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My Reading List - March 2013
Currently Reading -
Currently Listening to -
Last Edited on: 3/31/13 7:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 67
Finished: Mariner's Compass by Earlene Fowler --- 6th in the Bennie Harper series. This time Bennie is on the trail of another mystery, only it's not a murder. Interesting story line, lets the reader in on some of Bennie's background. Fun series, easy read.
Longshot by Dick Francis --- If you've never read any of Dick Francis' books, you are in for a treat. He is undoubtably one of the very best mystery writers ever. This book deals somewhat with his usual theme of horse racing/jumping, etc., but the main character is a writer hired by a horse trainer to write his biography. As usual Francis has the reader hooked from the very beginning and the plot just keeps getting more involved. It's a book that will keep you turning the pages to the very end.
The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry --- I really enjoyed The Amber Room and The Romanov Prophecy by Berry, but I didn't care for this one. The story line was very convoluted, lots of repetition, too many dates to try to keep straight and the premise of the story went against everything I believe. I finished it only because I had to find out how it ended...did the 'good guys' win?
Bull's Island by Dorothea Benton Frank --- A very entertaining read by one of my favorite authors. This was a little more light-hearted than some of Frank's books, but still deals with Charleston and the Low Country of South Carolina. I love that area of the country and she makes it really come to life with her characters and descriptions. A fun read.
Ill Wind by Nevada Barr --- Third in the Anna Pigeon series. Park Ranger Anna Pigeon helps investigate the mysterious illnesses making people sick in Mesa Verde National Park, then a temporay park ranger is found dead. Interesting series, lots of information about Mesa Verde along with a well-plotted story. Anna is in a different park in each book.
The Passions of Chelsea Kane by Barbara Delinsky --- This is one of those books that keep you up half the night! Chelsea Kane is a successful architect who's searching for her adoptive parents after receiving a mysterious key from her deceased mother's attorney. Her journey takes her to a small town in New Hampshire where she hope to discover the truth about who she really is. An intriging plot, likable characters and a love story...who could ask for more?
Standoff by Sandra Brown --- A quick read. One of Sandra Brown's better books, I think. The plot was interesting, believable characters and not an over-abundance of sex. TV reporter Tiel McCoy is caught in the middle of a hostage standoff, literally, when she finds herself held hostage along with 6 other people. The hostage takers are not ones the reader would expect.
The Man With a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes --- I know this series has been around for a long time, but I've just discovered it...and I love it! Inspector Richard Jury from New Scotland Yard is a delight. He's witty, charming and a very good detective. I've got others in this series to read and I'm hoping Melrose Plant features in more of them. They make a formidable team. Together they solve several murders in a small hamlet in England. I love the names the English have given their towns, roads, etc...even their pubs: re: The Man With A Load of Mischief!
Savage Run by C.J. Box -- The second one in the Joe Pickett series and it is just as good as the first one..Open Season. Joe is up against environmentalists and 2 men hunting them down and killing them. A tense, well-written plot that keeps the reader turning the pages.
Currently Reading: Where Trouble Sleeps by Clyde Edgerton & Cat on a Blue Monday by Carole Nelson Douglas
Last Edited on: 3/27/13 9:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 11
Currently reading The Shadow Wife by Diane Chamberlain, and listening to The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian.
I like to keep a mix of something easy and contemporary and something historical. I am reading Diane Chamberlainright after another one by her which is unusual for me, I don’t like to read authors books back to back.
