Wicked Weaves – Joyce and Jim Lavene

This is the first book in the Renaissance Faire Mystery cozy series. I picked up the first 3 books at my library last weekend. It took me longer than it should have to read this first story, and I will get through the next two much quicker!

Wicked Weaves cover image

I really liked the story-line here, as well as the characters. Jessie works at the Renaissance Faire (their spelling, not mine) every summer in her town, and is apprenticing with local craft artists for her dissertation for her PhD. This summer she is working with Mary Shift, a basket weaver who has quite the storied past.

After Mary’s husband, who she has not seen in 10 years, is found dead outside her shop, Jessie and her new boyfriend Chase work to help Mary and untangle the mess that she seems to have gotten herself into.

This story was a lot of fun, and typical of the cozy mystery genre. There wasn’t anything here I didn’t like, and I am excited to get started on the next book, where Jessie apprentices with the local glassblower.

Do you read cozy mysteries? I would love to hear what some of your favorites are!

Lincoln in the Bardo – George Saunders

There has been a lot of discussion about this story, with people either loving it, or hating it. I myself seem to be stuck somewhere in the middle. I loved the story, and the whole idea of it, but the way it was written made it a difficult read for me. There are spoilers below, which I normally try to avoid, but they are necessary in this instance.

 

 

Lincoln in the Bardo Cover image
cover image property of https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com 

The premise of the story takes place on the night of young Willie Lincoln’s death, and the subsequent days that followed. Unable to bear the loss of his son, President Lincoln visits the crypt where Willie has been placed; several times.

The President is unaware that in this cemetery are many souls who have chosen to not move on, including his son. Only one of these souls is aware that they are all truly dead, while the others are all waiting for their loved ones to come back to get them, believing they are only sick. This place where the souls are lingering is what is known as the bardo.

The initial visit of the President has the others all hopeful that their loved ones will indeed come back for them.

The reason I had a hard time reading this story is the way the chapters are written. I literally was over two chapters in before I had any idea what was going on. The first chapter was of conversations between souls stuck in the bardo. I had no idea this is what I was reading. An example is below. Hans and Roger are lost souls, and I thought I was reading a normal conversation between two persons, such as you would read in any other story. I had no idea they were dead.

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The other chapters in between were all cited excerpts from many, many sources of stories that had been written concerning the Lincolns, the night Willie died, and the party that was taking place down stairs. The Lincoln’s had been assured Willie was indeed on the mend, so President Lincoln opted to not withdraw the hundreds of invitations to the dinner that had been sent out. Below is what these chapters look like. (I apologize for the blurriness of this page, I could not get a sharp photo for some reason, although I took it right after the photo above 😦 )

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As you can see (I hope!) after each excerpt is the source of what book, newspaper, conversation, or diary the information came from. I hate to admit, but I am the type of reader who cannot skip over reading something, so I found myself reading Every. Single. Citation. After a few chapters of this, I just let it go and ignored all the rest of the citations. If I hadn’t, I never would have gotten through it.

I loved the story, the true emotions expressed by not only what the President was going through as he continued to visit and hold his deceased son, but the emotions of those souls stuck in the bardo. The felt hope that their loved ones would also finally come for them, fear in moving on as happened to very few throughout the story, and the final realization that they were indeed dead.

I am curious as to what anyone else who has read this story thought! Did you realize right from the beginning what you were reading, or were you confused like I was?

Public Life = Sickness

A day and a half at work, a funeral visitation, a funeral the next day, and eating at a restaurant means I wake up today congested, coughing, sneezing, and just exhausted and achy. Glad to be spending the next two days in bed with a book, and consuming lots of fluids and vitamin C. I had groceries delivered this morning, and made a huge bowl of my favorite chicken salad with lots of grapes and clementine oranges. Of course, I have to eat something healthy with potato chips…

Generally I can kick this type of stuff pretty quick, so am expecting to be feeling back to 100% by Monday morning.

What am I reading? I am more than halfway finished with Judas: The Relic. This is book 2 in the Judas Trilogy by Roy Bright, and just as fantastic as the first one!

Since My Accident…

…tonight makes it a week since I broke my ankle. After 4 days in the hospital, I am adjusting to life at home basically secluded to my bedroom. I go back to the surgeon on the 29th and he will take the bandages off my leg, check the incisions, and give me a boot to wear. It will still be non-weight bearing for several weeks after. They opened both sides of my ankle to put in a plate and screws, and if I sleep through a dose of the pain meds, I can tell you exactly where the incisions are, and how long they are, even though I haven’t seen them yet.

My Nook of course decided this would be the perfect time to not turn on for me. This has happened before, but now I fear it may be permanent. I’ve gotten some great stories from all of you and may have to resort to reading them on my phone.

I am trying to stay positive as I am the type who is always on the go, and very independent. My 13 year old has been beyond amazing taking care of me before she goes to school (who knew she could make such awesome coffee!) as well as after school. She texts me during the day to see how I am feeling and to make sure I have taken my pills. I’ve also had friends who have stopped by both here and at the hospital to make sure I have everything I need.

I have been doing puzzle books for days right now, as I tend to fall asleep in the middle of anything and I have a hard time reading when I doze off and then can’t remember the last thing I read, or where I left off. I am hoping that I can get into a more routine sleep schedule as I continue to heal and then devote so many hours a day to reading, writing reviews, etc.

Keep the book suggestions coming, as I have many many weeks of healing ahead of me!

Short and Tall Tales: Moose County Legends (Cat Who Short Stories) – Lillian Jackson Braun

Having long been a fan of Lillian Jackson Braun’s Cat Who mysteries, I was pleased to finally find this book on the library shelf. I discovered these fantastic stories about 20 years ago (or more) and have read all of them; most more than once.

Short and Tall Tales cover image

Jim Qwilleran is a journalist who moved to Moose County, 100 miles north of everywhere, after receiving a windfall of money from a benefactor. He and his two Siamese cats, KoKo and YumYum, solve mysteries all over Moose County and its adjoining counties. The characters through all 20+ books quickly become familiar friends you want to spend the day with.

This set of short stories is based on tales from local residents about some of the long-held beliefs and superstitions that have made Moose County what it is. I read this book in about an hour, and it is a great addition to any nightstand for some quick reading before sleep!

Are you familiar with the Cat Who Mysteries? How did you like them?

You can find this story here: Short and Tall Tales: Moose County Legends