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Good Sunday morning! I hope the Easter Bunny is gracing your life with chocolates, ham, and good fellowship today. *Not listed in order of importance, obviously.*

I was driving along Route 135 in Massachusetts this past Friday, which is part of the Boston Marathon route, and it was one day out of a million that I didn’t mind being backed up in traffic. There were American flags on the telephone poles; there were tents set up in front of several of the lovely colonial homes; there were little signs every few hundred feet that read ‘Marathon Route’ making me realize I was driving on a road a bit more special than others; one of the buildings in quaint, downtown Hopkington had a massive bright banner on it that proclaimed ‘Welcome Runners’ and I couldn’t help but get swallowed up by the electric feeling that permeated the air. A lump formed in my throat as memories from a year ago–still so vivid and fresh–flashed through my mind, but my best recollection was the feeling of pride I had about how the city of Boston responded to those tragic events. I can’t wait to see how the city, the state, the world, responds this year, and I can promise you this–it’s going to be BIG and it’s going to be spectacular. To paraphrase Big Papi, “This is our bleeping city!” And tomorrow the world is going to see Boston bounce back better than ever.

BOSTON STRONG

Good Sunday morning! If you read last week’s post, then you know I’m reading The Bully Pulpit and that it’s over nine hundred pages. Nine HUNDRED. Given that, I’m sure you’ll understand that I was unable to breeze through another book this past week.

So I wanted to share some news I’m excited about and then pose a question or two to you…

Hole-in-ones aren't all they're cracked up to be

Hole-in-ones aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

On August 10th of last year, I made a hole-in-one while golfing with some good friends. What a happy moment, right? Well, it was literally just that: a happy MOMENT. Because—after watching the ball drop in the hole—I was so excited that I jumped in the air, landed, and ruptured my Achilles. Surgery a few days later, big-cast-then-little-cast, crutches, walking boot, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, you get the drill. (By the way, thank you Elaine for getting me through Every. Single. Minute. And MJ and Staci, you guys were no slouches yourselves.)

So a few days ago, on April 10th, I went on my first walk. Eight months after the big event, I decided it was time to get this party started. I ended up walking about 1.5 miles and even ran just the tiniest bit. Okay fine, it was more of an old-man-shuffle, but still! Yesterday, I hit the two-mile mark and did a little more shuffling than I did earlier in the week. I had tears stinging my eyes a couple of times, simply because I could go on a walk. If you’ve never had an injury, even just a temporary one, that may sound silly to you. But I promise, I wanted to jump for joy. (Of course, I didn’t. See aforementioned story about me and jumping).

I’m calling this week my two-milestone, and I plan to add to my miles in the coming weeks and months. I’d ask you to think about your own milestones, your goals, your dreams. If you’ve been waiting to do something big or small, maybe now’s the time? And if not now, then when? Just some food for thought.

If you’ve followed this blog for a long time, you know I don’t wax philosophical too often, so thanks for indulging me. I hope you’ll think about your own situation and let me know if you have any one, two, or three-milestones of your own. Have a great week! :-)

 

Good Sunday morning! The sun is shining, and it feels like spring may really someday arrive.

*Cue nor’easter just because I said that, right?*

Anyway, my post’s title this week is only to say that I’m halfway through two books but didn’t finish a complete one this past week. So I don’t have a FULL recommendation for you, but I have a start on a couple good ones, and one of them is even non-fiction. Who would have thought? ;-) I’ll start with that since it’s so out of character, no pun intended.

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin, is a fascinating, in-depth depiction of the life and times of two of our presidents at the turn of the century. It’s a story of two very intelligent, powerful men, within the same party, who became friends but then ended up opposing each other in the 1912 election because of various political differences. Their fractured friendship split the party in two, resulting in a victory by Woodrow Wilson. I’m at the point in the book where they are still close comrades, and it’s hard to even picture what went wrong, so I’m excited to keep reading. Buyer Beware: If you think the title is long, it’s got nothing on this book, which clears the 900-page mark. It’s a very good read so far; just don’t plan to read it over a weekend.

The Dark Tide, by Andrew Gross, is another action-packed thrill ride that is great so far. I’m listening to this one as I drive around New England and New York, and the pace of the book is even faster than the crazy drivers I encounter. In this story, an explosion goes off in NYC’s Grand Central Station, and Karen Friedman’s life turns upside down. Her husband was on that train, and Karen spends the next year grieving and looking out for her children. But then some men show up and want the “$250 million dollars” that her husband took…and then some men threaten her daughter, again about the money…and then Karen sees her husband on a video taken immediately after the train crash…and then she discovers the safe-deposit box he opened several hours after the train crash, complete with a fake passport and tons of cash. Needless to say, I can’t wait to finish this book, because this promises to get really good. Hell hath no fury and all that.

