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Topic: It's June what are you reading?

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Subject: It's June what are you reading?
Date Posted: 6/1/2013 7:49 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I just finished Josephine by Carrolly Erickson.  It was an audio book narrated by the incomparable Davina Porter.  It seemed to be a balanced and fair bio.

Date Posted: 6/1/2013 9:59 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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I am still working through When Christ and His Saints Slept. I still have over 200 pages to go! I am liking it, but will be ready for something lighter by the time I finish...both physically and mentally!
Date Posted: 6/1/2013 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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WCaHSS is a chunkster, but I loved it. Henry and Eleanor sure do smoke off the pages.

I'm winding down to the finish of A Spear of Summer Grass. Getting a murder mystery at the end. 

Date Posted: 6/1/2013 10:25 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,710
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I finished Alice Hoffman's The Dovekeepers...gawd, talk about depressing!  It's a heartache sort of book.  So I picked up an HF mystery, The Detroit Electric Scheme by D.E. Johnson.  Detroit in 1910, when gasoline engine automobiles were competing against electric cars.  Fun period details, and it's always fun to read about places you know.  The main character is a young man who is heir to the Anderson Electric Car Company.  Unfortunately, he lost his girl to his college buddy.  And when the college buddy winds up dead in a hydraulic press, and our hero finds him and then runs in a panic...you know he's got to solve the mystery before he's tossed in jail for murder.  It's the first in a series. I'm enjoying it so far...

Date Posted: 6/1/2013 1:07 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,474
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I'm going to start a non h/f,  An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin.  It's received mixed reviews so we'll see how far I get...or not.

Date Posted: 6/1/2013 1:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/29/2008
Posts: 267
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I am reading Saving Sailor by Renee Riva. I think it was one of the first Kindle freebies I got. I'm enjoying it It's about a quirky Italian-American family living in the north west in the 1950's. It's been funny so far, and it's short. That's always a plus.

Date Posted: 6/1/2013 2:00 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,348
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I'm reading Murder As a Fine Art by David Morrell. I always liked Morrell's comtemporary mysteries but his books are not for the faint hearted - and neither is this one! It's 1854 London and there has been a terrible slaying of an entire family. The M.O. is similar to the Ratcliffe Highway murders of 43 years earlier. Oddly enough these murders seem to emulate those in Thomas de Quincey's book titled On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts, so, of course, the finger is pointing at de Quincey as the prime suspect -----and away we go! Great characters so far but I'm only on pg 78, so we'll see.....

Date Posted: 6/1/2013 4:06 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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I finished "Doc" by Mary Doria Russell yesterday. I am working on "Dreams of Joy" by Lisa See.  I'm really loving it

Date Posted: 6/1/2013 11:18 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2007
Posts: 8,512
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Still plugging away at "Isis" - but also reading a N/F book for the box. I'll have to mail it out in a couple of weeks, so I have to work on that one too.

Date Posted: 6/2/2013 8:21 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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I started Dorothy Dunnett's Game of Kings a few days ago, as I've committed to read that series of 6 for the HF Challenge....and boy, is it slow going! Is it me? I had collected all the books in the Lymond series with great anticipation, given all the reviews.....I consider myself fairly well educated with a good vocabulary, but geez....every sentence, there's a word I don't know.....half the Spanish and Latin quotes I can't even fathom a guess at translating......I read for escape but this book is WORK!!! Is it me? does it get better? I don't know how I"m going to read all six of these!!!!!

Date Posted: 6/2/2013 8:39 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,348
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Colleen...ahem.... I am so glad you posted what you did since I had the same experience. Had all the books in the series and started out with much anticipation but couldn't get through the first one and ended up posting them all. Since I obviously can't speak to the issue of whether or not it gets easier/better, I'm sure that one of the other forum members will give you that info. I just kind of decided that, like you, books are entertainment for me and these ...well, they weren't.

Date Posted: 6/2/2013 9:05 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,474
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Colleen:  Don't feel bad if you don't like these.  It seems like you either love them or you don't and no, they are all written pretty much the same way.  Reading should be enjoyable and not a huge effort.  I am in the camp of "love them" almost to the point of adore them, but that's my own quirky taste!

I'm really enjoying An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin, yes THAT Steve Martin.  I was up very late last night (for me) reading it.



