Friday, February 6, 2015

Snow Day Reads

LUCY BURDETTE: Oh boy, our Reds in New England have been whacked by winter lately. And it looks like more to come...The good news? Perfect weather to read and to find out what you're reading! 

During our trip, John and I both devoured
The Light Between the Oceans by ML Stedman, which is the story of a light keeper and his new wife who are stationed on a tiny island off the western coast of Australia. One terrible decision leads them into more and more tragic outcomes. Gripping! I also enjoyed catching up with two of my favorite mystery series, both long on character development, Julie Hyzy's All the President's Menus featuring White House chef Ollie Paras, and Stone Cold, CJ Box's newest installment in game warden Joe Pickett's series.

What are you reading Reds, to cope with the dreadful weather?



Hank's birdbath becomes a topiary
Let me first recommend Shannon Kirk's Method 15/30, coming soon. It is incredibly good, truly (reviewer Hallie, please note!) about a young woman who is pregnant who is kidnapped (really , stay with me) and what she does to get away. Its sort of The Ransom of Red Chief meets ah, well, you tell me when you read it. I have the Todd's new book ready to go, and The Girl on the Train, (of course, sigh) and I just finished a debut called Hangman's Game, which I loved--the star/sleuth is a....professional football player. No kidding, and it's pretty great! You don't have to understand football, which I kind of do, or even like it, which I also kind of do, if it's a game that matters. (I will pause now while you remember where I live!)  Oh, and Michael Sears newest, Long Way Down-- truly good--one reviewer compared him to Ian Fleming. Yeesh. Now THAT's a good review!

Hallie's driveway
HALLIE EPHRON: It's NOT snowing today but the roads are still dismal. So far 4 FEET(!) of snow in a week and more on the way. It's nutty.

Yup, I'm reading AND writing... Thinking of taking down To Kill a Mockingbird in anticipation of the NEW (but written in the 50s) Harper Lee novel that's been announced with much hooplah. I hope it's good.

Right now I'm reading Holly Robinson's Haven Lake and loving it. So far at least it's the story of a teenager who runs away from home and ends up with his new stepmother's hippie-dippie mother who has a sheep farm (that was of course once a commune). A great read for anyone looking for an interesting and not cliched older woman character. And the kid is spot on. It's not  mystery but I am so hooked.

Also I'm in the middle of Mary Roach's Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. A journey through the digestive system and the history of what we know (or think we know) about it. She's a very funny writer and asks the questions of experts that the rest of us would be too embarrassed.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: We have gone from freezing to warm to back to freezing here in Texas. But I love the idea of  a snow day to do nothing but read. Such a luxury! But I have been reading, of course--all three of the James Runcie Granchester books (on which the new PBS series is based) and I adore them! I hope there will be more! Also, the new Miranda (Dean) James, a Charlie Harris and Diesel book called Arsenic and Old Books, and a fabulous debut novel called Past Crimes by Glen Eric Hamilton. He's being compared to Dennis Lehane, Robert B. Parker, and John D. MacDonald, but I'd add a little Lee Child to the mix. The book is that good. Both these lovely guys will be our guests next week. AND I got my hands on a ARC of Mark Pryor's new Hugo Marston book, The Reluctant Matador. I LOVE this series--I think it is my find of the year.

Red readers, how are you holding up this winter and what are you reading?


  1. About the only thing that makes winter bearable is being able to curl up with a book . . . .
    Among those I’ve read recently: Cane and Abe by James Grippando; The Cake House by Latifah Salom; Shady Cross by James Hankins; The Stolen Ones by Owen Laukkanen . . .
    Brad Taylor’s No Fortunate Son; Laura Lippman’s Hush Hush; Aislinn Hunter’s The World Before Us; Nic Brown’s In Every Way; Emily Gray Tedrowe’s Blue Stars . . . .

    Like Hallie, I’m looking forward to July [ah, warm weather!] and the release of Harper Lee’s book . . . .

  2. I'm living in Florida right now and longing for a return to northern Maine. I miss snow! No matter, it's cold for Florida - 48 this morning - and I have been devouring the Red's own Hank Phillippi Ryan's The Other Woman. Now that's a great read on any day!

