Wednesday, September 13, 2017

“So many books, so little time.” ― Frank Zappa

That about sums it up.

Moriarty and Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

If you love Sherlock Holmes or just murder mysteries in general, you'll love Anthony Horowitz.  Also, he did screenwriting for both Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War, both favs of ours:)

The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford
The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

Fans of historical novels take note!  
The Woman on the Orient Express blends fact with fiction, giving the reader a terrific tale of exotic mystery and suspense, as well as an insight into the life of the legendary Agatha Christie.
 The Aviator's Wife illuminates the private lives of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and Charles Lindbergh, leaving us with an greater understanding of their triumphant and tragic lives.

Introducing Agatha Raisin by M. C. Beaton 

The Man Who Died Laughing & The Man Who Lived by Night by David Handler

I am late to the party with both of these authors, but I am excited to find two new series, at least to me, that I love!

Agatha Raisin has been around since 1992, and after reading the first two books in this edition, (The Quiche of Death and The Vicious Vet), I am tickled that there are 26 more to go!  M. C. Beaton is prolific, and Agatha Raisin is a crack up.  And the books have been turned into a TV show.
What more do you need?!

David Handler published the first book in this charming series in 1988, with 8 more follow.  Protagonist Stewart Hoag is a writer with a successful first novel and subsequent writer's block.  Lulu is his ever-present bassett hound.  Together they begin a life of ghost writing that leads to a life of crime fighting.  Clever and sarcastic dialogue drive these books, making for light-hearted and hilarious reads.  LOVE!!

The Bird in the Tree, The Heart of the Family and The Little white Horse
by Elizabeth Goudge

Love me some Elizabeth Goudge.  Pilgrim's Inn is one of my favorite books, and it also happens to be the middle book of a trilogy.  The first is The Bird in the Tree, and the last is The Heart of the Family.  I'm glad I've now read all three, but Pilgrim's Inn is still my favorite:)  The Little White Horse is a delightful children's book.  Introduce it to yours!

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

This is a corker!  By the author of Big Little Lies, Truly Madly Guilty has something that everyone can relate to:  the affect guilt has on relationships.  Don't miss out on this great read.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Dystopia for geeks.  If you or your loved ones appreciate 80's pop culture, classic video games, classic sci-fi movies and Willy Wonka, you'll love this one.  Soon to be a movie by Steven Spielberg.

Prince Harry Boy to Man by William Kuhn

The author of Mrs. Queen Takes the Train has done it again.  You'll be fascinated with this tale of Prince Harry and his adventures as the "spare" who can't seem to fit in.  Humorous and humanizing, this is a great tale of expectations and how we can all find fulfillment as prince or pauper.

The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star by Vaseem Khan

The newest addition to the case files of the Baby Ganesh Agency.  Engaging and charming, we are again submersed into the sea of humanity that is Mumbai as Inspector Chopra and his baby elephant, Ganesha, tackle the case of the missing Bollywood Star.  If you haven't heard of this series, start reading now.  You'll love it!

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

WWI that is, and Beatrice Nash has just arrived in East Sussex to take the position of Latin Master at the local school. Much too attractive and free thinking to suit most of the population of the small coastal town, she finds herself with her own immediate battles to fight while the rest of England waits for news of war. A fascinating and terrible time in history, and a very good read.

The Lake House by Kate Morton

I LOVE KATE MORTON!!! All of her books are fantastic, and The Lake House if no exception. The 70-year-old mystery of a missing child, an abandoned country house in Cornwall, a successful but secretive London author, all are expertly woven together to create the perfect plot, with not a loose end to be found.  Warning:  once started, can't stop.

Dangerous Minds by Janet Evanovich

Finally, the delightful escapism that is Janet Evanovich. Emerson Knight and Riley Moon investigate a missing island, sinister National Park rangers, and a 100 year-old conspiracy.  What could possibly go wrong?! Everything, of course:)  Enjoy!!

Some final thoughts:
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” 
― Jane AustenNorthanger Abbey

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A Teetering Tower of Tomes

Maybe not exactly "Tomes", but still quite a tower.

The cure for "Too Much Bad News Syndrome":
Rosamunde Pilcher.
I dug these out of the paperback cupboard, because everyone needs a little reassurance that all will be okay in the end.  Enjoy with hot tea and scones:)  Also, I want to move to Cornwall.

