November Reading

Well, it was another slow month, but I got a few books read. 

I read two mysteries:

  • It’s Just a Little Crush by Caroline Fardig was a fun read.  It is the first book in the Lizzie Hart series.  The characters were a little silly, I thought, but once you got past the fact that EVERYONE had a crush on  Blake Morgan, the mystery was good. I am not holding my breath to read the other books in this series, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it, either.
  • Hushabye by Celina Grace is the first book in a series I have sampled before. I had postponed reading this one because it is about a missing child, and I didn’t think I wanted to read that.  The book was good, though, and not gruesome, as I find many books involving missing children to be.  It wasn’t bad to have read this so out of sequence, either. 

I read one piece of speculative fiction: City of Gods: Hellenica by Johnathan Maas. My son read this book 3 years ago, but I kept putting it off.  He really enjoyed it, and I expected to like it, too, but I couldn’t make myself read it. Finally last month I decided it was time.  I was not disappointed. The story was good – kind of an X-men style school for potential gods. (It really was better than I just made it sound with that comparison!) It is definitely young adult, but I think anyone could read and enjoy it There is another book in the series that I already own and, hopefully, will read soon.

I read one non-fiction book, Please Tell Me I’m on Mute by Romi Brenner. Brenner offers vignettes about life as the mother of young children. Although my grandchildren are not even that young, I could still relate to what she was saying most of the time.  Parenting has changed since my own kids were little, and we basically raised them outside the US, anyway, but I was in enough of those same situations to enjoy it.

And that was it for last month.  This month is going much, much better, so I’ll have lots to write about next month.  At least I hope so!


October Reading

October was a slow month for reading, and November seems to be a slow month for posting here! 

I read two mysteries last month:

  • The Axeman’s Jazz by Julie Smith was another good Skip Langdon story.  I enjoyed it a lot. But then again, I really like everything I’ve read from Smith. I really recommend her books if you like mysteries with a female protagonist — or you like stories set in New Orleans.  If, like me, you like both those things, Julie Smith’s books are a must read.
  • Yucatan Dead by D.V. Berkom was an interesting book.  It was the fist book I have read in this particular series, but I have read several in the Leine Basso series.  I enjoyed those, and I enjoyed this one.

I only read one piece of speculative fiction: Transmission by Morgan Rice. It was an interesting story. A boy has been diagnosed with a terminal disease. He begins to receive transmissions from space. He struggles to get anyone to believe him. If it sounds a bit simplistic, it really isn’t. There is a lot of depth to the characters. Many reviewers on Amazon didn’t like it at all, but I enjoyed it. It is a YA book, to be sure, so stay away if that doesn’t appeal to you.

I read one piece of historical fiction, Listen to the Child by Elizabeth Howard. The book tells the story of efforts to take children from London’s East End in the 1800s and find them homes and, hopefully, a better life in Canada. It isn’t an easy story to read, but it tells an important story. I am glad I read it, even if I can’t say I enjoyed it.

And that was it for October.  November is off to another bad start — with me just finishing my second book for the month today!

September Reading

Well, September was better than August as far as reading goes. I managed to read six books.

I read two mysteries, both parts of series I had started earlier.

  • Murder in School by Bruce Beckham was a good story. I like this series because it is set in the northern part of England. It is a beautiful setting for some pretty horrific murders! When DI Skegill is called on by his boss to investigate a suicide, he knows something must be wrong. When there is a second suicide and a boy goes missing, he begins to understand just how big the problem is. This one truly kept me guessing until the end.  I really enjoyed it!
  • The Sin of the Father by Blake Banner is, I think, the third book in this series that I have read. It was a good story. Set in New York, Cold Case Detectives Stone and Dehan investigate a man’s murder. In the process of this investigation, they also discover that the man’s son was murdered in exactly the same way many years later and that case was also never solved. While I have enjoyed these books, there is always something not quite right in them, words and expressions that aren’t American. As Banner has a new series when these same detectives are working in London, I am thinking that Banner must be British.  I was unable to find out much about him, so that is just a guess. These little inconsistencies aren’t a problem for me, but I do find myself reading along, looking for them.

I read three speculative novels:

  • The Fowl Proposal by Lindsay Buroker is actually four scenes that were first published on Buroker”s blog but then compiled into an ebook and issued that way. These take place after the 7th novel in her Dragon Blood series and are a light-hearted, personal look into the loves of some of those characters. I really enjoyed it — but then, I always enjoy everything Buroker writes!
  • Star Born by Andre Norton was a good book — although I had a little trouble at times switching between the different characters’ points of view. Another spaceship has been sent out to see if they can make it to another planet in another galaxy. A young man born on that planet and his “knife brother”, a merman, are out on a journey to demonstrate his manhood. In between them and causing them both problems are “Those Others”. This wasn’t my favorite Norton story, but it was a good one.
  • Even Witches Get the Blues by J.D. Winters was part of a cozy mystery bundle that I bought some time ago. It wasn’t much of a mystery, so I didn’t want to add it to the mystery list. It was an OK story, but I don’t think I would bother reading the other two books in the Wicked in Moonhaven series.