  3. Well, thank you, dear Kait! That is SO lovely to hear! YAY.
    The next in the series, THE WRONG GIRL, takes place in Boston in pouring down snow--very appropriate!

    COming to you now from Logan Airport, on the way to be co guest of honor (with Craig Johnson!) of Murder in the Magic City. Should be fabulous! And...interesting getting home.

    xxoo Any of you going?

  4. We got away with not-all-that-much snow in NYC, but I've been felled by a whopping case of the flu. Wishing Hank (and all) safe travels!

  5. There are lots of books on my TBR list. I mostly do lots more reading when the snow is falling, or when the roads are unsafe. However, this winter I've been finding the weather to be so unsettling that I have not been able to concentrate on anything. So, with just a few exceptions, I'm mostly re-reading old favorites, especially books of humorous essays. I'm hoping laughter will get me through the winter!

  6. As I've taken on the extensive project of cataloguing all my books, I keep coming across ones I'd forgotten I had, or haven't read forever.

    One of these is The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford. With drawings. I read it when it first came out, ca. 1960 (my grandmother gave it to me) and perhaps not since. So I sat down and enjoyed a good old read.

  7. I'm tired of cold. Warmer weather can arrive in Pittsburgh, currently 10 degrees F, any time now.

    Books and a roaring fire. I've got a Mary Higgins Clark right now, Two Little Girls in Blue. Can't go wrong with MHC.

    Don't know what I'm going to read next thought. My mood is capricious.

  8. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I have a reading list I make out each year, a list that is constantly being revised and updated. So, I have a ready supply of titles as to what reads from which to choose for my next book. I also have a Bouchercon reading list this year. Both lists are, of course, impossibly optimistic, but a girl can dream.

    Currently, I'm reading Tess Gerritsen's latest Rizzoli and Isles, Die Again. Normally, I would have read it as soon as it came out, in this case the end of December, but I am that behind.

    The last book I completed is Hallie's Night Night, Sleep Tight. Wow! It is sensational, and I'm pretty sure it's on everybody's list here, as are any Reds' books. Read The Girl on the Train. It was good, but Hallie's is much better.

    There are a couple of great books coming out this month that I've been fortunate to read ahead of publication dates, too. Dreaming Spies by Laurie King and Two Parts Bloody Murder by Jen J. Danna and Ann Vaderlaan are going to please many readers. Laurie's is the latest in her Russell and Holmes series, which I love. Jen Danna is rather new to the scene, last three years, and has a series with a Massachusetts State Policewoman and a forensic anthropologist. I highly recommend this series, with the latest being the fourth installment.

    My next two series reads are Susan's Maggie Hope and the Lady Darby series by Anna Lee Huber. Somewhere I have to fit in a group read with my daughter, daughter-in-law, and teenage granddaughter of The Book Thief and another group read of the three adult women of us of The Handmaid's Tale.

    Sorry, as Brittany Spears so eloquently put it, "Oops, I've done it again." I start talking about what I'm reading and going to read, and I just can't stop. I am screeching to a halt now, though. Nothing I enjoy more, well other than the actual reading, than talking about what I and others are reading.

  9. I just finished a reread of The Quick and the Dead (republished as Great Smokies) by Sandy Dengler. She's still one of my all time favorite authors, so it's been fun to revisit and review these old friends. These were also some of the first mysteries written for adults that I read, and it is nice to see they hold up now that I'm much more familiar with the genre.

    Now I'm working on A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die by Edith Maxwell. From there, I'm switching to Middle Grade fantasy with The Story Thieves by James Riley.

  10. Just so most of you can hate me, the temps here in North Texas are predicted to hit the 70s. That will be it for warmth until the end of March, though, according to the long range forecast. And today it's still only 42 F--I know that sounds balmy to many of you!

    Kathy Reel, you are so incredibly organized! My reading is much more capricious. But I kind of like not always knowing what I'm going to pick up next.

