Thursday, August 15, 2019

What Are You Reading?

Last week, Sharon mentioned she had started the novel, The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins. I just finished that book.
I loved it, but I'll review it Saturday. Magical and romantic and sad, with a young woman who went through foster care, found a foster mother who loves her, lost her sister to drugs, but has custody of her sister's daughter. And, her foster mother develops Alzheimer's. That's the bare bones of the tragedy of the story, but nothing about the friendship and love and magic. That will all be in the review. Hopefully, Sharon will also mention the book here.

I'm also reading James Sallis' October release, Sarah Jane. I just started it, though, so I won't discuss it.

Instead, I'm waiting to see what you're reading this week. What are you reading? Would you tell us about it?

25 comments:

Jeff Meyerson said...

I'm a huge James Sallis fan and will read anything he writes.

I just finished (yesterday) book seven in Jodi Taylor's Chronicles of St. Mary's, LIES, DAMNED LIES,AND HISTORY, a little slower than most in the early going, as Max's pregnancy progresses and she prepares to leave St. Mary's, but it picks up later.

I've gone back to the William Shaw book mentioned last time now that I finished the Taylor, THE KINGS OF LONDON.

I'm close to finishing Chuck Wendig's odd fantasy story collection, IRREGULAR CREATURES, and I'm progressing with THE CASES OF LIEUTENANT TIMOTHY TRANT by Q. Patrick (stories originally published between 1940 and 1955).

Two library books came in:

Adrian McKinty, THE CHAIN
Wallace Stroby, SOME DIE NAMELESS

Both have written series I really like, though both of these are non series.

SandyG265 said...

I finished THE CHICKEN BURGER MURDER by Rosie A Point. It’s a short small town cozy with quirky characters and a secondary plot line that continues from one book to the next.

AMELIA FANG AND THE UNICORNS OF GLITTEROPOLIS by Laura Ellen Anderson is a children’s book about a group of monsters going to the land of light to search for a missing fairy.

MRS MORRIS AND THE GHOST by Traci Wilton. I enjoyed this - it reminded me of the Ghost and Mrs Muir.

THE FORGETTABLE MISS FRENCH by Kristen Painter was my favorite book of the week. It’s a paranormal romance set in the town of Shadowvale where most of the inhabitants have some type of curse. Miss French’s curse is that as soon as anyone looks away from her they forget her. Can she find someone who can remember her long enough to fall in love?

Lesa said...

I had never read a James Sallis book, Jeff, but his language is gorgeous! And, I'm not one to comment usually about the writing. But, I love his turn of phrase. I'm hooked on this one.

Lesa said...

You're right, Sandy, and I don't know why I didn't mention that in my review. It reminds me of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir as well. I enjoyed Mrs. Morris.

That's so sad to be forgotten the minute anyone looks away. The Forgettable Miss French sounds different.

Margie Bunting said...

PART ! - I have to divided this too-long post into two pieces:

THE ROSIE RESULT by Graeme Simsion is not as special as The Rosie Project but MUCH better than The Rosie Effect IMHO. Don and Rosie are concerned that son Hudson, age 11, won't be ready socially for high school (apparently that comes right after grade school in Australia) so Don quits his job as a university genetics professor (after an inadvertent scandal) to initiate the "Hudson Project" while Rosie goes full-time in her scientific job. Hudson reminds Don of himself at that age, and the school is pressuring them to have him tested for autism, but Don finds ways to help Hudson live up to his potential, both academically and socially. I loved the struggle, as well as the upbeat ending.

In SHAMED by Linda Castillo (previously reviewed by Lesa), the story takes place over a few intense days, after an Amish grandmother is brutally butchered and her 7-year-old, special needs granddaughter is kidnapped. Chief of Police Kate Burkholder, who left the Amish life as a teenager, investigates every avenue and discovers that the girl's parents (of 8 childen) may have old secrets that have resulted in the present-day horrors. Even the Amish community's feared and respected bishop may know something about it, as more murders occur. Different from previous books in Castillo's long-running series, it is pulse-pounding up to the very end. This is the 10th book I have read from Castillo, and I think they just keep getting better.

