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Topic: February - I {Heart} Reading! What Are You Reading This Month?

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Subject: February - I {Heart} Reading! What Are You Reading This Month?
Date Posted: 2/1/2013 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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I'll start us out for this month o'love and chocolate!

I'm still reading The Kitchen House (which is the February RAL, and it's not too late to join!), and I'm listening to Code Name Verity.  Both are most excellent, and I am really enjoying them!

How 'bout you?

Date Posted: 2/1/2013 12:11 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,390
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Already running late this morning, at the end of a chapter (perfect timing, right?) ... Every Secret Thing (Susanna Kearsley) suddently got very dramatic - as in RIGHT now! No build-up, no lead-in, no clue at all of impending doom, just an in-your-face, OMG kind of event!

So, I was really running late this morning!

Kelly

Date Posted: 2/1/2013 12:13 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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Pastora by Joanna Barnes. A big fat chunkster set in old California.

Date Posted: 2/1/2013 1:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Also reading (listening to) The Kitchen House. It's absolutely excellent!

I started JR Tomlin's Black Douglas series this a.m. on the Kindle. The first book is titled A Kingdom's Cost and I may have an issue with her over-use of the word, mayhap. That word just jars me every time I hear it, especially when the rest of the language in the story is suited for more modern ears. But I'm trying to reserve judgment and just enjoy the story. It's really too early to judge.

Date Posted: 2/1/2013 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,452
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I was feeling a little crummy this morning so I finished the last in the Heaven Tree Trilogy, The Scarlet Seed by Edith Pargeter.  Such beautiful writing...sigh.  I loved how the last book returned to the first and completed the circle of the narrative.

Now I get to read that great Nell Sweeney some more!



Last Edited on: 2/1/13 1:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/1/2013 1:34 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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@Cheryl, I felt the same about The Scarlet Seed.  Just beautiful.

 I am 2/3 through an Andrew Greeley book called "Irish Gold," which is set in modern times but deals with Irish "troubles" from 1919-1923.  I'm gravitating toward books about Ireland now since we will be traveling there this summer (yay!).  I'm jotting down all the Dublin pubs and restaurants that the MCs visit.  Next up will be "Speaking From Among the Bones" - Flavia de Luce #5.  Can't wait to get started on that one.

Date Posted: 2/1/2013 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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@ Genie, I can't recall which of the JR Tomlin books I tried, but didn't get past the first chapter.

Date Posted: 2/1/2013 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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I'm about two chapters away from the end (and darn, I had to go to work and not finish it yet) of a fantasty (which is not my usual genre) but set in Russia fairy tale land called "Veil of Gold" by Kim Wilkins, IIRC.

Date Posted: 2/1/2013 10:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,867
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Now reading Red on Red by Edward Conlon and The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa.  Finished The Kitchen House for the February read-along).  What a read!   No wonder I see so many people wishing for this book.  It's outstanding!   Semper Fidelis by Ruth Downie s my first read by this author.  As I often do, I picked up a book far into the series because it looked interesting.  So it is.  Good, easy read that can be finished in a couple of evenings.  I liked the hero, Ruso, and his independent lovely wife, Tilla.   Ruso has a  knack for getting into trouble with or without Tilla's help!   The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig was an ok read but I'm beginning to think that I'm worn thin on this series.  And, I've completed Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls which has been on my shelf for months.  What an enjoyable read!  I laughed and laughed as I read about Lily's experiences.  Not a frail flower, she meets all situations head on and loses her teaching positions again and again and again.  Good one!   Another HF read, India Black and the Widow of Windsor by Carol K. Carr, turned out to be a soso read.  I'd rate it two stars at best.  In the Shadow of Gotham and The Secret of the White Rose by Stefanie Pintoff are outstanding HF mysteries.  Gotham was most deserving of winning an Edgar Award.  I truly enjoyed the complexity, the characters and the tales of both very much.  Guinevere by Sharan Newman  is a fantasy based on the original story.  There is a priestess who attempts to sacrifice Guinevere to her goddess, a unicorn to whom Guinevere is bonded, and a young man who is of the old people who adores Guinevere.  Interesting take on a well loved story.  The sequel is The Chessboard Queen by Sharan Newman which I liked better.  It moves into Guinevere's life with Arthur, her meeting Lancelot, and acknowledgement of her love for him.  Should have realized that The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen was a romance.  However, I rarely discontinue a book.  It is a delightful, easy to read romance. Well done.  Dangerous to Know by Tasha Alexander is a good historical mystery and the first I've read by this author.  Fast, well written and most interesting.  I didn't figure out who the murderer was and for me that means it's a good mystery.

