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My Reading List - January 2013
Currently Reading -
Currently Listening to -
Last Edited on: 1/31/13 2:31 AM ET - Total times edited: 61
Happy New Year, everyone!! This is going to be the year I read a lot of new [to me] authors. I've got such a large TBR pile that it will take all year to even make a dent in it, but what more could a person want!!
Random Acts by Taylor Smith --- A powerful story about a serial killer who isn't at all what he seems to be. FBI profiler Laurel Madden and FBI Agent Dan Sprague work to find the killer while reporter Claire Gillespie tries to tie Madden in with a story she's been working on for her news magazine. A real page-turner, could not put it down!!
The Poet by Michael Connelly --- This is the first book by Michael Connelly I've read, and it certainly won't be the last!! Intense writing, a chilling plot and interesting characters. This is the first Jack McEvoy book and Connelly has developed a complex protaganist. The ending was a complete surprise, I never saw it coming! Highly recommended.
The Map Thief by Heather Terrell --- An interesting blend of fact and fiction. From the fifteenth century China and Portugal to modern day, Terrell takes the reader on a journey around the world with both early Chinese and Portuguese explorers. Who really discovered the world? A lot of information about early map making, seafaring and other areas of the 1400s. Sometimes a little hard to follow, but it all comes together in the end. This is the first book I've read of Terrell's...I think I'll look for her other two [that I know of].
Ruby by Lauraine Snelling --- I needed a break from the usual suspense/mysteries I normally read, so picked this one up and I really enjoyed it. I haven't read any of Snelling's other works, but I do have 2 more in this series. This one takes place in the Dakota Territories. Ruby & her sister, Opal, travel there to see the father that deserted them years before. He's dying and has left them an inheritance, a saloon & brothel. You have to read the book to find out what happens!
Lion in the Valley by Elizabeth Peters --- Another Amelia Peabody novel. I really enjoy this series, even more so as I get farther into them and become more acquainted with Amelia, Emerson and their son, Ramses. What fun! Both Amelia and Emerson have such high opinions of themselves [and each other], that it makes for a rip-roaring delightful story. And there is no one like Ramses, what an 8-year-old going on 40. Love it!!
Nine Lives by Sharon Sala -- I've read Sharon Sala before [and also her pseudo-name Dinah McCall], but this is the first of the Cat Dupree series and I really liked it. A quick read, but a well-developed plot and interesting characters in Cat and Wilson McKay. Cat's background is similar to Carol O'Connell's Mallory series, tough, street-wise women who depend on no one but themselves. Makes for interesting reading.
Open Season by C. J. Box --- A very powerful 1st novel by Box. An in-depth look at a game warden in Wyoming...Joe Pickett is honest, caring, hard-working and flawed. He makes mistakes, sometimes real doozies! But when he finds, what he believes to be, a serious cover-up coming from people he has trusted, he doesn't hesitate to search for the truth. I will definitely be looking for more of the Joe Pickett series. This is a real page-turner...highly recommended.
'A' is for Alibi by Sue Grafton --- I've been meaning to start this series for some time, just never got around to it until this week. While this series has been around for a long time, and the first books are a little dated [if the first one is any indication] I was pleasantly surprised. The writing is well done and the plot intricate, but easy to follow. I'm going to enjoy reading more of Grafton's Kinsey Millhone series.
Rueful Death by Susan Wittig Albert --- I enjoy the China Bayles series and this one was especially interesting, combining the monastic life of a group of nuns, a couple of murders and some intriguing information about herbs, both poisonous and non. Albert always has a lot of details unknown to most people concerning the herbs she writes about. I find it very informative . Look forward to reading the next in the series.
Islands by Anne Rivers Sidons --- Every time I read one of Siddons' books I come away feeling like I've just left old friends. She has a way of transporting the reader into the time and place of the story and the characters become so real, it's hard to imagine not having known them personally. Islands takes place in the Low Country of South Carolina...Charleston comes to life in the telling of this story. Like many of her books, this one takes on a dark tone towards the end, but in keeping with the people it all rings true. A marvelous read.
