Monday, January 11, 2021

What We're Reading

LUCY BURDETTE: Just when we think living in this world couldn’t get any harder or crazier, we all witnessed the events of last week and realize, yes, in fact it can. So I’m tempted to retreat to my TBR pile for another few months, waiting for the new leadership to kick in and more vaccines. I have a very appealing stack of books to choose from right now--some I brought to Florida and haven’t gotten to yet, and others that came courtesy of Christmas and the birthday season:). I’m still reading slowly, but have managed to finish a few. RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE was not at all what I expected. The cover has a fifties housewife on it, and inside, the discovery of old-fashioned recipes and a journal in the basement, plus two women protagonists from two eras, each struggling to find her place in her world. A nice cozy women's fiction book, right? But oh no, it's very much darker than that. 

BLIND SEARCH is the second entertaining book in Paula Munier's Mercy and Elvis series that features wonderful dogs and fierce Vermont weather and personalities. HOW THE PENGUINS SAVED VERONICA follows the story of an oldish woman who's withdrawn into herself after a difficult life. She becomes obsessed with visiting a penguin colony in Antarctica, and yes, the penguins save her. Sweet and upbeat and it made me sorry not to have a penguin in my life.

RHYS BOWEN: Apart from finishing Louise Penny’s ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE I’ve been sticking to non-fiction from my own shelves. Royal Feud, the book about Queen Elizabeth and Wallis Simpson--very enlightening, A Walk Across Britain--suitably boring that I fall asleep every night to it, Oh, and a couple of books I had to blurb, pleasant reading.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: In the last couple of weeks I've finished Ann Cleeves' THE DARKEST EVENING, which I loved so much. It was one the crime novels I've most enjoyed this past year. I read an early copy of Marcia Talley's new Hannah Ives, DONE GONE, coming in April, which was a great read with Marcia's always engaging characters. I'm in the process of reading HAMNET. I'm not reading very fast, however, partly because the prose is so gorgeous you want to savor it, and partly because, well, it's a novel of the plague, and sometimes it feels a little too close to reality. But my most fun read has been Garth Nix's THE LEFTHANDED BOOKSELLERS OF LONDON. For fans of Ben Aaronovitch and/or those wonderful classic English fantasy novels by authors like Susan Cooper and Alan Garner, this one's for you. I hope this is the beginning of a series because I'll be standing in line for the next one.

LUCY: I was crazy about THE DARKEST EVENING too Debs!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Reading, reading, my poor brain. I try to read, but for a while, all I could think of was my manuscript (NOW IN!) and I kept getting distracted. And my reading metabolism is getting ruined by all the first chapters I read for First Chapter Fun--I really have to practice and rehearse each one. And I have to say, it’s extremely educational. But! I did read some terrific things for events and for blurbs. For instance: Edwin Hill’s WATCH HER and Julie Carrick Dalton’s WAITING FOR THE NIGHT SONG. Edwin gets better and better (and he started out as topnotch!) and Julie’s, a debut, is a literary enviro coming of age science thriller. Talk about ticking the boxes, right? And she does it beautifully! (And can I just say: CAN YOU BELIEVE EVERYTHING??) And now back to our scheduled programming.

JENN McKINLAY: Best books of the past few weeks in no particular order are… The Magnolia Bakery Handbook by Bobbie Lloyd. It is GORGEOUS with over 250 photographs and 150 recipes. It was love at first sight. I’ve already made her Hummingbird Cake - phenomenal! As for fiction, I devoured The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. This book honestly defies description except to say it is bloody brilliant and I have no idea how he managed to plot such a complex narrative. I am truly in awe - Groundhog Day with a twist meets Agatha Christie’s closed room mystery setting. Serious standing ovation here. And for the lighter side, I absolutely adored Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane. I’ve become a huge fan of her women’s fiction/romantic comedies.
 
HALLIE EPHRON: I'm making a list because I confess I've been addicted to news feeds and jigsaw puzzles. A bad habit. I did read a terrific advance copy of a fantastic book by Linda L. Richards, ENDINGS. It's dark and twisty and I hope we'll have Linda on to talk about it in April when it comes out. Blew me away. 
 
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I got a couple of great books for Christmas: THE ADDRESS BOOK: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth and Power, by Dierdre Mask and THE STRANGER DIARIES, by Elly Griffiths. Both have made several best-of 2020 lists, and deservedly so. For research, I'm reading CULTURE WARLORDS: My Journey into the Dark Web of White Supremacy, by Talia Lavin. If you'd like to know more about this incredibly timely book, Lavin did an in-depth interview with Sam Sanders on NPR. 
 
