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75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Jan 3, 2017, 2:01pm Top

sjgoins: Beginning the 2017 challenge.

Jan 3, 2017, 2:10pm Top

Welcome back!

Jan 3, 2017, 4:03pm Top

Happy reading in 2017!

Jan 3, 2017, 11:42pm Top

(1) Edward Marston's third book of the Railway Detective series is The Railway Viaduct. My husband is reading the series, so I read the books because they're a fast read. The mystery is probably secondary to British railroad history, and the characters are rather stereotypical, but I'll give the series a chance to improve.

Jan 3, 2017, 11:43pm Top

Looking forward to the challenge.

Jan 3, 2017, 11:45pm Top

It's a great incentive to read, though it's probably not necessary for most people taking this challenge.

Jan 4, 2017, 8:39am Top

I am part of the group.
I love being part of the group.
I love the friendships bestowed upon my by dint of my membership of this wonderful fellowship.
I love that race and creed and gender and age and sexuality and nationality make absolutely no difference to our being a valued member of the group.

Thank you for also being part of the group.

Jan 7, 2017, 11:00pm Top

Reading is a wonderful way to be connected with others.

Jan 7, 2017, 11:05pm Top

(2) The Rent Collector by Camron Wright began slowly but gained my interest as I read. While it rather romanticized living in a dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, even with all its problems, it also showed the need of people for hope, whatever their circumstances.

Jan 11, 2017, 12:06am Top

(3) The Iron Horse by Edward Marston is a fast read; the characters are either good or bad; the inspector is smarter than everyone else around him, but I have an interest in the time period and locations.

Jan 16, 2017, 8:11pm Top

(4) The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It was a good format having the resistance and home front represented by different members of one family in order to give a more complete picture of occupied France and war's effects on a whole country through this microcosm.

Jan 18, 2017, 11:16pm Top

(5) Murder on the Brighton Express by Edward Marston is the fifth in the Railway series. The series has decent history of British railroads, but the editing is rather careless: someone who has read them before me has written in words that were missing in each book.

Jan 21, 2017, 5:44pm Top

(6) Shakespeare Saved My Life by Laura Bates is the author's (a professor of Shakespeare) recounting of her work with maximum security prisoners and how they were able to see their lives in the lives of Shakespeare's characters--and to evaluate both the character's motivations for actions as well as their own.

Jan 23, 2017, 3:10pm Top

(7) Murder in Morningside Heights by Victoria Thompson is the 19th in her Gaslight series.

Jan 29, 2017, 3:27pm Top

(8) Crush by Alan Jacobson continues the Karen Vail series. While some actions seem a bit impossible, it is fast paced.

Feb 4, 2017, 4:00pm Top

(9) The Midnight Bell by Jack Higgins. As usual a fast read with a lot of action. Problems are solved quickly, mostly violently, and with a need for a bit of acceptance of things/abilities that may not be quite possible. Still, it's current and a rapid read suitable for an action-based book.

Edited: Feb 26, 2017, 3:32pm Top

(10) Katarina Bivald's book The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a good read--particularly for book lovers. The small town setting makes it easy to identify the few residents, and Amy's letters are a convincing glue for tying events together. While predictable, it is still fun to work through the problems to get to the expected finale.

Feb 26, 2017, 3:30pm Top

(11) The Wolves of Savernake and (12) The Ravens of Blackwater by Edward Marston recall the time after William the Conqueror and the Normans conquer the Saxons in England. The two mysteries are solved by a royal clerk and knight and two priests who are all checking on discrepancies in the "census" recorded earlier in the Domesday Book. (13) Death of an Outsider by M.C. Beaton is a quick read in the Hamish McBeth series. (14) Velocity by Alan Jacobson is a more convoluted mystery following up the events in his book Crush. (15) The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain is the story of a man who tries to return a found handbag but when put off temporarily by the police of Paris, becomes determined to find the woman who lost it.

Mar 1, 2017, 7:10pm Top

(16) The Teacher by Katerina Diamond: a psychological thriller. Even after figuring out "who done it," I was still surprised by other revelations.