If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O by Sharyn McCrumb --- McCrumb writes an interesting story dealing with the men who fought in Vietnam and weaves it through a mystery with an ending that's totally unexpected. I especially enjoyed the location background since it's so close to where I live. Her Ballad series is a treasure.
The Rapids by Carla Neggers --- 3rd in the U.S. Marshalls series. It really helps to have read the previous books in the series because Neggers always refers back to the previous books in all her series. It can be a little disconcerting at times if the reader doesn't know what's happened before. She writes good stories, that's my only complaint. This one deals with the hunt for a paid assassin with some romance thrown into the mix.
Stealing Shadows by Kay Hooper -- Very good paranormal.... psychic Cassie Neill is able to get inside the heads of serial killers. In doing so she helps law enforcement find the killers, but she also puts herself at risk if she goes in too deep. A tense, well-written plot that introduces Noah Bishop.
Reading now: The Last to Die by Beverly Barton & The Wind Dancer by Iris Johansen
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Recently Added to Wish List
Last Edited on: 1/27/13 8:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 15
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (book)
Dead Calm - Charles F. Williams (Kindle)
This Life Is In Your Hands by Melissa Coleman (kindle) - FINISHED - Very good!!
Those Across the River - Christopher Beuhlman (Kindle) - Not sure yet what I think of this one.
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The Real Grey's Anatomy Andrew Holtz
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button F Scott Fitzgerald
Beware of Cat Vincent Wyckoff
The Wrong Stuff Sharon Fiffer
Tales from the Peoli Road Eli Beachy
A Girl Made of Dust Nathalie Abi-Egzi
Play With Fire Dana Stabenow
Let the Lion Eat Straw Ellease Southerland
Oink-My Life with mini pigs Matt Whyman
Bedtime for Bonsai Elaine Fox
Home Game Michael Lewis
Lumby on the Air Gail Fraser
The Council of Dads Bruce Feiler
Murder of a Snake in the Grass Denise Swanson
The Christmas Note Donna VanLiere
The Secret Lives of Hoarders Matt Paxton
Cross Roads Fern Michaels
Fly Away Home Jennifer Weiner
The House of Hope and Fear Audrey Young
Long Drive Home Will Allison
Last Edited on: 1/29/13 12:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 18
Wow, what an epic. Over 800 pages and not even anywhere near a conclusion at the end. I think there's 5 books in the series so far, this is gonna take awhile. It's a pretty good story, stays interesting, but a little too much going on. I didn't find it hard to keep everything straight like a lot of people have said they did but with all the separate stories going on they were pretty far between and advanced slowly. I don't have a lot of criticism, it's a good story and very thoroughly imagined. This first book is not much in the fantasy realm, it's a pretty straight forward story, but at the end it takes a turn and it looks like it will be a lot more fantastical in the coming books.
Nemesis by Jo Nesbo - A Harry Hole mystery. I started reading his books from the latest ones first and now that I'm getting to the earlier ones you can really see how the quality of the writing has improved as he goes on. The translation on this one isn't perfect either, there are a few clumsy sentences. He's getting his complexity down much in this one but it's not quite there yet. Good story lines, they just don't fit together as tightly as the next books do.
Dear Cary by Dyan Cannon - A memoir but very much focused on her relationship with Cary Grant, who as we all know is probably about the most desirable man in history. If you're a big fan you might want to skip this book though, he had some serious flaws in his reolationships with women. I guess it's to be expected, she was his 4th wife, and any man that handsome has to have some problems. I think she did well not blaming him though, the fault was spread around. And she also gave a pretty good demonstration of why he had these issues, his childhood was messed up. It's easy to see why he had abandonment issues with women. He did some awful mean stuff to her though, and she let him. According to some other reviews I have seen she left out a lot of stuff but there's plenty here to give a decent impression. He was an incredibly romantic, demonstrative and loving man who had some deep seated problems, but don't we all. I was hardly a hatchet job on him, I thought she was pretty fair, and probably more forgiving than I would have been over a couple incidents. I don't want to spoil anything but the dog incident would have made me leave him right then and there. This book will shatter some images, but I think we all know deep down that no one is that perfect, and it can be awfully hard trying to live up to that image.