  11. We're having a very mild winter over here on the left side. I don't even have my usual S.A.D.!

    I just finished Susan's THE PRIME MINISTER'S SECRET AGENT. The amount of research you do is amazing, Susan! And I learned something too -- about how we *just* missed, through various uncontrollable circumstances, learning about the Pearl Harbor attack in time. Is that right, Susan? I'd never thought about England's desperation for our help in the war either.

    I've decided to try a Henning Mankill because I like the Wallender series on Masterpiece Mystery.

    I'd like to read all the Left Coast Crime award nominees (and the Edgar nominees and the ...) I haven't read yet.

  12. Hank, you're so lucky! Craig Johnson is terrific! He gave a talk at our local B&N (Cheyenne, WY) and we loved hearing about all the places (bars & libraries) he's given similar talks in Wyoming. He's so much fun!

    Deb, we're with you on the weather. After 7 inches of snow on Wednesday, it got up to 55 yesterday and is supposed to be 60 today and tomorrow. Very un-Wyominglike! But we'll take what we can when we can get it. This is usually our coldest time of year.

    I am anxiously awaiting Rhys's new Molly book, but am reading old favorites now as it's been a stressful year for me so far.

  13. "The Girl on the Train" kept me guessing to the end -- great read. Right now reading Elizabeth George's YA, "The Edge of the Water" and I know just the teenager I am going to send it to.
    Also reading "The Hare With the Amber Eye," which has been on my shelf for years. I got right into the story, and it is great.
    I own one rabbit netsuke!
    More snow heading our way, but I will not run out of books!

  14. Kathy is so organized, isn't she Debs? I have more of a willy-nilly pile. It always amazes me that many of you reread old faves. I very rarely do that--too many new ones coming down the pipeline.

    I forgot to say I'm reading right now Sujata Massey's The Kizuna Coast. It's a Rei Shimura mystery taking place right after the tsunami--great to revisit a favorite character, and the setting is riveting.

  15. Lucky Debs. Hugo Marston. I'm also reading the Grantchester Mysteries. Started Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil last night. I'm really pleased at how the TV series has been coming along. I have a crush on Geordie.
    I just finished Look What the Wind Blew In by Ann Charles. I love her Deadwood and her Jackrabbit Junction series. This new series will be equally entertaining.

  16. In Southeast Texas it's 50 degrees now and may not make it to 60 today, but warmer and sunnier weather is arriving tomorrow and will last for a while. Perhaps Debs' weather is making its way south.

    I'm hoping to find some good suggestions for new-to-me authors on this page.

    Some of the books I've read recently are Hank's Truth be Told, Charles Todd's A Fine Summer's Day, Alan Bradley's As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, Peter Lovesey's The Stone Wife, Julia Keller's Summer of the Dead and Archer Mayor's Proof Positive.

    At my bookshop, I was disappointed to find that Val McDermid's The Skeleton Road was out of stock, so I picked up Susan Hill's latest Simon Serrailler book The Soul of Discretion and an import Peter May standalone Runaway to read next. TBR along with those are Christopher Fowler's Bryant and May and The Bleeding Heart, Laura Lippman's Hush,Hush, and Paula Hawkin'sThe Girl on the Train.

    I'm looking forward to Hallie's Night Night, Sleep Tight as well as Susan's coming book. Also hoping to get as soon as they are released: Ann Cleeves Thin Air (Shetland series), Jim Kelly's At Death's Window, and two new books from Elly Griffiths.

  17. SharonTx, we love the same books! I'm a huge Bryant and May fan, but, alas, am behind. And Elly Griffiths. And Jim Kelly, and....

  18. So far this week just finished re-reading two Hillerman novels--The Dark Wind and People of Darkness, along with Ann Cleeves' Dead Water, and new to me authors Priscilla Masters (The Devil's Chair), John Dunning (The Bookwoman's Last Fling), and Anne Cleeland's Murder in Thrall. Not sure what I think of the last--anyone else familiar with the series? And not sure what's next.

