Thursday, February 14, 2019

What Are You Reading?

It's Thursday! My favorite day since we're all talking about books. It's also Valentine's Day. Happy Valentine's Day to those of you who are celebrating. It's never really been important to me, even when my husband was alive.

However, books are always important to me. I've only started it, but I'm reading Charlaine Harris' novel, An Easy Death. Lizbeth Rose is a nineteen-year-old gunslinger for hire in a fractured U.S., working in the southwestern country known as Texoma. When the book opens, she's escorting farmers and their families north out of the part of Texas that has been taken over by Mexico. It will be interesting to see where it's going because it reminds me quite a bit of Laura Anne Gilman's Devil's West series, beginning with Silver on the Road.

What are you reading this week? Have you had a little more time to read this week? We're all waiting to read your comments.


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

No, I've always found Valentine's Day to be one of those artificial Hallmark-created holidays more important to women (sorry for the generalization) than men (though my wife feels differently).

I will be curious to see what you think of Charlaine's book, as I had it out from the library and returned it without ever starting it because there were other things more pressing.

I did read and enjoy (though not love) Bill Pronzini's GIVE-A-DAMN JONES, which I mentioned and you reviewed last week. I don't read many westerns, but I do occasionally read one by favorite mystery writers - Pronzini, Ed Gorman, Bill Crider. Also finished AIRSHIPS, the highly praised collection by the late Barry Hannah, which didn't appeal to me as much as I'd expected.

I'm currently reading and enjoying a book that was on Margie's best books list from last year, Steven Cooper's DESERT REMAINS. Unlike many, I have no problem with the use of a psychic to help solve mysteries, if it is done well. Charlaine Harris's Harper Connelly series is an example (though it ended badly). I like the Phoenix area setting, and the two main characters - cop Alex Mills and psychic Gus Parker - are sympathetic enough to keep me reading, despite my general dislike for psycho serial killer stories.

I'm also reading an Otto Penzler anthology, BIBLIOMYSTERIES Volume Two (I read One), subtitled Stories of Crime in the World of Books and Bookstores. The authors include Thomas Perry, Megan Abbott, Ian Rankin, Peter Lovesey, Elizabeth George, and James W. Hall.

Lori's Reading Corner said...

I agree with Jeffrey on Valentine's Day. I've always called it a Hallmark Holiday.

Right now I'm reading an ARC of Because You're Mine by Rea Frey. I'm listening to The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos.

Sharon said...

No Valentine's Day hoopla at my house either. My husband (also named Jeff) calls it a Hallmark holiday as well. We are homebodies and pretty low key people.

This week I finished THE LIGHT OVER LONDON by Julia Kelly. It was a dual storyline novel. Present day was antiques dealer, Cara, who uncovers a WWII diary. In trying to discover the writer, we meet the author Louise. Louise joins the British Army and is assigned to the anti-aircraft gunner unit as an Ack-Ack girl. These women identify the German planes and then set the coordinates for the men to load the guns and attack. What should have been a fascinating glimpse into this piece of women's history ending up being a romance novel disguised as historical fiction. I was disappointed but interested enough in both the Louise and Cara storylines to finish.

Next I read THE TWELVE SLAYS OF CHRISTMAS by Jacqueline Frost. My daughter recommended this series to me over Christmas but my pile of books was just too big for me to add it until now. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. Holly moves back to her parents Christmas tree farm in Mistletoe, Maine after a broken engagement. A murder is committed during the week of Christmas games sponsored by the farm. I found this just delightful and a fun read. I liked the character of Holly as well as her budding romance with the sheriff.

Now I am halfway through THE WARTIME SISTERS by Lynda Cohen Loigman. This is more of a women's fiction novel than a historical one. The story of two very different sisters not close at all both working at the Springfield (MA) Armory during the WWII. Much different circumstances but the relationship between the sisters and how they were raised is a little painful for me to read to at times. As the wife of a retired Army officer, the politics of the other wives and the difficulties Lillian faces being the Commander's wife were more than familiar. Like THE TWELVE SLAYS OF CHRISTMAS, I can't wait to find the time to get back to this and finish it.

Happy Reading!

Kay said...

I do like Valentine's Day, but many years ago (39 to be exact), that's the day we got engaged. We had already been together for 6-1/2 years (since our early teens). He cooked me a steak (more than we could afford at that time), proposed with a pink carnation and a ring and then went off to class that evening as he was still in college. I went to tell my parents at their house. My Dad said - well, about time, and went back to watching TV. My Dad - such a romantic! Ha! This year, we were going to have a very nice dinner out (last night actually), but I've got an upper respiratory thing going on and really can't taste anything. We decided to postpone until next week maybe.

