January and February 2015 Reads

2015   Book Author
Jan 1 All the Old Knives Olen Steinhauer
2 The Laughing Monsters Denis Johnson
3 The Mermaids Singing Val McDermid
Feb 4 The Valley John Renehan
5 The Perfect Game Leslie Dana Kirby
6 The Alphabet House Jussi Alder-Olsen

Talk about a weak start to the reading year.  I'm lucky that these were all good books.  I really loved All the Old Knives, The Valley and The Alphabet House; they all deal with war or espionage!  I can always count on Denis Johnson and Val McDermid for exciting reads, and they didn't disappoint.

Less than one book a week for these two months.  You can sure tell what my life was like, it was basically the pits, my husband passed away January 27th.  In comparison, I read 17 books, last year, for the same time period.
What are you reading?

November and December 2014 Reads

Nov 89 The Burning Room Michael Connelly
90 Mexican Whiteboy Matt de la Pena
91 The Marauders Tom Cooper
92 Lost and Found Brooke Davis
93 All Day And A Night Alafair Burke
Dec 94 High Stakes John McEvoy
95 My Sunshine Away M. O. Walsh
96 The Skeleton Road Val McDermid

Wow, only 8 books in these two months.  However, these were all very good reads; sometimes I get lucky!  I love a great debut novel, and The Marauders by Tom Cooper, Lost and Found by Brooke Davis and My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh were all wonderful debuts.

I always love a good mystery and/or police procedural.  On this list Michael Connelly, Alafair Burke, Val McDermid and John McEvoy did not disappoint.

Every once in awhile I enjoy a good YA read.  This time it was Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Pena.  The writing was great, the characters were relatable, the location was Southern California and the sport was baseball.  It was all good.
What are you reading?

September and October 2014 Reads

Sep 75 Harbor Island Carla Neggers
76 The Whispering Muse Sjon
77 The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden Jonas Jonasson
78 Full Measure T. Jefferson Parker
79 Panic in a Suitcase Yelena Akhtiorskaya
80 Jesus Jackson James Ryan Daley
81 Althea & Oliver Cristina Moracho
Oct 82 Last Winter, We Parted Fuminori Nakamura
83 Lila Marilynne Robinson
84 The Black House Peter May
85 Reunion Hannah Pittard
86 Lewis Man Peter May
87 The Human Body Paolo Giordano
88 Unbecoming Rebecca Scherm

I feel as if I've fallen down the "rabbit hole", in regards to this blog.  Blogging about books was the reason I started blogging, so many years ago.  My first love, books, slipped to the bottom of the pile because of the other things that were going on in my life.  Now, I'm going to try to catch up.

First of all, the number of books I'm reading is way down.  I don't really know if it'll ever get back to my "normal" of 100 to 150 books a year.

Second, not all books are "stars", worth recommending, but all of these books were good.  Harbor Island by Carla Neggers, Full Measure by T. Jefferson Parker and Lila by Marilynne Robinson were great.  I loved the new trilogy by Peter May, also.  Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho was a wonderful YA title.  I also really enjoyed the war story, The Human Body by Paolo Giordano and highly recommend it.  For a great "cat & mouse" who done it, read Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm.
I'm going to play "catch-up" for awhile, and try to get back to my normal.
What are you reading?

July and August, 2014


64 Dollbaby Laura Lane McNeal
65 Love Me Back Merritt Tierce
66 Neverhome Laird Hunt
67 2 A.M. The Cat's Pajamas Marie-Helene Bertino
68 Cop Town Karn Slaughter
69 World of Trouble Ben H. Winters
70 Painted Horses Malcolm Brooks
71 California Edan Lepucki
72 Falling From Horses Molly Glass
73 The Daughters of Mars Thomas Keneally
74 Eight Black Horses Ed McBain

I'm really behind in my recommendations.  As you can see I'm not getting as much reading in as I normally do, life is very busy.  Since reading is just about my first love, I'm going to try to stick with this blog.

The books I loved from these list are The Daughters of Mars, Falling From Horses, Painted Horses and World of Trouble.  I loved each of them.

The books I really liked and would strongly suggest are Neverhome, 2 A.M. The Cat's Pajamas, and California.

You'll need to look at BN.com to see if you want to read them, but I think these seven books are great.
What are you reading?

June 2014 Reads

53 Carved in Bone Jefferson Bass
54 Under One Roof Barry Martin
55 The Painter Peter Heller
56 The High Divide Lin Enger
57 The Wolf Lorenzo Carcaterra
58 Sons and Princes James Lapore
59 The Fifth Man  James Lapore
60 Rooms Lauren Oliver
61 Third Rail Rory Flynn
62 The Right Thing Amy Conner
63 Go With Me Castle Freeman Jr.

 Carved in Bone is the first book I've read by Jefferson Bass.  I really enjoyed it.  Maybe because I'm a big fan of NCIS and CSI and Kathy Reichs, but I recommend it, the writing was really good.

Under One Roof:  Lessons I Learned From a Tough Old Woman In a Little Old House by Barry Martin.  This is a memoir about a friendship that grew out of what could have been adversarial circumstances.  Martin was the head of a construction project to build a huge mall, and Edith, the Old Woman, lived in a little house, in the way of progress.  Martin was determined to make the mall building as easy on Edith as possible.  He really set the bar high for himself and his men.  The is a fantastic read.

I read everything by Peter Heller and Lin Enger I can get my hands on.  The two I read this month did not disappoint.  These two are great writers and they don't write the same stories, over and over.  Just pick up one of their books, you won't be disappointed.

