Monday, September 18, 2017

What We're Reading

INGRID THOFT

It’s Monday, the beginning of the week here at Jungle Reds, but I wanted to start the week with a coda of sorts.  Last week, we talked about “What We’re Writing,” and now it only seems fitting to share “What We’re Reading.”

I’m proud to admit that I’m in the middle of an Ann Cleeves binge. I am reading all of the Vera Stanhope books, not even in order, just when I can get my hands on them.  Even though I’ve watched the first few seasons of the TV show, I’m still completely enthralled with the books, and I’m consuming them like a box of Wheat Thins, and you know I’m a slave to Wheat Thins.  The main draw, of course, is Vera, but the supporting characters are three dimensional, and the plots are air tight.  I can’t get enough of Vera! 
Ann Cleeves in Shetland.

Another book that I’ve just started—I tend to read more than one at a time—is called Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes.  The authors, Richard A. Clarke and R.P. Eddy, both have had distinguished careers in the fields of counter terrorism and intelligence, and they argue that disasters can be prevented, if only we learn to listen to the early warnings given by outliers.  Cassandra, in Greek mythology, was able to foresee calamities, but the gods cursed her so that her warnings of impending doom were ignored.  According to Clarke and Eddy, catastrophes like Katrina and the rise of ISIS were predicted by some, but their warnings were listened to by few.  Warnings examines how we can start paying attention to the Cassandras in our midst.



So, what are the rest of you reading when you’re not writing?

JENN MCKINLAY: Ingrid, I love the Vera Stanhope books but as an avid knitter, I love Ann Cleeves's Shetland Island Series with D.I. Jimmy Perez even more. I have a fascination with the Shetland Islands (home of Fair Isle knitting) and read everything I can get my hands on about the area. There was even an article in my Vogue Knitting (Holiday 2016) talking with Ms. Cleeves about the Shetland Isles. She attended Left Coast Crime here in Phoenix and she is delightful. Anyway -- sorry, I went all fan girl there for a moment -- I am currently reading Sherry Thomas's A Conspiracy in Belgravia, having just finished her A Study in Scarlet Women, which are the first two titles in her Lady Sherlock series. I am so enjoying her reworking of Sherlock (Charlotte) Holmes as a brilliant, titled, independent lady who is too clever and a bit socially awkward for her own good.

IPT: Jenn, don't even get me started on Jimmy Perez!  I would consider moving to the Shetland Islands just to listen to him read the phone book in that Scottish accent!

HALLIE EPHRON: I'm reading an advance copy of Jessica Keener's Strangers in Budapest, and it's making me think about what it would be like to move with your family to somewhere utterly alien. And I've got lined up, books by Mary Kubica (Pretty Baby) and Sara Blaedel (The Lost Woman) who blew me away at Book Passage last week, talking about how they write.

RHYS BOWEN: I'm another big fan of Ann Cleves and the Vera books. And the Shetland novels too. I've never been to Shetland but it's on my to-do list. My reading at the moment seems to be one book to blurb after another. I think I've become the go-to historical novel quotation endorsement person, and it's hard to say no when the request comes from publishers and also people like Lee Child and Louise Penny and our own Jungle Reds have taken the time to read my books. Since the books won't come out for many months yet, I don't think I should mention names as titles could change. Next on my must read instantly pile is Louise's new book, Glass Houses, which I plan to take with me when I escape for a few days to Monterrey next weekend.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: When I left for London, I was a third of the way through the new Ann Cleeves Vera Stanhope novel, The Seagull. Well, I wasn't going to lug a hardcover with me, so I had to buy it on Kindle to finish it!! (And it's really good!) I also left behind new hardcover copies of Louise Penny's Glass Houses, and Peter Robinson's Sleeping in the Ground, but I may have to wait until I get back to read those. In the meantime, there's a new Nick Dixon novel by Damien Boyd loaded on my Kindle so that's what I'm diving into. (These are British procedural novels, set in west Somerset. They are only available on Kindle but I've really enjoyed them.)  After that, who know what might call to me from a London book store??