This Child Will Be Great by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - Oh boy, what a chore this was. It was like a Liberian history course with a particularly boring instructor. I learned a lot about Liberian history, including how the US helped screw up the country, but man was it dry and boring. Very little about her life outside of the political realm, although it didn't sound like she had much private life. It is one of those books that I'm glad I have the knowledge now but there is no enjoyment in the reading.
Fool Moon by Jim Butcher - Dresden Files book 2. I have mixed feelings about this series, I enjoy it but some things bug me about it. The cop, Murphy, is an idiot and does her best to get Dresden in trouble then take away anything he has that might help him, but out of stupidity not trying to get him hurt. She hires him becasue he's a wizard and there's something supernatural going on but then she refuses to believe what he says, thinks he's part if it, and strips him of his magic stuff. It happened in both books so far, so she's either an idiot or Butcher just doesn't write conflict well. She claims to be his friend but gez, with friends like her... There's also an awful lot of dumb luck going on. The scenarios are not all possible even considering many are in the magic realm. It has some flaws, but I still enjoy reading the books. The characters are mostly interesting and credible, there's a lot of humor in it, and you do end up rooting for the good guys. Just don't think about it too much.
Horns by Joe Hill - I really liked this one. It's supposed to be a horror book but I didn't find it scary. The protagonist may turn into the devil but he's not a bad guy and not very scary. He only does one bad thing to someone who doesn't deserve it and that seems out of character somehow. He's just a nice guy who got screwed by most of the people around him. You will have sympathy for the devil.
Corduroy Mansions by Alexander Mcall-Smith - A simple story about the inhabitants of a house divided into flats in the London area. Nothing ground breaking here but a pleasant little book. Most of his books are mysteries and I assumed this one would be too but it's not, just a bit about the resident's lives. They're quite a varied group and the stories go in many directions but they all have a little bit of a connection to one another.
Dominion by C J Sansom - A spy novel set in a dystopian Britain in 1952, where Hitler had won the war and controls most of Europe. Britain is left independant but a reluctant ally of Hitler, and slowly moving closer to Hitler's Germany. The two main characters are David, a civil servant who hides the fact that he's half Jewish and Holt, a German officer loyal to the SS. The story alternates between David's of joining the resistance and working within his government job to smuggle confidential info to the resistance and his eventual discovery and escape attempt and Holt's, who is the main officer in pursuit of David and his group. There is a third aspect that brings them together, a weird and withdrawn scientist whose brother has been working on the atom bomb in America accidently gets himself all up in it when his brother starts bragging while drunk about the bomb. Now Holt is after him and David must keep him safe. This isn't the kind of book I normally care for, I hate war and all that stuff, but it wasn't bad at all. It left me feeling bad for the things that have happened and how people still live and how fundamentally bad people are but it's human nature. We're nowhere near as noble as we think we are.
American Gods 10th anniversary edition by Neil Gaiman - I'm not a big fantasy reader but I really liked this book. There were a couple things that I didn't understand why they were quite as long as they were, detailed life stories of characters that are only mentioned again in passing, but it was never boring. Held my interest the whole time. It's a stroy about traveling across America to gather up the gods who have settled here, ancient gods that are somewhat retired and living human lives. Lots of stoies about places and gods, all in all a very interesting book. And not too far out there that it keeps reminding you that it's a fantasy story. He makes you think it's possible that these old gods could still be around and stocking shelves at the local supermarket.
