Sunday, January 31, 2016

Suspect by Robert Crease

Suspect by Robert Crease is our February Mystery Book club selection.

Another great author I had missed.

This is a suspenseful, grab you story that is a quick read because it is so good.  I say it is also a "feel good" story. One of the main stories is Maggie, a German Shepard. I am always leery of stories with animals in it, especially grown up detective stories.(Spoiler alert) I am not a fan of sacrificing the animal for the sake of the story.


"LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well. Eight months ago, a shocking nighttime assault by unidentified men killed his partner Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty...until he meets his new partner.

Maggie is not doing so well, either. A German shepherd who survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan sniffing explosives before losing her handler to an IED, her PTSD is as bad as Scott's.

They are each other's last chance. Shunned and shunted to the side, they set out to investigate the one case that no one wants them to touch: the identity of the men who murdered Stephanie."
This was a book I wanted to skip ahead and read the ending  because I almost couldn't stand the suspense.
Hmmm. "It" says "Scott James and Maggie #1".  Sounds like we may be treated to another Scott and Maggie story.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Checking in

January comes to a close and we didn't have any ice. (knock on wood). I think if we are going to have any in the winter, it us usually by now. Hopefully have made it past that.

I finished a couple of books this week. Suspect by Robert Craise - review to come. And a book that is in the writing stages by Katherine Hayton.

I read one of her books and found it to be quite the page turner. Here is her info if you want to check her out. She writes stand alones. I talked about Breathe and Release in the summer. Yes the covers are creepy looking. Her stories will make you jump.

I am currently reading a book I won in a scavenger hunt in the fall and will talk about that soon.
It is a YA paranormal fantasy story. And coincidently, for our Mystery Book Club in March, we are going to read YA books. Yay. I am ahead of the game.

Product Details

Did you ever read the Lemony Snicket books? I read them all. To me they were children's books for adults. I love them. I got a laugh out of them too. There was a movie based on them several years ago. Well guess what? Netflix is going to make a series, starting filming in March. I will be watching that. :)

Product Details

I thought this was cute and true. It's funny how panicked I felt when I took my Nook with me to the "health club" and found that the battery was dead. I won't make that mistake again. I like to read while on the treadmill. I find exercising pretty bothersome but I try to do it.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A little of this, a little of that...

So....I have been trying some different things and settings for this "blog", trying to decide if I want to continue it etc.

It does take a certain amount of time and thought. About a month ago, I opened it up with Google + automatically.  Well I think I have been inundated with page views by robots or cyborgs. There is no way that many people in that country are reading this blog. I have now taken off the auto Google + setting.

 But I have been introduced to some great authors with a couple of contacts/comments I did get. So I guess for now I will continue to let you know what I read or watched and what I thought about it.

Did you watch The Abominable Bride Sherlock episode. It was a holiday special. I really like Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, having seen them in other movies that I have really liked. It was good but I was left with the feeling of "what happened and how". Glad to see that it wasn't just me. Here is part of a write up on it:

"The Abominable Bride is a mystery story that lives up to the hype. However, the plot can become somewhat confusing to the average viewer; there are many twist and turns and the narrative hardly moves in a linear fashion. The dialogue is witty and the clues to solving the case are gently dropped amidst the constant banter of the lead characters".

I guess I am an average viewer. Well I recommend it if you haven't seen it and have enjoyed the series. I was not happy to see that the next episodes won't be on until 2017. Apparently the actors are quite popular due to this series and have other projects.

How about Murder She Baked: A Peach Cobbler Mystery on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries? I love this series.

"With The Cookie Jar, Hannah Swensen has a mouthwatering monopoly on the bakery business of Lake Eden, Minnesota. But when a rival store opens, and one of the owners is found shot to death in the store, Hannah is determined to prove that she wasn't the only one who had an axe to grind with the Quinn sisters. Somebody wasn't fooled by the Georgia Peaches and their sweet-as-pie act--and now it's up to Hannah to track down whoever had the right ingredients to whip up a murder."

This is based on the 7th book in Joanna Fluke's Hannah Swensen Series. As usual, someone gets murdered, but this time Hannah is the main suspect. And she still cannot decide between her two suitors. :) Having not read the series, I don't know if she ever does. (Don't tell me if you know.)

Garage Sale Mystery: Guilty Until Proven Innocent. This was really good too.
"Jennifer Shannon (Lori Laughlin) has an eye for antiques and a mind for solving mysteries. Her old friend from college, Sandra, has an antiques store that is closing. An ecstatic Jennifer gets first pick on all the goodies. She expects to find a few exquisite pieces for her store, “Rags to Riches,” but she doesn’t expect to find a dead body. To make matters worse, Sandra is arrested for murder. Jennifer has no choice but to get involved and find the real killer to prove her friend’s innocence. This won’t be an easy case to crack, because cleverly planted clues all point to Sandra."

This is a new mystery movie on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. Flower Shop Mystery: Mums the Word with Brooke Shields, Beau Bridges and Brennan Elliot. I haven't watched this one yet but plan to since I have liked the others so much.

"Abby Knight (Brooke Shields), a former lawyer turned proud flower shop owner is starting over after the death of her husband with the support from her father (Beau Bridges), a new business and her daughter off to college. Life is good in the peaceful town of New Chapel but when a black SUV rams her prized vintage car, she’s determined to track down the driver. She begrudgingly accepts the help of a new neighbor, the handsome and charming ex-Marine Marco Salvare (Brennan Elliott) who just bought the bar down the street.  But their budding relationship is threatened when an acquaintance is murdered and Abby’s good friend is the prime suspect and it all links back to the hit and run.  Caught up in a tangle of menacing phone calls, police corruption and murderous road rage, Abby must work against the clock to find the killer or the next flower arrangement might be for her own funeral."