  19. Debs, I appear to be more organized than I am. Yes, I have the lists, but they are always changing with a title floating up the list or a new book or ARC slipping in, so there is still the element of surprise. I rarely go in a straight line order. And, there have been so many books listed in the comments that remind me of ones I want to get to as soon as I can. You have reminded me that I need to get busy on Mark Pryor's Hugo Marston books. I've read the first one and loved it. Now, I'm behind. Lucky you to have an ARC of his next out.

    Sharon, I, too, have Peter May's Runaway to read. I received it as part of the Peter May Super Fan contest, but I was waiting a bit closer to when his Entry Island comes out in the U.S. to do a Peter May read and review on my blog. Oh, and Sharon, I love Elly Griffiths/Domenica De Rosa, too. I had to order The Zig Zag Girl ahead, read it, and loved it. Can't wait for The Ghost Fields. And, she just told me that she thinks she'll be at Bouchercon in Raleigh. Keeping fingers crossed.

    And, Roberta, I can't believe I forgot that I was supposed to have already read Sujata's Kizuna Coast. See, not as organized as I first appear. Haha. Mark, Edith's books are on my short list, too. And, of course, I can't wait for my Molly fix, Rhys. Lisa, Henning Mankill has been on my TBR list for so long, it's embarrassing.

    FChurch, I am a huge fan of Anne Cleeland's Acton and Doyle series. I've read Murder in Hindsight, #3, that's due out the end of March. I truly am wild about this series.

  20. I go way back with Rhys Bowen, although she certainly doesn't know it. Years ago I loved Evan Evans and maybe it' s time for a re-visit to Wales. It's 75 degrees today and I've a strong desire for some cold winter weather.

    Thank you, Deborah Crombie , for introducing me to this blog! One of my favorite things about it is my introduction to new authors. Thanks to you all I've just finished the Bryant and May series and To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. In addition to these, I recently read Graeme Simsion's endearing, The Rosie Project (think Sheldon Cooper in love) and Alan Cumming's Not My Father's Son and, along with everyone else, The Grantchester series.

    When I find new (to me) authors, I tend to power through all their books, leaving me hungry for more. Are you listening, Julia Spencer Fleming?

    For the last two years I've been reading John Galsworthy and Anthony Trollope. I need to finish The Forsyte Chronicles and Maid in Waiting is next in line and a good winter read. And Peter May's Runaway. And some more Anne Cleeves. And another Reds....up next is Hank. And why can't Craig Johnson write faster?

    In truth, my old eyes aren't what they used to be, darn it, and some of my "reading" is actually listening to audio books. While I do miss the feel and the smell of a book, at least I can finish a mystery and my dishes at the same time and enjoy soooo many more books.
    I wonder, how do writers feel about having their work heard instead of read. ???

  21. What? What? Elly Griffiths is a pseudonym for Domenica De Rosa? Oh,goody! And thank you, Kathy Reel!

  22. **Hank who is the author of Hangman's Game??
    I just finished Ellie Dean Cliff haven new book; Charles Finch's latest; Leigh Perry's series with Sid the skeleton who is a great character and Erick Larson's Dead Wake.
    **Temperature today was -9 F. We have had 53 inches of snow in my section of MA and are looking at 15+ more. Figure we will be in school through july 4th with all the snow days!! Am loading up the Kindle for another weekend read/snowing days.

  23. Wendy, you're most welcome. Isn't she wonderful?

  24. I love listening to my favorite authors audio books.But only when it's a great narrator. However, not being able to find enough of the audio books and needing company on my commute to and from work, I am listening to all of Deborah Crombie's again. I rarely read books twice but I love her books!

  25. I loved The Light Between the Oceans! Right now I'm reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver and The First Fifty Pages by Jeff Gerke. My book club just read The Namesake, and I was one of the few who liked it!!
    One of my New Year's resolutions is to read more, and I'm attempting to catch up on our local crime fiction authors as well as reading some literary fiction and exploring new (to me) authors in the mystery genre. Recently read Havana Bay by Martin Cruz Smith which I really liked.

  26. We are getting a short warm spell Missouri, so I think a walk will be in order later. Currently eeading and enjoying _Murder on Bamboo Lane_ and a skimming and recycling a backlog of newspapers because when a book is really good, who cares about the real world?