Mysterymax & Colour in 2018
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The last two years has seen a serious decline in the number of books I've read and my LT participation. I'm determined to be better this year!
The ColorCAT seemed to be a natural theme for my challenge. So I will be doing 12 categories, one for each month, hoping to read the ColorCat, the MysteryCat, and the AlphaCat. Hopefully I'll even get a RandomCat done once in a while.I'm also making up a CAT of my own. It's the JDMCat. I'm hoping to read the John D. MacDonald books that correspond to the colour of the month. (Getting some time off since he doesn't seem to have written books for black or while.). My goal is at least 84 books.
ColourCAT: (Black) :
1. January Black by Wendy S. Russo - 3.0 - also fits BingoCAT (new author)
2. Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig - 3.5 - also fits Bingo CAT (something in the sky)
AlphaCAT: (M) & (V) :
3. Venom House by Arthur W. Upfield - 4.0 (V) - also fits BingoCAT (read a CAT)
4. A Nest of Vipers by Andrea Camilleri - 4.0 (V) - also fits BingoCAT (long time on TBR)
5. His Majesty's Dragon Kim Novak - 4.0 (M) - also fits BingoCAT (rank or title)
6. The Snowman - 3.5 (Norway) - also fits BingoCAT (different language)
RandomCAT: (A BB) :
7. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - 4.0 (thanks to mamzel) - also fits Alpha Cat (V) and BingoCAT (LGBTQ) and (fits 2 CATs) and (involves travel)
8. The Case of the Shapely Shadow by Erle Stanley Gardner - 4.0 - also fits BingoCAT (2017 purchase)
ColourCAT: (Brown) :
9. Bad Boy Brawly Brown by Walter Mosley - 4.0
AlphaCAT: (J) & (P)
10. Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik - 4.0 (J)
11. The Map of Chaos by Felix J. Palma - 3.5 (J) (P)
12. Spinsters in Jeopardy by Ngaio Marsh - 3.5 (J)
MysteryCAT: (Female) -:
13. Perish Twice by Robert B. Parker - 3.5
14. The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley - 4.5 - also fits Bingo card (publ in 2018)
15. The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper by John D. MacDonald - 3.0 - also fits ColorCAT
16. Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich - 3.5 St Pat's Day
17. The Red Moth by Sam Eastland - 4.0
18. Artemis by Andy Weir - 4.0
19. Black Powder War by Naomi Novik - 4.0
20. Fiddler's Green by Ernest K. Gann - 4.0 also fills Bingo card (Pacific ocean)
21. The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood - 4.0 also fits MysteryCat (Australia)
AlphaCAT: (F) & (I)
22. In the Best Families by Rex Stout - 4.0 also fits ColorCat (cover is green)
23. Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik - 4.0
24. Excursion to Tindari by Andrea Camilleri - 4.0 (Sicily)
25. The Turquoise Lament by John D. MacDonald - 3.0
26. The Bomb Maker by Thomas Perry - 3.5
27. Exit Strategy by Steve Hamilton - 3.5 - also fills a Bingo square (X in title)
28. Dark in Death by J.D. Robb - 3.5
29. The Force by Don Winslow - 4.0
30. The Real Cool Killers by Chester Himes - 4.0
31. Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik - 4.0 (Cover is a lovely yellow/gold)
AlphaCAT: (U) & (Y)
32. Wings Above the Diamantina by Arthur Upfield (U) - 4.0
33. You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming (Y) - 4.0
34. All Shot Up by Chester Himes - 4.0
35. The Big Kill by Mickey Spillane - 4.0
36. The Case of the Curious Bride by Erle Stanley Gardner - 4.0
37. The Old Man by Thomas Perry - 3.5
38. The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes by Lawrence Block - 3.0
AlphaCAT: (K) & (Q)
39. Quarry by Max Allan Collins - 4.0 AlphaCAT (Q)
40. The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp - 3.5
41. The Case of the Counterfeit Eye by Erle Stanley Gardner - 3.5
42. Twenty-One Days by Anne Perry - 4.0 Bingo (Number in Title)
43. Conversations on Writing by Ursula K. Le Guin - 5.0
44. Shrink Rap by Robert B. Parker - 4.5
45. Smoke From This Altar by Louis L'amour - 4.0 Bingo (Poetry)
46. Hearing Things : The Work of Sound in Literature by Angela Leighton - 4.0
ColourCAT: (Purple) -
AlphaCAT: (G) & (R) -
47. Hand in Glove by Ngaio Marsh - 4.0 (G)
48. When in Rome by Ngaio Marsh - 3.5 (R)
MysteryCAT: (True Crime) -
49. The Case of the Caretaker's Cat by Erle Stanley Gardiner - 3.5
50. Survival...Zero by Mickey Spillane - 3.5
51. The Language of the Night : Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction by Ursula K. Le Guin - 4.5
52. Into the Storm by Tristram Korten - 4.0
53. Wobble to Death by Peter Lovesey - 4.0
54. Clue by Paul Allor - 3.5
55. The Wreckage of Eden by Norman Lock - 4.0 (see comments at 163)
ColourCAT: (Metallic) -
AlphaCAT: (B) & (E) -
MysteryCAT: (Hard-Boiled) -
ColourCAT: (Orange) -
AlphaCAT: (L) & (N) -
MysteryCAT: (Spy) -
ColourCAT: (Red) -
AlphaCAT: (H) & (T) -
MysteryCAT: (Cozy) -
ColourCAT: (White) -
AlphaCAT: (C) & (W) -
MysteryCAT: (Future) -
Woo hoo, you're back! I like your idea of using the ColourCAT to help you get through the John D. MacDonald novels.