The Perks of a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky
The Salt Letters Christine Balint
The Signal Ron Carlson
Bellfield Hall Anna Dean
Life in the Balance Thomas Graboys
The Anatomy of a Disappearance Hisham Matar
All My Patients Have Tales Jeff Wells
The Best of Me Nicholas Sparks
Blue Collar B&B Bobby Hutchinson
Fifty Days of Solitude Doris Grumbach
My Abandonment Peter Rock
Downstairs the Queen is Knitting Dorcas Smucker
Operating Instructions Anne Lamott
Murder of a Barbie and Ken Denise Swanson
Catfish Alley Lynne Bryant
MWF seeking BFF Rachel Bertsche
The Sweet Life Lynn York
A Year By the Sea Joan Anderson
Under the Paw Tom Cox
True Sisters Sandra Dallas
Last Edited on: 3/31/13 2:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 17
I just finished two very military novels. I don't usually read this type of book but found the material heavy, but very interesting going:
The War After Armageddon
The War in 2020
Last Edited on: 3/3/13 9:47 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Recently Added to Wishlist
Last Edited on: 3/27/13 10:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 17
The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin - Russian language mystery set in 1890's Russia but written in 1998. I liked the writing style and the dedication to the times, our young hero's embarassment over seeing a naked shoulder was cute, and the mystery went along really well until near the end. I didn't like the way things wrapped up, and I thought the ending didn't match our hero's smarts. I knew what was going to happen on the last page and I'm no genius, he should have too. That is really my only complaint, I enjoyed the reading and the characters.
Carry On Jeeves by P G Wodehouse - I have seen all of the British tv series based on the books so I wasn't expecting anything new but I was pleasantly surprised to find they hadn't done all of the stories. These tales are told as the reminiscences of the hapless Bertie Wooster, who is a young British man living in New York for the most part due to the generosity of a wealthy aunt. He doesn't really do anything except dine but the rweal character in these works is his valet Jeeves, who is nothing less than a genius. Bertie tends to get himself into a very l;ot of trouble and Jeeves is always at hand to bail him and his friends out of their messes. A lot of fun, and a nice look at a lifestyle past.
Lang by Kjell Westo - Written in Finnish, it is the tale of a difficult love affair between some dark and troubled people that ends badly. It is subtitled 'a novel of suspence' but I didn't find it suspenceful at all. It was a good book, just not particularly surprising. From the very beginning you know that someone has been killed but you don't know exactly who until the very end. Lang is the lead character, a talkshow host and novelist approaching a downturn in his career. He meets a youn ger woman who helps drag him out of his stagnant and unhappy life but then drags him back down into different problems. Pretty interesting story.
The Diva Runs Out Of Thyme by Krista Davis - I've been surprised by a couple cozies lately, maybe the first couple I read were just bad but the last few have been a lot better. Quick read, finished it in 24 hours (I was hurrying a little for the book club) but if it weren't enjoyable I couldn't have done it that fast. Quick pace, no boring parts. Pretty good mystery even if the ending was pretty tame. Typical of cozies though, you can only get so spectacular before you push the boundaries of the cozy rules. I gave it a solid 4, definitely worth a further look at the series.
Mr Big by Don Arden - Memoir by Sharon Osborne's father who was a music promoter and the 'Godfather of Rock and Roll' in the UK. It's a very interesting tale of his youth as a performer, stint in the army, and the creation of the music business. He was in it from the ground floor, and was a self-described thug. He talks about mafia connections later in his career and tells a couple tales where he really hurt a couple people. One guy he really messed up in UK and was prosecuted for it but he got off. The only problem is I get the feeling you can't believe a lot of what he says. Maybe he paints too good a picture, of how he did everything right and knew everything and could predict everything. He does discuss a couple times he blew it but either he's the luckiest SOB alive or some of his stories are not quite the truth.
Catching Fire: How cooking made us human by Richard Wrangham - I was already in the believer camp for cooking being a major evolutionary step, that's what attracted me to this book. Now I know how to prove it, lol. Very, very thorough study of how cooking food affected the development of man not only physically but socially and economically. The book finished at the 56% mark on the kindle and I was like "what?" but the rest was page after page of references and study links. Very well researched and cited.
Lord Emsworth and Others by P G Wodehouse - A collection of tales in typical Wodehousian style where the hero is hapless but always comes out ahead in the end usually by dumb luck.
