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Topic: July already what are you reading in HF?

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Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Subject: July already what are you reading in HF?
Date Posted: 7/1/2013 7:17 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 41,057
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I can't believe it is July already. I will start us off.

I am finally reading  The Crown (Joanna Stafford, Bk 1) :: Nancy Bilyeau . I need for the mystery challenge (not the HF mystery ) a mystery over 400 pages. The crown jumped off the shelf and said read me!! I am only a few pages in but it is good so far. It gets wonderful reviews.

Alice

Date Posted: 7/1/2013 7:31 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,716
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Hello everyone!  Well, it's July.  Time should slow down for me now as far as work goes.  I have been traveling all over the state, training librarians to catalog. Plus all of the end of fiscal year hoops we need to jump through. I haven't read nearly as much this year as I did last year, and not as much HF as I would like.

I've listened to books 1-5 of the Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow.  Nice for the road.  I raced through another Martha Grimes mystery, "The Old Contemptibles," and started the next in the series, "The Horse You Came in On"--but then a new book order came in at work! I read "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson, who writes a funny blog online.  It had a few laugh out loud moments for me, which is always good.  I'm halfway through Carl Hiaasen's new book, "Bad Monkey."  If you haven't read Hiaasen, there's just no way to describe him.  May be too raunchy for some, but he can crack me up.

I grabbed a couple of YA books and a non-fiction "Lady and her Monsters" or something like that (Mary Shelley).  But, I'm going on vacation starting tomorrow!  I am actually taking off two weeks.  In a row!  We're going up to Michigan for the second week to visit my family, and I'm looking forward to not even thinking about the library!  

I am missing HF though, and will start something when I get home, I'm sure.  Happy reading everyone!!

Date Posted: 7/1/2013 8:00 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,965
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Finished Niccolo Rising by Dorothy Dunnett.  I enjoyed it very much.  I love that the author put the cast of characters at the beginning of the book so I could get acquainted with them.  Sea of Poppies had its glossary of terms at the back which kept me flipping to the back over and over and over.  And, I wrapped up a historical called Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson, about the hurricane that devastated Galveston in 1900.  I really enjoy this author's historical writing.  Fascinating read!  Must be my month for good books.  Read The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine which focuses on child prostitution in India.  So thought provoking and sad.  In addition, the author said he could not put more detail into the book because no one would want to read the true depth of what happens to such children.  As it is, one often cringes as one turns the pages.  The character is fictional but based on the author's observations as he treated children in third world countries.  To lighten my reading I picked up The Temptation of the Night Jasmine (Pink Carnation, Book 5 ) by Lauren Willig which was ok but not recommended.  Too much romance during the spy story portion.  On the other hand Imogen Robertson's Island of Bones was a most entertaining read.  The authors characters of Harriet Westerman and Gabriel Crowther are quite fascinating.  Good, good read and the historical background she describes and how she used it is welcomed indeed by this reader.  

Completed Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre which was very good and Good Night, Mr. Holmes by Carole Nelson Douglas, a mystery award winner, which was a most delightful read.  Since it's part of a series I shall look for the others.  Child of the Morning by Pauline Gedge, a gift from a GR friend, is a most interesting read.  I liked it very much.   The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean was a good one, too.  Who ever knew people could be so crazy about orchids?  I truly liked this one - contemporary nonfiction.  Julie and Julia by Julie Powell was a poor excuse for a book but I put it on a reading challenge so I finished it but it was one othe worst books I've picked up in ages.  It's supposed to be humorous but the author has a garbage mouth and little common sense about substitution for recipes.  Did read a cozy mystery as well called The Cat, The Quilt and The Corpse by Leann Sweeney.  It's ok but unless one is a cozy mystery reader I'd pass it.  Prefer HF mysteries really but do read a cozy for a light change.



Last Edited on: 8/1/13 1:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 24
Date Posted: 7/1/2013 8:18 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
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REK:  You are reading one of my very favorites!

Date Posted: 7/1/2013 9:04 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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Copying over from the June thread because I forgot what day it was this morning!

Finished The Hangman's Daughter.  I didn't think I would run out and get the sequels, but now I'm curious to find out what happens to Simon and Magadalena!  I think I am due for a mindless romance. The fourth in Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series...can't even remember the name!  How mindless is that???

Also, I am almost finished listening to the Hunger Games trilogy so I'll have to find something else for an audiobook.  Not sure what though.  I'll have to go back and search our audiobook suggestion threads and see what I can find.

