Tag Archives: maisie

Mini-reviews: Mysteries

Warning: Some of these reviews contain spoilers.

leaving everything most lovedLeaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear (March 2013, Harper), 352 pages

I loved the color and spices of India that infused this novel, the tenth in the Maisie Dobbs series.

I felt a little manipulated by Winspear. I wondered if she was delaying a decision on Maisie’s relationship with James just to prolong the series (ugh!). On the one hand, I just want to see them together. I think they’ll work well, and I want to see that. But on the other, I think Maisie still acted within her very independent nature. So mostly I’m just sitting here wishing and hoping. And a little sad.

Another great installment in one of my favorite historical mystery series.

doors openDoors Open by Ian Rankin (Reagan Arthur (Little Brown), 2010), 368 pages

I’d heard lots of great things about Ian Rankin’s books, so I was glad to get the chance to pull this one from its lingering spot on the TBR shelf. Mostly, though, I was disappointed by this one. If I hadn’t heard such great things, I probably would have put it down mid-read (and I maybe should have abandoned it regardless).

I did enjoy the Edinburgh setting, though.

I plan to give Rankin another try, starting with book one of his Inspector Rebus series, Knots and Crosses.

missing fileThe Missing File by D.A. Mishani (Harper, March 2013), 304 pages

This is another one that didn’t really live up to my expectations. Again, I enjoyed the setting (Israel this time). But most of the book really plodded. The protagonist’s low self-esteem seemed to pervade the book. We have this supposedly great detective, who doesn’t do or learn anything really. It’s like he’s living in an allergy fog like those commercials, except we’re given no explanation for his inaction.

The twist at the end is pretty great, though, I thought. And how the main points are never really, truly, nailed down.

red herring without mustardA Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (Bantam, 2011), 432 pages

This third Flavia de Luce mystery was the needed rebound after the sophomore slump that was The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag (my review). Our precocious protag is back at it, and I quite enjoyed this one. I hope it’s not too long until I can return to the series (I think I’ve got books four and five on my shelves waiting patiently).

I received some of these books from the publisher. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

11 months

My baby is 11 months old. Not a baby much longer. His nose has changed a bit, it’s no longer the baby nose. We’re planning a birthday party. (Need to get those invitations done!)


He claps, he waves, he climbs stairs unaided. He’s very interested in being walked around (hanging on to your fingers). He dances (happy tummy dance, to music, to the music in his head). He initiates games (peek-a-boo, row your boat, a bouncing game). He’s started trying to play tug with Maisie (she’s still a bit strong for him).

He signed his first word yesterday: More. He says Mama and Dada, and a couple other words we haven’t figured out the meaning of yet. His babbling is starting to sound more and more like real words and even short sentences. He’s starting to communicate — to be understood, even, and that’s thrilling to me.

He has eight teeth and is very close to having two more.

He has a lot of hair. It’s not long, but it has definite volume.

He’s starting to transition (or maybe already has and I’m just still in denial) to only one nap each day. He often needs more, but sleep is hard for him.

He’s very adventurous, but he likes to know Mama is near, especially in new social situations. He only just started to cry when I leave him.

Note: I wrote the following two paragraphs when he was just over 8 months, intending to add to it, polish it, and post it at 9 months. Oops.

He’s always pushing the boundaries. I’m not talking about obedience. Before he could really stand, he was trying to pivot. Before he could solidly support himself, he was attempting to crouch down and pick something up off the floor, while standing. Before he could stand unsupported, he was placing one of his hands on a door knob and opening, closing, opening, while still trying to balance, with only support from the other hand.

And while it’s exasperating and sometimes scary to watch, at least for this parent, it’s also inspiring and thrilling. He’s constantly growing and pushing himself. Reaching new heights (literally and figuratively). Learning new skills and tackling challenging feats.

I can haz books?


Yes, the little guy is in full pull-books-off-the-shelves mode, and I’m at a loss as to what to do! I’d cleared the bottom shelf, but now he can reach the next one (and not just on this bookcase). This seems like an unsustainable precedent.

