Thursday, March 30, 2023

Snow in the Desert

 Along the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial trail near Yarnell, Arizona, in early March:

A beautiful hike and a touching memorial to the 19 hotshots killed in the Yarnell Hill fire.  

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Hope Never Dies; an Obama Biden Mystery, by Andrew Shaffer

Okay, this was bizarre.  Kudos for the audacious premise:  Biden and Obama, after they're no longer in office, work together to solve a murder mystery.  Oh, and it's told in first person.  From Biden's point of view.  As I said:  bizarre.  And maybe not 100% ethical?  But I guess it's less wild than that Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter book.

So, I enjoyed watching Obama act all cool and Biden bumble around a bit on his honorable quest to find justice and help a friend.  In a strange way, it made me feel like I knew our current president a bit better…even though at the same time I kept thinking, "The real Biden would never do this!"  Obviously I don't know Biden personally, so maybe he would  do those things, but some of the risks he took and decisions he made seemed unrealistic.  His speech was maybe a bit too full of down-home sayings and colorful similes—though taken individually, they felt right on, and I could hear Biden's voice saying them.  Maybe my biggest cringe was the way he kept using the term "best friend" and sulking about Obama not being his best friend anymore.  I loved the idea of him feeling left out, of wondering what had happened to their friendship (because we, the public, do love to speculate on whether they were really the friends they appeared to be), but I would have enjoyed it more if it were dealt with a little more subtly. 

The  mystery was fine.  I found some implausible bits in the plot, but they didn't bother me much—probably because the whole premise was implausible…in a rather fun way.   

For a book with such a premise, I expected it to be funnier, more spoof-life, but it took itself rather seriously.  There were funny bits, but I wouldn't really classify it as humor. 

Overall: enjoyable if you take it for what it is.  

More accurate rating: 3.5

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Second Chance Cats, edited by Callie Smith Grant

As the subtitle says, this is a collection of "True stories of the cats we rescue and the cats who rescue us."  I really enjoyed it.  Lots of warm fuzzies.  A bit of heartbreak.  Some "Yes!  My cat does that!" moments.  Some laughs and smiles.  With such a collection, there are always stories I like more than others or think are better written.  A few got a little preachy or a little samey, but none were bad.  Of course, my love of cats couldn't have ANYTHING to do with my enjoyment level. 

Now I want to read some of the other collections edited by Callie Smith Grant.

4.5 stars.   

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Witches of Brooklyn: What the Hex?!, by Sophie Escabasse


This is another really cute instalment of the series.  There's good friend drama, creative magic, peaceful solutions to problems, a cute pet, and more.  I'm still loving the art, the characters, and the overall feel of the series.

4.5 stars

See my review of the first book here:  Witches of Brooklyn.