And, I have to confess, I caught Bridgerton Fever along with the rest of America. I know I read at least some of Julia Quinn's Bridgerton novels before ( I knew who Lady Whistledown was, for instance) but it had been a long time and I couldn't find the paperbacks. Amazon has the first three books on Kindle for $19.99 so I've been escaping into the world of Regency romance. Sigh. Now if someone would install a fully-mature wisteria at the front of my house...

LUCY: REDS,  how is your reading? Any great books to recommend? (And ps, I'm looking at my greedy stack of books and thinking: This is exactly how I'm managing my anxiety about our world.)

One last thing, in breaking news...you might remember that I'm the president of the Friends of the Key West Library this year. Because we can't do any events in person, we are planning a fabulous virtual speaker series. Next Monday kicks it off with A NIGHT OF MYSTERY, featuring Rhys Bowen, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and Julia Spencer-Fleming. Events are free but you have to sign up--please do come! and check out the other five events right here...


95 comments:

  1. Having wonderful books to read has been wonderful. Books I’ve particularly enjoyed: Jim Lovell’s “Lost Moon” . . . David Baldacci’s “Daylight” . . . David Whitehouse’s “Space 2069” . . . James Patterson’s “Deadly Cross” . . . Janet Evanovich’s “Fortune and Glory: Tantalizing Twenty-Seven” . . . the Smithsonian’s “Universe: Planets, Moons, Asteroids, and Comets” and Universe: Stars, Galaxies, and Constellations” . . . .
    Right now I’m reading Ted Dekker’s “Thr3e . . .

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  2. I started off the year with CITY OF SCHEMES, the new Counterfeit Lady Mystery from Victoria Thompson. A fun and different series, and well worth reading.

    This weekend, I finished THE BROKEN SPINE by Dorothy St. James. This is the first in a new series and lots of fun. It will be out next Tuesday.

    I'm not reading BLOOD ALONE, the third Billy Boyle World War II mystery from James R. Benn. Enjoying it, and I'm once again kicking myself for not starting this series years ago.

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    1. Mark, I want to start the Billy Boyle series, too. Reading that you wish you’d started them years ago makes me want to start fitting them in now.

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    2. he's an excellent writer and also a very nice man:)

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    3. THe Billy Boyle WWII mystery series by James Benn is one of my absolute favorites. I loved Blood Alone, Mark, and the books really just get better and better.

      Kathy, if you make time for these books, you will not be disappointed. Told in the first person with self deprecating humor by Lt. Billy Boyle, these stories reveal little known facts and hidden stories of WWII. You also get to see the famous and the infamous up close.

      Lucy, Jim Benn is a really nice guy and I have a story. About 2 years ago, Irwin noticed that James Benn would be appearing on a Saturday afternoon in early autumn at a brand new book store on the new UCONN campus in downtown Hartford, about 15 minutes from me. I'd seen him before in one of the shoreline libraries and so, I went down to hear him talk about his new book. I was the only person in the bookstore besides Jim and the bookstore staff. He sat down and we talked about his books for the whole hour. Fan here!

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    4. Mark, I also enjoyed Dorothy's debut series as well.

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    5. Judy, I love this series but I've fallen way behind. Must catch up! Too many books, lol.

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    6. I'm looking forward to City of Schemes. Great series!

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  3. I’m rereading Kathy Reay’s “Dear Mr Knightley” along with a book that partly inspired it, Jean Webster’s “Daddy-Long-Legs” published in 1912. This is for a Facebook book club discussion later this month. Both are very appealing. I’ve read two ARCs recently: Kate Clayborn’s “Love at First” and Charles Finch’s “An Extravagant Death.” If you liked the movie Groundhog Day Christina Lauren gives a similar spin to “In a Holidaze.” James Benn’s “Red Horse” and Christina Dodd’s “Wrong Alibi.” And if you want a fast moving mystery with a very likeable Army captain trying to solve the murder of an Argentine polo player try “The Perfect 10” by Eric O’Keefe.

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  4. I love these posts about what everyone is reading. Some of my favorites and some of my soon-to-be-read have been mentioned. Jenn, I’m in complete agreement with you about The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. It’s brilliant and unlike anything I’ve read before. Julia, I loved The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths/Dom. Rhys, All the Devils are Here was wonderful and a favorite of mine last year. Debs, Hamnet is coming up very soon for me. I happen to live plague books.

    I just finished The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Ossman and loved it. It seems everyone I know that read it last year loved it, too. Also in the last couple of weeks I’ve read Jess Lourey’s Unspeakable Things and Leave No Trace, #5 in the FBI K-9 series, by Sara Driscoll (Jen Danna and Ann Vanderlaan). Both of those were on my favorites list, too.