Side note: I haven’t reviewed any of those books, although I’ve read them, so if you’ve been pining to hear me talk about something in particular? Ask, and I’ll see what I can do. 🙂

Happy birthday to Maisie!

Yesterday was Maisie’s 3rd birthday. We’ve had her more than two and a half years now, and we still love her to bits (well, not literally …).

She’s grown up quite a lot in the past year, but especially in the last six months. Everything we’ve read says Old English are puppies until about age 3. There’s still definitely puppy in there, and I’m glad. But having a baby in the house has been a huge adjustment for her. She’s very gentle and caring toward little ones, but she’s likely to flinch and/or walk away when he touches her. All that hair is such a temptation! (We’re working on it.)

Thank you, Maisie, for understanding when you have to wait a bit longer sometimes because the little one needs me. I soooo look forward to the days when you and he can run and play together.

Happy birthday, Maisie! Hope you had a good day, and many more.

August knits

I knit quite a bit in August, the bulk of it was one pattern — that I knit 5 times, by far the most I’ve ever knit a single pattern.

This knitting spree was brought on by necessity. See, the little man (He’s 4 months old now, and growing ever so fast!) outgrew the diapering setup we’d been using. (Yes, we cloth diaper.) But that’s not really the focus of this brief narrative.

I knit five soakers. Well, technically, I knit six, but the first one was a different pattern, and it didn’t really turn out well.

Soakers all in a row

Soakers hanging in the nursery, ready to be used. The middle one is knit from my handspun, the fourth from the left is made from yarn I dyed.

Wool soaker

Baby wearing wool soaker.

4 months

Here he is riding his trusty steed, Maisie, on his 4-month birthday.

Wool really is amazing. But I think I’m ready to knit something else, or at least another pattern now! Maybe longies? He did outgrow more pajamas this week …

An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear

Word Lily review

An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear, book 5 of the Maisie Dobbs mystery series (Henry Holt, 2008), 320 pages

An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline WinspearSummary
It’s the fall of 1931, and Maisie’s latest case takes her to Kent, during hop-picking season. Although the case seemed straightforward (as always), the town lives under a cloud, which makes it hard to get at the truth.

I enjoyed seeing the different cultures represented in this book. How this one worked out was a bit more obvious to me than some have been, but I liked stepping a toe into the Roma world with Maisie.

I wish there’d been more of Maisie’s weaving and dyeing in the book. I did like this phrase, though: “newly drawn to color.” (page 10)

Perhaps what I like best about this series is how the books interact with each other. One foreshadows the case and lessons of the next, while also leaning on the knowledge gleaned in the volume(s) that came before it. It’s hard to say for sure, though, because I also love the setting, how the book leans on history. And the titles! Each book’s title is so multi-faceted, they’re brilliant.

Maisie Dobbs books

1. Maisie Dobbs [my review]
2. Birds of a Feather [my review]
3. Pardonable Lies [my review]
4. Messenger of Truth [my review]
5. An Incomplete Revenge
6. Among the Mad
7. The Mapping of Love and Death
8. A Lesson in Secrets

Part of my impetus for getting back to this series was Book Club Girl’s read-along, Mad about Maisie. Here’s the discussion for this title. The next book, Among the Mad, will be discussed starting March 28.

Rating: 4.5 stars

About the author
Jacqueline Winspear (Facebook) quit her day job for her writing when she saw the tour schedule for Birds of a Feather. She lives in California, after leaving England in 1990.

Other reviews
Tia Nevitt
A Garden Carried in the Pocket
Good Books and the Random Movie
Pages of Julia
Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

I received this book from the publisher. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.


2010: Faces of Maisie

This gallery contains 18 photos.

(The many, many faces of Maisie.) (All the photos are clickable if you want to see them larger.) Maisie brought us much joy in 2010, as did all of you! I’m looking forward to 2011.


You’re 1 year old today. You’ve grown a lot since we met you, less than 9 months ago. Oh, excuse me. Maybe these nice people want to see your eyes … You make us laugh!