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I just powered through Louise Penny's A Great Reckoning, and I have to say I adored it. Megan Miranda's The Perfect Stranger kept me totally guessing, and every time I thought--oh, I know what'll happen, it didn't. One of the great joys of my life is interviewing/introducing authors, so I have to (get to!) read their books to prepare, so I just read Tess Gerritsen's  I Know A Secret and Craig Johnson's  The Golden West. Such proof of how much voice matters---two completely different books, and I adored both of them. Yes, blurbing--I agree it's hilarious how that commands reading decisions.  But I count my blessings every time--such a treat! Next to read: Candice Fox's Crimson Lake.  But my current night stand book is You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott. Absolutely chilling. And cannot wait for the new Mary Kubica.

LUCY BURDETTE: I love it when I can report a run of wonderful books, and this happened over the past 10 days. First I read Chime and Punishment, the third in Julianne Holmes's Clock Shop mystery series. She has a wonderfully rounded character (which is what I care most about it) and a fascinating setting in this small town clock shop. Next I read The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
, a big sweeping novel  about an Indian man who comes to the US to study medicine. A fascinating clash of cultures.


And finally, Karen Joy Fowler's We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. I cannot even tell you how much I loved this book. Don't want to say too much about it because I hope you'll be as surprised as I was about the twist in the plot (it's not a mystery, it's a family psychological story.) Gorgeous writing and quirky characters and a compelling plot. What more does a reader need? And on my nightstand sits Keziah Frost's debut novel The Reluctant Fortune Teller. This book reminds me of early novels by Elinor Lipman (a very good thing!) and is chock-full of interesting characters and psychological insights. You'll be hearing more from her!

IPT: I love Elinor Lipman so I need to add Keziah Frost to my TBR pile ASAP!


So tell us, what are you reading these days?



78 comments:

  1. I’ve just finished reading J.D. Robb’s “Secrets in Death,” James Patterson’s “The Store,” Sophie Hannah’s “Keep Her Safe,” Catherine Coulter’s “Enigma,” and Sandra Brown’s “Seeing Red.”
    I’m almost through “Vanishing Point” by Lisa Harris; “Crime Scene” by Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman will be next . . . .

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    1. How was Seeing Red? I'm always fascinated by how the amazing Sandra Brown keep them coming…

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    2. Hank, “Seeing Red” was amazing, one of those can’t-put-it-down books that slowly peels away the layers of suspense as it reveals a complex tale . . . .

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    3. What did you think about "Keep Her Safe," Joan? I haven't read Sophie Hannah in a long time, but I really enjoyed her earlier books.

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    4. Ingrid, Sophie Hannah certainly has a way with words and I often find her descriptions mesmerizing and achingly lovely. But the many implausible situations in this particular story made it a frustrating read . . . .

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    5. I think that may have been why I stopped reading them for a time...

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  2. I just finished Julie Hennrikus's debut in her Theater Cop series, A Christmas Peril, and loved it. I'm now fifty pages into Glass Houses, and I'm still getting whiplash from the head hopping. It bugged me the first time I read her and it still does, but the compelling story is starting to take over as it always does, and then I don't care any more.

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  3. I'm in the midst of reading the new Vicki Delany Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery "Body on Baker Street".

    I'm also going to start Michael Connelly's "The Late Show". The one I finished reading last was Leigh Hearon's "Reining in Murder".

    After attending Hank's interview with Craig Johnson last week (which was outstanding), I'll be starting the Longmire Mysteries series as well. I bought the first three books in the series at the interview/signing and got them signed by Johnson.

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    1. Aww... thank you! He is quite brilliant.

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    2. I really enjoyed "The Late Show," Jay. I'll be curious to hear what you think!

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    3. Ingrid, I will be sure to let you know about my thoughts on "The Late Show". I do hope it continues the winning streak that I have with Michael Connelly. I've loved pretty much everything he's ever written.