The Wolf by Lorenzo Carcaterra, is an unusual take on crime families.  The plot boils down to organized crime vs. terrorist.  While reading, I learned a lot I didn't know about these two factions.  Plus, The Wolf is a great story.

I read two more by James Lapore, Sons and Princes and The Fifth Man.  His writing is compelling and the books are hard to put down.  I recommend reading them in order, but that's up to you.

Rory Flynn, who wrote Third Rail is a debut author, the story takes off from page one and culminates in a startling finale.  It's a cop tale well worth reading.

What are you reading?

BEA, Book Expo America 2014

I had a wonderful time at Book Expo this year.  To be fair, I always have a wonderful time, otherwise I wouldn't attend.  I go on my own dime, so to be fair, I need to have a good time.

The highlight for me is the books.  Sure, I like meeting authors, afterall they write books, one of my favorite things, but books really do it for me.

I shipped home 107 pounds of books; three boxes stuffed full.  That translates to 116 books.  These photos don't show all of them, some flew to new homes before I could get the rest organized for photos.  Here's a collage of the books that stayed here.

Ten hardcovers, but the rest were ARC's, Yay!  The kids books on the left and left center of the bottom row, will be donated to Bob's old station, where they have a Free Library for they children who end up at the police station.
What are you reading?

May 2014 Reads

A girl can't have too many books ...

38 Sweet Thunder  Ivan Doig
39 Cold In July  Joe R. Landsdale 
40 Never Tell  Alafair Burke
41 Coop  Michael Perry
42 All He Saw Was The Girl  Peter Leonard
43 Moscow Sting  Alex Dryden
44 All The Pretty Horses  Cormac McCarthy
45 Family Life  Akhil Sharma
46 Driftless  David Rhodes
47 Cypress Grove  James Sallis
48 The Bat  Jo Nesbo
49 Until Proven Guilty  J. A. Nance
50 The Day The World Came To Town  Jim Defede
51 Mystic River  Dennis Lehane
52 The World I Never Made  James Lapore

While I was on my six week vacation I read  28 books, it was easy to do without the "every day" distractions.  All the reading was on my nook e-reader. It's impossible to carry so many books with me, unless I'm on a road trip, even then it'd be iffy.

I purposely downloaded three of my all time favorite reads, All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, Driftless by David Rhodes and Mystic River by Dennis Lehane.  It had been at least five years since I'd read each of these and a long vacation was the perfect time to savor them.  There are so many new books, it's easy to not re-visit these favorites, but with each one I was swallowed into the great writing.

The two non-fiction from this list are outstanding. Coop by Michael Perry, is a memoir of growing up and living in rural Wisconsin.  This quote from Publisher's Weekly explains Coop's charm much better than I can:  "Perry (Population: 485) is that nowadays rare memoirist whose eccentric upbringing inspires him to humor and sympathetic insight instead of trauma mongering and self-pity. His latest essays chronicle a year on 37 acres of land with his wife, daughters and titular menagerie of livestock (who are fascinating, exasperating personalities in their own right). But these luminous pieces meander back to his childhood on the hardscrabble Wisconsin dairy farm where his parents, members of a tiny fundamentalist Christian sect, raised him and dozens of siblings and foster-siblings, many of them disabled. Perry's latter-day story is a lifestyle-farming comedy, as he juggles freelance writing assignments with the feedings, chores and construction projects that he hopes will lend him some mud-spattered authenticity."

The other non-fiction is The Day The World Came To Town by Jim Defede.  This was recommended to me by friends who live in Australia.  It's a great small book about 9/11 and its aftermath.  America has a lot of air traffic and when the towers fell, we closed our airspace.  This book tells the story of Gander, Newfoundland, a small town with a big airport and a big heart.  38 planes were routed to Gander, adding more than 6,000 passengers and crew to this remote town.  >Gander residents responded as if good deeds were the main business of their lives. They housed the stranded passengers in their homes, fed them, clothed them, even provided impromptu entertainment.  Defede did some great research; I loved this small 256 page account of Gander and didn't want it to end.

Here are some brief notes about other reads from May.

Brilliantly capturing an America roaring into a new age, Sweet Thunder is another great tale from a classic American novelist. I’ve read everything Ivan Doig has written, I don’t think he could write a bad book.

Cold In July by Joe R. Lansdale is a remarkable suspense novel, full of darkness, humor, passion, and truth; it is an odyssey into the dark recesses of the human psyche. Cold in July will soon be a movie.

Here’s a quote from Suspense Magazine
“Never Tell is a great read. Alafair Burke writes a riveting story with a strong female protagonist.” It’s great to read about a strong woman character.

Moscow Sting by Alex Dryden is a very engaging fast-paced thriller. A great read

I really loved Cypress Grove by James Sallis. A small town sheriff asks a retired detective for help on a case that’s way above his pay grade. Turner, the detective, also happens to be an ex-con. This well written tale makes for some great reading.

In The Bat by Jo Nesbø is the initial Harry Hole novel, but it wasn’t released in America, until this year. This is a great series about Hole, pronounced Ho-Ly, a quirky Norwegian detective. If you haven’t read the series, start with this one. You won’t be sorry.

The World I Never Made by James Lepore is an atmospheric novel of suspense with brilliantly drawn characters and back-stories as compelling as the plot itself. It is the kind of novel that resonates deeply and leaves its traces long after you turn the final page.

There you have it, the books I hope my readers will read and love.
What are you reading?
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