The Caller by Karin Fossum - A good story but light on the mystery. It's the kind where you know all along who done it, the chapters alternate between the antagonist's p.o.v. and the victim's. There are a few ends that are never tied though, they seem to be related to everything else but it's never made clear whether they are or not. Lots of questions left at the end, which is kind of typical of her. This is part of a series so some of the questions about the detective may be answered but I don't see coming back to any of the other characters in subsequent books so if unsolved incidents bother you than skip this one. If you can handle that it was a really good book.
Service With A Smile by P G Wodehouse - Typical crazy romp from Wodehouse, where no one has any idea what is going on and everyone has their own agenda but it all works out in the end, somehow.
Gangsta Granny by David Walliams - A YA book written by one of Britain's comedians least likely to do so. It's about valuing your grandparents while you can and being what you want to be. Very cute and funny.
The Second City: Unscripted by Mike Thomas - An history of the improv theater Second City, started in Chicago but spread to several other cities. A lot of really famous comedians came thrpugh Second City but the intervies and stories are much more about the hundreds of other performers you've never heard of. Not much at all about it's most famous citizens, especially John Belushi. There's a little, but not much. Basically it's a detailed description of the lives and careers of a bunch of people you've never heard of unless you are a serious Second City follower. Interesting for the history but not so good on the popular performers.
Black Orchids by Rex Stout - Two stories lightly connected by the appearance of some exclusive black orchids. Excellent typical Nero Wolfe mysteries, quick going due to there being 2 of them in the one book.
Cup Of Gold by John Steinbeck - The story of the pirate Sir Henry Morgan, who started a slave, terrorized the sea in the 1600's, and ultimately became a Lord. Quite different from the Steinbeck I'm used to be a good departure. Historical fiction, there are plenty of true facts but a bit of novelization too.
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde - A delightful, witty ghost story. Short, very short, but full. A sad old ghost is haunting an English manor that has recently been purchased by an American family. They both are in for a surprise or two.
Seinlanguage by Jerry Seinfeld - It's pretty much a bunch of comedy books written down. No form or continuity, just a bunch of bits. Funny, but a bit disjointed.
The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore - Humorous, horror tinged Christmas story. How can you go wrong with that? A rather stupid angel is sent down to grant the Christmas miracle request of a child and gravely misunderstands the request.
Fun And Games by Duane Swierczynski - A hapless, damaged housesitter collides with a washed up actress on the run for her life. It's very much like Lindsay Lohan runs into Bruce Willis. It's a bit of a "you must suspend belief to enjoy it" story because it's like some of the characters have 9 lives but it was really quite good, more of a thriller than a mystery it only lets up once near the middle when it goes a little too long into explaining back story. Constant action, would honestly make a good Bruce Willis movie.
I Killed by Ritch Shyder and Mark Schiff - A compilation of road stories from a bunch of comedians, some famous, most not really. Lots of funny and crazy tales, it makes you both envious of their adventures and glad you didn't have to be a stand up comedian.
Mr Monster by Dan Wells - Book 2 in a series about a boy who ends up killing some demons. The boy is a budding serial killer himself trying very hard to keep his inner "Mr Monster" under control so he doesn't hurt anyone, so when people start ending up dead in his little town he's the perfect guy to figure out what the killer is thinking. Simple stories but entertaining none the less. He spends a little too much time philosophising about the struggle between good and bad but the rest of it is good.
Last Edited on: 3/30/13 11:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 28
FinishedF Everybody See's the Ants~A.S. King: A YA novel about bullying and results of it. Excellently written story which portrays a very intelligent response to the bully issue. Also very interesting cameo story about the POW/MIA issue as it relates to the present.
New: *The new choice for the group above is Cutting for Stone~Abraham Vergese (sp?)
My other group chose The Kitchen House~Kathleen Grissom which I already read a few months ago, with high praise!
The Thirteenth Tale~Diane Setterfield: Storytelling gluttony, Gothic and exciting! Reading for the Basement Book Group on this site and loving it.
