Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday - The Day of the Dead

I'm posting a 'soon to be released' book on Wednesdays.  These will always be books that I am particularly looking forward to.  I'll be linking up to 'Can't-Wait Wednesday' hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and plan to take part in this each week.

I am beyond excited about the book I'm featuring this week.  I love the Frieda Klein mystery series, written by husband/wife writing team calling themselves Nicci French.  Each of the previous books had a day of the week in the title - Monday-Sunday.  Many thought that the Sunday book would be the last.  No, this 8th book is supposed to be the last and it will conclude the story of Frieda and her nemesis/stalker.  This week I can't wait for:

Publication Date:  July 24th

A decade ago, psychologist Frieda Klein was sucked into the orbit of Dean Reeve -- a killer able to impersonate almost anyone, a man who can disappear without a trace, a psychopath obsessed with Frieda herself.

In the years since, Frieda has worked with -- and sometimes against -- the London police in solving their most baffling cases. But now she's in hiding, driven to isolation by Reeve. When a series of murders announces his return, Frieda must emerge from the shadows to confront her nemesis. And it's a showdown she might not survive.

This gripping cat-and-mouse thriller pits one of the most fascinating characters in contemporary fiction against an enemy like none other. Smart, sophisticated, and spellbinding, it's a novel to leave you breathless.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Top 10 Tuesday - Books I can't believe I read...or occasionally Kay reads out of her 'normal' mystery/thriller genre...

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly event that is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is 'Books I can't believe I read'.    I've talked before about my 'rule' that 'if you're not enjoying a book, stop reading it'.  It works for me and our reading lives are too short.  So, thinking about this prompt was a bit hard and I had to consider 'out of the box' pathways.  This is what I came up with:

I love mysteries and thrillers and suspense books, crime novels and detective fiction, and occasionally, in my long reading life, I've taken side paths into other genres.  Occasionally.  Here are some that I can think of.  As a young girl, I read a lot of Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden and other 'kid' mysteries.  When I was about 12 or 13, there were a few books that were meant for teenagers, but not very many.  My parents did not pay attention to what I read or rarely did.  We went to the library and I checked out my stack of books.  If I got it past the librarian, it was all good.

One book I brought home was about teen pregnancy, Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones.  I can recall my Dad picking it up, reading the cover above, and then asking my Mom if she knew what I was reading.  Ha!  Not too long later, he passed a book to me and said I should read it.  My Dad rarely read books, but he read this one.  It was The Godfather!  Yes, teen pregnancy was 'bad', but the 'Mafia' was OK for my tender reading eyes.  I read both of them, by the way, before I was 15.

When I was in college, in the mid-to-late '70's, I got a bit hooked on horror.  That started with Stephen King and his delightful 'Salem's Lot.  I went on to read many, many of his scary stories.  I also added John Saul and Dean Koontz to my list.  And loved them.

After my husband and I got married in 1980, I decided that I would try some of the books that he liked - fantasy.  Now, not all of them appealed to me, but I read quite a few in Piers Anthony's Xanth series, which begins with A Spell For Chameleon.  I also picked up more than few of Anne McCaffrey's Tower and Hive series.  The first book is The Rowan

The '80's were the decade of the 'big' books - the long sagas about families and places.  I read many family sagas by authors such as Susan Howatch, but I also read books by James Clavell and James Michener.  And others.  Noble House by Clavell was set in Hong Kong and was over 1,000 pages.  Michener did huge amounts of research for his very, very long books.  I read several of them and probably remember Texas (1,400 pages), Chesapeake (1,000 pages), and Centennial (1,100 pages) the best.

In the mid-'90's, we moved from Texas to Oregon for a few years.  I knew no one up there and also knew very little about the Oregon Trail and Pacific Northwest history.  I read a number of non-fiction books about women and the westward expansion.  One of these was Women's Voices From the Oregon Trail.  I also discovered one of the best bookstores ever - Powell's.  If you have a chance to visit Powell's in Portland, take it.  Amazing!