      Hank, I loved your comment about blurbing particularly because a blurb from you on two different books got me to try them out.

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  4. Andrew Welsh-Huggins, The Hunt, a PI mystery set in Columbus, Ohio, by an AP journalist who covers the news in Columbus.

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    1. I'm familiar with this one, Margaret. Must add to the TBR pile!

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  5. I'm trying to keep up with all the great new authors I've discovered here on Jungle Red! I recently finished Hank's fabulous "Say No More," and have also thoroughly enjoyed both of Nick Petrie's Peter Ash novels and James Ziskin's first Ellie Stone book, plus books by Owen Laukkanen and Claire Booth. Right now, however, I'm starting to catch up on Peter Robinson, with "When the Music's Over." The TBR pile just keeps getting taller and taller.

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    1. Gigi, I'm so glad that you've enjoyed some recent recommendations. I love Peter Robinson and got his latest last week. Have you watched the DCI Banks TV series at all? I started to, but quit because I was so annoyed with the way they wrote Banks. He seemed so angry compared to the one in the books!

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    2. Ingrid, my mother didn't read the DCI Banks books but loved the TV series.

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    3. I wonder if I hadn't read the books if the characterization would have bothered me? Maybe it did because I had something to compare it to.

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    4. Ingrid, that might be part of it.

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  6. Oh, Peter Robinson, one of my favorites! I just added a book to my TBR pie that Lucy recommended: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (she wrote The Jane Austen Book Club and one of my favorite quirky mysteries of all time, Wit's End.)

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    1. Same question to you, Hallie, that I asked Gigi above. Have you seen the TV version of DCI Banks?

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  7. I'm still working my way through an autobiography of the Duke of Marlborough (it's over 900 pages, I've got a shade more than 200 to go). Which means I'll need some lighter fare when I'm done. I have a Clive Cussler (always fun), Rachel Howzell Hall's SKIES OF ASH, Renee Patrick's DESIGN FOR DYING and a few others on tap - including the fourth in Anne Cleeves's Shetland series. And a couple ebooks I've forgotten the titles for.

    Lots of choices.

    Mary/Liz

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    1. Mary/Liz, I'm thoroughly impressed that you're reading a 900 page book about the Duke of Marlborough. Is that also pleasure reading? Research? Self torture?

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    2. Pleasure - mostly. I enjoy a good biography and The Hubby recommended this one. But I do have to say that it was written by Winston Churchill and his writing style can sometimes be described as "self-torture." =)

      Mary/Liz

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  8. Count me as another Ann Cleeves fan! I just finished Sharon Bolton's Dead Woman Walking, and the night before last I pretty much read all night to finish it. I could not put it down. Lots of delicious plot twists. I've now started Hallie's You'll Never Know Dear and am loving it. Next up (I think) is Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. I peeked by reading the first few chapters and it seems like a good one. I think that was recommended here at Jungle Reds. In between all these (I'm like Ingrid and tend to read more than one book at a time), I'm rereading Agatha Christies and the Spellman Files books by Lisa Lutz. Fun!

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    1. Does "Walking Woman Dead" feature Lacey Flint? I really enjoyed those books. "The Spellman Files" are terrific!

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  9. Count me another Ann Cleeves fan - big time. I defy anyone to read those first four Shetland books and not marvel at the talent this woman possesses. And don't even get me started on Vera. The fact that both Ann and Brenda Blethyn will both be at next year's Malice Domestic makes the wait even harder than normal.

    Thrilled to see Mary Kubica and Sara Blaedel mentioned as well. Both of these authors are favorites and wonderful people to boot. I'm likely to take Sara's new series start (and ARC) with me for my Canadian trip.