Mar 5, 2017, 12:42pm Top

(17) Jonathan Kellerman's Heartbreak Hotel is another well-written Alex Delaware mystery.

Mar 13, 2017, 4:17pm Top

(18) A new series with a railroad detective begins with Blood on the Tracks by Barbara Nickless. (19) Aqua Alta by Donna Leon continues a mystery series with insights into the Venetian culture.

Mar 14, 2017, 9:45am Top

If I remember right Blood on the Tracks is on my list. How is it?

Mar 17, 2017, 11:00pm Top

It's a slightly different approach with a railroad policewoman rather than from a city police department. My husband (a total railroad aficionado) liked some of the descriptions but found some errors he thought were too egregious; however, he still liked the story. The story moved along. There is some "practical" justice involved, and both the detective and her dog were vets with probable PTSD. I think I'll read the next book when it is published.

Mar 17, 2017, 11:04pm Top

(20) Faye Kellerman's book Bone Box is a continuation of the Peter and Rina Decker series. A generally fast read. I like the series regulars.

Mar 23, 2017, 2:33pm Top

(21) The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.
(22) Death in Profile by Guy Fraser-Sampson. While I really like the Peter Wimsey novels by Sayers, I thought this book relied a bit much on them as inspiration. There is enough decent characterization to warrant reading the next book in this new series to see how they mature.

Edited: Apr 16, 2017, 10:57pm Top

(23). Sleepyhead by Mark Bellingham is a first novel. The detective is stereotypical, but the premise for the crimes is new.
(24). The Cutthroat by Clive Cussler is an Isaac Bell mystery. This premise is not so original.
(25). The Diary of Mattie Spenser by Sandra Dallas describes a young wife who goes with her husband to Colorado to set up homesteading just after the Civil War. The trials experienced are well presented, including how opinions evolved--often very differently for each person.

Apr 19, 2017, 9:45pm Top

(26) Faithful by Alice Hoffman. Totally depressing at first, it grew more compelling, so I had to finish it.

May 5, 2017, 11:27pm Top

(27) Scaredy Cat by Mark Bellingham is the second book in a series. The title wasn't as pertinent as the first book, but it read well enough to keep an interest.
(28) The Crow Trap by Ann Cleve's is the first in the Vera Stanhope series. Having liked the Shetland series, I decided to try this one. Her characters are individual enough to set them apart from other series.

May 28, 2017, 4:10pm Top

(29) Anne Hillerman seamlessly continues her father's series with Song of the Lion.
(30) Ann Cleeves writes well of the Shetland Islands with the new book in the series, Cold Earth. Her Vera Stanhope series has equally compelling characters in the next book of this series, (31) Telling Tales.
(32) As someone mentioned to me, another "Girl in/on/who. . ." book is Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse. While another Holocaust resistance/survivor book, it does have a bit of a twist toward the end. It is a good YA book of this genre.

May 29, 2017, 9:01pm Top

(33) They May Not Mean To, But They Do by Cathleen Schine.

Jun 4, 2017, 4:46pm Top

(34) A Front Page Affair by Radha Vatsal introduces a young woman writer (Kitty Weeks) for a women's page in a newspaper just after the time the Lusitania was sunk. While not full of too much adventure and intrigue, the book does have human characters who exhibit much confusion about the war in Europe and who are not superhuman in ability to solve mysteries. It's worth looking at the next in the series.
(35) Off the Beaten Path: Stories of People Around the World by Ruth Colvin describes the author's visits to some of the 26 countries she's traveled to in order to help with the literacy of the adults in those countries. Her work (and her helping to found Literacy Volunteers of America, now incorporated into ProLiteracy) has helped many of us who volunteer with adult literacy programs.

Jun 18, 2017, 8:25pm Top

(36)Hidden Depths and (37) Silent Voices, both by Ann Cleeves continue the Vera Stanhope series. Like the Shetland series, the characterizations are strong and the landscape compelling. (38) The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy L. Sayers is a challenging commentary relating the Christian Trinity to the creative process. (39) Alexander McCall Smith's My Italian Bulldozer is much lighter reading, but actually confirms some of Sayers' comments regarding artistic efforts.