I worked for the Austin Public Library for a few years between 2000-2010.  One of the things I was lucky enough to do as part of my job - processing the new books and I got first pick - most of the time.  It was a lot of fun.  I worked with a couple of staff members who were getting their MLS degrees and they encouraged me to expand my Young Adult and Juvenile fiction reading.  I tried Michelle Paver's Wolf Brother, Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief and Cinda Williams Chima's The Warrior Heir, among other books.  I've never lost my love for YA fiction after that time.

Lastly, a couple of years ago, I decided to expand my reading into graphic novels.  It was quite an experience and one that I mostly tried after reading about these books on blogs.  I read books like Anya's Ghost, This One Summer, and Blankets.  Books by Raina Telgemeier, Roz Chast and many more.  One of my favorites was Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Yes, blogs have been a big part of my reading journey these last few years.  Recommendations from friends here have expanded and broadened and enriched my reading immeasurably.  So, before this post becomes so long that it's ridiculous, let me say - THANK YOU!  Thanks for your suggestions and comments and recommendations.  I do read outside my 'comfort zone' on occasion.  And, I still maintain that there's a reader for every book and a book for every reader.  You just have to find it!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Crime on the Fens - Joy Ellis

Crime on the Fens by Joy Ellis

First Paragraph(s):

A night wind blew along the narrow alleyway, bringing with it the smell of ozone and red diesel.  Nikki Galena leaned back against the rough brickwork of the derelict warehouse and wondered how many other women of thirty-six would feel quite so comfortable in such unpleasant surroundings.  The backstreets that skirted the docks were no place for a lone female at any time of day, but after midnight they were a definite no-go area.  Nikki smiled in the darkness.  Right now there was nowhere else she would rather be.

My Thoughts:

This is the first book in a series featuring DI Nikki Galena, DS Joseph Easter, and a team of 'misfits'.  Their location is the Fens of Lincolnshire.  I listened to this book on audio and the narrator (great job!) was Henrietta Meire.  I remember reading some reviews of this series on one of my blogging friends' sites, but cannot recall who enjoyed the books.  Is it you?  Let me know.  I liked this story very much.  Nikki is a complicated person who is waging a war on drugs - not alone, but with the reluctant cooperation for her methods from some of her colleagues.  She's gotten to the point where no one wants to work with her.  Enter Joseph Easter - 'Holy Joe' - or maybe not so holy.  These two characters really click - with each other and with this reader.  And each brings out the best in the other one, in a manner of speaking.  The crimes presented are varied and the pace is relentless.  I'm all set to move on to #2 very soon.  Happily, there are at least 8 books in the series so far! 


THE DETECTIVE DI Nikki Galena: A police detective with nothing left to lose, she’s seen a girl die in her arms, and her daughter will never leave the hospital again. She’s got tough on the criminals she believes did this to her. Too tough. And now she’s been given one final warning: make it work with her new sergeant, DS Joseph Easter, or she’s out.

HER PARTNER DS Joseph Easter is the handsome squeaky-clean new member of the team. But his nickname “Holy Joe” belies his former life as a soldier. He has an estranged daughter who blames him for everything that went wrong with their family.

THEIR ADVERSARY is a ruthless man who holds DI Galena responsible for his terrible disfigurement.

The town is being terrorised by gangs of violent thugs, all wearing identical hideous masks. Then a talented young female student goes missing on the marsh and Nikki and Joseph find themselves joining forces with a master criminal in their efforts to save her. They need to look behind the masks, but when they do, they find something more sinister and deadly than they ever expected . . .

THE SETTING The Lincolnshire Fens: great open skies brood over marshes, farmland, and nature reserves. It is not easy terrain for the Fenland Constabulary to police, due to the distances between some of the remote Fen villages, the dangerous and often misty lanes, and the poor telephone coverage. There are still villages where the oldest residents have never set foot outside their own farmland and a visit to the nearest town is a major event. But it has a strange airy beauty to it, and above it all are the biggest skies you’ve ever seen.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Wildfire at Midnight - Mary Stewart - My 1st Classics Club Selection

Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart

First Paragraph(s):

In the first place, I suppose, it was my parents' fault for giving me a silly name like Gianetta.  It is a pretty enough name in itself, but it conjures up pictures of delectable and slightly overblown ladies in Titian's less respectable canvases, and, though I admit I have the sort of colouring that might have interested that Venetian master, I happen to be the rather inhibited product of an English country rectory.  And if there is anything further removed than that from the bagnio Venuses of Titian's middle period, I don't know what it is.