And what am I reading you may wonder?

This is our February Mystery Book Club selection. I am about 3/4 of the way done with it and really enjoying it. I would be done with it if I didn't have that work thing....

I am also participating (would that be the term?) as a beta reader for a new book by Katherine Hayton. She is an author from New Zealand and I really liked her book "Breathe and Release", so when I saw she was looking for people to take a look at her new book, I jumped at the chance. I am almost done with that too.

More to come on those books.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What's your favorite book?

I am wondering if I could read 2 books at once. Not literally (unless it could be done), but read some of one and some of another and keep them straight.....

Anyhow, here is a fun thing I saw the other day on Goodreads.

Give a short, silly summary of your favorite book!

Here is mine.
Fancy dresses, barbeque, red clay, rotten potatoes

Can you guess it?

Friday, January 8, 2016

From Doon with Death by Ruth Rendell

Hope you are off to a good start with reading for 2016.

For our January Mystery Book Club, we read books by Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine.

Per Wikipedia:

"Rendell's best-known creation, Chief Inspector Wexford, was the hero of many popular police stories, some of them successfully adapted for TV. But Rendell also generated a separate brand of crime fiction that deeply explored the psychological background of criminals and their victims, many of them mentally afflicted or otherwise socially isolated. This theme was developed further in a third series of novels, written under her pseudonym Barbara Vine."

This is a new author for me. Maybe I read some of her books years ago, and don't remember.

I decided I would start with the first Inspector Wexford book.

From Doon With Death was published in 1964. It introduces Chief Inspector Wexford and Inspector Burden and takes place in Kingsmarkam. Ronald Parsons has reported his wife, Margaret missing. The Parsons have recently moved back to Kingsmarkam where Margaret attended school. She is a housewife, very few friends and doesn't really socialize other than church activities. It is very uncharacteristic for her to be gone with out a word. Then Margaret is found dead in the woods.

Wexford and Burden systematically put together clues to discover what has happened to Margaret. In searching the Parson's home, Wexford finds a trunk in the attic containing books with inscriptions written to Minna from Doon. The inscriptions suggest a love affair. But no one seems to know who Minna or Doon are. How are these books related to Margaret? A lipstick was found where Margaret was found. How is that related? Whose was it?

Wexford and Burden trace Margaret's stops around the village on the day she went missing. The question several of Margaret's school mates that  still live in the village. Many of them  heard of Doon when they were in school, but don't know who Doon is.

Wexford and Burden painstakingly follow the clues until they discover the mystery.

I enjoyed the book. It reminded me of many of the current day English mysteries such as Inspector Lewis and Midsommer Murders.  I believe there were 23 in this series. And some were made for television in the 1980's. It was a little messy towards the end, confusing as to who was who and who did what. But probably part of being the first go at this character etc. It all worked out in the end.

Then I decided, why not read one written as Barbara Vine. Again I chose the first novel; A Dark
Adapted Eye published in 1986.

This story is told in the first person by Faith. She is telling the story of her aunt, Vera Hillyard, who was hanged for murder, in England in 1949, I believe. Many articles have been written about Vera over time but now a writer, Daniel Stewart, has contacted friends and relatives to get their accounts of what happened.

We go all the way back 30 years and are told the story of Vera and her family.

From Wikipedia:

"Largely set during World War II, the story is told by Faith Severn, who at the prompting of a true-crime writer recounts her memories of her aunt, the prim, fastidious, and snobbish Vera Hillyard. Vera's life is initially centered on her beautiful younger sister, Eden, even to the exclusion of her own son, Francis, with whom she has a poor relationship. Later, Vera has a second son, Jamie, to whom she is intensely devoted, while Eden marries the scion of a wealthy family.
When Eden is unable to have children with her husband, she begins to demand custody of Jamie, who she claims is being poorly raised by Vera. To the bewilderment and shock of the rest of the family, the custody battle escalates to violent levels, leading to tragedy and a series of disturbing revelations."

Barbara Vine won an Edgar for this book and it was made into a t.v. movie in 1994.

My take: I almost put the book away after reading 70 pages because it was very wordy, descriptive and I couldn't quite tell what it was going to be about. Then the story began. Like From Doon with Death, there are ALOT of characters in this story and sometimes Faith talks about or to a person and you don't know who the person is in the scheme of things. All through the story, we don't know who Vera murdered. But Rendell/Vine weaves together all the unattached loose threads at the end of the story.

At our book club meeting, we read some biographical information before we all talked about which of the Rendell/Vine books we read. As everyone told about the book they read, it became evident that she took some things: experiences, family, jobs, from her own life. A wide variety of books were read from the first ones published, up to the last, published in 2015.

Overall, I think we all enjoyed the books. I am looking around to see if I can find the t.v. movie of either of the books I read.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The TBR Triple Dog Dare

Thanks Kay for posting this. I am going to give it a try.

If you are like me, you have been collecting books you want to read all year and have read a few but acquired more than you can handle. "Ohhhh that looks good" frequently goes through my mind.

Check this dare out and join if you dare.

Here is how it works:

"For the first three months of 2016 read only the books that were already in your TBR stack as of midnight December 31, 2015.
As always, you can include books you’ve ordered but not received yet as well as books you have already placed on reserve at your local library.  You can also make exceptions for certain books that will be published early next year along with book club choices and ARCS as needed. "

I will have to make exception for my monthly Mystery Book Club choice. (Like I am being forced...not).

Here is the link if you want to join.

Game on! (I wonder if I can take a leave from work to read and still get paid.)