As to reading, I finished NEWS OF THE WORLD by Paulette Jiles yesterday. It's for a book group next Tuesday afternoon. Such a spare, wonderful story and it's set in parts of Texas that I know very well. Looking forward to the discussion. I've been listening to Deborah Crombie's series in preparation for her new book coming in the fall, but after finishing MOURN NOT YOUR DEAD, I started listening to LEVERAGE IN DEATH by J.D. Robb. Just a little break. And I'm reading Kelley Armstrong's first Rockton book, CITY OF THE LOST, for my Canadian book challenge.

Lesa, that Harris book you are reading is interesting to me. The Texas/Mexico setting. I'm going to look for it.

SandyG265 said...

We’re spending Valentine’s Day going to our regular Thursday night yoga class. I did buy a card for my Mom because it’s worth $5 to make her happy. I started buying her a card for Valentines Day after my Dad died.

Lesa, I hope you enjoy AN EASY DEATH more than I did. I only got about a third of the way through it before I gave up. It’s usually the kind of book I’d enjoy but I just didn’t like Lizbeth Rose enough to care about what was happening to her.

This week I read THE VEILED LADY by Lee Falk. 70s pulp fiction based on The Phantom comic strip featuring a volcano full of giant insects.

DEAD AS A DOOR KNOCKER by Diane Kelly. A cozy mystery which dragged in spots.

KISSING WITH FANGS by Ashlyn Chase which is a forgettable paranormal romance.

Gram said...

I just finished Connections in Death by J D Robb. and am starting on Murder at the Palace by Margaret Dumas, Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts, and in the middle or the end of Chill of Fear by Kay Hooper, Yours Faithfully, Florence Burke by Ellen Baker Alden, and A lady's guide to etiquette and murder by Dianne Freeman.

Lesa said...

Now, I'm a little leery about An Easy Death, but we'll see. It does remind me a lot of Gilman's book, right down to wizards.

I can understand why you love Valentine's Day, Kay, and the rest of us really don't care. It's special to the two of you. And, dinner might be better next week than tonight anyways!

I've read everyone's comments, and you've all been reading some interesting books. Gram, I'll wait to see what you think of A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm reading Bimini Twist, a Jane Bunker mystery by Linda Greenlaw. I love the Maine setting and the fact that Greenlaw knows all about boats and lobsters.

Charlotte said...

I didn’t finish any books this week.

Haven’t started any books either.

I am turning in all my library books today.
My library will be closing February 17- June 4 for renovation.

I will decide on my own books I have, which more than I count.
Then I have so much on my Kindle to pick from.

Happy ❤️ day.

Jeff how is your shoulder? I am still 🙏🏻 for you.

Lesa said...

Greenlaw is so knowledgeable, Patricia! You're right.

Lesa said...

Oh, Charlotte! That breaks my heart. Email me your address again, at, and you might just receive a box or two in the next 5 months. That's way too long to be without a library.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Thanks for asking, Charlotte. I am going to physical therapy twice a week and my shoulder is quite a bit better. Not perfect, but at least I can use my arm now, and I can even drive.

We're lucky. We are in between two libraries, so when the one we usually use was closed for renovations, we were able to switch to the other one, which is actually a little closer, if smaller.

Margie Bunting said...

This is my first Valentine's Day without my husband, who passed away on January 5. We didn't exchange gifts on Valentine's Day, but we did select three meaningful or humorous cards for each other. It's a hard habit to break, so I bought Mike one card and put it on the mantel next to the LED remembrance lantern that one of our sons' coworkers sent me. Our 44th wedding anniversary is coming up next week (Feb. 22), and I will honor Mike by eating a kraut dog and chili cheese fries from Wienerschnitzel, which became his comfort food over the past couple of years. I've never been one for sauerkraut, but this one doesn't smell too bad!

I gave myself permission yesterday to take a break from my "to do" list and read a bit more, so I finished two books this week.

In Molly MacRae's latest, CREWEL AND UNUSUAL, a new artist mini-mall is opening in Blue Plum, and the owner of the town's yarn shop, Kath Rutledge, has her eye on a gorgeous embroidered tablecloth in cantankerous Belinda Moyer's new shop. But before the mall even opens for business, the tablecloth is found shredded to ribbons, and there is gossip about its origin, and about another shopkeeper's embroidery patterns. Of course, there are murders to solve as well, with the help of Geneva, a ghost visible only to Kath, her co-proprietor, and now a third person in town. I want to like this series more, but it doesn't engage me as much as some other cozy series, or some earlier books from this author.