My Thoughts:

I've tried to remember when it was that I first read a book written by Mary Stewart.  I'm pretty sure it was in my high school days - probably early 1970's.  I'm not sure this one was my first - think that goes to NINE COACHES WAITING.  However, I do now realize that my fascination with Scotland and especially the Hebrides likely comes from my first reading of WILDFIRE AT MIDNIGHT - set on the Isle of Skye.  The descriptions of the mountains are beautiful, painting a stunning picture.  The story itself is a sort of 'locked room' mystery - a hotel with a limited number of people - a murder and then another and another.  I had forgotten how spare many of the books were, written over 60 years ago.  Most of our novels now top 300 pages or more.  This one was only 224 pages.  And yet, there was enough to take the reader deep into the Scottish mountains and into the mind of a mad person.  A few things were a bit dated - everyone smoked - a lot.  The book takes place in 1953, right at the time of Queen Elizabeth's coronation (June 2nd) and also the first successful climb of Mt. Everest (May 29th).  Raise your hand if you knew those two things happened within 4 days of each other.  All in all, this was a great book to begin my Classics Club challenge.  I enjoyed it thoroughly again.  I have another of this author's books on that Classics list - THIS ROUGH MAGIC.  I'll save it for later.     


First published in 1956, this haunting novel of suspense and romance set in the Scottish Hebrides blends pungent description with sheer terror as only Mary Stewart can. Most visitors to the Isle of Skye are there to climb the jagged peaks of Blaven or fish the many sparkling streams, but Gianetta Brooke came to forget Nicholas Drury—the husband she had painfully divorced. Upon arrival, however, Gianetta realizes that this won’t be a typical vacation when she discovers that Nicholas is numbered among the guests at the small inn. Then, upon the treacherous slopes of Blaven, a murder is committed, and although Gianetta missed the first act of an eerie, unearthly crime, the murderer is set to strike again and again before a thrilling finale that pits Gianetta face-to-face with a madman.

The Author:

Mary, Lady Stewart was born in 1916 and died in 2014 at the age of 97.  She lived in Scotland with her husband, Sir Frederick Stewart, a geologist.  They had met at a VE Day Dance in 1945 and married 3 months later.  Mary Stewart was a born storyteller and her romantic suspense books were set in some very vivid and exotic locations - Scotland, France, Damascus, Austria, and the Greek Isles.  THE MOON-SPINNERS, one of her books, was made into a film by Disney.  She also wrote a series of books about Merlin, the first of which was, THE CRYSTAL CAVE.  Perhaps some of you have read it.  I was delighted to find this interview with Mary Stewart and share it below.  It runs over 20 minutes, but I thought it was interesting and informative.  And fun to hear this favorite author in her own words.  Enjoy!   

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Darkest Thread - Jen Blood

The Darkest Thread by Jen Blood

First Paragraph(s):

The brush was thick and the air cool, and the rain pelted my chilled skin.  My shirt was drenched, and my ponytail had gotten snagged so many times I was debating cutting the damned thing off.  Up ahead I caught sight of a flash of dark fur and cursed under my breath.
     Phantom is my lead dog, a German shepherd who was closer to death than life when I rescued her from the needle at an animal shelter in my hometown back in Georgia five years ago.  She's one of the best search dogs I've ever had, but she can also be a willful old goat--particularly when she sets her mind to something.  This morning, that was exactly what she'd done.

My Thoughts:

I read this book as part of our mystery group's theme for February - 'Working Dogs' - which would include service dogs, search-and-rescue dogs and dogs trained for combat situations.  This is Jen Blood's first Jamie Flint and Phantom book.  She has written another series, where Jamie and Phantom appear briefly, but I've not read any of those books.  In an interview, she shared that each of the books in this S&R series will be a standalone type story.  I listened to THE DARKEST THREAD on audio and it was narrated by Elise Arsenault.  She did a good job.

