Friday, November 08, 2019

What Are You Reading?

I know we're a little off schedule today. I hope everyone interested in the contest commented on the
blog yesterday for Catriona McPherson's piece. Today, we're going to talk about what we're reading.

While I'm actually reading a suspense novel for Library Journal, I've pushing a book I'll be reviewing next week. I read Allen Eskens' Nothing More Dangerous a couple months ago. Release date is Tuesday, Nov. 12. This coming-of-age gritty story dealing with racism is powerful, the best book I've read this year. Allen Eskens said that book took him over twenty-five years to write, and that's the story he became a writer to tell. I can't say enough good things about Nothing More Dangerous. My review will be up on Tuesday.

I haven't really done much reading because of Bouchercon, and then taking the time to put all the pictures up on the blog. You've had a little extra time to read this week. What are you all reading? I'd love to know!


Jeff Meyerson said...

I am waiting for the Eskens book (as well as the new Michael Connelly) from the library.

In the meanwhile...I finally finished the massive BEST OF MANHUNT anthology, noirish stories from the 1950s. Some are very dark, none more so than Gil Brewer's "Moonshine," which I had read before.

Also read (finished on the plane home) William Shaw's THE BIRDWATCHER, the first in his second series, this one set in modern day Kent rather than late 1960s London as in his first series. It was a very quick read and I will be curious to see where the next one goes, as the main character shifts to Sgt. Alexandra Cupidi, only a secondary character in this first one.

From a review I'd read, I expected Owen Laukkenen's DECEPTION COVE to be a third K-9 series like those of Margaret Mizushima and Paula Munier, but the tone is very different. Yes, there is a damaged veteran and, indeed, a damaged dog in this tale set in rural Washington state, but we are talking an ex-con who trained the dog before he got out of prison, crooked local cops who run the town, and a former Marine trying to deal with her own demons. Very good so far.

Can't remember if I mentioned Dervla McTiernan's THE SCHOLAR last time, but I finished that on the plane going to Bouchercon, and I got to tell her how much I enjoyed it and to hear about her next book. Start with THE RUIN and read them both.

I did pick up three library books yesterday, including Paula Munier's second Mercy Carr book, BLIND SEARCH, as well as the new Jack Taylor book by Ken Bruen (GALWAY GIRL) and Tom Bradby's SECRET SERVICE, which posits a possible next British Prime Minister being a secret Russian spy. So, good reading ahead as the cold weather arrives.

Sharon said...

I finished Donna Andrew's OWL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS. Not my favorite of her Christmas books. It was a little on the dry side with all the owl facts plus there seemed to be a lot of words without much plot. I figured out the victim and killer fairly early on.

Next I read THE MISTLETOE MATCHMAKER by Felicity Hayes-McCoy. I enjoy the trips to Finfarran peninsula in Ireland. This one is about Pat Fitzgerald's granddaughter visiting from Canada. The community is involved in a Christmas fete competition but my favorite parts revolved around the writing class led by Hanna, LIssbeg's librarian. The characters in these books are real ordinary people and I love my visits with them.

I also finished MURDER IN THE READING ROOM by Ellery Adams. This series is pure escapism for me. I always find them great fun until I get to the endings. Then they go so over the top I wonder why I keep reading them until the next one comes out and I get sucked right back in. The part I liked best about this one was Jane going to the Biltmore to rescue her boyfriend. Because we took a trip there last September to see Chihuly I was able to visualize all the parts of the estate the author related.

Now I am reading ELLIE AND THE HARPMAKER by Hazel Prior. I had this from the library earlier on but my stack of books was too big and I ended up returning it. After reading Margie's review several weeks ago, I decided to check it again. I am half way through and finding it to be a gem of a book. Thank you Margie.

I also am reading MIDNIGHT CHICKEN (& other recipes worth living for) by Ella Risbridger. The title intrigued me when I went to vote for books on Goodreads. This is more than a cookbook. It reminds me of the late Laurie Colwin's cookbooks with all the anecdotes and stories. At age 21, the author found the world overwhelming and tried to kill herself. She says cooking saved her life. I am really enjoying this despite it being a cookbook. My only quibble is she is British so if I decide any of the recipe I have to look up the conversions.

Thanks for sharing your Bouchercon experience Lesa. Happy Reading!

SandyG265 said...

I’m trying to fit in some of the several hundred books by indie authors that I have on my kindle in between library books. I tend to download at lot of free books but then they’re out of sight and the pile of library books is always there.

I finished GAMBLING ON THE ARTIST by Wynter Daniels. It’s a short paranormal romance featuring magical cats.

TIDE AND PUNISHMENT by Bree Baker. It’s the latest in her Ices Tea shop mystery series. I found the first third of the book to be a bit slow but the pace picked up and I enjoyed it.

LATE CHECKOUT by Carol J Perry is the latest in her WICH-TV series set in Salem. I liked this even though I figured out who the killer was way before the characters in the book did.

Now I’m starting CREEPY CAKE MURDER, the newest book in Rosie A Point’s Maine bakery truck series. These are fairly short quick reads and I like the characters.

Lesa said...