I consider THAT'S WHAT FRENEMIES ARE FOR by Sophie Littlefield and Lauren Gershell a guilty pleasure. The characters are almost all shallow, deceptive and annoying, but I stuck with it, ultimately enjoyed it, and found the ending satisfying. It's chick lit about a wealthy young woman who has to stay home from the Hamptons one summer (boo hoo) after her family's summer home has been damaged. She decides to use the time to pump up her popularity by making over and "adopting" a promising spin instructor at an almost-failing gym, losing weight in the process, and luring her well-heeled friends as customers. Of course, everything goes awry--she creates a monster, her friends all but abandon her, her nanny is needed elsewhere, and her husband appears to be in trouble with the law. Fun!

Margie Bunting said...

PART TWO from me:

Don't be put off by the awful title of HAVE YOU SEEN LUIS VELEZ? by Catherine Ryan Hyde. This is a heart-breaking, life-affirming gem of a book that is well worth your time. Raymond is a 17-year-old A-student who doesn't feel at home either with his mother (she has a new husband and 3 young daughters) or with his father (who is more welcoming but has a disapproving wife). One day Raymond meets a 92-year-old blind woman in the building where he lives with his mother. "Mrs. G." is distraught because Luis Velez, a volunteer who once helped her get around and treated her like family, has disappeared without a trace. Raymond willingly takes over for Luis, accompanying the woman to the bank and the grocery store and, unbeknownst to her, starts looking for Luis, not an easy task with 21 Luis Velezes in their New York City area. It is impossible to talk about what ensues without spoilers. I'll just say that the second half of the book features a courtroom trial and more fascinating characters. What the book is really about is how we see and treat others, and how difficult it is to decide our own identity and purpose in life. If that sounds trite (and I know it does), I'm not doing the book justice. One of my favorites of the year to date.

I chose to read I AM MALALA by Malala Yousafzai for a meeting of a book club where the topic was "current events." I had heard about the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, of course, but this book is about more than the lead-up to her being shot in the head by the Taliban, her subsequent recovery, and her speech to the UN at age 16. It is also about Pakistan's beginnings as an Islamic homeland, conflicts with India, and warring factions within the country, with sometimes a bit too much detail for my taste. But it is told in a winning way, and I gained an appreciation for how difficult life was (and still is) in much of Pakistan and how girls and women were treated as second-class citizens. Malala's family was different--her father encouraged her to speak out about girls' right to education and ran a school for girls--but Malala ultimately paid a high price for it. Nevertheless, she is currently studying at Oxford and continues to be an human rights advocate and icon.

Tim Hallinan's recent Facebook posting requesting responders' opinions on songs with unacceptable messages or ones that drove them crazy back in the day was hilarious and garnered 500 replies in a few hours (I was proud to be the first responder!). One of the responders mentioned that Dave Barry had written a book about just this topic (DAVE BARRY'S BOOK OF BAD SONGS), so I quickly found it at the library. The book was inspired by a similarly-themed column of Barry's, and it is well worth reading. It's very short--I read it in less than an hour--and it made me guffaw out loud numerous times. Just the thing--especially for Baby Boomers, for whom most of these songs were a part of their lives--when you need some laughter in your life. I think I need to surround myself with a bunch of the prolific Barry's books!

donna from CT said...

I'm in the middle of Death in Provence by S. Kent - needed a mystery that wasn't quite as brutal as the ones I've been reading. Love all of the description of the foods and various comments about the French. Now if I could just figure out the mystery!

Jeff Meyerson said...

Margie, Dave is always good for a laugh, and his BOOK OF BAD SONGS is one of my favorites.

Sharon said...

I finished THE BOOK CHARMER by Karen Hawkins earlier this week. This one focused on Alzheimer's which was heartbreaking. I loved the character of Sarah Dove, the town librarian, who has books speak to her. She doesn't know the reason behind it, she just knows who needs to read it. It was just a good story that I easily got wrapped into. I enjoyed it very much and cannot wait until my next visit to Dove Pond.