I liked this one well enough, though there were times that I had to suspend my disbelief of certain situations.  There is a bit of paranormal activity.  Jamie and her son, Bear, can both sense certain presences - what's left behind when people die.  Ghosts sort of, but not exactly.  Bear is able to sense more than his mother.  The dogs in the story are sensitive as well.  The FBI team and their handling of the missing girls is where I was a bit skeptical.  However, there were extenuating circumstances that explained some of the problems.  If I had one issue, I'd say the book was a little long.  At one point, a couple of the primary characters are held hostage by someone and that seemed to go on forever.  My final assessment is that I would read another book in the series.  I do understand that a '1st series book' needs space to set up the characters, etc.  Liked the part the dogs played.  THE DARKEST THREAD gets a 'mostly' good from me.


Meet Jamie Flint -- a no-nonsense veteran K-9 trainer and handler with a 'gift' she'd be happy to return: like her dogs, Jamie can sense things the rest of the world is blind to.

When teenage sisters go missing in the mysterious 'Bennington Triangle' of Vermont, an area renowned for its disappearances and strange occurrences over the past hundred years, FBI agent Jack Juarez brings Jamie and her dog Phantom in to assist with the search. When Jack learns that the case shares haunting similarities with the murders of the missing girls' aunts ten years before, he realizes they're dealing with much more than two girls who simply wandered off the beaten path. And when a young girl appears in the shadows, visible to Jamie alone, it becomes clear that something is desperately wrong here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday - Whispers of the Dead

I'm posting a 'soon to be released' book on Wednesdays.  These will always be books that I am particularly looking forward to.  I'll be linking up to 'Can't-Wait Wednesday' hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and plan to take part in this each week. 

This week's book is the second in a new series written by Spencer Kope.  I read the first book, COLLECTING THE DEAD last summer and then listened to it on audio with my husband as we traveled to New Mexico for a vacation.  I liked the protagonist, Magnus 'Steps' Craig, and his whole FBI Special Tracking Unit.  So excited to anticipate the next 'Steps' and Jimmy (his partner) adventure.  Here's the details:

Publication Date:  April 17th

There has been a murder, but not only is the identity of the victim unknown, most of the body itself is missing. All that’s been found is a pair of feet, stored in a portable cooler, and left in the house of a Federal judge in El Paso, Texas. The killer apparently broke into the judge’s house, left his grizzly message, and disappeared without a trace. With no clues as to the killer, the person killed, or the intent behind the cooler, all the authorities really know is that this likely isn’t the killer’s first—or his last—victim.

Magnus “Steps” Craig is an FBI agent and an elite tracker, easily the best in the world. Steps is renowned for his incredible ability to find and follow trails over any surface. As part of the three-man special team, FBI’s Special Tracking Unit (STU), he is called in on cases where his skills are indispensable. But there’s a secret to his skill. Steps has a kind of synesthesia, an ability that allows him to see whatever each particular person has touched in a unique color—what Steps calls ‘shine.’ His ability is known to only a few people—his father, the director of the FBI, and his partner, Special Agent Jimmy Donovan.

While the Special Tracking Unit tries to grapple with the gruesome scene in El Paso, they soon discover another, earlier victim. Once again, only the feet—in a disposable icebox—were left behind. With almost no clues besides the body parts, Steps and his team find themselves enmeshed in the most difficult case of their careers. And The Icebox Killer has only just begun.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Top 10 Tuesday - Books I really liked at the time, but can't remember much about now...

Top Ten Tuesday was hosted for years and years by The Broke and the Bookish.  It has recently been moved to That Artsy Reader Girl.  I enjoy coming up with '10 items' for this weekly meme.  Today's topic is 'Books I Really Liked but Can't Remember Anything/Much About'.  Here's my take on that topic:

I've mentioned many times that I've kept track of what I read (for the most part) since 1993.  Therefore, if I can take the time to peruse my journals, I can usually come up with books to fit almost any topic - in some measure anyway.  The books I've listed here are ones that I remember really liking when I read them.  Some were read many years ago, some more recently.  I remember liking them and may recall the broad storyline, but specifics are vague.  Should I reread them all or just remember them vaguely?  Have you read any of these? (They are in no particular order at all.)

