Designated Daughters by Margaret Maron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott books are always an easy, pleasurable read, and Designated Daughters is no exception. Deborah has an easy narrative style, sharing various insights of judicial and family life, and her voice makes any of the novels interesting. However, with the theme and title of this effort, I expected some kind of insight about the demands of care-taking, the issues of an aging population, or health care costs, and Maron didn't really deliver. She has several plots going in this story, and, as a result, the book is a little uneven. I think Maron/Knott would've had some good points to share, and, without them, the effort was a little disappointing, though still a pleasant read.
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wish I could five-star this one without calling it "amazing"--it was compelling, addictive, and led to sleep deprivation and a huge stack of overdue correcting on my desk, but it was, at the bottom, an extremely readable private eye novel, and not "amazing" at all. However: there is so much to praise in this one! Cormoran Strike is a likable, interesting character, and his interaction with his temporary (or not) secretary is fun to watch, as she's a lively character well; "Cuckoo" comes alive through these pages, as do many of her friends and family. There is an element of People-magazine-esque star-gazing in the story, but Cormoran and his adventures are what kept me up and neglecting my work. The writing is effective, tight, and clear: I noticed no Harry Potter-isms creeping in and clogging up the works.
One question: why bother to adopt a pseudonym if one is going to out oneself anyway? I was a bit confused by that. But: I really disliked the Casual Vacancy, but I *loved* Cuckoo's Calling. I've gotten The Silkworm on audiobook, partially to insure that I don't binge read it and mess up my orderly life!
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Well: it's Saturday evening, and Andy and I are back home after a Silverstreak visit down to Lewiston to see Nate and the Bates Choir sing Mozart's "Requiem." We stayed at the Ramada right off the highway, and we had a lovely dinner at DaVinci's (I was expecting standard large scale Italian, but it was locally grown and deliciously unique!) with Nate, pre-concert, and made it to Olin in easy time. To our surprise, Mom and Anita came too (we hadn't made plans with them as we didn't really decide to come down until Thursday!), and seeing them so casually made us feel like we were real locals! The concert was lovely--I forget how exciting and fun it is to see live classical music, and Bates has a wonderful soprano soloist whose voice is transcendent--and we all ooh'd and ahh'd afterwards, and then A and I headed for bed!
Today, we had breakfast with Nate at Forage, and then did some errands, ending up at the Bates bookstore, where we had a lovely moment: a mom and her daughter came in, and the mom announced that her daughter had just been accepted, after having been deferred in December. They were from Waterville, and everyone in the bookstore at that moment was from Maine, so it was a very down-home, pro-Bates, rah-rah celebration. The girl didn't even look embarrassed. It was great.
We headed home soon after, and got home around 1. I've done some laundry, scored some (very poorly done) masks for OMM, and done some b'day errands AND gotten ice cream to go at the Moo. What a nice way to kick off a weekend. Tomorrow I plan to skip church (sorry; I super-duper need the time!) and crank through more correcting.
We also had a nice week with Lyle home/at UMO with Sam/around. He is clearly beginning to think about next year (woooooooo), and has lost some of his edginess about home, and us, and such. We'll see how things unfold. It was certainly nice to have a chance to talk to him occasionally!
We have had snow today! Aieee! But at least the piles of snow have shrunk somewhat. So far, March has followed its instructions (from me) and has been less intensely wintery than February. YAY!
I may post some pics. We've been busy lately: Nate's play two weeks ago, Incoming Parents' Night and Parent Conferences during two weeks, one of those weekends that simply disappears last weekend, and then a late night watching the One-Act for me on Wednesday, AND a good deal of avoidance of work due to "The Cuckoo's Calling". . . I am hoping to reset the balance this weekend and enter Monday with a little more organization under my belt.