once!

 

I'm still working my way through Speaks the Nightbird - it is a doorstopper for sure. Very much a mystery, as well as having the witchy elements. I am reading for Spellbound.

 

In preparation for the release of The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, which I have already pre-ordered and will be reading for New Release, I am re-reading The Handmaid's Tale. Margaret Atwoods distant, unemotional rendering of what is truly a horror story is so compelling. This takes care of Film at 11 for me.

 

Finally, I have dipped my toe into Nikki Galena by Joy Ellis. It's not Jackman and Evans, and the first book had some significant issues, but I can hear the echoes of all of the things that I loved about Jackman and Evans and the setting on the Fens remains as wonderfully brooding and isolating as ever. I am reading these books, because they aren't narrated by Richard Armitage. Joy Ellis is British, and lives in Lincolnshire, so I am using this for International Woman of Mystery.

 

Oh, and I almost forgot - since I've finished all of my Jackman and Evans audiobooks (sad face), I'm listening to an autumnal favorite, The Moor by Laurie R. King, the 5th in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series. That one doesn't really fit into any of my categories, so I will either use it for the Free space, or I'll just reserve it for the full list of categories that I've created. 

 

I do want to blackout my card, so I'm inclined not to embark on reading for categories that aren't on my card until I'm finished with my actual card. There are just so many fantastic squares that this is hard!

 

First call! 9/1/19

Stargazer baby quilt

I have been doing a lot of sewing - finishing up the Halloween quilt inspired me to get back to work on my sewing machine. 

 

I have three friends having babies this year, so I will be making 3 baby quilts before the end of 2019. The first one is having her baby shower a week from today, so I finished up this quilt & matching drawstring bag last week.

 

 

The pattern is called "Zebra Parade," and it's a really easy little quilt to put together. My fabric bundle came with the most darling panel that I was able to cut up into 10X10 squares for the large square. The rest of the piecing is really simple, and it's all sashed in white. I quilted it with horizontal straight lines using white thread. It's really lovely and has a nice soft flannel backing for extra coziness!

 

 

A close up of one of the panel sections, which also gives a view of the quilting.

 

 

And another closeup, on my machine during the quilting process. Isn't that zebra adorable?

 

 

I love this little drawstring bag so much - this is a new thing for me, and I've since made two other drawstring bags for myself. I decided that I wanted a handmade "gift bag," and this was so easy. It's lined with a solid light green that I had bought for the quilt and ended up not using - similar to the daisy print in the bottom right.

 

 

And here is a picture of what it looks like when it is open.

 

Bag making has been a total blast! So far, I've made myself two project bags as well as a big canvas lined laundry bag that I plan to tuck in my duffle bag for my road trip. This weekend, I am going to make a matching "travel set" to go with the laundry bag: toothbrush & toothpaste bag, a small drawstring pouch for my makeup, and a tote bag for the bathroom stuff. I'm using a fabric bundle called Poolside, which has some '50's inspired prints with martinis, sunglasses, palm trees and beach towels, which seems perfect for my travel stuff!

 

Review
4 Stars
Jackman and Ellis: books 1 through 4
The Guilty Ones - Joy Ellis

As I previously mentioned, I've been obsessively listening to these audiobooks, narrated by Richard Armitage. I've listened to the first four in the series in a couple of weeks, which is light speed for me.

 

I finished The Guilty Ones yesterday, which is last available at this point. The audiobook narration for the 5th book releases on 10/31/19 - it has been preordered and I am already looking forward to it.

 

As I listened to the end of the fourth book, I tried to figure out what it was about the series that I've found so satisfying. The mysteries are fairly standard, even, at times, a bit cliched and unbelievable. It's the cast that I just love. Ellis has a knack for writing likeable characters, and the "team" that she has assembled in these books is just wonderful.

 

That's what has really made this series stand out for me. I'm deeply invested in the lives of every single member of the Fenland Constabulary. The relationships between team members are warm, supportive and believable. Jackman, the leader of the team, is not an unrealistically "good" person, but he is a completely decent man. Each team member has strengths and by this fourth book, I feel like I am greeting old friends. 

 

The only downside is that now I have to two months until the next book in the series, and after that, I'll have quite a wait.

All of the Halloween bingo squares

I'm considering making a sustained effort to read a book for every square - which will take me beyond 10/31/19.

 

My first goal will be to black out my actual card, and I may abandon this idea completely. However, I put together an image that includes all of the squares, which I thought I would share here, in case anyone else wants it:

 

 

 

 

My first Halloween bingo book!
Speaks the Nightbird - Robert R. McCammon

I've decided to commence with this 816 page doorstopper of a book! I've been meaning to read McCammon for years - I have A LOT of reading friends (Char, cough, Char) who are fans of McCammon, and I actually own this one on my kindle.

 

It's right up my alley, too, meshing historical fiction with supernatural and mystery. It will fit several squares, although not many of them are on my card - however, it's clearly good for spellbound (horror, supernatural, southern gothic, & spellbound, for sure, and possibly others as well). 

 

So, hear I go!

currently reading

Progress: 35%
Progress: 50%
Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All - Laura Ruby