Next I read FINDING DOROTHY by Elizabeth Letts. My daughter told me it was her "must read" sleeper book of the summer. I totally agree with her. It was the story of Maud Baum (wife of Frank). What an interesting life she led-her mother was a suffragette and she attended Cornell University. She and Frank moved to Aberdeen at one point and the bleakness of the landscape and life pervaded the pages. Through the narrative the author alludes that it is Frank and Maud's life depicted in the Wizard of Oz. Not sure how much of that is true but it was fascinating nonetheless. The "modern" portion of the story was elderly Maud on the MGM set while the movie was being filmed trying to preserve her husbands legacy. There is a picture of Maud and Judy Garland so that part is fact. Such a contrast between survivor Maud and tragic Judy.

Now I am reading WHEN WE BELIEVED IN MERMAIDS by Barbara O'Neal. Kit is watching a news clip from New Zealand and sees someone she is sure is her presumed dead sister. I am at the part where she if off to New Zealand to try and find her sister.

A good week for me-three very good books!

Happy Reading!

Mark Baker said...

Last night, I finished SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, the new Year-Round Christmas Mystery from Vicki Delany. I really enjoyed it. In fact, I enjoyed it more than the earlier books in the series.

Today, I will be starting MULBERRY MISCHIEF, the fourth Berry Basket Mystery from Sharon Farrow. I can’t wait to get back to these characters.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Paul Doiron's ALMOST MIDNIGHT is my current read.

Lesa said...

Margie! Thank you for taking the time to write up your books. So many interesting sounding ones there! I read some of Tim Hallinan's Facebook responses, and finally had to quit with so many of them. I see why Steve Berry's book is fun.

Lesa said...

Donna, The mystery in Death in Provence isn't as interesting as the setting and food.

Lesa said...

Sharon, I think you're a little ahead of me in books. I have Barbara O'Neal's book at home, too. I just haven't had time to get to it. I'm glad you're enjoying it!

Lesa said...

Mark, I just received Silent Night, Deadly Night, so good to know you consider it the best in the series.

Lesa said...

Kevin, I've received several of Paul Doiron's books, but just never had tried them.

Connie Berry said...

I'm finally reading Tana French's standalone, The Witch Elm. Slow beginning, but it's getting pretty dark and intense at the moment. I try to gloss over the language, which is also dark. She's a brilliant writer. I purposely haven't read any reviews. I will when I'm finished.

Glen Davis said...

I read a bunch of books, but only one good one, The River God's Vengeance by John Maddox Roberts, a mystery set in ancient Rome. I see where books in the series are pretty high priced, and in demand, and wonder why they aren't back in print.

Margie Bunting said...

Sharon, you and I are on the same wavelength as usual. I loved Finding Dorothy, and I look forward to the new Barbara O'Neal, though I haven't found it in the libraries yet. I may have to buy it.

Jeff, I'm glad we are on the same wavelength about the Dave Barry book.

Mark, I want to read Silent Night, Deadly Night also, but I don't believe it has hit Barnes & Noble yet, and I'm not a blogger so unless I win an ARC, I don't get books ahead of their release date. At any rate, I usually buy books from that series rather than getting them from the library (maybe I am partial to the holiday-themed covers!). Glad to hear this is a good one because I've enjoyed all of them so far. Also, given the heat wave we are having right now in northern CA, it will be nice to anticipate Christmas and cooler weather.

Lesa said...

Connie, I have to admit I've never read Tana French. I have to at least read the Dublin Squad books someday.

Lesa said...

But, Glen! I enjoy your comments about the bad books as much as the good ones. Maybe next week.

Kathy Reel said...

Lesa, I'm reading Hank's The Murder List, and like everything Hank writes, I'm loving it. 100 pages in and needing bump up my reading speed to get it finished and reviewed by its pub date next week. I was wondering about The Book Charmer. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

Lesa said...

Loved The Book Charmer, Kathy! Kaye and I both did, so I think you will as well. I think you're going to be surprised by The Murder List!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm putting The Book Charmer on my Want to Read list!

This week I'm reading Paranoid by Lisa Jackson. It's pretty intense.

Lesa said...

Oh, it should be on your list, Patricia. I'm reviewing it on Saturday, so you can take another look at it.