I was going nuts in isolation. I might not have said, can't remember, but I twisted my knee and got a non-displacement crack in one of the bone spurs. Unbelievable pain. Doc gave me pills, but they made me like a zombie. It hasn't been a good couple of years, that's for sure, even thought it was nothing life-threatening. I feel like I've been AWOL and am eager to resume life.
It was kind of good, because my doctor's assistant spent a lot of time going over my MRI pictures and showing me where the bone spurs were and how I was moving that caused pain. It takes a lot of concentration when I walk, but I have less pain when I walk now than I did before it happened. 'Every cloud..and all that!
>14 rabbitprincess: Thanks for the Christmas card. It was lovely. I missed our yearly international get-together as well. Did you get together with Julie?
>15 lkernagh: Good to see you again, too. I'm looking forward to some BB from you.
Good to see you're here. Those "Read" posters are great! My favourite is Miss Piggy.
Hi, mysterymax! I love your library posters! Best of luck with your challenge!
Glad to see you back, MM. Looking forward to you getting back in the trenches and sending out those BBs. Glad your health is better too.
Oof, so sorry to hear about your health situation! I'm glad you are able to walk with less pain now. Good to see you back for the 2018 challenge!
I love the poster images. Hope you have a great reading year!
Great to see you all set up and ready for 2018. I am a fan of John D. MacDonald so I will be very interested in that category.
Sorry to hear of your health problems. Here's to a healthy New Year with plenty of good books!
>16 mysterymax: No, we didn't! :( I had thought of arranging a meetup at the Rockcliffe Park Public School book sale in November, but after Wales and Bouchercon I had to put myself on a book diet for the rest of 2017. Maybe the Rockcliffe Park library sale in April will be more conducive to a meetup.
>17 MissWatson: She's something else all right. My three favorites are Joe Cool (Snoopy - I have a Joe Cool mug), Yoda, and Miss P.
>28 mysterymax: I bought or otherwise acquired somewhere between 40 and 50 books in a two-month period, so I thought I'd better lay off the book buying for a little bit! In reality it was just a two-week extension of my usual book-buying restriction; my parents tell me not to buy books from mid-November onward to make sure that I don't accidentally buy myself a book they wanted to get me.
>30 mysterymax: I'm right with you! Are they available somewhere for download? My sister might like Yoda for her public library. It would certainly encourage the boys to take a book home.
Great posters, I tried to pick a favourite, but I really liked too many. Good luck with your target for the year.
Good to see you back for 2018. :) I really like those posters, too!
I love Library and reading themed posters - great idea for the new year
I started A Nest of Vipers by Andrea Camilleri in December and just finished it with enough time left over to read Venom House by Arthur William Upfield. And both fit in January's AlphaCat.
Both of these writers are among my favorites. Camilleri has a wonderful policeman (Inspector Montalbano) in Sicily. Montalbano is such a well drawn character. In fact all of the characters are full of life. There's real mystery, humor, and the flavor of Sicily. Camilleri is a present day writer.
Upfield, on the other hand, wrote Venom House in 1952. His character is Bony, a half-caste in Australia, and such a good policeman he is able to take only the cases that he feels will challenge him.
Both of them allow justice to take its course, which sometimes might require a slight bending of the rules.
So far I've only read the first one in the Camilleri series, but I'm hoping to get back to the series this year.
>38 dudes22: One thing I love is that he moves with the pace of the country. He goes home at night, enjoys his food, takes the time to sit on his balcony and listen to the ocean. He has dreams that spook him, and a girl friend that he can't comprehend. I hope you get to more of the series and really enjoy him.
>41 mysterymax: Ohhh I hope you love the Temeraire books! I think some individual installments are better than others, but the overall story (and characters) are wonderful! Of course, I still have to read the last two books in the series...
I have the third one on my January stack. I really liked the first two Temeraire installments.
Welcome back. Chronic pain can be a time thief. I hope you continue to feel better.
Love the posters you use for your categories.
Enjoy the Temeraire series.
>47 VioletBramble: Many thanks! Getting some reading done while the storm rages outside. Hope the sun is shining at your end.