Jeff, I think you might be the first one who mentioned Dervla McTiernan's The Ruins to me. I bought it at Bouchercon, so was able to congratulate and have her sign it after she won her award. Thank you! I'm looking forward to it. And, I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of Allen Eskens' book when you get it.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Sharon. I have The Mistletoe Matchmaker at home, and I'm looking forward to it. Like you, I took Ellie and the Harpmaker back to the library because someone was waiting. I'll have to get it again.

Lesa said...

Sandy, I got to meet Bree Baker at Bouchercon & tell her how much I enjoyed the series! I still have the third book on my TBR pile, but I liked the earlier ones.

Margie Bunting said...

In PC Tracy's ICE COLD HEART, the eccentric, damaged gang at Monkeewrench Software and their favorite Minneapolis PD detectives again join forces to solve a case. This time it involves bondage murders, suggestive sculptures, and a bitcoin ripoff. In addition, detective Magozzi and Monkeewrench stalwart Grace have a new baby. I enjoyed the story, but I long for the early days when Monkeewrench books got me more excited and engaged. Lots of readers love this series, but I think I may be just tired of it.

I picked up CHRISTMAS COCOA MURDER by O'Connor/Dawson/Erickson off the new book shelf, forgetting that Lesa had reviewed it. Before I had a chance to read it, I saw Sharon's review and decided to skip the first story (thank you, Sharon). The other two cozy mystery novellas with a cocoa theme were pleasant reading.

In debut author Alix E. Harrow's THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY, January Scaller's mother has disappeared, and her father is often away, traveling in search of treasures for his wealthy employer, Mr. Locke. In the early years of the 20th century, young January is cared for in Mr. Locke's Vermont mansion but yearns for her parents and her freedom. When she meets a strange boy and ultimately finds a book that describes secret doors all over the world that lead to other worlds, she is seized by wanderlust and a creeping fear of her guardian and his "associates" and begins a quest to find her father, who has disappeared. As she pursues her dangerous travels, aided by a former nanny, a very special dog, and a childhood friend, she begins to wonder why the contents of the book seem to mirror more and more her own life. This is a special book, covering January's quest and, in alternate chapters, the parallel quest of a special man. It is a fantasy about an intrepid girl, and although I think it could have been improved by more editing, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I was fascinated with all the detail in Kate Carlisle's latest Fixer-Upper Mystery, SHOT THROUGH THE HEARTH, particularly since I don't know anything about home construction or renovation. This time it's a huge job for building contractor Shannon Hammer and her crew. Her friend, billionaire inventor Rafe, wants to time the renovation of his Victorian farmhouse with the Future Global Survival Con he will sponsor on his property. But there is bad feeling between Rafe and his former tech partner, who demands that he return to their company. When his partner turns up dead, Rafe is only one of the suspects. Several of the conference attendees have reason to get revenge after dealings with this man went sour. I enjoyed spending time with Shannon's friends, family, crew, and other Lighthouse Cove residents, including her boyfriend (author Mac), Rafe's fiancee Marigold, a hunky Scottish stonemason, and a botanist who cries when he thinks his plants are being mistreated. I appreciated the mystery as well.

I'd been wanting to read W.C. Ryan's A HOUSE OF GHOSTS after Lesa's ringing endorsement of it--please see her outstanding review for all the details. Set in World War I times, this is the perfect combination of a ghost story--complete with seances, trickery, disembodied voices, and a few people who can actually see the ghosts of those who perished throughout the centuries in this island home of an armaments manufacturer--and possible treachery surrounding the disappearance (or theft) of information that could be of use to the Germans. Family members missing and presumed dead, two mediums, a former soldier suffering from PTSD, a butler who seems to know more than he should, a man and a woman who are working for the government--these and more are fascinating characters surrounding a provocative series of mysteries in an atmospheric setting. Well worth your time.

Lesa said...

Oh, good, Margie. I'm glad you enjoyed A HOUSE OF GHOSTS. It was a little different from what I usually read. I know what you mean about the Monkeewrench books. I'm just not ready to give up on them because I love to catch up with their lives.

Mark Baker said...

Yesterday, I finished THE LAST DRAGON, the second in a kids’ fantasy series from James Riley. A bit darker in tone but overall good.

Today, I’m back to mysteries with an arc of GHOSTS OF PAINTINGS PAST by Sybil Johnson

Lesa said...

I like a break from mysteries once in a while, Mark.

Glen Davis said...

I read Clive Cussler's The Titanic Secret; where he cannibalizes his best known work.

The Triumph of Caesar by Stephen Saylor; a hard boiled mystery set in Ancient Rome.

Night Train; a biography of Sonny Liston that leaves out his movie appearances.

Lesa said...

It's tough to see favorite authors become repetitive, isn't it, Glen? I never quit reading Robert B. Parker's Spenser books when he was alive, but the books toward the end of his life certainly weren't what his earlier ones were.

Charlie Horse said...

I'm reading an advanced copy of The Jane Austen Society, a Novel. I won it, and I'm enjoying it very much.

Lesa said...

Charlie Horse, Thank you! I hope you stop around, especially on Thursdays. That's the day we usually talk about what we're reading.

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