Jun 22, 2017, 4:00pm Top

(40) My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell is a memoir (somewhat exaggerated) about his family's time spent on Corfu, particularly about his expeditions to see--and collect--the animals of the island.

Jun 23, 2017, 10:56pm Top

(41) Murder in the Bowery by Victoria Thompson continues the Gaslight series. The characters have become ones I'd like to know about, and the historical references help give the setting some credence.

Jun 26, 2017, 11:48pm Top

(43) Finally, the next Bruno, Chief of Police novel, The Templars' Last Secret by Martin Walker is published. I like the characters, the countryside, and the cuisine. A good plot helps as well.

Jun 30, 2017, 9:07pm Top

(44) Dirt Is Good by Jack Gilbert and Rob Knight with Sandra Blakeslee describes research done on the human microbiome and how our environments can influence how our bodies react to them.

Jul 11, 2017, 6:48pm Top

(45) America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie is an historical fiction of the life of Martha (Patsy) Jefferson, daughter of Thomas Jefferson. It is well researched but took me a long time to appreciate the choices the authors made in their description of the Jefferson family; however, it seems to be an honest depiction of the people and times.

Jul 25, 2017, 9:38pm Top

(46) A Little Death by A.J. Cross.
(47) The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy--a retelling of the fairy tale set in WW II with two Jewish children being taken in by a woman considered to be a witch. No one survives unscathed--but there is some hope at the end.
(48) In the Midst of Life by Jennifer Worth--Worth evaluates her experiences with nursing from the 1950s to the early years of this century, specifically how treatment at the end of a patient's life has evolved.

Aug 9, 2017, 10:09pm Top

(49) Murder in the Bastille by Cara Black continues the series with Aimee Leduc. I like the descriptions of parts of Paris I might never visit.
(50) Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry is a good mystery. It almost became too predictable but was left with enough situations unresolved to warrant its becoming a series.
(51) Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose is the beginning of a Regency mystery series. The story is good, but it tries too hard to catch the slang of the period and occasionally drops too many names of prominent people of the time as acquaintances of the main characters.
(52) Ann Cleeves' The Glass Room is another Vera Stanhope mystery. I like the character development of continuing people in the series as well as the description of the area.
(53) Jennifer Worth's Call the Midwife: Farewell to the East End wraps up her trilogy with anecdotes that are even more amazing than those portrayed in the TV series.

Aug 23, 2017, 11:33pm Top

(54)Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman's Crime Scene is a promising first book in a potential series. Haven't made up my mind about the protagonist yet but will try a next book.

Sep 17, 2017, 3:53pm Top

(55) Sue Grafton is nearly finished with the alphabet in Y is for Yesterday. She meets rather quirky characters, who are a bit unbelievable but may end up being somewhat likable.
(56)(57)(58) Three M.C. Beaton books in the Hamish Macbeth series are a quick read between meatier books: Death of a Perfect Wife, Death of a Hussy, and Death of a Snob help develop his character and that of a couple of others.
(59) Clive Cussler's Nighthawk has familiar elements and is a fast-paced book.
(60) What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty describes how a wife recovers from a loss of memory of the last ten years and what she does to recover.
(61) Somehow I missed Resurrection Row by Anne Perry. While I prefer to read books of a series in order, this provided insight into how much the characters have changed as the series progresses.

Sep 25, 2017, 4:49pm Top

(62) Rain on the Dead by Jack Higgins is a typical Sean Dillon action book.
(63) Jane A. Adams introduces a new inspector in The Murder Book. Set in the 1920s, it features the early use of forensic evidence. What is refreshing is that detective Johnstone's sergeant is as capable as the detective and that their individual abilities complement the other's.

Sep 30, 2017, 10:07am Top

(64) M.C. Beaton's Death of a Prankster continues the Hamish Macbeth series. Light--as a murder mystery can be, I guess.
(65) Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde. It is a human interest novel wrapped in a light coat of sentiment but not too sticky sweet.