I'll jump in with my 2017 reading:
Describe yourself: The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again
Describe how you feel: The Age of Doubt
Describe where you currently live: Among the Shadows
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Iron Lake
Your favorite form of transportation: The Black Camel
Your best friend is: The Muralist
You and your friends are: The Baker's Secret
What’s the weather like: A Beam of Light
You fear: Killing Orders
What is the best advice you have to give: The Fools in Town Are On Our Side
Thought for the day: Wait for Signs
How I would like to die: Flying Too High
My soul’s present condition: Dying to Live
>49 mysterymax: Great answers. Sounds like where you currently live would be the perfect setting for a fictitious murder.
Everyone seems to have great advice books this year for their meme answers. Love yours too!
Travelling by camel is the best travel I've seen yet! :) I love these memes.
Thanks everyone. I agree our end of the year meme is the best list of the year.
I finished my Nordic mystery - Norway - The Snowman by Joe Nesbo. I saw the trailer for the movie and was afraid it would be a really scary book (Stephen King scary) but it wasn't. Harry is up against a serial killer who kills on the first snowfall of the year, and leaves a snowman. In order to have a case that Harry could solve in a reasonable amount of time something pushes the killer over the edge and he kills multiple times. I like Harry Hole as a character, but this book was too long. They thought they'd caught the killer too many times. First time was half way through the book and I'm going, 'like really? You're catching the killer and the book is only half done? Duh, Harry, I think you're on the wrong track.' But I'll keep reading Nesbo because even though Harry claims he's done, the last sentences in the book let us know that Harry's not going away.
I'm only up to #4 Nemesis but I agree the movie trailers did make me wonder how gruesome it would be. Although I can usually read fairly gruesome, but not watch at all.
>55 dudes22: I think that is because when we read our imagination paints the picture, and it only paints to the level we can take. Film, however, gives you an image which may well be beyond your tolerance level. My favorite example has always been Lord of the Rings. I loved those books, but the movies were just too much.
My ColorCAT book for January was January Black by Wendy S. Russo. A science fiction story in which people left Earth to form a civilization based on freedom. But before they arrive at their destination things change and the world they build is one where the government controls all media so that people think they are free. The story involves the current "King" who wants things changed. The story could have great depth, but it came out as more of a fairy tale. Young hero, fair maiden, love and justice conquers all. A three star read.
>57 mysterymax: I don't think there could be a better title for the ColorCAT. :)
Don't you just love it when you get hit with a BB and it turns out to be a great read? The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue could only have been better if Scipio had made Felicity realize she'd make enough money to go to medical school if she joined the ship, and she had accepted. That would have made it perfect. I believe there was a medical school that accepted women in Italy. In spite of this teeny-tiny flaw, the book was a real romp. Many thanks, mamzel!
It's funny how you form an impression and it can stay with you despite plentiful evidence to the contrary. That's me...with over 40 Perry Mason books on my shelf. (I think Gardner wrote around 85 of them) They aren't the first books I go to when I want to enjoy a well crafted mystery. I think of the television show and pick something else. And then, when I do read one, I'm always surprised at how excellent they are. Perry is a far different man in the books and his relationship with Della is much different. But those are minor differences. The crafting of the mystery itself is so well done. I'm going to give myself the challenge of reading more of these this year.
The Case of the Shapely Shadow has Perry trying to save his client from a guilty verdict and even he feels the evidence (all circumstantial) is so heavily against her he isn't sure he can do it.
And once again, I am left wishing that publishers would realize how excellent these old mysteries were - at 160 pages! A really well-written, tight, intriguing mystery should be very tellable in less than 70,000 words.
>61 mysterymax: Now that I think of it, those older mysteries were much shorter!
>62 thornton37814: Yes, and they were more about the mystery and less about the pathos of the protagonist. That's one thing I miss.
I always associate Perry Mason with my father since that was about all he read while I was growing up. I read some a few years ago and they were pretty good although I generally prefer the English authors of that period for mysteries.
Finished Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig. It was very dark. Several times I thought, "I can't read this." But I kept going. It's disturbing, compelling, thought provoking. Miriam is in her twenties. She's had a tough life, due in large part to the fact that if her skin touches someone else's skin she sees how they will die. It's about fate and the possibility of changing fate. I gave it 3.5 stars. Not 4, because I will never read it again, but not 3 because I couldn't stop reading it. Would I recommend it. Conditionally, yes.
>65 mysterymax: I often have troble rating books that fall between 3.5 and 4.0 stars. So I also like your rationale for your rating - that's a good one to remember - "would I read it again?" - if a yes, then it gets 4 stars. :)
>65 mysterymax: I really liked that one but haven't got around to picking up the sequels as yet so thanks for the reminder. It's definitely not a comfortable read so I can understand the reaction.
Time for the month's recap. I've already started one of my February books because it's long.
Books Read - 8
New Authors - 3
Off my Shelves - 5
Reviews - 4
Cats Filled - 4
Bingo Spaces Filled - 10
Best of the Month - His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
Saddest of the Month - January Black by Wendy S. Russo
>73 AHS-Wolfy: There are two authors with the name Kate Griffin. The author of A Madness of Angels Kate Griffin is the pseudonym of Catherine Webb. She writes very enjoyable YA under her name Webb and her adult books are under Griffin. Madness is the first book in the Matthew Swift series (5 books). The next series Magical Anonymous has at least two books. I'll look forward to hearing what you think about her writing.