So I hope these two “halves” have given you something to think about for your next read. If one of them ends up being totally awful, I’ll let you know, but I’m far enough into both of them that I think they’re going to be time well spent. I wish you a wonderful day, and ’til next week, happy reading! :-)

 

 

Lady Killer

Good Sunday morning, the first Sunday of spring. Does it feel like it where you are? Because it sure doesn’t here in Massachusetts. I need to see a robin or a tulip or something!

This week’s read was Lady Killer by Lisa Scottoline, starring Mary DiNunzio, an associate lawyer at Rosato & Associates. I’ve read several of Scottoline’s books, some featuring Bennie Rosato, some starring DiNunzio, and like usual, I always manage to read them out of order. But they’re all very good.

I digress.

In this caper, DiNunzio is hard at work one day, when Trish Gambone, a “Mean Girl” from back in high school, shows up at the office, terrified and looking for help. Trish’s live-in boyfriend, a mobbed-up drug dealer, has been threatening her life, and she’s sure that he’s going to act on it soon. DiNunzio recommends the usual avenues for a person in an abusive relationship, but it’s not good enough for Trish, and she storms out of Mary’s office. Soon after, Trish goes missing, and it seems that the whole of Philly, including Trish’s three big-haired best friends, blames Mary. As DiNunzio jeopardizes her job to go on a quest to find out what happened to Trish, we learn that the good-Catholic-schoolgirl DiNunzio has some skeletons ratting around of her own…

Reading this book makes you feel like you’ve been plopped smack-dab in the middle of some rowhouses in Philly. Scottoline does such a great job of conveying the neighborhood atmosphere of the Italian-American section of the city that DiNunzio is from, and the slang she uses, combined with some of the old-world charm, had me smiling several times throughout the book. It’s a definite page-turner, with just a splash of romance mixed in (not enough to make you vomit), and I recommend it for a quick read some weekend. ‘Til next week, happy reading! :-)

Heat Lightning

Good Sunday morning! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted, and I hope this finds you doing well.

This week’s read was Heat Lightning by John Sandford, part of his Virgil Flowers series. In the sequence, it’s the second book, and as usual, I’m not reading this series in order. I’ve read several others with Virgil as the main character, and they’re all very good.

In this story, Virgil, who works for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, is called to Stillwater because a body has been found with two shots to the head. The victim was left near a veterans’ memorial and also had a lemon in his mouth…just like a body that was discovered the prior week. Clearly a madman is loose, and Virgil has to find the connection to the victims before the killer strikes again. With ties going back to Vietnam, Virgil runs into a wide cast of characters and doesn’t realize until the end who is friend and foe.

I really like the pace to the Sandford books, because they aren’t overwhelmingly action-packed, but the plot keeps moving on every single page. So if you’re up for a good who-dun-it, I’d say that you’ll enjoy Heat Lightning quite a bit. ‘Til next week, happy reading! :-)

The Last Word

Happy snowy Sunday morning! Anyone else ready for spring?

This week’s read was The Last Word by Lisa Lutz, and it’s the final book in the Spellman series. :-( So if you’re somehow tired of me pushing these stories, then you’re off the hook after this one.

In this zany book, Isabel is at last in charge of Spellman Investigations, but her two best employees, aka her parents, are giving new meaning to the word insubordinate. Her sister, who’s over a decade her junior, is pulling in more work and has more money than Isabel; her brother and sister-in-law are raising the spawn of Satan; her ex-who-she’s-still-a-bit-hung-up-on is getting married; her financial backer is arrested for indecent exposure; and finally, the FBI is knocking on the door, accusing Isabel of embezzling funds from a major corporation. Other than that, there’s not much going on…

Much like the other ones in this series, I enjoyed the irreverent characters and banter between the family members. The pace was very quick and easy, and I breezed through it in no time. I was sad to see the series end, but it sounds like younger-sister-Rae might have some upcoming stories in her future, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for those. So I bid adieu to the Spellman series and say thanks to Lisa Lutz for keeping me entertained. ‘Til next week, happy reading! :-)

Mad River

Good Saturday afternoon! I hope everyone is doing well.

This week’s read was Mad River, by John Sandford, and I loved it. It’s part of Sandford’s Virgil Flowers series, and they just keep getting better.

In this caper, Flowers, who works for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in Minnesota is called in to investigate what initially appears to be some broke, bored, midwestern kids committing a random act of violence. But once Virgil starts sifting through the evidence and dead bodies continue piling up, he realizes that he’s on the trail of a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, along with their oddball sidekick. When the local yokels get involved, Virgil ends up in the middle of the killers he’s pursuing and the authorities who want to handle things via vigilante justice.

This is a super-fast-paced cat and mouse book, and it was great. There’s suspense, mystery, and humor all mixed in, and I’d highly recommend getting on the Flowers bandwagon. ‘Til next week, happy reading! :-)

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