    Speaking of, most of my reading at the moment is centered on my books for my panel at Bouchercon. I'm monitoring the LGBTQ+ panel and while most of the authors are ones I have read before (Greg Herren, Jessie Chandler, Stephanie Gayle, and Owen Laukkanen), one panelists debut novel is not out until next March. Mark your calendars, because John Copenhaver's Dodging and Burning is proving to be a most unique novel indeed. And next up is Clea Simon's World Enough - a gritty tale of the Boston Clubland scene from this typically cozy author.

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    1. I'm intrigued, Kristopher, by the upcoming titles you've mentioned. Does the Bouchercon panel focus on books with protagonists who identify as LGBTQ+?

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    2. Having read and reviewed Stephanie Gayle's Idyll Fears, I can vouch for how good that one is.

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    3. Yes, Ingrid. We will be covering the spectrum of LGBTQ+ crime fiction - both via authors and characters. It's a fairly diverse and knowledgeable collection of authors. We are on stage Saturday, October 14 2:30-3:30. I expect that it will be a very engaging and enlightening conversation.

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    4. Sounds really interesting, Kristopher. I will try to make it!

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    5. Thanks for putting me on your TBR pile, Kristopher - and see you at B'con! (I'm on a Colin Cotterilll kick right now, after a Val McDermid binge. Go figure...)

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  10. I just read mainstream novel Modern Lovers by Emma Straub which I thought was excellent - wry and entertaining, somewhat satiric without being mean, very satisfying. And am about to jump into Proving Ground by Peter Blauner, a terrific writer I know from MWA/NY. He hasn't written a novel in a long time, successfully writing for tv, so I am looking forward to this.

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    1. Triss, I highly recommend "The Vacationers" by Emma Straub, which I enjoyed even more than "Modern Love."

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  11. I just finished The Unquiet Dead, which I liked a lot, along with Live Bait, the sequel to Monkeewrench. I've heard a lot of great stuff about Attica Locke's Bluebird, Bluebird, and that's up next.

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    1. I loved "The Unquiet Dead," and I love the author, Ausma Zehanat Khan. I know she's going to be at Bouchercon, and if you have the chance to meet her, you should!

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    2. Bluebird, Bluebird is one of the highlights of the year.

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  12. In my usual and customary apple-polishing best behavior, obviously I’m perusing through each of Jungle Red author’s books. Then I step away from mystery to literature. Being southern I enjoy great southern writing. By recommendation of my editor, when I’m feeling less confident in my writing, I read a really bad book and then read…One Good Mama Bone, by Bren McClain, Story River Publishing. It is a beautifully written novel, set in Anderson, SC during the 1950s. It’s heart-rending. Sample the first chapter on Amazon. As spectacular writing Bren has put in story form, it isn’t for everyone. I assigned it for this month’s book club. I thought they would beat me to death before I could pour the wine.

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    1. Pam, I had a similar experience when I suggested The Sellout for my book club. I escaped with just a few bruises.

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    2. I'm not familiar with Bren McClain; thanks for the recommendation, Pam.

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    3. Oh, the old bad bookclub selection dilemma. :-) Ours almost came to blows when I made them read Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton. I insist it's fabulous.

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  13. I have piles of books to choose from. I just finished Alyssa Maxwell's Murder at Rough Point; I like her Newport series a lot. Also read Christina Dodd's latest Virtue Falls book, The Woman Who Couldn't Scream. She doesn't write those fast enough for me. Mark Pryor's Sorbonne Affair; you can't go wrong with Hugo Marston. Rhys's latest Georgie and Darcy mystery; will they ever make it to the altar? Will Darcy ever find steady employment? Brunonia Berry's Map of True Places. She's written 3 books now, set in modern Salem, MA and they've been good! I read The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman. I love books that make me laugh, snort, and cry. Next up will be Lisa Alber's Path into Darkness. Thank you Lisa! I've not read any Vera Stanhope books, but I am in love with Jimmy Perez.

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    1. I'm in love with Jimmy Perez, too, Pat. Don't tell my other love interest, Ace Atkins' Quinn Colson!

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    2. Ooh. I'll have to check him out!