The Golden Spiders by Rex Stout - A Nero Wolfe book, one of my favorite series. This one was a bit more 'physical' than he usually is, with Archie torturing someone a little bit. It was not bloody torture but seems so out of character for him. This one was written in 1953 and is a little more Sam Spade-y than usual with some pretty cute timely banter. Of the dames and cool cats variety. Three people are murdered, 2 of them with the same car, and in investigating the murders Mr Wolfe and his leg men come across a pretty big racket, so it's the typical complex unravelling that Stout is so good at.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks - Dr Sacks was the doctor in the film Awakenings, and this is a compilation of other neurological cases. It was written in 1986 and reads pretty dated, the section on people with mental retardation is called "The Simple" and they are refered to as defectives, morons, simpletons, retards, retardates. They may have been acceptable medical terms of the time but seem so weird now. I'm not a PC person but it was kind of distracting. The case stories were interesting but he does tend to go on a lot, especially about things like whether a person with profound brain damage still has a soul, is still an actual person. He refers to Freud and several philosophers a lot. I prefer my science without any of that kind of stuff and ended up skimming a lot. He refers to Awakenings a lot too, I didn't even know the connection until reading the book. There are about 25 case studies, many of them people who have extraordinary abilities despite being extremely damaged in one way or another and are really interesting, but be prepared to skim over a lot of padding.
Take Five: Four Favorite Essays and One Never Before Seen One by Augusten Burroughs - Short book, kindle only, with 5 stories from his life. I'd only seen one of them before, must have some catching up to do. Entertaining and a nice, light break. He's funny but sad at the same time, he can squeeze the humor out of the most horrific situations. A bit bitchy, a bit snarky, but always entertaining.
In The Blood by Steve Robinson - I really liked this book, I was up til 4:30 one night because I never came across a slow spot where I could stop. It is a non-stop story and very well done. I was surprised that it is a debut novel, it's tight, complex and well put together. It's a bit of a cozy, it doesn't have anything graphic and it's not scary, it's not really written to be. There are some awful anxious spots but it didn't make me want to leave a nightlight on. It was still a complex and interesting story about a genealogist trying to uncover what happened to a family line that just doesn't look quite right, and ends up being deadly. Good story, good history, it will make you look differently at your local genealogist. I don't know if he's written any more books yet but it does feel like he has set up a character for a series. I would definitely read them if he does.
Last Edited on: 1/30/13 8:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 14
This year I would like to blog alot more, so I plan on using the criteria that is outlined in PBS's Blog area to write reviews and really get to the meat of what I am reading. I also plan to do a couple of Reading Challenges, one from the Historical Fiction area and one from a list I created : Civil War books. There's alot out there that actually fits this category so it should be fun!
For Book Groups:
The Book of Salt~Monique Truong: A story from the point of view of a Vietnamese man who worked as a cook for Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas! Very poetic and educational from a point of view I am not usually acquainted with, liking it!! about 1/2 way through
Tiny Beautiful Things~Cheryl Strayed: A book of advice column letters from the Rumpus.net So far I am liking it, very wise words from a woman of the world, she counterbalances each case with an illustration of self reliance and responsibilty. I am impressed! Almost done, a miracle, I usually don't get to finish before the group meets but this really pulled me in, now I want to read her "Wild"book!
Kindle: I couldn't connect with the Glass Room, so returned it, waiting to find a new one. Did read "The Gun" essay by Stephen King. he made some very good points on how the school shootings got covered like too many cliches and how it all begins to diminish the impact on our society.
Mystery/Detective/Thriller: M is for Malice~Sue Grafton: Kinsey is on a missing person's case. She loves these kind of cases, except nobody really wants her to find the missing heir so there is going to be some mischief for sure! Also an old boyfriend in the picture so there will be some relationship intrigue as well! Started this but it really hasn't taken off yet, unusual.On hold
Historical Fiction Challenge: (HFC) An Instance of the Fingerpost~Ian Pears: A poisoning of an Oxford Don in England in 1663, what could be more intriguing?
Civil War List: (CWL) Cloudsplitter ~ Russell Banks: Will start before Jan ends! Promise!
