January 4, 2017

December 2016 Reads



Dec 72 Hag Seed Margaret Atwood
73 Livia Lone Barry Eisler
74 Lily and the Octopus Steven Rowley
75 Escape Clause John Sandford
76 The Travelers Chris Pavone
77 The Lion's Mouth Anne Holt
78 Beneath The Skin Johathan Maberry

Happy New Year! December was another great month of reading; it might have been the best of 2016! The past two years I've read just 78 books, a lot less than has been my normal 100 to 150 books a year. This may be my new normal, but I'll see what 2017 holds.

I really enjoyed Hag Seed by Margaret Atwood. It's a retelling of The Tempest. I have to admit that I haven't read Shakespeare but I love Atwood's' writing. I found out after reading Hag Seed that this is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare Series being published by Penguin/Random House. I think I'll look into the other titles.

Livia Lone by Barry Eisler is outstanding. Livia is a departure from Eisler's John Rain series, which I really recommend. This story takes you on an emotional ride, with child trafficking through to vigilante revenge on rapists. This is an edgy thriller that keeps you engrossed until the last page.

Lily and the Octopus is great, especially if you like to laugh and cry! It’s both beautifully written, and humorous. Anyone who has loved and lost a dog will appreciate the story and Rowley's writing.

Here I go, again, recommending a John Sandford novel. Escape Clause is his latest with my favorite character, Virgil Flowers. "The exceptional new thriller from the writer whose books are “pure reading pleasure”" (Booklist).

The Travelers by Chris Pavone is an awesome read. It's got layers and plot twist to keep you guessing what's next. It's the kind of thriller that's hard to put down and I loved it. Dreamworks have acquired the movie rights, so get the book and get prepared!

I love reading Scandinavian mystery authors; Anne Holt has been called the “godmother of modern Norwegian crime” by Jo Nesbø, another of my favorite authors. The Lion's Mouth certainly took me on an interesting ride. The Prime Minister has been found dead in her office and Hanne Wilhelmsen is on the case. The book was originally published in 1997, I glad it was finally translated so we all can read it. It'll leave you guessing until the very last page.

And my final read for 2016, was Beneath The Skin by Jonathan Maberry. Sam Hunter is a PI in the big bad city. Sam is also a werewolf. Sam is a benandanti, an ancient race of werewolves who fight evil. Beneath The Skin is told as a series of "case files", which makes sense. A PI works cases for clients, like any freelancer taking on odd jobs. Maberry is a good writer and Sam Hunter is a great character.

What are you reading?

December 22, 2016

November 2016 Reads



Nov 65 Deadline John Sandford
66 Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil Melina Marchetta
67 IQ Joe Ide
68 Eileen Ottessa Moshfegh
69 The Whistler John Grisham
70 The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles Katherine Pancol
71 Neon Rain James Lee Burke

Last month I mentioned how much I love reading John Sanford.  Virgil Flowers is my favorite Sanford character and Deadline did not disappoint.  There's a whole series featuring Flowers and you can start with any of them.

I really enjoyed debut author Joe Ides’ tale of IQ, the detective.  The story took place in my old neighborhood, Westside Long Beach, but this is fiction and Ide takes some liberties that others might not notice.  IQ is quirky, full of action and has a great cast of characters.  All in all a very good read.

The Whistler by John Grisham is riveting.  Grisham delivers an elaborate conspiracy that involves crooked, very dangerous judges.  I'm a fan of Grisham; one reason I keep reading him is that he doesn't find a winning plot formula then proceed to write the same story over and over.  Many well-known, successful authors are guilty of this type of "formula" writing.  They fall off my "must-read" list in no time at all.  Not Grisham, he keeps it fresh, each and every time.

I loved The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol.  I'm going to give you a review quote that says it all ~ “This multilayered well-paced tale will delight you with its entertaining cast of characters and madcap adventures from Paris to the wilds of Africa.” - Katharine Davis, author of Capturing Paris.


James Lee Burkes' Neon Rain is the first in a series. New Orleans Detective Dave Robicheaux is going to be one your favorite characters in fiction.  After you read this one, there are many more Robicheaux tales to catch up with.  I didn't read them in order and I haven't read them all but the ones I've read have been great.

What are you reading?

November 5, 2016

October 2016 Reads


Oct 57 Tortilla Curtain T. C. Boyle
58 One of Us Tawni O'Dell
59 All The Missing Girls Megan Miranda
60 The Girl in the Well is Me Karen Rivers
61 Setting Free The Kites Alex George
62 Among the Living Jonathan Rabb
63 Darktown Thomas Mullen
64 Storm Front John Sandford

Twenty years after it was published and I can't tell you how many times I shelved it, I've finally read Tortilla Curtain and wish it hadn't taken me so long!  On the other hand, in today's political climate, it was a perfect read. It succeeds in stealing the front page news and bringing it home to the great American tradition of the social novel.

I highly recommend All the Missing Girls. "All the Missing Girls is a smart, suspenseful, and emotionally complex thriller. Told in reverse, this story will make you want to lock the doors, turn off the phone, and read until the last satisfying page." - Alafair Burke

The Girl in the Well is Me is a YA novel.  I read before passing it on to one of my favorite teens, Sophia.  Her Mom tells me she's loving it. “Superb . . . acrobatic . . . Karen Rivers is able to dive so seamlessly into the darker themes of growing up . . . Because of the tone and persistence of [protagonist] Kammie, the reader never loses faith that, although times may seem impossibly tough, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.”—Cleaver Magazine

Setting Free the Kites will be published in February 2017.  I think you should put it on your wish list, so you won't forget about it.  It's a touching, well-written novel; a poignant and moving exploration of the pain, joy, and glories of young friendship.  I'm currently passing it around my Tai Chi class.

Darktown by Thomas Mullen is an eye-opening look at racism in post-WWII Atlanta. "One incendiary image ignites the next in this highly combustible procedural, set in the city’s rigidly segregated black neighborhoods during the pre-civil-rights era and written with a ferocious passion that’ll knock the wind out of you." - New York Times Book Review

I love John Sanford's writing and my favorite character of Virgil Flowers.  Storm Front is a fun, fast-paced police procedural.  If you haven't read Sanford, I recommend him.  If you want to start a new series, start with Dark of the Moon.

What are you reading?

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