sjg's self-challenge for 2018
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The first three books are fast reading M.C. Beaton's: (1)Death of an Addict, (2)A Highland Christmas, and (3) Death of a Dustman. Despite too many repetitive descriptions, Hamish and the Lochdubh villagers are fun to visit.
(4) Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf is a quiet book with an interesting premise: an older (NOT ELDERLY--too close to my age) couple of neighbors agree to spend the nights together (platonically, despite what the neighbors might think) for conversation and companionship.
(5)The Pursuit of Pearls by Jane Thynne puts a German/English actress in Berlin just before WW II starts.
Thanks. And you can remove the message at the bottom (sjgoins re .5 point of book finished the first of the year) of the first page of the 75 book challenge. Put it in the wrong place. Sigh.
(6) Another Hamish Macbeth, M.C. Beaton's Death of a Celebrity is another rather formulaic mystery, but I am enjoying a quick book between others with more substance--and the character has grown to be someone who interests me.
(7) Nail's Crossing is a new series by Kris Lackey. It feels well-researched and authentic.
(9) Girl in Translation is a first novel for Jean Kwok. The life of protagonist Kimberly mirrors a bit her childhood experiences as an immigrant from China, having to work in a Chinese sweatshop with her parents in New York and discovering education as a way out.
(10) What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris introduces a series set in Regency England. While some of the conversations seem a bit anachronistic, it reads well and contains enough character development, historical setting, and action to warrant reading more of the series.
(11) Murder in Mayfair by D.M. Quincy is another Regency mystery, a bit less developed than the previous book I read. It will probably be worth reading the second in this series as well as in the previous series in order to compare notes on the time period and the characters.
Five M.C. Beaton (Hamish Macbeth) books: (12) Death of a Poison Pen, (13) Death of a Bore, (14) Death of a Dreamer, (15) Death of a Maid, (16) Death of a Gentle Lady--all fast reads and while the characters are predictable, the endings may be surprises.
(17) Dan Brown's Origin is sadly not his best. It rambles for the first 250 pages and finally gets to a conclusion that is supposed to be earth shattering, but is not "origin"al.
(18) E.S. Thomson's Dark Asylum is the first of the series I've read. It was not a favorite though I'm not sure why.
(19) Jonathan Kellerman's Night Moves is an Alex Delaware book. Something about the clever and articulate conversations between Milo and Alex makes these books intriguing.
(20) Read This if You Want to be Great at Drawing by Welwyn Leamy gives a two-page tutorial for a variety of drawing techniques. The right-hand page is a noted artist's drawing; the left page shows how to achieve it. It is a simplified text, but it gives the reader/artist a different basic style to attempt every two pages.
(21) The Hanging Girl by Jussi Adler-Olsen is the next in the Department Q series--a cold case that caused a policeman to commit suicide in order to get the Department Q people to investigate. It was slow going building a case till the end, which did surprise a bit.
(22)(23)(24) Death of a Witch, Death of a Valentine, Death of a Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton are the fast reads between (25) The Moth Catcher by Ann Cleaves and (26) How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen. As one reader mentioned, she doesn't so much describe HOW reading affected her, but she does describe how reading is her life, seemingly at times more than reality. It is a good promotion for life with books.
(27)(28)(29)Death of a Kingfisher, Death of Yesterday, and Death of a Policeman by M.C. Beaton. More Hamish.
(30)The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. Hoped to find something redeeming in the story, but the characters couldn't rise above a prediction of when each would die.
(31) Hollow City by Ransom Riggs continues the Miss Peregrine series. In the first book the unusual old photographs sparked the story; in the second book the story determined which photographs would help continue the story. Either way the fantasy works.
(32) East of the Sun and West of the Moon has both the Norse myths and Nielsen's glorious illustrations with descriptions of the artwork. (33) Elizabeth George doesn't disappoint with the next Inspector Lynley book, The Punishment She Deserves. It's worth the wait between books. (34)(35) M.C. Beaton's next two Hamish Macbeth books--Death of a Liar and Death of a Nurse--are quick reads, predictable but enjoyable enough. (36) When Gods Die by C.S. Harris continues the St. Cyr Regency mysteries with interesting historical information and characters. (37) Though I have liked the Guido Brunetti series by Donna Leon, Quietly in Their Sleep is almost a vendetta against the church in Italy--or wherever. It seems more rabid than the earlier books. Still, it is a decent mystery.