Austerlitz~W.G. Sebold: Story about a man who uncovers his identity and memories of being a child of the Kindertransport during the Holocaust years. A bit dry at the beginning yet the characters in conversation bring up some very intriguing points about war and defense.
Darkness take my Hand~Dennis Lehane: Psychological thriller, just started but if it's like the others, I know I will love it!
Instance of the Fingerpost~Iain Pears: Historical/Mystery, a carryover from my Feb. list. time gets away but I still intend on getting onto it!
Civil War List:
Cloudsplitter~Russel Banks: Speculative history of Owen Brown, last surviving son of John Brown, political terrorist and martyr in the years before the Civil War!
Undecided as of yet: My rule is that this is a random choice that I have invested at least 50 pages in: Will let you know when I know!
Last Edited on: 3/11/13 4:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
I just finished the first Harry Hole book by Jo Nesbo (The Bat) - It was good! Not OMG great, but I've heard the series gets better. I have no idea if I can find the 2nd book in the series though. I don't think it's been translated to English yet?
Last Edited on: 3/6/13 7:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Recently read "Rules of Civility" by Amour Towles. I really loved it as did most of my book club. Loved the author's style of writing. Just finished "In the Garden of Beasts". It was a little dry at times but generally good and I am glad I read it. Am currently reading "Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay". Just started it last night and so far, so good.
I just finished My Thoughts Be Bloody by Nora Titone. It's about the Booth family - as in John Wilkes Booth - and how their rivalries might have pushed JWB to do what he did. Pretty interesting book.
I'm now going in a completely different direction and starting Belwether by Connie Willis.
Thanks for all the great reading ideas!
I am currently reading The Way We Live Now, by Anthony Trollope (I always have to have a Trollope going), and just finished The Penultimate Chance Saloon, by Simon Brett, an old favorite author known to me mostly for his Charles Paris mysteries.
I have heard from my librarian friend that the Harry Hole books are good. Thanks for the reminder.
I love hearing about what other people are reading- it's one of the reasons I joined PBS.
Finished: Death Match by Lincoln Child- definitely not his best; White Smoke by Andrew Greeley- interesting and appropriate, given that it's about a papal election, Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey- reread, because I picked up the flu; Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- another reread.
Currently reading: American Massacre by Sally Denton, Wicked Bugs: I don't have it with me, so I don't remember who wrote it- it's in my substitute bag; and Inflating a Dog by Eric Kraft
Up Next: I don't know yet. I have so many TBR books that I'll probably just pick one off the shelf on a whim. :)
I am finishing The Last Centurian by John Ringo. It is a post apocalyptic view of what happens due to Bird Flu Plague. Obama must have just been elected. I give it 3.99 stars. It was a little hard to read how us granola bunnies are the reason for the mess. But also interesting to read this person's point of view about the world. I actually learned a lot.
I'm reading some NF at the moment, one book about the comedy club/show/troupe Second City and one about how cooking made us human. The cooking one is really good, and anyone who is thinking of going raw needs to read it.
Finished Bellwether by Connie Willis, which I enjoyed very much. Yesterday I received Riders on the Storm by John Densmore from a fellow PBSer and finished it today - it was a quick and enjoyable read. It was part of my Doors trilogy this year, the others being No One Gets Out of Here Alive by Danny Sugerman and Jerry Hopkins, and Light My Fire by Ray Manzarek.
Now I'm going light with a cozy - A Stitch in Crime by Betty Hechtman.
Okay, I finished The Secret Keeper, which as really good and then My Horizontal Life A Collection of One-Night Stands and I just started A Knight in Shining Armor and it seems light but really good so far. I am listening to Mrs. Tom Thumb and reading it on my kindle so I am making fast progress in that, although I don’t love it. I hope to have a chance to read more over Easter vacation.
I just finished Beautiful Boy, David Sheff's memoir about his son's descent into drug addiction. Absolutely beautifully written. Haunting, gripping, sad and raw. Sometimes even hopeful and funny. I couldn't put it down.