Hi there, book friends! Hope you are all doing well or doing well enough. I greet you from the dry, hot Central Texas area with little rain forecast for upcoming days or weeks. Well, that's summer. This is indeed one of our hottest years in over 10 years, but 2011 was awful as well. Guess we will see what fall brings. Yes, we've got August to get through first. Aren't we glad that we have air conditioning? When I was a kid, not so much or not everywhere. I can remember the sound of fans rotating back and forth and back and forth. Ceiling fans were not such a thing in those days and windows were open to catch a small breeze. Yes, that was in Texas too. What was really hot was school. It wasn't a normal thing for schools to have A/C in Texas probably until the 1970's. Anyway, I'm grateful for what we have now.
I've been reading more newly published books and enjoying them. Here's some info about three of them. First up was Ruth Ware's new book, The It Girl. I think I've read all of Ruth Ware's books and though I have my favorites, I've enjoyed each of them. This tells the story of friends at Oxford over a decade ago and what happens when one of them is killed during that university time. And it also brings them up to the present day and how their lives are now and the possibility that the man convicted of the murder was not guilty. Two of the friends are now married and expecting their first child. The story goes back and forth and I was reading quickly to see if I could guess the solution. Enjoyed this one a lot.
The next book I picked up was Sarah Pearse's latest, The Retreat. I read this author's first book, The Sanatorium, last fall I think. That book featured the same detective, Elin Warner, and was set in the Swiss Alps. The Retreat has an island setting that has a dark history but now contains a wellness 'retreat'. When a body is found below the yoga pavilion, Elin and her colleague are sent to investigate. As I said, the island has a dark and supposedly 'cursed' past. The setting is important here and the weather also plays a big part. More than one person dies and Elin's investigation gets very complicated. I liked this one a lot too.
My next book had an even more vivid setting, The Himalayas, and it was definitely a 'cold' book with mountain climbing and murder. Breathless is Amy McCulloch's first adult book, though she has written several YA books. The pace of this story was 'breathless' indeed and the setting and information about climbing the highest peaks was interesting and very scary. The mountain to be climbed is Manaslu, 8th highest in the world, and the author did make that climb herself. I think that's why her descriptions are so amazing. The story is good, though I did get a little annoyed with the protagonist, Cecily Wong, a journalist who has come to climb the mountain in order to get an interview with Charles McVeigh, a famous mountaineer. As the expedition begins, someone dies and then another person....are these horrible accidents or is there a killer on this mountain? Well, you'll have to read Breathless to find out.
Now, I'm reading The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner for the August discussion of the historical fiction book group I've been attending. I'm liking a little slower pace and not so many gasps - ha! I'm only going to be able to attend two of the four book groups I've been enjoying for August, so I won't have quite as many books to attempt to read. The mystery group will be discussing The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey and I'm looking forward to talking about that one with the group. Happily, I've already read that one and will likely just remind myself of a few things about it.
So, have you tried any of the books I mentioned above? Let me know if you have and what you thought about them. I'll be back soon to share more. Take care!