(38) The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn is a good psychological mystery, though this is not my favorite genre to read. (39)(40) Death of a Ghost and Death of an Honest Man by M. C. Beaton bring us up to date with the Hamish Macbeth books. Their predictability and quick reading make them good fillers between other books. (41) Chasing Space by Leland Melvin is the autobiography of a man who worked to become an astronaut and who didn't give up when some serious setbacks occurred. (42) Why Mermaids Sing by C.S. Harris is the third Sebastian St. Cyr Regency mystery. The continuing plot keeps getting more complications, and the characters are also becoming more developed. (43) Eve of a Hundred Midnights by Bill Lascher tells of journalists Mel and Annalee Jacoby, who worked in China and then the Philippines during WW II covering the war and working with China Relief. When capture of the Philippines was imminent, the story of their escape attempt was dramatic. (44) Cave of Bones by Anne Hillerman continues the Four Corners mysteries. Hillerman continues the series her father started seamlessly.
Two books about favorites of mine: books and music. (45) The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce and (46)Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan. The former is full of quirky characters and situations and has a muted charm even when the charm (or quirkiness) is applied with too much force. The latter wants to be a good story within the locale of Paris. Both the story and the city compete, and it can be a bit hard to decide which the author wants to highlight more.
(47) Jody Picoult manages a twist at the end of Small Great Things just as she's done with her other books. It does wrap this book up a bit too conveniently, but hopefully, and it does as she wanted--makes the reader uncomfortable.
(48) The book club who read No One Is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel seemed to figure out the reason for the protagonists to act as they did; however, no one was particularly pleased with the format.
(49) Ron Corbett's first book of a series, Ragged Lake, was grim. I'm not sure about looking for the next.
(50) C.S. Harris has continued her series with Where Serpents Sleep. The characters and Regency setting are compelling. This series I'll continue.
(51) Michael Koryta writes mysteries as a series, with a hint of the supernatural, or as one-off books. All have intriguing characters and plots.
(52) Anne Perry has started an off-shoot of the Thomas Pitt books with son Daniel's series, beginning with the book Twenty-One Days. It's a good start.
(53) Dr. Frank Tallis has begun a series with A Death in Vienna. It is a bit of a laborious read.
(54) R.E. Rosen has written Such Good Girls, about the effect of young Jewish children's being given to Gentiles during WWII when they survived and learned of their past. Sometimes doing good has unforseen consequences.
(55) Maxine Paetro andJames Patterson's collaboration in writing the Women's Mystery Club series is extended with The 17th Suspect. it's still a good quick read.
(56) C.S. Harris has continued the Sebastian St. Cyr series with What Remains of Heaven. She still manages to surprise and inform the reader with bits of Regency history and culture.
(57) Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge is an award winner that is not a particularly fun read. While many of the characters have some redeeming social values, they all seem to find life more of a trial than worth living.
(58) Where Shadows Dance by C.S. Harris continues the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries. There is not so much a new twist in relationships as continued development of the main characters plus more interesting items of the Regency history, particularly as it relates to the United States.
The following books are to fill part of a library summer reading challenge:
(59) Sarah's Song by Karen Kingsbury--a bit simplistic, but nice to read a book with a happy, though bittersweet, ending
(60) The Sunken Church: The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury. A graphic novel full of sound and fury, etc.
(61) Murder in Thrall by Anne Cleeland. Introduces a series. First book is disjoint with a stalker protagonist and a stilted stereotypical Irish girl as his foil--and love interest. MAY BE worth trying the next book to see if it improves.
(62) Huckleberry Finished by Livia J. Washburn. Totally pat mystery with obvious clues the "heroine" doesn't get.
(63) Butternut by John Ceder. Written in Ozark dialect about a young soldier (and regiment) from the Ozarks serving in WW II in Italy. Besides the heavy handed dialect, the author slips in descriptive paragraphs of real prose, sometimes nearly poetical, other times overblown.