HARRY'S TREES by Jon Cohen is a superior book in a sub-genre I particularly enjoy--where people who have suffered losses come together to rebuild their lives. Harry Crane's beloved young wife and Amanda and Oriana's larger-than-life husband/father have both died suddenly and way too young, and rebuilding their lives seems almost impossible. But when Harry finally finds a way to leave his soulless desk job at the US Forest Service, he encounters Amanda and Oriana in a real forest. As all three struggle to overcome the past, the story involves an inhabitable tree house, a mysterious book, and an abundance of gold, not to mention an elderly librarian's quest to save her crumbling library against all odds. I found it delightful, inspirational, and even magical (although there is no magical realism involved). Give it a try if you like this sort of thing.

Jeff, I'm glad you are enjoying the Steven Cooper book--the second one is just as good, in my opinion. And Sharon, I enjoy THE TWELVE SLAYS OF CHRISTMAS as well.

Happy reading, everyone.

Glen Davis said...

This week I read:

The Body in the Record Room by Joe Barone; there's a mystery here, but it's really about mental illness.

Schlock Value by Richard Roeper; Ebert's second partner writes about the Hollywood system.

The Mozart Conspiracy; Dan Brown type conspiracy thriller.

Grift Sense by James Swain; a con artist novel

Girl Most Likely by Max Allan Collins; He sent me an ARC. It's MAC's attempt at a Nordic Noir. While he got the virtue signalling correct, the novel just isn't cold enough.

Sweet Blackmail by Stephen Mertz; A Kilroy novel. 70's hard boiled. I think this novel was revamped some, because there seems to be some anachronisms.

Mark Baker said...

I’m about a third of the way into Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby Klein. As usual, I’m enjoying it, although the pacing is still off. That’s how I’ve felt about the first two books as well.

Lesa said...

Oh, Margie. Good for you for continuing to honor Mike by actions that would have meant something to him, and still have meaning for you. That's beautiful, especially eating sauerkraut when you don't care for it (smile). Sending hugs, my friend.

My friend, Donna, really liked Harry's Trees, too.

Lesa said...

Glen, I like that - "The novel just isn't cold enough." I'm reading an ARC of a forthcoming book, Milwaukee Noir, and I'll tell you, I've only read three stories, and those people have cold hearts!

Lesa said...

And, I just read a second in a cozy series, Mark, that really disappointed me. The first had so much promise - a great supporting cast for the amateur sleuth. In this one, she alienated most of her friends. Not so good.

Sandie Herron said...

Unfortunately, I didn't finish a book this week. I was reading THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TIME TRAVEL, a novel by Kate Mascarenhas just published this week. I thought it would be fascinating. It wasn't. It turned into more of a women's fiction title with four women as the main characters who discovered and refined time travel. One woman suffers a mental breakdown and is banned from the project while the three remaining keep trying to find ways to honor her sacrifice. I didn't care enough about the characters to keep reading.

Nancy LH said...

I am half way through Hearts of the Missing by Carol Potenza. The setting is interesting. Has anyone read it?

Charlotte said...

Margie, my anniversary is February 20, celebrating 60 years.

I will be thinking of you on February 22.

Jeff, thank you for the update. Does this mean no surgery? I trust you will escape that.

Margie Bunting said...

Wow, Charlotte--60 years--quite an accomplishment! I'll think of you on February 20!

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Charlotte, so far, so good on the surgery, though I have to check again in two weeks and the doctor is refusing to commit himself. Still, I have made enough progress to be cautiously optimistic.

Congratulations on 60 years! We hit #48 in October.

Lesa said...

I appreciate every one of you book valentines. Thank you for talking books with me!

Nancy, I haven't read it, but I have it on a TBR pile.

Carol N Wong said...

We celebrated 25 years of marriage on February 11th. Exhausted is my name this, had a colonoscopy and endoscopy and waiting for the biopsy results. A few days later saw my cardiologist, then waited an hour for an EKG and echocardiogram. Yesterday, got a call from my pharmacist, the 2nd shot of shringrex was finally. Don't know why I am so tired except that I had to do 30+ product reviews.

After all that I was too tired to read. That rarely happens. I did start Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus. It is so frustrating to want to read it but there were too many interruptions lately. Also started The Things We Cannot See by Kelly Rimmer. Would love to take a whole day and just read! I thought there would be more time during retirement!

I just saw your post. I am 3 days behind on the e-mails. Wish that I could send all of you some big hugs!

Lesa said...

You did just send us all big hugs. Thank you, Carol. And, the colonoscopy I've having tomorrow doesn't sound near as bad when I read your list of procedures. Hugs to you, my friend.