Agatha Christie.  No explanation needed.

When I found Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter & Me by Lorilee Craker, I realized I hadn't read Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery since, well a long time ago.  I reread it.  Wow.  Read it again, and you will realize what an amazing book this is.  Anne is a whip-smart heroine for any modern-day book, but when put in the context of 1908 she is absolutely amazing.  And the fun she had without computers and iPhones will make you pine for simpler times.  Anyway, the memoir by Lorilee Craker is a heartfelt book about orphans, adoption, being left behind and finding a home, but you don't have to be an orphan to appreciate her story.  You SHOULD read the original Anne first, so pour yourself some raspberry cordial and get started!

Secret Daughter and The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Two the the best books I've read recently, and maybe ever!  

The Golden Son is the story of Anil, the brilliant eldest son of a close-knit family in a small Indian village.  Anil leaves tradition behind and follows his dream to medical school in Dallas, Texas, a place that could not have been more different from the home of his childhood.  Soon dreams clash with duty, and Anil must learn to find peace with his decisions.

Secret Daughter delves into the plight of the rural poor of India, to whom male children are everything.  When Kavita gives her newborn daughter to a Mumbai orphanage, she does so to save the baby's life, but the sorrow almost kills her.  Adopted and brought to America, Asha eventually returns to India to seek the missing pieces of her story.  It is here in Mumbai that this tale of impossible choices comes to a very satisfying conclusion.

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

 Fredrik Backman has taken a character from My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry and given her a story of her own.  Oh my goodness, Britt-Marie can be so annoying!  Obsessive and unbending, she has rules for everything, especially cleaning.  But hidden under that straight-laced exterior is a heart of gold, and all it takes is some scruffy soccer-playing kids, a Snicker's-loving rat and various other Somebodies to break through to her soft center.  You will love this story of redemption, hope and finally, belonging.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Attention, fans of Jane Austen!!  If you passionately love Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Mr. Bingley, et al, you will be delighted with this modern update of Pride and Prejudice.  Set mostly in Cincinnati and New York City, the Bennet family is up to their usual schemes (Mrs. Bennet), and dreams (Sister Jane), with plenty of nastiness from Miss Caroline Bingley. But, when you read Eligible, first impressions will NOT deceive you, I promise:) 

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan

If you adore Homefires on PBS Masterpiece, you will really enjoy The Chilbury Ladies' Choir.  Set in a small English Village at the start of WWII, we see how the women of Chilbury survive and even thrive with the men off fighting.  Weaving together the stories of five main characters, we find that hardship can bring out the best and the worst in people, but a spirit willing to fight for what's right will usually prevail.  (Sounds corny, but it's true!)

In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear

Another WWII Story by one of my favorite authors.
At the very start of the war, Maisie Dobbs is enlisted to solve the mystery of the murdered Belgian refugees.  But they have been living in England since the First World War, so why has death come to claim these men now?  At the same time, a mysterious little girl is evacuated to Maisie's country home.  No one knows who she is, and she literally isn't talking.  For good or bad, this is a mystery that will go straight to Maisie's heart.

The Whole Art of Detection by Lyndsay Faye

Oh, Lyndsay Faye, my Sherlockian heart adoreth thee.  Thank you for adding new gems to the Holmes Canon, and many thanks again for the wonderful Jane Steele.
Love, The Book Chick

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Welcome aboard the Literary Apothecary, a barge anchored on the Seine and filled with books that Monsieur Perdu will prescribe to solve your particular troubles.  You'd think someone so in tune to the ailments of others would be able to heal himself, but a twenty-one year-old broken heart is a doozy of a problem.  Now, the protective walls of books he has built around himself are about to come crashing down.  A long un-opened letter is about to be opened, and a river adventure is about to begin.  With the help of new friends and old, M. Perdu sails south to the past he must confront in Provence.  Charming and impossible to put down, I loved The Little Paris Bookshop.
Merci beaucoup, Nina George!  A bientôt in The Little French Bistro:)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Too Much Reading, Not Enough Writing

No doubt about it, procrastination will get me every time. I'm once again faced with a MOUNTAIN of books to blog about. So, without further ado...