Finished the second book in the Temeraire series Throne of Jade by Kim Novik. Can hardly wait to read the next one.
I also had a quick read while in the car - Plum Lucky one of the shorter "between numbers" Plum books. Loved it. It filled the RandomCAT as it starts on St Patrick's Day. Complete with a leprechaun and a pile of money!
>77 mysterymax: I did not know that! Thank you! I will have to read them. I love her writing. I bought a book by "Kate Griffin" and was so disappointed. I thought 'how could she have written that?' and then realized it was the other Kate Griffin. The second Griffin is writing under her own name. I think she tried to get exclusive use, but failed. When were the Claire North books written? Recently or a while back? (None of the books I have mention them}
>77 mysterymax: There's been a steady release pattern over last few years. Five books released under that name since 2014 of which I have read one while another resides on the tbr shelves.
I'll look them up. She's such a good writer. Thanks for the info. Since Phil saw his shadow today it looks like there is lots of reading & writing time ahead.
Finished The Map of Chaos. This is the third of a trilogy by Felix J. Palma. Of the three I enjoyed the second the most. It is an ambitious trilogy. H. G. Wells is the prominent character throughout and each book features elements of his stories - Martian invasion, time machine, invisible man, etc.
My ColorCAT book was Bad Boy Brawley Brown by Mosley and it was great to read a wonderful part of an awesome series. This may be the best of the Easy Rawlings series. Every word in perfect. His characters are so real and vivid.
My MysteryCAT book was Perish Twice by Robert B. Parker. Sunny Randall is his female protagonist. She's an ex-cop turned PI. I enjoyed the first one in the series Family Honor more. I'll probably keep reading the series to see how it goes. This one involved three murders, all of which revolved around the sex trade. It also had two sub-stories going. One was about her sister (a completely unlikeable character) and the other her fried. They both had husband problems which was a bit boring.
This is going to be a difficult month in which to choose my 'best' read. I just finished The Red Moth by Sam Eastland which was an ER book. My favorite spy books and historical policeman books are set during WWII and the following Cold War. As a teen I was mesmerized by Russia and if I had had a bucket list (at that age bucket lists weren't a concern) the sole item on it would have been to be able to go to Russia and spend as much time at the Winter Palace as I could and visit the Amber Room every day.
The Red Moth takes place in the summer of 1941 as German tanks are rolling into Russia. A German plane, carrying the pilot and an SS officer, crashes and before Russian troops can take them captive the SS officer shoots the pilot and himself. He was carrying a bag containing a painting of a rare red moth. Stalin feels there is more to this than meets the eye and he sends Inspector Pekkala to discover the secret. The secret concerns the Amber Room.
Since the world outside was taking a breath due to a winter storm, I spent the morning reading. Much to my delight I have discovered there are several books by Eastland starring the Inspector!
There was only one tiny flaw that I noticed. One of the Russian soldiers had been a radio announcer and full of himself, at one point, exclaims "Once I got a letter from Vanuatu and I don't even know where that is!" He couldn't have known because Vanuatu became Vanuatu in 1980. In 1941 it was called New Hebrides. I think Eastland wanted a place far-away, that few people knew about and which had an exotic sounding name. I only know its history because a friend went to live there in the late '70s.
In spite of that, the book is a solid four star read.
>83 mysterymax: What a blooper! If one was writing about a remote, exotic place like Vanuatu, surely a quick check would be essential.
ETA: Great review, though!
>83 mysterymax: - And aren't publishers supposed to proof-read? Maybe you can let the publisher know before it's released or maybe they can change it for the next printing.
>86 dudes22: Yeah, ER should be books not yet on the shelves...but in this case I think it's already out. I think I will send them an email anyway. Good idea.
Finished Artemis by Andy Weir. Note to writers - hope that your first book isn't a block buster, because everything afterwards will be compared to it. I liked Artemis. It took me a while to get into it, perhaps because of my feelings about The Martian, but I really enjoyed it. In fact, I woke up last night in the middle of the night and had to read more. Jazz is a great anti-hero. She's a smuggler, but in the end she's a hero, of sorts. Artemis is a colony on the moon. The supporting characters (both good and bad) were well drawn and alive. I came to really like Jazz, Weir's female protagonist. I found her real and enjoyed her take on her life. The story was dramatic and breath-holding. (Another movie?) One person reviewing it thought someone should have died during The Nap, so it wasn't realistic enough. Well, our hero in The Martian should have died, too, but he didn't. That's what fiction is. People can accomplish the unlikely, and I would submit - who needs reality at this point in time. The world-building of Artemis was good and believable. I'm not qualified to comment on the scientific accuracy, but I could picture it. All in all, a very strong, solid four stars which might turn into 4.5 if I think about it enough!