1. The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell - I read this one with my mystery book group 3 years ago.  Think I liked it better than the group as a whole.  I noticed that Suzanne Rindell has a new book coming out this summer - Eagle & Crane.  Looks good.  Would likely read the new book instead of the older one again.

2.  The Liars' Club by Mary Karr - I read this one with a book group too, several years ago.  Mary Karr is a Texas author and I liked this memoir of her childhood, tough as it was.  Probably won't reread it.

3.  The Iron King by Julie Kagawa - I liked this first book in Kagawa's series when I read it in 2011 - can't really remember why - I know I don't really like books about the faeries.  Didn't continue reading the series.  Should I?

4.  Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides -  I remember being fascinated with Middlesex while reading it.  I had never read anything about this topic and I think this was one of the first books I heard of that dealt with a  hermaphrodite.  It was about a Greek family and was quite absorbing.  I think I definitely need to reread this one to sharpen my memories.  It won a Pulitzer in 2003.

5.  The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver - I think I read this one with an online group maybe in the late '90's.  It's this author's first book and was very different than books I normally read at that time.  The story of Taylor and Turtle and Arizona...and that's about all I remember.  Might reread it.

6.  I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb - This was one of those big, big books that we all read in the late '90's - an Oprah pick.  Over 900 pages.  The first cover was a little creepy to me with the two babies - twins - this one's OK.  I remember it was sad and poignant and about twins.  That's about it.  Will be unlikely to reread, but one never knows.

7.  The Cape Ann by Faith Sullivan -  This was another book that I read with online group way, way back.  One of the group members loved it and got several of us to pick it up.  I remember liking it very much and...almost nothing else.  I do plan to read this one again.

8.  The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie - I recently read a review of this one on FictionFan's Book Reviews.  It is a Poirot book and I've definitely read it, but....I cannot remember the solution.  So, yes, I'm planning to read or perhaps listen to this one again.  Because, I gotta know, you know?

9.  Sahara by Clive Cussler - I used to read some of Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt series and Sahara is one of them.  I recall that I was reading this one when I had some surgery in 1994 - took it to the hospital with me, in fact.  It was about the desert and adventure and they made a movie of it with Matthew McConaughey (which wasn't as good as the book - naturally).  That's all I've got.  Ha!  Will not plan to reread. 

10. Birdman by Mo Hayder - This is the first book in Mo Hayder's mystery series featuring Jack Caffery.  I read it not that many years ago and meant to go on with the series.  I'm not sure why I didn't and really can't recall much about this book.  In any case, this one is definitely going on my reread list - likely will do audio.  

That's all, folks!  Join me next week for another 'Top Ten Tuesday'!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Glass Houses - Louise Penny

Glass Houses by Louise Penny

First Paragraph:

'State your name, please.'
     'Armand Gamache.'
     'And you are the head of the Sûreté du Québec?'
     'The Chief Superintendent, oui."
     Gamache sat upright on the wooden chair.  It was hot.  Sweltering, really, on this July morning.  He could taste perspiration from his upper lip and it was only just ten o'clock.  It was only just starting.

My Thoughts:

Every time I come to the end of one of Louise Penny's books, I sit filled with amazement.  This woman has such a gift.  To me, her books are some of the best and deepest character studies I've ever read.  Yes, they are mysteries - crime novels - whatever your term is for that genre.  They are also filled with imagination and beautiful descriptions and pathos and terror.  I always learn something.  I'm always delighted that I visited again with these beloved characters.  I always dread the day that this book - whichever one I'm reading - will be our last time in Three Pines.

If you notice below, there are two photographs that I took of Louise Penny when she came to Austin for a book event soon after GLASS HOUSES was published.  There were so many people that attended, it was not held in a bookstore, but in a church.  You had to have a ticket, which you purchased, and which entitled you to a copy of the book.  It was a wonderful evening.  I was brave and trekked up the aisle during the question and answer section at the end to tell her how much our mystery group had enjoyed her books.  I had no question - just wanted her to know that she had true fans in our group.  I reminded her that she had participated in a phone interview with our group in the spring of 2008, one of our first meetings.  We all huddled around a phone - a landline desk phone - on speaker and talked with her.  I told her that several members of our group were in the audience and most of us were there that night when she so graciously talked with us about STILL LIFE - us in the meeting room of the library and her at her home in Canada.  It was perfect. 