...I'll start with an easy one.

This happened again.
No explanation necessary.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

If you haven't read this yet, what are you waiting for?! This charming story about a cranky 59 year old man, (I refuse to call him elderly!), will make you think twice about the cantankerous people you may have in your life. I L...OVE...D it!

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman

(I actually read this Backman book first. Wow! What a story-teller he is.) 
Elsa is seven and doesn't fit in. Her 77 year old, crazy grandmother is her best and only friend, the spinner of fantastical bedtime tales that sooth little Elsa's battered spirit. But when her grandmother dies, Elsa discovers that these stories are so much more. Sent on a quest that will decide the destiny of her family and closest neighbors, Elsa learns the true meaning of love, and of loving yourself.

Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Ivanovich

Frozen bodies covered in chocolate and nuts, an ex-prostitute and a little person "Naked and Afraid" on the streets of Trenton, and Grandma Mazur hooking up with a tattooed, motorcycle-riding beau. All is as it should be in the life of bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum.  Enjoy the ride!

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

Neva, Grace and Floss are midwives in Rhode Island. They are also related, daughter, mother and grandmother, with all the requisite love and friction that condition implies. And, they are all keeping secrets from one another. This is a fascinating look at midwifery wrapped up in a compelling story of mothers and daughters, each chapter told in turn by one of the characters. Really enjoyed reading this.

The Thickety, A Path Begins and The Whispering Trees by J. A. White

Kara Westfall and her family live on an island completely cut off from the rest of the world, part of a society where witchcraft is the most terrible of all crimes. Of course, Kara discovers she's a witch and must run for her life...into the dreaded Thickety.  This is a story of ignorance and betrayal, and the similarities and differences between magic and inner strength.
The first two books are very entertaining, and the third, Well of Witches, just came out.
I love young adult fiction, especially fantasy. So glad I found The Thickety series!

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

It is 1914, and Constance Kopp and her sisters live alone on a farm in the New York countryside. An unusual state of affairs to begin with, their life becomes even more unconventional when they run afoul of the local big-business bully. Faced with written threats and bricks through their windows, Constance joins forces with the local sheriff to fight for justice. This may sound like the script of an old western, but it is based on the true story of Constance, one of the first female crime fighters in the United States! Based on fact but written like fiction, I loved Girl Waits With Gun. I'm excited for the sequel, Lady Cop Makes Trouble:)

Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell

If you miss Downton Abbey and you devoured Agatha Christie, you will love Murder Most Malicious.  (A Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery) 'Nuf said.

The Baker Street Jurors by Michael Robertson

Nigel Heath, solicitor, just happens to lease the premises of 221B Baker Street, London, an address that will live in least as long deluded fans keep sending letters addressed to Sherlock Holmes to said address. As per lease terms, Nigel is required to answer each one. But what happens when even the Crown Court can't tell the difference between truth and fiction and send a jury summons to Mr. Holmes? Nigel is about to find out. When he is chosen as a juror on a celebrity murder case involving a national cricket star, strange things begin to happen, and an even stranger fellow juror starts making strangely familiar remarks.
Michael Robertson is definitely guilty of writing an ingenious series of books!

Murder of a Movie Star by L. B. Hathaway

Posie Parker is back investigating her way into the 1920's London movie scene. (Yes! That was a thing.) But, record heat waves, celebrity death threats and murder make Posie's investigation into the goings-on at Worton Hall very difficult. Exactly who is trying to kill famous and beautiful Sylvia Hanro? Why would someone try to kidnap Posie's best friend? Why is everyone wearing orange make-up?  These and many other questions will be answered at the end of another great Posie Parker mystery.  Enjoy the show!

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

If you are a Jane Eyre fan, you MUST read Jane Steele. Read it even if you are NOT a Jane Eyre fan or have never even read the book.  This is a great read!!
This is Jane re-imagined.  She has guts, and she's not afraid to use them.
So, beware evil schoolmasters, landlords and relatives. Also, spoiler alert, it has a happy ending. Take that, all you fictional wet blankets!

Ending on a high note...the best selling novelist of all time.
Over Two Billion Sold

Currently engaging in a little Agatha Christie binge.

Have a great Spring!