Off to read The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne.   I'm having a great reading month.  Little Wolves by Thomas Maltman who won much praise for his first novel is a good, good read.  Now I want to read his first, The Night Birds.  A humorous little book called A Dog's Life by Peter Mayle is a most relaxing read.  I liked it.  Finished Country Driving A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory by Peter Hessler who lived in Beijing for many years.  The book decribes his observations and conclusions about the development of the industrial revolution in China.  Quite interesting.  His wife wrote a companion book called Factory Girls, which i am finding is much easier to read..  Both books were among the best reads of the year listed by a fri'end who lives on Vashon Island in the state of Washington.  And I wrapped up Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin which is a good mystery as well as human interest read.  Pretty good.  The Dog Sox by Russell Hill, a 2012 nominee for the Edgar award, was a quick little, relaxing read one can do in an evening.

Meanwhile, I've read Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt which i s without doubt a five star read.  I picked up this book for two reasons - it's a group read on gr and I love the title.  What I didn't expect was a YA read about a teenager who loses her uncle to AIDS,   This is a tear-jerker and I shed my share of tears.  It is a fine novel written by a first time author who can structure characters with whom readers can empathize.  Great read.  The Scar by China Mieville  was a fascinating and complex read.  Loved the story.  The imagination and genius of this author is beyond belief.  I believe that this is the most outstanding read I've done to date in 2013.   I did abandon the audio of Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowlings because I didn't like the narrator.  Still into Patricia A. Wrede's Enchanted Forest series with the last:  Calling on Dragons by Patricia Wrede, a holdover from my January list. 



Last Edited on: 2/28/13 12:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 53
Date Posted: 2/1/2013 11:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Because I always listen to Kelly, I started Trigiani's The Shoemaker's Wife this morning....

(Edited to correct spelling of author's name)



Last Edited on: 2/2/13 10:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/2/2013 12:12 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,390
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images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRUkE5yG9_1M74zEXSPkTPjrptIZnRePJVi4eCWThaR4abLxOtE

 

Deb, you sure do say the sweetest things.

Hope you enjoy Enza & Ciro's story as much as I did!! 

Kelly

 

 

 



Last Edited on: 2/2/13 12:13 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/2/2013 12:39 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2007
Posts: 8,494
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Still working on The Snow Child : Eowyn Ivey for Jack. I've been spending a lot of time on my medical coding online course this past week, so I haven't been reading much. I hope to finish it over the weekend, and then I will pick up my #10 or my #8. I haven't decided which category yet, although I have my books picked out. I'm still deciding on what to do about related books for #5. I have a few different ideas and I'm not sure which direction I'd rather go right now, so I'll work on some of the other categories first.

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 2/2/2013 7:33 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,359
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I am reading  One Blood: A Sergeant Kella and Sister Conchita Mystery :: Graeme Kent. It is set in 1960, Solomon Islands. Great mystery. Blends mysteries and island folklore. The first book in the Series is Devil-Devil.  I recommend reading book one first. I love the exotic location. Can't say that I have ever seen another book set in Solomon Island other than PT109. Some of the that historic event ties into these stories. If you are looking for a new mystery this is a good series. I know Jeanne likes it too

Alice

Date Posted: 2/2/2013 8:31 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I chucked Tomlin out the window. (Well, not literally or my Kindle would have to go with it.) Poor writing and a ho-hum story did me in. If I want to read about Black Douglas, and I do, I'll pick up a used copy of Nigel Trantor's novel.

Meanwhile, I started Roberta Gellis' Bond of Blood, which is a better quality historical romance that takes place during the aftermath of the reign of Stephen.

Date Posted: 2/2/2013 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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Lauri - How are you liking "The Snow Child?" I recently put it on my WL.
Date Posted: 2/2/2013 11:39 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2007
Posts: 8,494
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I'm enjoying it, Shelley. In the beginning, the quiet desperation of the couple and the winter landscape of Alaska left me feeling forlorn and so sad for them. Ms. Ivey is very good at using location to convey a form of emotion. I love the neighbor lady character - she makes me smile!