(64) The Stardust Road by Hoagy Carmichael. Finally a light, but entertaining autobiography of the composer, who performed with so many jazz greats and wrote some also light, but very entertaining music.
(65) The Giver by Lois Lowry. It fulfills a requirement of an award book for summer reading. Should have read it long ago, but I see why it won the Newbery Award.
(66) Air Raid Nights & Radio Days by Don Schroeder and Dan Mitchell. Liked the references to growing up in Indianapolis.
(67) Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. Well written, but I didn't like the characters.
(68) Gilbert & Sullivan in an Hour by Marc Shepherd. Good synopsis of the relationship between the two in their composition of operettas.
(69) Hadrian's Wall by Adrian Goldsworthy. Seemed well researched and more than I'll probably need to know about the wall.
(70) Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah. Reminded me of another book.
(71) The Silver Locomotive Mystery by Edward Marston, also (72) Railway to the Grave. Continuing the series.
(73)(74)(75)(76) What Darkness Brings, Why Kings Confess, Who Buries the Dead, and Where the Dead Lie--all by C.S. Harris. I appreciate her research into the Regency period.
(77) Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. Sad because it was based on a true adoption scheme that had many well-known people endorsing the program while it treated the children horridly.
(78) Indiana's Lost National Road by David Lee Humphrey and Dan Carpenter. Pictures and descriptions of the sections of US 40 through Indiana.
(79) A Taste for Vengeance by Martin Walker. Another fine book in the Bruno, Chief of Police series.
(80) The Gray Ghost by Clive Cussler. Predictable, but always full of adventure.
(81) Murder on Union Square by Victoria Thompson. Another series we want to read. This one fills in some gaps of the previous book.
(82) Crisis at the Cathedral by Jeanne M. Dams. Read it because it is an Indiana author. A mystery without having a murder in it.
(83) Death Notice by Haohui Zhou, translated by Zac Haluza. I thought it was ending with too little time to wrap up the loose ends; then I see it's part one of a trilogy.
(84) The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths. Started a new series recommended to me. Sort of a cross between Kathy Reichs and Ann Cleeves.
(85) Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood. The next Phryne Fisher book.
(86) The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood. A book club book. A relationship between the two women protagonists of different eras becomes apparent late in the book. They are a bit hard to like.
Thank you all. It's been fun. Maybe 100 is not such a hard goal now.
So add (87) Elly Griffiths' second book in the Ruth Galloway series: The Janus Stone. More development of the main characters and some red herrings, which weren't out of place.
(88) The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes by Leonard Goldberg is written in a Doyle-like style. Not sure yet if the series is one I'd pursue.
(89) Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood is a Phryne Fisher mystery. Fun read--as much as murder (on paper) can be.
(90) Why Kill the Innocent by C.. Harris: Next in Recency Sebastian St. Cyr series.
(91) The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths: Forensic anthropology series.
(92) Robert Ludlum's The Geneva Strategy by Jamie Freveletti: Adventure and Intrigue.
(93) Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb: Epistolary novel.
(94) The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood: Phryne Fisher mystery.
(95) Fugitive from the Grave by Edward Marston
The story lines had promise, but the language was a bit stilted and the characters were more caricatures than realistic.
(96) A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths. Dabbles a bit much in mysticism but still an enjoyable read.
(97) Murder in Clichy by Cara Black. Love the descriptions of Paris--and the mystery.
(98) Walking Shadows by Faye Kellerman. Both husband and wife write books that read quickly and well.
(99) Ruddy Gore by Kerry Greenwood. Miss Fisher intrigues (verb and noun).
*(100) Blood on the Line by Edward Marston. Wish the writing flowed more realistically but will probably continue reading the series.
(101) Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. Enjoyed the film and now the book. Appreciated the differences between the two and felt the descriptions of the countryside and culture were vivid.
(102) A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths. While still a dash or two of druids and some cultish groups, this one had some true mystery and threat. Griffiths also pulled off a surprise near the end that wasn't telegraphed earlier.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.