I've also included a couple of quotes below the photos - both famous quotes by famous people.  They appear in this book.  I'll also leave you here with a quote from the Author's Note at the end of the book.  It is this author's description of the small village she created for her series, Three Pines.  I warn you - it's deep. 

'Three Pines is a state of mind.  When we choose tolerance over hate.  Kindness over cruelty.  Goodness over bullying.  When we choose to be hopeful, not cynical.  Then we live in Three Pines.'  

It's my aim in life to 'live in Three Pines'.


When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead.

From the moment its shadow falls over the village, Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing. What can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized.

But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.

Months later, on a steamy July day as the trial for the accused begins in Montréal, Chief Superintendent Gamache continues to struggle with actions he set in motion that bitter November, from which there is no going back. More than the accused is on trial. Gamache’s own conscience is standing in judgment.

'There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience.  It supersedes all other courts.'                                      ~~~Mahatma Gandhi~~~
'All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.'
                               ~~~Julian of Norwich~~~ 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Fascinating books featuring lesser-known WWII participants...and the National Museum of the Pacific War

In these days of books featuring lesser-known individuals (especially women) who contributed to war efforts, science, and space exploration, I was excited to see this display window last fall.  It was filled with books about women and their place in history.

My husband and I were visiting Fredericksburg, Texas, which is the birthplace of Admiral Chester Nimitz and which is also the site of the National Pacific War Museum.  As the hubby played in a golf tournament, I visited this really well done museum.  It was fascinating and took me two days to slowly wander through.  My father was a veteran of WWII and the Pacific part of it.  He was in New Guinea and the Philippines as a very young 19-year-old.  I was happy to get to see more and know more about the history leading up to the Pacific part of that war and also visit the extensive book section of the gift shop.  And, of course, I made some book purchases.

I haven't read any of these yet, but I certainly plan to.  And I also got a couple of books for my Kindle after I got home.  Here's what I bought:

by Cheryl Mullenbach  

by Margaret (Peggy) Parent Lutz

edited by Margaret (Peggy) Parent Lutz

by Sarah Byrn Rickman

by Laura Tohe

After I got home and looked around a bit, I also purchased:

These are just a few of the books around right now that highlight 'unknown' contributions to history.  I'm so happy that some of their stories are being researched and talked about.  This generation - the ones who were there during the 1940's - is very quickly passing from this earth.  Their experiences should be preserved, if possible.  I'm excited to have these books and plan to read them in coming months.  

Have you read any books such as these?  Tell me about them and give recommendations, if you like, fiction or nonfiction, to broaden my reading in any of these areas.  

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Still Waters - Viveca Sten

Still Waters by Viveca Sten

First Paragraph:

Everything was completely still and peaceful as only winter can be, when the archipelago belongs to those who live there, and the raucous summer visitors have not yet taken over the islands.
     The water was dark and shining, the cold of winter lying heavily on the surface.  Odd patches of snow rested on the rocks.  A few mergansers stood out like dots against the sky, and the sun was low on the horizon.
     'Help me,' he yelled.  'Help me, for God's sake!'

My Thoughts:

First of all, if you notice the word 'mergansers' in the above paragraphs and don't know what that is - a 'merganser' is a fish-eating duck.  FYI.  I didn't know what it was and so I looked it up.  The things you learn, right?

I listened to this book on audio and it was narrated by Angela Dawe.  Her narration was good, except for her squeaky voices for children and some women.  This is the first book in Swedish author, Viveca Sten's, Sandhamn Murder series.  It is apparently very popular in Sweden and has been adapted for TV as well.  I liked it very much.  Set on an island, it was interesting to read about Swedish vacation houses, lighthouses, boating, climate and water temperature in 'summer', and a number of other things.  The crime part of the book was well enough done, though I did figure out the solution pretty early on.  This is a first book in a series though and I enjoyed getting to know the main protagonists, Thomas Andreasson and his friend, Nora Linde.  They will appear again in the next book, Closed Circles.  I'll likely read that one soon.  Fun to have a new series set in a part of the world that I find fascinating.  And in case you wondered about my 'read warm books in winter and cold books in summer' - well, this one takes place in Swedish summer - such as it is.  Ha!