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  14. I devoured Louise Penny's Glass Houses right when it came out. Yesterday, I finished Kate Wilhelm's first Barbara Holloway mystery, Death Qualified. (Somehow I have read her books in no particular order.) I also recently enjoyed PJ Tracy's new one, Nothing Stays Buried. I just discovered Mick Herron's books and have plowed through three of them in recent months. And I read Jacqueline Winspear's newest book in August.

    Thanks for an opportunity to talk about what we're reading. I always find that a delight!!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your list, Susan! What's better than a book discussion?!

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  15. I just finished Murder on Gramercy Park by Victoria Thompson on Saturday. Yes, I'm slightly behind in this series (it's book 3 out of 20). And I'm starting Death of a Bachelorette by Laura Levine. It's the latest in that series, and I'm already laughing. I'm only about 20 pages in.

    Yesterday, I finished the audio version of The Last Detective by Robert Crais. I might have invented reasons to go drive a bit more to listen to more of it. Very good.

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    1. I think inventing reasons to keep driving is the highest compliment you could give an audio book, Mark! The good news about being "behind" in a series, is that you have so much to look forward to!

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  16. Our book club read We Are All completely Beside Ourselves last year. It was so different than anything else I've ever read.

    I've only recently been aware of Ann Cleeves, and have yet to read or watch any of the Vera stories. It will have to wait a bit, though, as I still have hundreds of books on my Nook and in piles to be read.

    Right now I'm reading Amy Stewart's Girl Waits With A Gun, which I'm enjoying for the well drawn and quirky characters and historical references.

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    1. I've heard wonderful things about "We Are All..." but I've also heard that it's a tough read, hard to get in to. Was this your experience, Karen?

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  17. This morning I had my second carpal tunnel surgery and will be home from work for two weeks. I stockpiled extra books to read during my time off from work, but must admit that I already started reading some of them.

    Hallie's You'll Never Know, Dear is waiting for me, along with The Paris Spy by Susan Elia Macneal, Gone Gull by Donna Andrews, Iced Under by Barbara Ross. Books I've already begun reading (I can't read just one) include Dog Dish of Doom by EJ Copperman, The Last Chance Olive Ranch by Susan Wittig Albert, Snap Judgment by Marcia Clark. There are a few more waiting in the wings, just in case.

    Just had a robocall from our condo property manager advising residents to secure all outdoor items. I'm telling Jose to stay away! I don't like reading by candlelight!

    DebRo

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    1. How's the Marcia Clark, Deb? I've not read any of hers yet.

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    2. Like your books, Ingrid, I can't put hers down! I intended to start the latest Marcia Clark book today or tomorrow, but opened it last night. "One chapter, Deb; just read one chapter." Well, twenty-two chapters later I decided that I really needed to get some sleep the night before even minor surgery, so I forced myself to put it down. As soon as I hit Publish on this response, the book is coming out again!

      DebRo

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  18. Just a few days ago I was bereft. I'd just finished Duplicity and realized there were no more in Ingrid Thoft's Fina series. I'd read all of them back to back. Couldn't put them down until I got to the end...that family dynamic is...well, fraught! Anywho, I'm now consoling myself with another Jungle Reds discovery, Rachel Howzell Hall's latest Lou--City of Saviors. I glommed her books last year after reading about her here. You all do good work.

    Carla

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    1. Carla, I'm sorry that I left you bereft! There will be more Fina, but good thing there are so many wonderful books in the meantime!

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    2. I know how CG feels. The fact I loved Duplicity so much and then the realization that you are essentially left with a 2 year wait for resolution.

      Ingrid sure knows how to bait the hook when it comes to keeping the reader in suspense.

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  19. And here I thought Ann Cleeves was one of Henry V's wives.. Must start tracking her. With the power out last week, there was not much to do except house clean or read. Guess which I chose? I finally read Bel Canto only 9 months late for the discussion,
    To late to enter the discussion eh? Also read The Book of Joy: lasting happiness in a changing world. It seemed appropriate. It was a large print edition, which helped extend my reading time. Did you know batteries don't last very long? My e reader is full of must read's Hallie's, Rhys' and now MacNeal's The Paris Spy. Currently half way through Clark's Snap Judgment -- Deb I think you will like it. A speedy recovery to you.