Date Posted: 7/1/2013 10:45 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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I'm about half into Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsey.  I really do like her!  MC is on an archeological dig at a site hoped to be linked to the mssing 9th Legion so I'm definitely a sucker for that.

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 7/1/2013 1:50 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 41,057
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Sharla I was thinking of bringing Shadowy Hourses with me on vacation. glad to hear you like moves it farther up the TBR list.

Alice

Date Posted: 7/1/2013 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I am reading or listening to Laurie R King's Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russel series, I am enjoy them very much and there is a back list, which makes me happy, and they have all but one on audio between the county and local libraries, so they are FREE you have got it love that!!!  They take place between the WWI and 1924. 

Date Posted: 7/2/2013 1:19 AM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2009
Posts: 94
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I've put The Book Thief on hold for now.  Maybe it's just not the right time and I'll enjoy it more when I pick it up again.  It's definitely happened to me before.  Instead, I've started The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson.  I'm about 100 pages in and enjoying it. Based on the back cover blurb, I have the feeling it's about to get really interesting.... I've been reading way too much dystopian YA fiction lately, it feels good to be back in a solid historical.  :) 

 

Date Posted: 7/2/2013 8:27 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,716
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Kate, I read The Book Thief for a book club discussion.  I was lukewarm about the whole thing...but I kept going. It's one of the rare books that, when you finish it, you think, "Wow...that was really good!"  It gradually sucked me into the story.  I would definitely try it again some other time. smiley

Date Posted: 7/2/2013 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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I finished my re-read of "Doctor Zhivago" and started Morgan Llywelyn's "Brendan" this morning.

Date Posted: 7/2/2013 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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I finished A Summer Folly, an old Zebra Regency I picked up at a library sale. Pretty cool, and on the clean side as romances go. Not sure what I'll pick up next when I get home. 

Date Posted: 7/2/2013 2:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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I enjoyed Brendan, Mimi. 

Date Posted: 7/2/2013 6:50 PM ET
Member Since: 4/13/2008
Posts: 247
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I am still plugging along with The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick.  I am about half way through. I really like the book.  Sure wish I had more time to read....sigh......

 

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 7/3/2013 8:26 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 41,057
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I finished  The Crown (Joanna Stafford, Bk 1) :: Nancy Bilyeau. I really enjoyed it. Ms Bilyeau has a lovely writing style. Story flows very well. She did a good job of developing her main characters and secondary characters. I have her second book the Chalice. I will have to move it up the list for TBRs. Has anyone read it? How does it compare to the Crown?

 

Alice

Date Posted: 7/3/2013 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,500
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I finished The Vizard Mask by Diana Norman last night. It was pretty good although I felt it dragged in a few spots.  It was a "fish out of water" story on the order of A Catch of Consequence, but with some unique twists.  The MC is Penitence Hughes, a young Puritan from New England, who returns to England in search of a relative after the deaths of her family.  As luck would have it, Pen, as she is called, arrives in London just in time to experience The Great Plague and the Fire of London.  It provides a wonderful look into the world of the theatre of the times and life in Restoration England in general.  What a wonderful writer Ms. Norman was!

Now I am switching back to The Tainted Coin by Mel Starr

Date Posted: 7/3/2013 9:33 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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I finished Shadowy Horses (solid 4, 4.5-ish).  The only real flaw was that the ending was a rather flat.  

Now I'm half into The Firebird.  I really like this book.  I think it has potential to become my favorite of hers.  It has ties to my prior favorite, The Winter Sea, and Shadowy Horses.  One of the present-day MC in Firebird is a significant character in Shadowy Horses, and some of the historical characters in The Winter Sea show up again in The Firebird.  Interesting connections.  Kearsey is becoming one of my favorite living authors. Not EC or SKP level, no, but up there with Donati and Gabaldon.

Date Posted: 7/3/2013 10:40 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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Alice - somewhere in this forum, I wrote a comment about The Chalice. Oh! Here it is:

 I thought this book was pretty good - it held my interest but I was very exasperated at times by some of Joanna's stupid decisions! The book was certainly action packed but I was not as enamored of it as I was her first book, The Crown. I gave it 3.5 stars.

But here is Kelly's review:

 

994334410.jpg Kelly P. (KellyP) - Marlow, OK

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Date Posted: 6/18/2013 1:54 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
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I completed another book for my #5 Card (books with one title): The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau.