>88 mysterymax: I liked Artemis well enough, but I think I'd have liked it a lot more if I'd read it before The Martian. It was just impossible, try as I might, to not have high expectations. I agree with you in that having a blockbuster debut is somewhat of a curse.
Thanks so much for stopping by my thread. I had fun catching up with yours, and I have it starred now. Love the reading posters, and I look forward to following your reading this year.
My John D. MacDonald read for this month The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper was difficult to read because it was a very old paperback. (A 1968 pulp paperback). The pages were yellowed to the point you could barely see the print, and the spine was broken and pages kept falling out.
But I persisted. I had decided to make a personal CAT challenge this year and read MacDonald's books, so I selected ones that will also match the Color Challenge. I made the challenge because by husband, and a writer I respect a great deal -R. A. Harold - once had a discussion over dinner about how much they are influenced by his writing. Since I'm not a fan of books set in Florida (I have no idea why) I haven't read him before even though he is considered one of the Masters in the mystery genre.
My decision - Very mixed. I gave the book three stars. His affair with a woman leads to her asking him (on her deathbed years later) to watch over her one daughter. So I understand why we needed to know why the affair had been meaningful to him - but six pages describing the sexual aspects and her appeal was too much for me and I almost put the book down. But once we got through the backstory the rest moved well. There were places where I could have used less detail in one of the characters financial dealings and I skipped several paragraphs of that type.
Having recently read a Walter Mosley book the comparison was natural. I would prefer to write like Mosley. I don't think it had to do with the time period of the stories. My favorite mysteries are the hard-boiled detectives of the old days. Perhaps, as I make my way through the rest of the ones I've selected to read I'll come to appreciate him more. Next month is The Green Ripper.
>93 mysterymax: I haven't read any of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series, but I do enjoy his stand alone mysteries finding them quite dark and gritty.
>94 DeltaQueen50: All the ones I've chosen for the challenge are McGee stories. How would you rank MacDonald as compared to Chandler, Ross MacDonald, Hammett, Spillane?
>95 mysterymax: I am ashamed to admit that I haven't read Chandler, Ross or Spillane yet. So far I would say MacDonald's books are much more violent than Hammett, perhaps a little grittier and not quite as literary (if that makes sense). Cape Fear is one of MacDonald's that stands out as being very good.
ETA: Whoops!! What am I thinking? Of course I have read Chandler - I love his books. Chandler is the better writer over MacDonald, but MacDonald is very good at the hard-boiled, American crime novel. He actually said that he was influenced by Chandler and James M Cain.
>96 DeltaQueen50: I'll try to keep an open mind as I read more of them. I've never figured out why books set in the Florida/Caribbean area turn me off. but that may have influenced how I felt about JDM.
Flavia IS back! Hooray! After the last two installments I was worried that the series was starting to go. But The Grave's a Fine and Private Place is great. I am so happy. And Dogger has always been one of my favorite characters. I knew there was a great story behind him and this book has him far more front and center. Her relationship with her sisters has matured, so I guess we will no longer have the pranks they visited upon each other, but a small loss. 4.5 stars!
>98 mysterymax: - I've always liked Dogger too. And it's good to know when I hit those books that are not too good, that a good one will be coming.
ETA: I do have a bit to go before I get there though. I should try to fit one in this year.
Note to writers - hope that your first book isn't a block buster, because everything afterwards will be compared to it.
So true, and what a very high standard to try and maintain! I haven't read Artemis yet - I loved The Martian! - so will keep your comments in mind if and when I do get around to reading it.
>98 mysterymax: - Glad to see the latest Flavia is a winner! I am holding off on reading it until March so that I can count it as a Green ColorCAT read (and because I don't want to travel with my copy). ;-)
It's been a busy week, but I did manage to get a book done. Ngaio Marsh's Spinsters in Jeopardy. It was different, for a British mystery. Insp. Alleyn is in France with his wife and son. He's combining a work trip (investigating a drug ring) and a vacation for the family. He also stumbles into a case of murder and a cult. Not my favorite, but well done.
I think I've finished my Feb. reading as I have a March 1 writing deadline which I need to get done.
Books Read - 11
New Authors - 1
Off my Shelves - 6
Reviews - 1
Cats Filled - 5
Bingo Spaces Filled - 1
Best of the Month - a tie - The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley & Artemis by Andy Weir
Saddest of the Month - The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper by John D. MacDonald
I added 3 new books to my collection and got rid of 4 (progress!)
>104 mysterymax: Well done on getting rid of more than you acquired this month. I'm going backwards with respect to that I'm afraid.
>103 mysterymax: I had a sneaking fondness for that one even though the storyline is totally bananas. I particularly liked Ricky and the use of French in the dialogue.
Congrats on a successful February! 11 is very good, especially considering the shortness of the month.
>103 mysterymax: It's a half-truth. They haven't actually made it to the library yet, for the library sale, but they are in plastic bags and by the door!
>106 rabbitprincess: I think Ricky was the saving grace of the book.
>107 thornton37814: I think having the Cats as a big part of my planning has helped. I've been reading them first, and then reading what I fancy if there's time.