    We are watching Maria. I so do not wish to soldier through another storm.

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    1. May Maria not come by to see ya!

      I'm enjoying the Clark book tremendously! I've loved all her novels.

      DebRo

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  20. Another Marcia Clark reader! I've been curious about her books, but haven't picked one up yet. What are your thoughts so far, Coralee?

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    1. Like many lawyers, she writes smoothly. Her new series is interesting, her protagonist is an anti-hero. We spend a lot of time in cars going from plot point to plot point. There is a fair amount of product placement, and far too much alcohol consumption from the hard boiled detective sub genre. The ending of Book 1 of the new series took me completely by surprise. This series reminds me of yours. Clark is good. you are better.

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  21. I am devastated. I have typed two long responses out and lost both of them. You would think I'd learn by the second time to copy and save somewhere, but I didn't. So, I can't do another long post. Here are just a few major points from my two previous posts, which I so enjoyed writing, because there's nothing I enjoy more than talking about what others are reading and what I am.

    We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is one of the best books I've read. I selected it for my "Throw-Back Thursday:Great Reading from My Past" book on my July 6th reading room feature. It is to be a television series starring Natalie Portman. Can't wait! http://www.readingroom-readmore.com/2017/07/throw-back-thursday-great-reading-from.html

    I love Scottish authors and settings, so I'm desperately trying to fit in Anne Cleeve's series. I love Peter May's The Lewis Trilogy and can never get enough of Catriona McPherson and her writing. Hallie, Sara Blaedel's Louise Rick series is one of my favorites, and The Lost Woman is an amazing read.

    My September reading has included the following awesome reads: The Bloodcard by Elly Griffiths, House.Tree.Person. by Catriona McPherson, Murder in Shadow (Acton and Doyle) by Anne Cleeland, Glass Houses by Louise Penny, and Gia in the City of the Dead by Kristi Belcamino (out tomorrow). I picked up Vicki Delany's first Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysery--Elementary, She Read--last night to read before I read my next ARC for review, which will be Before It's Too Late (an F.B.I. K-9 novel) by Sara Driscoll (aka, Jen J. Danna and Ann Vanderlaan). I will also be reading soon Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton, Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford (will see him next week), Under a Pole by Stef Penny, One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus (YA), an ARC for The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskins, and The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase (author of Blackrabbit Hall, my surprise delight read for 2017, although published in 2016).

    Two notes on above to-be-reads. Jamie Ford's Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet looks like it will indeed be a movie. George Takei is now the Executive Producer. Stef Penny is a brilliant author who doesn't produce a book but every few years or so, but I wish everyone would read her. Her first book, The Tenderness of Wolves, is a winner of Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year (2008), and her second novel, The Invisible Ones deals with the Gypsies in England and is outstanding.

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    1. I almost picked up "Blackrabbit Hall" the other day, Kathy, but didn't add it to my pile. I'm going to on your recommendation. So many good suggestions in your post!

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    2. Thanks, Ingrid. I hope you enjoy Blackrabbit Hall!

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  22. My dears, I am presently in Three Pines, so after reading Louise's newest back in August , I am going to reread The Beautiful Mystery. We explored the abbey today, bought a ton of cheese in the gift shop, and had a perfect time. Louise permeates this part of Quebec. Going back to the Brone Lake bookstore later to see if she turns up! Can we spell S. T. A. L. K. E. R?

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    1. P. S. Also just finished Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton plus snother of her's, Awakening Both page turners. Hank's Truth Be Told is at the top of the pile, too.

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    3. I am so jealous! Let us know if you meet Ruth:-)

      DebRo

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    4. Bienvenue dans les Cantons de l'Est Ann.

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