Last Edited on: 6/2/13 9:07 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/2/2013 9:30 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Oh, Colleen -- the first book is the most difficult. I struggled as well but went on to read the whole series and think it the most brilliant (and the most challenging) historical fiction I've read. I did buy the Dorothy Dunnett Companion (vol. 1) which I found useful since I wanted to understand all the foreign phrases. As I've posted before, this is a series in which you have to take leaps of faith that all the threads will eventually come together and make sense...I often felt that I had no idea what was going on. Still, I LOVED this series. Lots of twists and turns, ups and downs, and loop de loops -- when I finally finished the last page of the last book, I felt as if I had just finished an emotional roller coaster ride -- and wanted to ride again but first needed time on solid ground. If you get through the first book, the other books really are more accessible (though still challenging). But, if you don't like the first book or can't get through it, then stop. As Cheryl said, people either love them or don't. Life's too short and there are too many good books to read.

Last Edited on: 6/2/13 9:33 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/2/2013 11:39 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,474
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Very well put Deb!

Date Posted: 6/2/2013 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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I agree with Deb, it is hard to *get them*, but once you do it's a wild ride. I found her similar to Dumas, so I got into the first book quicker than I had expected. Some of the latin and stuff you don't understand can just be ignored IMHO. I certainly didn't feel like I missed anything. Oh, and that steeplechase race through the streets in book #2? B.R.I.L.L.I.A.N.T.

I finished A Spear in Summer Grass yesterday, very good. Loved the African setting. Also finished The Shadow Prince by Terence Morgan. Interesting what-if about what *might* have happened to Perkin Warbeck. Just getting ready to settle in and read, but no clue what I'm going to read until I pick up the right book. Decisions, decision.

Date Posted: 6/3/2013 1:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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I'm with Deb and Cathy and recommend that someone read the whole first book.  It's a struggle for a while, no doubt.  And the story doesn't come together until right at the end.  I suspect that by that point, you will either have adapted to the writing and it will grab you by the throat and not let go ... or it won't and you can drop it and say it's not your cup of tea.  But I highly recommend not giving up completely (even if you put it down a while and re-start later) until you are all they way through, because it would be a terrible shame to miss this series, if there is any possiblility of it being your cup of tea. 

I have stepped away from HF for my last few books and dabbled into some cheapie e-books from a wide variety of genres. One worth mentioning for anyone who likes Inspirational genre: Lion of Babylon by Davis Bunn, a thriller. MC is CIA in Iraq to recover 3 kidnapped Americans (one military, one nurse, and one with chaplin's office).  It had some good moments and some angles I particularly liked.  Bunn is a co-author with Janet Oke of some 1stC Biblical setting books, one of which I read and liked last year, The Centurion's Wife. He has some other books of similar nature, but I didn't like it enough to pay those prices for more.  But I did save a sample, because some other time when I've reached overload on HF, I might change my mind.



Last Edited on: 6/3/13 1:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/4/2013 8:31 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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Finished When Christ and His Saints Slept. I forgot how much I love Eleanor, but I don't think I would be as forgiving of Henry's "dining out" as she was! Not sure what to read next. Probably a light CF Almost finished listening to the latest Flavian de Luce. That cliff hanger at the end had better be good, because the story is dreadful! And it pains me to say that.
Date Posted: 6/4/2013 8:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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Almost done with The Heiress of Winterwood. CF, easy light reading, not preachy.

 

Date Posted: 6/4/2013 10:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/29/2008
Posts: 267
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I finished Saving Sailor. Very sweet read. I guess it would fall into the YA category. I have also been reading Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell. I'm loving it. Each chapter is its own story, Which makes it east to set aside and pick up again when I am in the mood.