>108 mysterymax: It's motivating you to finish more so you can read what you want. LOL
>103 mysterymax: I really like Ngaio Marsh's novels, though I've not read that one yet. I have a couple of her books on my shelves and will try to fit them into April's MysteryCAT (Golden Age mysteries).
I don't know why the touchstone won't work with this. I just finished Fiddler's Green by Ernest K. Gann. It's in my library, but the touchstone doesn't recognize it for some reason.
I haven't read Gann in a long time, even though he's always been one of my favorite writers. This was one I missed, and I loved it. Bruno is a man on the run. He killed a man in the heat of an argument, but he's a two-time loser and he knows this will put him behind bars for a long time. He hides in the hold of a fishing boat, only to awaken in the morning already at sea. At first, he thinks this is a great get away. But the sea begins to take hold of him and change him. 4 stars, fills the colorcat, and a space on the bingo card.
>111 mysterymax: I had a touchstone act goofy this morning too, but I thought it was because I was one of only two people with the book.
I have Gann's The Aviator on my shelves and will read it eventually!
>172 Here's his description of the fog:
"The fog, sliding through the Golden Gate, pushed eastward until it swallowed the city of San Francisco. It pressed upon the wharves, enveloping them and the brooding hills above them. It sank again; flowed, rose and fell, with the steep inclination of the streets. Horns on the bridges and on Lime Point, on Alcatraz Island and Mile Rock protested the intruder. They yelled separately or together, according to the whims of the light wind." I could copy the entire book...he's great.
Finished The Green Mill Murder a Phryne Fisher installment. One of my favorites so far. Deals with blues and jazz, the effect of war on soldier, and she gets to fly her plane to a remote spot in the mountains. Not much with Jack, Dot, and gang, but still a good installment in the series.
It was difficult to decide if it should go in the ColorCAT or MysteryCAT, I opted for color since green was both in the title and the author's name. Miss Fisher, of course, is in Australia. One disappointment I had was learning how much they had changed the story line for the tv series. (which I love, too). The book was, of course, the better. The change revolved around the flight to find Vic. Everything about that was changed.
I've managed to get my manuscripts off by the deadline and now have to polish for another submission. That will give me time to figure out what to read next, lol.
Ignored all other tasks today in order to finish In the Best Families by Rex Stout.
"Your chief trouble," he said, not offensively, "is that you think you've got a sense of humor. It confuses people, and you ought to get over it. Things strike you as funny. You thought it would be funny to have a talk with Rackham, and it may be all right this time, but someday something that you think is funny will blow your goddam head right off your shoulders." Only after he had gone did it occur to me that that wouldn't prove it wasn't funny.
This is possibly one of my best Stout reads so far. Wolfe actually leaves the Brownstone for several months. The solution to the killer is simple, so simple it's brilliant. But he must also defeat a very deadly enemy. 4 stars. It fits the AlphaCat (F & I) for this month. Also, I lucked out...the cover is green!
Dark in Death by J. D. Robb was my latest read. I have two shorter books and one long one left to go this month. My feelings were mixed. It seemed a little like Robb was using the plot to air her frustration with writing, but maybe I was imagining it.
Excursion to Tindari is my global mystery. It's another Inspector Montalbano. Loved it.
>120 thornton37814: I know! He's becoming my favorite living mystery series.
I'm giving The Force by Don Winslow four stars. But if you don't like swearing, sex, or violence this is not the book for you. This is the story of Sergeant Denny Malone, who started out wanting to be a good cop. Now he's a dirty cop. It was a page turner.
My John D. MacDonald this month was The Turquoise Lament. I started off liking this one more than The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper and thinking maybe I could get into MacDonald after all. However, I found myself skipping entire paragraphs and finally entire pages.
So I'm giving up on this challenge. I know he's a long-standing master, but he's just not for me.
I'm going to turn that challenge into a Perry Mason challenge.
>125 mysterymax: I think I will avoid John D. Macdonald's Travis McGee series and stick to his stand-alones. Good luck with the Perry Mason series.
>126 DeltaQueen50: I'd hate to turn you away from McGee. Everyone seems to feel they are great. Not my cup of tea, though. I'll have fun with Mason, it's almost not a challenge to read them!
Last book of the month was the next in the Temeraire series - Empire of Ivory which gets another four stars, even though it ends with a cliff hanger.
I'm back writing, actually editing. My wisdom gained from this exercise to pass on to wanna be writers... it will take two to three times longer to edit your book than it did to write it.
That said, I have gotten two books read, even though I didn't get them posted right away.
Victory of Eagles by Novik. I'm fulfilling the ColorCAT with this book. I was going to read A Little Yellow Dog by Mosley for yellow, but I can't find it. I can hardly wait till our house addition - with bookcases - is done. I know it's there somewhere, but I got tired of looking. Victory has a beautiful cover with a yellow/gold background and ships and a dragon. I'm even holding it in reserve to use as by beautiful cover on the Bingo card, if don't find something nicer.
I loved this episode in the series and plan to keep going.