Oct 16, 2017, 11:26pm Top

(66) Death Scene by Jane A. Adams is the second in the Johnstone series. It has some potential.
(67) Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood is the first of the Phryne Fisher series. I'd watched the series on TV and want to read the books, though a spoiler I've read is not as enticing as I'd hoped.
(68) The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz gives Lisbeth Sanders more to deal with. It continues the original series rather well.
(69) Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart is a fictionalized history of a woman who became a deputy sheriff in Paterson, New Jersey, because of trying to collect a debt owed her family and then having to defend herself against the accused. It starts rather slowly but does create an interesting perspective on the time and events in question in the main plot. A subplot is total fiction, but adds human interest.
(70) Death of a Glutton by M.C. Beaton is the next Hamish Macbeth mystery. It is a series to read between meatier books.

Oct 22, 2017, 6:56pm Top

(71) The Choir by Joanna Trollope. I watched the Masterpiece Theatre televised version several years ago and wanted to see how it compared--quite favorably.

Oct 23, 2017, 3:22pm Top

(72) M.C. Keaton's Death of a Travelling Man is the 9th of the Hamish Macbeth series--a quick read to "cleanse the palate" and then tackle something more involved.

Nov 18, 2017, 4:03pm Top

(73) The Prague Sonata by Bradford Morrow. I enjoyed the research into finding all the parts of the sonata. While flashbacks can be unwanted interruptions, here they provided extra information that helped the reader make sense of the events.
(74) Fatal Pursuit by Martin Walker is Bruno dispensing practical justice and paying homage to the cooking and community of the French countryside.
(75) Harbour Street is Ann Cleeves' next Vera Stanhope mystery.
(76) The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is a dark fantasy, which I ended up liking, though I'm not quite sure why.
(77) Death of a Busybody by George Bellairs. Written in the 1940s, it is a mystery with some humorous undertones that probably helped ease the worries of WW II for a bit. It was another detective from Scotland Yard who worked well with a country constable. Nice to have cooperation between agencies.

Nov 18, 2017, 4:36pm Top

Congratulations on reaching 75!

Nov 18, 2017, 4:52pm Top


Dec 7, 2017, 7:22pm Top

Thanks. More to go.

Dec 7, 2017, 7:23pm Top

Thank you.

Dec 16, 2017, 4:12pm Top

(78) Killing Season by Faye Kellerman.
(79) Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood--a Phryne Fisher mystery.
(80) Survival of the Fittest by Jonathan Kellerman--an Alex Delaware book I'd missed reading.
(81) After the Fire by Henning Mankell. My husband kept saying Mankell must have known he was not going to live long when he wrote this--perhaps even more dark than the Wallander books.
(82) On Copper Street by Chris Nickson. I actually reread Skin Like Silver without realizing it till late into the book that I'd already read it (so I'm not counting it). Copper Street is later in the series. I'm not sure how well I like it but will consider another.
(83) Death of a Charming Man and
(84) Death of a Nag by M.C. Beaton are the next in the Hamish Macbeth series. Fun to read between heavier material----like. . .
(85) The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff. The circus, WW II, runaways, refugees all well-mixed in a compelling story.

Dec 17, 2017, 7:53pm Top

(86) Death of a Macho Man by M.C. Beaton, the 12th Hamish Macbeth book. Quick read.

Dec 19, 2017, 7:54pm Top

(87) Death of a Dentist by M.C. Beaton. Another Hamish quick read.

Dec 25, 2017, 4:09am Top

Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

Jan 1, 8:33pm Top

Thank you. Hope you had a glorious Christmas and New Year. Am just trying to enter the last book or two before beginning 2018's list.

Jan 1, 8:38pm Top

(86)(87)(88) Death of a Macho Man, Death of a Dentist, and Death of a Scriptwriter by M.C. Beaton were fast reads during a busy season. (89) Inmate 1577 by Jacobson was one I'd put off reading and decided it needed to get read.
(89.5) The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson is a good book club book with many points for discussion. I finished it New Year's Day, hence the .5 designation.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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