On a hot July morning on Sweden’s idyllic vacation island of Sandhamn, a man takes his dog for a walk and makes a gruesome discovery: a body, tangled in fishing net, has washed ashore.

Police detective Thomas Andreasson is the first to arrive on the scene. Before long, he has identified the deceased as Krister Berggren, a bachelor from the mainland who has been missing for months. All signs point to an accident—until another brutalized corpse is found at the local bed-and-breakfast. But this time it is Berggren’s cousin, whom Thomas interviewed in Stockholm just days before.

As the island’s residents reel from the news, Thomas turns to his childhood friend, local lawyer Nora Linde. Together, they attempt to unravel the riddles left behind by these two mysterious outsiders—while trying to make sense of the difficult twists their own lives have taken since the shared summer days of their youth.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday - The Dark Angel

I'm posting a 'soon to be released' book on Wednesdays.  These will always be books that I am particularly looking forward to.  I've edited this to link up to 'Can't-Wait Wednesday' hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings.  I'll plan to take part in that each week.  Glad to have a place again to 'tie up'!

The book I've chosen for this week is the 10th book in one of my favorite series - Elly Griffiths' mysteries featuring Ruth Galloway.  I am always delighted to know that there will be another visit with Ruth and Nelson, Cathbad and wee Kate, and all the other characters that have become like family to each other and to the readers.  We'll travel to Italy for this story, and I'll see if I can wait for the US publication date.  It comes out in the UK on February 8th - sigh!  This week's book:

Publication Date:  May 15th

It’s not every day that you’re summoned to the Italian countryside on business, so when archaeologist Angelo Morelli asks for Ruth Galloway’s help identifying bones found in the tiny hilltop town of Fontana Liri, she jumps at the chance to go, bringing her daughter along with her for a working vacation. Upon arriving, she begins to hear murmurs of Fontana Liri’s strong resistance movement during World War II and senses the townspeople are dancing around a deeply buried secret. But how could that be connected to the ancient remains she’s been studying?

Ruth is just beginning to get her footing in the dig when she’s thrown off-guard by the appearance of DCI Nelson. And when Ruth’s findings lead them to a modern-day murder, their holidays are both turned upside down, and they race to find out what darkness is lurking in this seemingly picturesque town.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Top 10 Tuesday - Bookish Resolutions/Goals for 2018

I used to do Top Ten Tuesday off and on a while back.  It was hosted up until today at The Broke and the Bookish and they did a really good job.  However, they are stepping back from that blog and going on to different things.  One of the blog members, Jana, at That Artsy Reader Girl, will be the new host.  So, this seemed an appropriate time for me to jump back in.  And today's topic is 'Bookish Resolutions/Goals'.

I will admit that I am not a big 'goal setter' for my reading.  I tried that in the past and it felt like pressure and a lot of work.  I will often say 'I plan to read...' or 'My goal is to read...', but I don't formally set goals or join challenges or aim for a certain number of books read - stuff like that.  However, I've come up with 10 'sorta resolutions/goals', in the spirit of the topic.  Here's 'kay's 2018 bookish resolutions/goals'

1. Read a bit outside of my 'go-to' crime/thriller/suspense books.  No pressure, just try something else now and then - like my recent read of LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE.

2. Keep up with the current book of several mystery series that I love - i.e. Louise Penny, Linda Castillo, Elly Griffiths, Jane Casey, Nicci French, Anne Hillerman, Donis Casey and a few others that I won't list.

3. Attend Malice Domestic 30 - a mystery book convention that is held annually.  Since I'm already registered for this, it's a goal likely to be met.  Ha!

4. Continue to use books on audio as a great incentive for my daily walks.  I do this mostly at my local rec center and you can see in this picture of the walking/running track, it's a very nice facility.  Not too hot in the summer - not too cold in the winter.

