August reading, part 1
August wasn’t as good as July, but I still managed to read 15 books and two pieces of shorter fiction. No audiobooks in August, though; I was in the car but not by myself so I haven’t finished Book 4 of The Demon Wars Saga. Hopefully I’ll get that one done in a few days here and then start on the next one.
So, the non-fiction book I read was Tents, Tortoises, and Tailgates: My Life as a Wildlife Biologist by Scott Lillie. I enjoyed the book. Again, a lot of what appealed to me about it was the fact that I was familiar with many of the places Lillie lived and worked. But it was also interesting to read about the daily life of someone whose life is so totally different from mine. That being said, though, there was a lot I could relate to: moving, not having a home, finally “growing up” and wanting to settle down. The main negative for me was that the book could have used a good copy editor.
Last month’s mysteries were:
- Raining Men and Corpses by Anne R. Tan was kind of fun but not very substantial. Seemed like pretty good insight into the Chinese American community. It was a quick, easy read. I enjoyed it.
- Taboo by Casey Hill was a good book with a very good story. I am not sure how plausible the premise is: a forensic investigator trained by the FBI now working in Ireland. But I had no trouble suspending that little niggle of disbelief to really enjoy it. This is the first book in the series, and I have not read any others yet. They are all a little pricey for me, but I would definitely read more if I could get them at a decent price.
- Electing to Murder by Roger Stelljes was an especially interesting book to read in this current election season in the US. Not that anything like what happened in the book would happen in real life! (I am not 100% convinced that I believe that it couldn’t happen, though!) Mac McRyan is a fun character, and I really enjoyed this outing with him. I just bought another one of this series a few days ago and will be reading it pretty soon.
- Aside from it making me feel like a terrible dog owner with really untrained dogs, I enjoyed Play Dead by Leslie O’Kane. The mystery was a good one, and I have to admit, I liked all the dogs! O’Kane offers a little advice about training dogs along the way, which I enjoyed — although I am sure we will never train our dogs. Again, this wasn’t too taxing to read, and I would read more Allie Babcock mysteries.
- Love and War by David Archer is the third Sam Prichard book, and I’ve been reading them in order. I was really conflicted as I read this one. Sam, of course, saves the day — again; Homeland Security takes orders from him. Not very realistic. And then there is the fact that the story is about a terrorist plot; I get enough of that in real life, I think. But none of that made me enjoy the story any less. It kept me guessing right along with Sam. The only other complaint I had about the book was that Sam and his wife talked about going someplace calm for their rescheduled honeymoon — someplace like the wheat fields of Illinois.If you’ve ever been to Illinois (where I was born and raised and educated), you’d know that we grow corn and soybeans and rice an lots of other stuff but not much wheat. But if I weren’t from there, I’m sure it might not even have registered.
I read three historical fiction books this time:
- The Emperor’s Agent by Jo Graham was a interesting but not particularly easy to read. I think maybe there was too much waiting. And I had a little trouble with some of the flashbacks. There is a a supernatural element that didn’t make a lot of sense to me, either. But overall, I enjoyed the book.
- The Rustlers of Pecos County was another good read by Zane Gray. It really made me wish my dad was still alive so I could tell him how much I agree with his appreciation of Gray as a writer. The story was kind of a silly romance but it took place here in the Southwest, a part of the country I have come to love. The good guys are good and the bad guys are bad. The women are swept off their feet by the good guys. I think part of the appeal of these books for me is the happy ending. Guess I am getting old; I really like happy endings.
- The Templar’s Cross by J.R. Tomlin is so completely a mystery that I almost hate to put it here under historical fiction. But it takes place in Scotland in the Middle ages, so it qualifies to be here, too. The mystery concerns Templar treasure, always an interesting topic for speculation. Everyone is out to get what they want from the hero, but he is able to work his way through all the lies to the truth. There is a second book in the series, and I want to read it.
OK, the rest will come later.