I also read one non-fiction book, The Resilience Breakthrough: 27 Tools for Turning Adversity into Action by Christian Moore, LCSW, with Brad Anderson and Kristin McQuivey. I heard Mr. Moore speak at a conference I went to last month and was impressed, so I bought his book. As I was reading it, I discovered that I had previously worked at a school where we used some of his Why Try materials. I had liked them; they seemed to explain the idea of decisions and their consequences  to students in a way they could understand.  I found the book to be enlightening and useful. I was mainly interested in the knowledge in hopes of being able to pass some of it on to my son, but I found ideas that will be useful to me, as well.  If you or anyone you know is struggling, you might want to read this book.  We could all use a little extra resiliency, I think!

So that’s it for September.  Work is keeping me busy, so it’s anyone’s guess how October’s reading will go!

August Reading

It was probably the worst month for reading that I have had since I started keeping track. I only read four

I blame the lack of reading on my selection from the 100 best novels list: Gulliver’s Travels by Johnathan Swift. It took me the first half of the month to finish.  I knew the basic story, at least of the Lilliputians, from a cartoon I remember watching as a child.  And I may even have read that part before. But I had never read the whole book. It was a difficult book to read — mostly because there was no action, no gripping story to keep me up at night reading. It was good, though, and now I can say that I have read it, but I don’t think it is suddenly going to become a best seller.

After that, I read three mysteries:

  • Murder on Magazine by Julie Smith is the tenth book in her Skip Langdon series. I really enjoyed this book and, although I haven’t read all the earlier books, it put me at no disadvantage. Smith is a good writer and Langdon is a great cop. I really recommend these books!
  • A Rare Benedictine: The Advent of Brother Cadfael by Ellis Peters was my introduction to this series of books. I have seen them forever and, with my liking for the time period and my odd connection to Benedictines, I had always wanted to read them When I ran across this one on sale, I bought it. It is actually the 21st book in the series, but it explains how Cadfael came to the monastery and introduces him to the reader in a way that I really enjoyed. I plan to read more of these.
  • Wasted Justice by Diane Capri is the fourth book in her Judge Willa Carson series. I have only read one of the earlier books, I think, and I had obviously missed some big life events in between that one and this one, but I still enjoyed the book a lot. The characters are engaging, and the mystery is a good one. I recommend it highly!

So that was it for August. I have already read one book this month, so I hope that this month will be better. Don’t expect to see any 100 Best… books when I report next month, though!

July Reading

I read quite a bit last month, but none of it came from the 100 Best… lists.  I wanted a break from them. Since it has taken my more than 2 weeks to read my 100 Best Novel this month, I think it was a wise move. But more about that book next month!

I read three mysteries,

  • The Moonglow Cafe and Three Silver Doves by Deborah Garner. These are part of a series I started some time ago. I am enjoying them more and more all the time.  The main character, Paige Mackenzie, is a writer for a Manhattan newspaper who, in these books, is sent to Montana and New Mexico, respectively, to research and write stories. She becomes involved with the locals and gets caught up in their mysteries while managing to spend time with her favorite cowboy. These are good mysteries filled with interesting people.
  • The Good Byline by Jill Orr which tells the story of a young woman’s search for the truth as she endeavors to write an obituary for her murdered high school friend.It isn’t nearly as morbid as it might sound. I hope to read more books in this series.

I read four books of speculative fiction.

  • Golden Heart: A Gaslight Fantasy by Christine Pope was a book I got in June through Story Bundle. I cannot find it anywhere else., which is too bad because it was a good book.
  • Blades of Magic: Crown Service #1 by Terah Edun was another good book. Sara’s father was a deserter, and she and her mother have suffered as a result of his crime.  She joins the Mercenary Guild to fight in the war and to try to discover the truth. It was a great book.  I have others in the series and will start on them soon.
  • Crosstalk by Connie Willis was a hilarious rom-com about our seemingly never-ending search for ways to become more connected. Enter the possibility of increasing empathy with your partner by having an outpatient procedure performed. Unfortunately, Briddey gets way more than she bargained for when she agreed to her boyfriend’s request to get it done. Connie Willis never ceases to entertain me in the most ingenious ways! Check this and all her other books out, please!
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab was last month’s’s ebook club selection. At first I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get into the book, but I ended up loving it. Kell is a magician who can travel between parallel Londons, an ability not shared by many people. He delivers messages between the rulers of the different cities/countries and engages in a little personal business on the side. And, of course, it all goes bad. Can Kell save his own London? Can he stay alive long enough to have a chance? We can only hope so! This was a great story, and I hope to read the others in the series.

I also read The Mendinandi License by Randall Reneau. This is another in a series I have been reading off and on for a while. This one takes place in Africa. Trace and his friends are hired for a job, but before they can begin, everything goes wrong. I loved this book for a lot of reasons, including the descriptions of Mali. If you like a lot of action, this book will be right up your alley. Check it out!

The only non-fiction book I read was Storyteller: Writing Lessons and More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop by Kate Wilhelm. It was fascinating! Not only did it provide insight into Clarion, but it also offered rational and valuable guidance for writers’ workshops in general. If you are interested in writing and writing workshops, I recommend it.

So that was it for July. Sorry this post is so late, but I was traveling, finishing up classes that ended a week ago, and getting ready for classes that started this week. It’s been a little crazy!