Date Posted: 6/4/2013 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,914
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I liked Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh, but it took me awhile to complete this read and I've started Nicollo Rising.  Portait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius is a quick little read about a young German woman who is isolated in Italy while her husband is in the army.  I finished The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig.  Realized that I was getting tired of a romance by a graduate student that goes on and on and on.  The spy story was ok though even thouogh the author focused on another romance.  I was a bit disappointed with The Winter Mantle by Elizabeth Chadwick.   It seemed to me that this is a romance about two men and their wives.   I did think that some of the characters were not as well developed as they could have been.  Still it's a nice easy read and the historical background is most interesting and well done.  Thoroughly enjoyed the character of Matilda.  Also finished Mozart's Last Aria by Matt Rees.   Glad he took time to explain what was historical and what was his fiction.  Good tale and an interesting proposition but I thought he took a bit too much liberty with the fiction.  The Prince and the Lily by James Brough is a biography about a remarkable woman who was one of the prince's many mistresses.   Once their affair ended they remained friends and the prince publicly supported her acting efforts.  Prince and Lily and Sea are written about the same time during the reign of Queen Victoria.   One, of course, is about people in India while the other occurs in England.  Lily, hailing from the island of Jersey, wants to become part of an upper class group.  I'm pleased that Jeanne recommended P.B. Ryan and have finished Death on Beacon Hill for the mystery challenge.  While I thought it dragged a bit in the middle I truly enjoyed the character of Nell Sweeney.  Good little read.

Completed The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester, a YA read based on what could happen to people and creatures who are not "normal."  Big Brother type of story.  Food for thought for this group.  Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. another YA read, focuses on life and a future when the fossil fuels run out.  

How to Meditate by Lawrence LeShaw is a well done beginners book about meditation.   Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman gives readers a good look at what happens in a minimum security women's prison.   What a foolish young woman she was!  And, the drug laws only seem to catch the little fish not the kingpins.  Quite a read!   Finished Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects by Bertrand Russell.  It was a slow go but I try to read some thought provoking books occasionally and this was certainly one.  Some of his examples were obviously dated but others are just as appropriate today as the time when he wrote them.  Sometimes a popular book falls flat with me.  Such was the case with Where We Belong by Emily Griffin.  It's an ok read but I thought the characters were as shallow as the plot but the author did include a plausible ending.

 



Last Edited on: 6/30/13 9:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 23
Date Posted: 6/5/2013 10:08 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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Finished the Flavia de Luce.  I had guessed the cliff hanger, and now I am anxiously awaiting the next one!

Date Posted: 6/5/2013 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,348
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That's why I don't want to read this one yet, Christa!  I think I'll wait until closer to the release time of the next book - lol!

Date Posted: 6/5/2013 10:38 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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Maybe the story will be easier to read than it was to listen to.  There are sooooo many characters, and some tangents that seem unrelated and then it just all comes together too bizarrely at the end.  I had a hard time following Flavia's long-winded explanation. Not my favorite of the series, but I will definitely be around for the next one.

Date Posted: 6/5/2013 1:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Oh...so, so sorry to hear that Flavia's latest installment was lacking. I have it on my iPod but guess I'll follow Jeanne's lead and wait until closer to the next release.

I have been listening to the (non-HF) Walt Longmire books written by Craig Johnson and brilliantly read by George Guidall -- am enjoying them immensely. Just finished Book 4 and about to start Book 5.

Other books read/listened to since my last posting of books read (yes, it's been awhile):

  • The Last Telegram by Trenow -- not bad; not great; WWII setting in England; a satisfying read that reminded me of The House at Tyneford
  • The Rapture of the Deep by Meyer (audio) -- I love listening to these YA books set in the early 1800s about spunky Jacky Faber; the reader is terrific
  • Tinkers by Harding -- for my book club; one of those Pulitzer Prize-winning books that make people say "that's why I don't read Pulitzer Prize winners"
  • Just Kids by Smith (audio) -- a wonderful portrait of Patti Smith's relationship with Robert Maplethorpe and the thriving art scene in the late 60s/early 70s in New York; recommended
  • Paper Towns by Green (audio) -- another smart, humorous, and quirky YA novel by this author about internal and external teenage life
  • In the Shadow of the Banyan by Ratner -- a heart-wrenching, lyrical novel about surviving the Khmer Rouge revolution in Cambodia; recommended
  • The Sea Captain's Wife by Powning -- Azuba gets her wish to sail the seas with her husband, but sailing in the 1860s is not as romantic as she hoped; a well-written novel with good historical details; recommended

Now reading a (non-HF) novel for my Book Fair Selection Committee, In the Land of the Living by Ratner -- I'm not wild about it yet but it's early so I'm postponing judgment.

 

Date Posted: 6/5/2013 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,474
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I've been reading Unhallowed Ground by Mel Starr.  It's good, but I think I'm still in mourning for finishing the last Nell Sweeney mystery, Bucket of Ashes, last week.

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