5. Continue to moderate/lead the mystery book group that I started 10 years ago at the branch library that was my workplace at the time.  I do this as a volunteer now and love it.  And also attend another book group at the same branch as my interest in the book and circumstances allow.  I'm scheduled to moderate a discussion of Noah Hawley's BEFORE THE FALL with that group today. (Update - Austin Public Library locations are closed today because of winter weather.  Sigh.)

6. Read one book a month from my new Classics Club List.  I tweaked this to suit my own interests and selected books that fit the crime/thriller/mystery/horror/Gothic books that I love.  Also, share a bit about the author when writing my thoughts on that month's read.  I like making sure that the authors I've enjoyed are not forgotten.

7. Continue to be adventurous in my crime/mystery reading.  This genre is made up of so many types of books.  It's more than the books that one sees on the 'best seller' lists.  I also love venturing out to unique locations for my mystery reading.  I'd like to read a few books set in Iceland this year. 

8. Make a point to contact the authors of books I've really loved reading this year and share with them my joy in their creation.  I've done this in the past and made some friends.  An author's books are like their children in some ways.  We all love to hear people praise our children.  Many will respond and be so happy that you've contacted them.

9. Try to read a few non-fiction books in 2018.  This one is tough for me.  However, some of the books that I recommend to others most are non-fiction - like BEING MORTAL by Atul Gawande.  Great book, by the way.  Everyone should read it.

10. Last but certainly not least - HAVE FUN WITH MY READING!!!  Have fun with my blog and my book groups and talking about books with others.  This is not a job.  It is a very satisfying and necessary hobby for me.  My wish for everyone who has made it this far in the post - HAVE FUN WITH YOUR READING!! 


Friday, January 12, 2018

Bookish Nostalgia - January 2018

It's been a long time since I did a 'Bookish Nostalgia'.  I'm going to revive this monthly post where I look back at my notebooks to see what I was reading 20, 15, 10, and 5 years ago this month.  I've kept the notebooks pretty consistently since 1993 - 25 years - wish I'd done it my whole reading life.  So, for 2018, we'll visit 1998, 2003, 2008, and 2013.  Let's see what I remember about the books I read in January of those years.

January 1998 - Shakespeare's Landlord by Charlaine Harris is the first book in this author's 5-book series featuring Lily Bard, a housecleaner in Shakespeare, Arkansas.  Harris herself is from Arkansas and this was her second series after her Aurora Teagarden, librarian, series.  I read all the books about Lily and always wished there were more.  It's considerably darker than the Aurora books, but I think it has been recently republished after the author's fame for her Sookie books and TV series and also the Midnight, Texas series and the Aurora movies.  Amazing that Charlaine Harris has kept on going with so many creative books.

January 2003 - 'I have no idea!' - Actually, this is one of the few times when I took a break from keeping track of my reading.  Apparently, from August 2002 until February 2003, no book entries.  Wow.  I'll have an entry next month for 2003.

January 2008 - At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon, the first in the gentle series featuring Father Tim and the small town of Mitford.  There are now 14 books in this series.  It is charming and not overly religious at all.  In 2008, my life was quite stressful.  I had parents that were both living in care centers - separate ones - and was working full time at the library.  My own health had some major problems that year as well.  Nan from Letters From a Hill Farm suggested this book for me as I was having trouble focusing on reading at all.  It was perfect for me and I went on to read the next 2 or 3 books in the series.  I'm grateful to her and also grateful to the author for providing some much-needed distraction at that time. 

January 2013 - The Lewis Man by Peter May, the 2nd book in a trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and featuring Fin MacLeod, a former policeman, who has returned home to Lewis Island and a new life.  The first book in the series is The Blackhouse and the 3rd is The Chessmen.  All are highly recommended.  The Lewis Man concerns a body found in a peat bog and the father of Fin's former girlfriend, Marsaili.  It is very, very interesting as Tormod MacDonald is a victim of dementia and doesn't remember anything about the body.  I love books set in this area of the world - stark, windy, bleak, and amazingly beautiful. 


Well, that's it for January.  Have you read any of these books and what did you think of them?  Come back around next month and see what I remember about February of the years included.