I'll give a full review when I finish...

smiley

Date Posted: 2/2/2013 12:02 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,867
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Last Edited on: 2/9/13 9:04 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/2/2013 1:13 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2009
Posts: 94
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Still trying to get my hands on a copy of the Kitchen Wife for the RAL though. The used bookstore by my house didn't have it, but there are a few more in the area I can check out. Otherwise I am about halfway through a non fiction book called Lipstick Jihad. About a Iranian woman raised in Palo Alto CA who decides to return to Iran and report on the lives of the young people under the Taliban. It's a few years old but she went to my college and I've been wanting to read it. Very interesting.
Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 2/2/2013 1:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,359
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Has anyone read this book yet  The Aviator's Wife :: Melanie Benjamin. I have another Barnes and Noble coupon and am considering buying myself an early birthday present.

alice

Date Posted: 2/3/2013 11:14 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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@ Alice, I have read it. Pretty good, but the narrative is first person and Lindbergh is a controlling ass and Ann tolerates it. Likely appropriate to the time period and her upbringing, but that can be a deal breaker for some readers, YMMV.I hadn't realized how much he took her with him as his co-pilot. 

Almost done with Pastora by Joanna Barnes. Pretty good rags-to-riches old California story, but it doesn't quite measure up to The Proud Breed, Calico Palace and Lily Cigar. Still, if you like strong female characters it's worth a shot. I got this via ILL and it came a tiny little town in Montana. No bar codes, the ILL due date on the inside flap was hand-written. 

Date Posted: 2/3/2013 11:42 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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 I got this via ILL and it came a tiny little town in Montana. No bar codes, the ILL due date on the inside flap was hand-written.

You don't see that much anymore. Could be a collector's item. Just sayin' ...

I finished Bond of Blood, and for me, the book did not live up to the reviews. Published in 1965, I was prepared for some old-fashioned writing, but I was not prepared for what I consider to be completely unbelievable character development for both lead characters. Gellis' history, as usual, was strong, making for a realistic background story. But a female lead, who cries at the drop of a pin, in the early 12th Century, is beyond belief. I thought the man cried rather too easily as well.

Allowing that this was Gellis' first book, and that I really enjoyed Roselynde and Alinor, I'll try another. 2 stars

I think I'm going to start Sworn Sword by James Aitchenson, which is about the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings. It's the start of a new series, and to my knowledge, currently only available in England. I ordered it from Book Depository. Anyhoo, some of the early reviews are good.

Date Posted: 2/3/2013 11:45 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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A note for those who plan to read The Shoemaker's Wife -- have some tissues handy near the end. Inspired by the lives of the author's grandparents, this is a sweeping romance featuring two appealing, hard-working, Italian immigrants who first kiss as teenagers in an Alpine village; alternately find, lose, and find each other again in New York; and then end up building a life together in Minnesota. It is not a perfect book, but it is pretty darn good -- good historical details, sumptuous sensory descriptions (especially of food -- don't read when hungry), and some lovely writing. It is a book about the meaning of love and family. While some may find the story of Enza and Ciro too sentimental, I found it poignant, moving, and very satisfying...and would highly recommend it.
Date Posted: 2/3/2013 12:42 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,452
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I've started Warriors of the Dragon Gold by Ray Bryant.  Teeny tiny print but a good story.  This one will take a while to read!

Date Posted: 2/3/2013 1:58 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,390
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Great review, Deb ... so glad you enjoyed The Shoemaker's Wife

I just finished Every Secret Thing by Susanna Kearsley. There is something about her writing that always annoys me just a little. And, then I find myself a little over-critical and picking apart the plot. But I'm always interested enough to finish it ... and lo and behold, she always wraps things up quite nicely so that by the end of the book I'm usually quite satisfied and glad I read the durn thing.

Not much of a review, I know, but I think Susanna Kearsley is one of those writers that people already know whether or not they like ... and the book certainly isn't bad to the point that I need to warn anyone away from it. In fact the story premise (inspired by a real situation) is really quite fascinating: a man tries to tell a journalist about a murder that occurred during WW II; but he himself is killed before he is able to share the details. Thus starts the proverbial trip down the rabbit hole ...

I'll read more of her books, I'm sure, AND, it's interesting to note that I can remember the basic plotlines of every other book by her that I've read. So maybe I do like Susanna Kearsley ... if only there wasn't this thing about her writing that always annoys me just a little ...

Kelly

 

Date Posted: 2/3/2013 5:37 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I'm about 100 pages into Sworn Sword and I'm loving it. Look out, Bernard Cornwell. You have competition. ... I was curious about the author as this is his first book. It turns out he's 27 years old. 25 when this book was published. What an accomplishment!
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