NonFiction/Bio/Memoir: My Lobotomy~Howard Duffy: About a boy who gets an "icepick lobotomy" for no apparent reason. Research for my essay about the reasons behind "modern" treatment of people with disabilities and vulnearble adults. inspired by my reading of "The Immortal Life of Hennrietta Lacks"
Wild Card Choices: This category is one or two random pick from my TBR or Reminder list to replace the previous years Next Book category. It just seems more realistic for me because I jump around and sample alot.
Criteria: I will only list books if I am at least 50 pages along and somewhat invested: This month is:
Saul & Patsy~Charles Baxter: City Mouse couple becomes Country Mouse couple and the adjustment is different for each of them.
The Garden of Last Days~Andre DubusIII: Wow, Started this and I have not been able to put it down! And all the rest of my reading has gone on hold til I am done! Spooky and raw, this is a story takes place in Southern Florida in the days right before 911 and the figures around that dreadful event. Dubus so artfully balances prejudice and vunerabilty in each of his characters, they are impossible to forget!Finished~Stupendous, See my review in Bets Books of the Month Thread~Hidden Gem 5 Stars
Thanks~Have a Great Reading Month!
Last Edited on: 2/5/13 4:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 12
Reading The Distant Hours by Kate Morton.
Barb, I really want to read Game of Thrones this year, the size is daunting but the overabundance of characters is what scares me the most. I've heard it can be hard to keep up with who's who.
Reading Iron House by John hart
Listening to No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay - cd
Melissa, I agree with Rhonda about Game of Thrones! I got sucked into the first book so fast I didn't know what hit me. The size was daunting to me as well, but now that I'm into the series I couldn't imagine the books being any smaller. I love the series and just finished book 4 before the new year. :) The characters aren't very hard to keep track of once you get into the story. Every chapter is a different character, so that helps.
(I found myself trying very hard to keep track of who was maester at what place, who ruled what lands, etc but now I don't worry so much if I can't remember as I'm reading. I've found that it all comes back to me eventually and the reading is much more enjoyable when I'm not always trying to figure those little details out all of the time as I read along.)
Have always enjoyed British mysteries, but recently "discovered" some new ( to me) authors :
1.Brian McGilloway whose first book, Borderlands, has me searching for more!!!!
2. Janet Neel- SO SO good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally managed to find all she has written.
3. Susannah Stacey- also very good. Am getting more of hers.
Anyone have other suggestions?
Just finished two books: Where Did You Sleep Last Night? by Danzy Senna, where the author attempts to unravel the family mystery of her father's past, and The Train Jumper by Don Brown, a YA novel about a depression-era boy heading out west to find his wayward brother. Both were fast, interesting reads.
Next up: Satan's Sisters by Star Jones.
Happy January! Woot! I'm excited to finally have books to post here! I know I don't make enough time to read anymore and that makes me sad :(
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I have Game of Thrones in my pile to be read. I zoomed through Pillars of the Earth, and when I got to World Without End, 1014 pgs., I was so sad to see it end, I only allowed myself 3 pages a night until the end. When I buy hardback books, the thicker the better. I guess I see it as a bargain, like potatoes by the lb.
Our whole house has been struck by the flu, so there is a lot of laying about on couches at the moment. As a result, I finished Anne of Green Gables and really enjoyed it. I think I'm going to try finding the complete collection for my nook so I can read the others. Oh how I would have adored this series as a little girl! Pity I didn't know of it then.
I did have Doc by Mary Doria Russell on deck but just got notification from the library that Outlander is available for download at last and I have put off reading that book for far too long.
So far this month I have read The Secret Holocaust Diaries by Nonna Bannister and I just finished Full Service by Scotty Bowers. Not sure what I will read next but I do have a very large TBR pile.
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I have a few things going, but the one I am really liking is The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass. And I also am enjoying The Marriage Test by Betina Krahn. I have enjoyed all her books. She has a great sense of humor. Also I always have a western going and this week it is Sudden Country by Loren Estleman, my favorite western author.