Strong 4 out of 5. This book continues the story of Joanna Stafford of the recently dissolved Dartford Priory. She has a strong faith, comes from one of the noble families (although currently somewhat out of favor) and, in The Chalice, is a key player in a prophecy that could have history-altering consequences for the Kingdom of England. This book also presents an interesting theory as to why Henry VIII took such an immediate dislike to Anne of Cleves and why he never had any more children. 

Like the first one, The Crown, this one has many characters and several pieces to the overall plotline. It reads quickly, is well-written and I will read what will undoubtedly be a third book. We just left too many things unresolved, primarily the attraction between Joanna & Geoffrey Scovill!

As a slight word of warning to some of us, Joanna gets a little trying sometimes. And, belief must be a bit suspended. The ending is a bit rushed and just a bit contrived. Not contrived to the point of "you've got to be kidding me!" but contrived as in, "good thing I'm enjoying this book, because some of this could only happen in the wonderful world of fiction."

Genie - this will not be a book for you.

On the plus side, if one must read a book set in Tudor times, it's bonus that the court of Henry VIII plays only a minor, supporting role. And in the meantime, I gained a better appreciation for the struggles between the Reformers and Catholicism; and the politics therein. What horrible, troubling times ... and a situation that I, anyway, cannot begin to fathom.  

Date Posted: 7/3/2013 1:08 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2009
Posts: 94
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I finished The Tenth Gift last night. I was really loving the book the whole way through and really thought it was going to end up getting 4 stars from me, but then I reached the ending and it all just fell flat on it's face.  It was just too rushed and everything tied up too neatly and there was this ghostly spirity aspect that was just terrible.  I was so disappointed.  Part of the other issue is that since the ending was so flat it made other quirks in the novel more glaring.  Like, if the ending had been wonderful I could have just glossed over them and still loved it, but with a poor ending, they just added to the overall 'meh'-ness.

 I'm looking at reading one of the following next (from my challenge list), if any one has read and loved one, please let me know and I will read it. I am just craving a good read!

The Thousand Autums of Jacob de Zoet, David Mitchell

Parrot & Olivier in America, Peter Carey

Enchantress of Florence, Salman Rushdie

The Hummingbird's Daughter, Luis Alberto Urrea

Dream of Scipio, Iain Pears

Date Posted: 7/3/2013 4:15 PM ET
Member Since: 8/29/2008
Posts: 267
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I am almst finished with Death Comes to Pemberly. It's been OK. Not really great but it kept my attention. It certainly doesn't have the charm of P&P, and some of my favorite characters are just kind of glossed over. I think it would have been a better story if the author used original characters, but then, I probably wouldn't nave read it. Up next I am going to read Time Lottery by Nancy Moser. It looks like a sci-fi/time travel book, but thats all I know about it. I'm not a big sci-fi fan, but I have enjoyed the HF I have read by Nancy Moser.

Date Posted: 7/3/2013 10:59 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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Ha ha, Kelly (thanks, Jeanne), missed that comment earlier. But kinda figured bilyeau wouldnt be for me. :)
Date Posted: 7/4/2013 8:52 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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Just started Inherit the Wind by Maxwell Grant. Australia, beginning 1896, from looking at the very brief Amazon reviews it ends in the 70s. Family dynasty and huge fortunes in the back o beyond.

Date Posted: 7/4/2013 9:13 AM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
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I'm into the new book of the "Ethan Gage" series, The Barbed Crown," by William Deitreich.

Ethan Gage is an adventuere/explorer/spy (American but he works for everybody) working around 1800; he's been involved in things like the Haitian revolution from the French, exploration of Egypt, Louisian purchase, and a couple of Napoleon's adventures, usually in search of or stealing some valuable or sacred object. BUT the thing is, he is incredibly funny---very sophisticated (for the time) but very, very amusing. And many of the surrounding characters and events are true. 

It's a big big fun read; there are 5 books so far in the series.

Date Posted: 7/4/2013 10:12 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,500
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It's not h/f but I'm reading a mystery with a wonderful Minnesota connection, The Fate of Mercy Alban by Minnesota native, Wendy Webb.  It's a Rebecca type story about a cursed family and a mysterious mansion on the shore of Lake Superior in Duluth.  The house itself is based upon the (notorious) Glensheen mansion that is open for daily tours.  What a fun and spooky summer read!

Date Posted: 7/4/2013 10:32 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,478
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Sounds good, Cheryl. Books like that are fun reads!!!

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