The Old Man by Perry was my other read. This was a BB. Books with the characters running from pursuers are always page turners. This fits the bill in that regard, but I only gave it 3.5 stars. The problem was - in the back of my mind I kept remembering Runner by Patrick Lee. Runner, to me, was so superior. In The Old Man I first had to buy into what seemed to me to be a possibly unrealistic scenario. Second, I could never feel sympathetic to the female character. Third, I was anticipating more of the book would be set in Vermont, and it wasn't. Don't take my comments as a reason not to read the book. It is an exciting page turner. I'm just explaining my rating.
Two for the MysteryCAT. They aren't the Agatha Christie type of classic. They're American Classic. The pulp fiction, hard-boiled story is American's contribution to the mystery genre. Chester Himes Grave Digger and Coffin Ed story are ground-breaking contributions. Two black cops, in Harlem, as hard-boiled as they come. I'm on a Himes binge, but this one was All Shot Up. Good story.
The other is Spillane's The Big Kill. New York City, beautiful dames, lots of bodies. Loved it.
One of my AlphaCAT reads is done. Wings Above the Diamantina by Arthur Upfield. Upfield write about an aboriginal half-caste in Australia. This book was written in 1939, so some people might not like it, as it has speech of that time. Those people, however, are missing out on a great series. The half-caste in the series is Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, called "Bony" by his friends and co-workers.
Usually Bony's best weapon in investigation is his patience. In this case, however, patience is his enemy. A young woman has been drugged and is dying. Time is against him. Even though it is one of the earlier books in the series, it is an excellent representation of the books that follow.
I realize the month is quickly passing and I need to get some other reading done, but I've been busy editing and there's just not enough time in a day to do everything I want to do!
Finished off the month with an AlphaCat an a Perry Mason: You Only Live Twice which was a James Bond adventure, quite different from the movie, and The Case of the Curious Bride for my Perry Mason read.
The month's reads were all enjoyable 4.0s with the exception of one which I gave 3.5 to.
Books Read - 7
New Authors - 0
Off my Shelves - 6
Reviews - 0
Cats Filled - 5
Bingo Spaces Filled - 3
Best of the Month - Wings Above the Diamantina by Arthur Upfield
Saddest of the Month - but not really sad - The Old Man by Thomas Perry
I added 12 new books to my collection and got rid of 16 (progress!)
Have to share my good news. Received word yesterday that the manuscript for my first book has been named a finalist in the unpublished division for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Mainstream Mystery.
You all make up my literary family, and your support means a great deal. Thanks for all the thoughts!
Touchstones don't seem to be working today. Finished a Lawrence Block book, The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes. Noir. Good end. But before you get to the end there's a LOT of descriptive sex. Not for everyone, and not my favorite Block.
>152 lkernagh: Many thanks. Award isn't announced until July, but even being a Finalist is really BIG for me.
Finished Twenty-One Days by Anne Perry. I gave it a 4.0 star rating because she is always good. But this book is really a continuation of the Pitt series. It is only logical that the series would become that of his son Daniel. Young Daniel is now a lawyer and must find the truth of a case, when he fears it may hurt his father and those he loves.
This was supposed to be an ER book, but it never arrived - at least not yet - and since the library had a copy I read that one, but I'm not posting a review until the book comes.
Time to catch up!
Finished: The Accidental Tourist. It was a fun romp, many thanks for the BB.
The Case of the Counterfeit Eye. A Perry Mason. Not my favorite as the solution is a little like breaking the 'no identical twin' rule. This is the one where Hamilton Burger makes his entrance as District Attorney.
Shrink Rap. This is the second in the Sunny Randall series by Robert Parker that I've read, but the third in the series. Sunny is my kind of detective and this one was even better than the first.
Conversations on Writing by Ursula K. Le Guin. This was my five star book! It's 138 pages of a conversation with David Naimon, published shortly after Le Guin's death. She speaks of writing fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. It was marvelous. I don't want to mark it up, so I may have to buy a second copy for writing in.
I'm hopeful I can read my ER book before the month is out. But I have to hang a photography exhibition. Sounds easy but I have to choose which photos I'll take and do up labels, another bio (edit the one I've used before). Fortunately the gallery owner with do the press release. If only I could move as fast as I did when I was young! (younger).
The Accidental Tourist has been on my radar for many, many years, but having it described as a "fun romp" pushes it up the list. :)
The month's I had some good non-fiction reads Conversations on Writing, Hearing Things : The Work of Sound in Literature, and Smoke From This Alter. The last is a beautiful book of poetry by Louis L'Amour, best known for his westerns.
Books Read - 9
New Authors - 2
Off my Shelves - 6
Reviews - 1
Cats Filled - 3
Bingo Spaces Filled - 2
Best of the Month - Fiction - Shrink Rap by Robert B. Parker, Non-Fiction - Conversations on Writing
Saddest of the Month - Girl With the Deep Blue Eyes by Lawrence Block
I added ? new books to my collection and got rid of 0 (lost track)
Things may slow down as I have some serious editing work to do...
Serious editing plus visits from my two daughters. I've barely managed to get three books read!
Survival...Zero another Mickey Spillane book. 3.5 stars, not the best, but still fun.
Into the Storm by Tristan Korten. 4 stars. A rescue at sea by the Coast Guard. Well done, but not as good as The Finest Hours by Tougias.
The Language of the Night by Ursula K. Le Guin 4.5 stars and I book I want for my own collection. This is a book of her essays. Fantastic.
Smoke from this Alter sounds interesting and my local library actually has it.
>160 hailelib: I'm a lukewarm poetry person, but a couple of them I really love.
Finished off the month with three reads: When in Rome, another Marsh mystery. Alleyn is in Rome on a case and runs into murder in the ruins. Didn't enjoy it quite as much as the other. The book was over half finished before body number one turns up.
My ER book was The Wreckage of Eden. I gave this book 4 stars, but I enjoyed it the least. As my feelings of war, and the carnage it brings, has deepened to the point of loathing I found the book difficult to read in the beginning. Lock is a good writer and he pretty much sums up the excuses of what happens in war. At Harper's Ferry he asks, "Do you think John Brown could be right?" He is answered, "The army relieves us of moral misgiving," he replied, neither with a smile nor a smirk. In his voice, however, I sensed his relief. "I have my doctoring and you your ministering. We'll leave right and wrong to God and the generals." And in the end war made of him an empty man.
My other read was the graphic novel Clue. The edition I received from the library contained Books 1 - 6. Quite a bit of fun.
Recap for June:
A slower month.
Books Read - 9
New Authors - 1
Off my Shelves - 6
Reviews - 1
Cats Filled - 2
Bingo Spaces Filled - 0
Best of the Month - Fiction - Wobble to Death by Peter Lovesey, Non-Fiction - Language of the Night by Le Guin
Saddest of the Month - The Wreckage of Eden.
I added 5 new books to my collection and got rid of 8
Things may slow down as I have some serious editing work still to do...as well as four trips!
Yay trips (including, I hope, the one where we see you)! Also glad you liked Wobble to Death. It was a good'un.
>164 rabbitprincess: Wobble was great, Rich liked it as well. July's adventures include a trip to Lenox MA to see Macbeth by Shakespeare & Co., next weekend a trip to Montpelier VT for the opening of a good friends art exhibit in the Supreme Court gallery, The next week I go to Denver for the Daphne Award event (keep your fingers crossed for me) and the next weekend is Bookstock in Woodstock (VT). It's a town event - three days of talks and readings by authors, book sales, and an exhibit of book art. I'm a co-coordinator of the Sisters in Crime New England booth, so it's work as well as pleasure. THEN I come for Ottawa gelato and friends (and dentist).
I'm trying to at least read before I fall asleep, but I'm so wiped out by the end of the day I only get a few pages read. Are we going to the book bazaar afterwards? I'm sure Rich would drive us over.
>165 mysterymax: Book Bazaar is open from 10 to 6 on the days you'll be here, so if you want to go there on a weekday, it might be better if we meet there first and go for gelato afterward (the gelato place is open until 10 p.m., or 11 p.m. on Saturday).
There's also an ice cream place on Bank (a few blocks away from Book Bazaar) called Moo Shu Ice Cream & Kitchen; that's another option for venue to give us more time at the bookstore.
Good grief, the month is almost over and I've only finished three books. But these last two make up for it.
Farewell My Lovely by Chandler needs no reviews. This is a Philip Marlowe book, following The Big Sleep. One of the best detective stories ever and needs no review from me to add to its claims.
The Case of the Dangerous Dowager by Gardiner was one of the best of the Perry Mason books I've read so far.
>166 rabbitprincess: I'd suggest we do the Book Bazaar, followed by ice cream at the place nearby. How about on Thursday?
The International LT group met Thursday at Ottawa's Book Bazaar where we spent $$$ and then we went down the street to one of Ottawa's Bridgehead locations and had great wraps, coffee and pastries. Our 'rabbit lady' was unable to join us and was missed, but we had a great time and discussed some new places to try out.
I got back to the apartment and finished my ER book The Prisoner in the Castle bu Susan Elia MacNeal. The last two pages didn't change my opinion of the book which is that it didn't work well on its own. I had read the first three or four installments of the Maggie Hope series, but missed the last two. So I was not sure at all how she got into the situation she was dealing with. It was explained near the end, but again, now how she had learned the information she had. I think some reviewers have mentioned Agatha Christie's habit of having the potential suspects killed off one by one. The same technique was used here.
I gave it a 3.0 rating.
>172 mysterymax: - I’ve just finished book 3 (4?) in the series and your comments have convinced me to continue in order. Glad u had a good time at your meetup.
Good grief. Three books this month...
Did finish Ruddy Gore by Kerry Greenwood. Not my favorite of the series. I traveled a lot during August and had stuff going on, but I didn't realize how badly my reading had taken a hit.
Boodsucking Fiends was the best.
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