    I’ve got so much catching up to do on books published in 2020. I’ve just started The Postscript Murders, another stand-alone from the amazing Elly Griffiths. I have the next Ruth Galloway, Night Hawks, to read after that. Night Hawks will be out in February in the U.K., and late spring or early summer here, I think. I’ll have to check again on the U.S. date. It may be different this year. As I mentioned earlier, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. If you haven’t read The Vanishing of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell, I highly recommend it.

    Other books I’m going to read soon include The Guest List by Lucy Foley, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, Come Spy with Me by Max Allen Collins and Matthew Clemens, Bloodline by Jess Lourey, Ellie and the Harp Maker by Hazel Prior, and Death of a Maiden by Ariana Franklin and Samantha Norman (the final novel in the Mistress of the Art of Death series that Ariana Franklin was working on when she died). I also need to finish up Midwinter Murder by Agatha Christie, the latest collection of some of her short stories. And, I plan on reading the new Jane Harper book as soon as it’s out on February 2nd.

    I have a long list of my TBRs made, so what I’ve talked about here is just a smattering of that list. If I get a chance later today, I’ll share some more from that list.

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    1. Kathy I started The Midnight Library two nights ago. At first I was thinking oh no, not another depressed protagonist, but it's gotten so clever and interesting. I can't wait for bedtime!

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    2. Kathy, I can't wait for The Postscript Murders! I LOVE Harbinder Kaur. You are so lucky to have snagged an ARC! Looking forward to Night Hawks, too. My daughter also gave me The Vanishing of Esme Lennox for Christmas, but I haven't read it yet.

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    3. I have The Postscript Murders as my next ARC to read.

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    4. Debs, you have a great daughter there, giving you The Vanishing of Esme Lennox. It remains one of my favorite books. As I recall, it's not a long book, so, hopefully, you can fit it in soon.

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    5. Lucy, it's good to know that about The Midnight Library. Thanks.

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    6. Pat, I've now started The Postscript Murders in earnest, and I can't wait to get reading time today to continue it. Debs, I agree about Harbinder Kaur, and I already am loving her even more from this new book.

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  5. I've been reading more slowly than usual during the pandemic, which is entirely backwards of what I expected - but it's just been harder for me to concentrate. I've started a lot of books, but get distracted and don't finish. I have, however, managed a few that I've really enjoyed. Julia Quinn's The Duke and I, the first of the Bridgertons, was a romp. Olivia Waits's The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics is a Regency with several twists on the genre. Jonathan Van Ness's memoir, Over the Top, was fantastic, and I could absolutely hear his voice throughout. Then She was Gone by Lisa Jewel was a lot of fun in that way that a good puzzler can be. I'm currently reading On Her Own Terms, a memoir of Annie Montague Alexander. She is largely unknown outside the circle of academic vertebrate biology, but was a pioneering naturalist, paleontologist, and field biologist (we're talking leading 5-month long treks in Alaska in 1906) who founded two world-class research museums at UC Berkeley. I can trace my own academic lineage back to her, and the book was written by a colleague, so I was really happy to find out it's a terrific read - lively and engaging, and truly inspiring.

    So many books on the TBR stack, and now I have more to add!

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    1. that is so cool Kerry about finding the biologist in your lineage!

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    2. Kerry, that sounds like my kind of nonfiction--I will definitely be searching for the book on Annie Montague Alexander. Thanks!

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    3. Kerry, thanks for the recommendation on the Alexander memoir. That one is definitely going on my list!

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  6. So many books, so little time!
    I have NOT read any of the 60+ books I bought before Christmas since I am focusing on some great ARCs this past weekend.

    A CURIOUS INCIDENT by Vicki Delany (Sherlock Holmes Bookshop #6). This is my fave book in the series so far. Gemma is becoming less prickly and she helps a little girl in this mystery.

    A STRANGER AT THE DOOR by Jason Pinter. The first book, HIDE AWAY almost made my top reads of 2020 list. Rachel Marin is a kick-a** protagonist.
    ANTONI IN THE KITCHEN by Antoni Porowski. I never watched Queer Eye (no Netflix) but I heard about Antoni's role as the "food and wine expert". And he's a Montrealer.

    And I agree with the Reds and readers about their recent reads. I also read these books in December:
    WATCH HER by Edwin Hill (ARC)
    THURSDAY MURDER CLUB by Richard Osman
    BLIND VIGIL by Matt Coyle (ARC). One of the best in the new crop of PI series. HANK: I loved watching your interview with Matt last month.
    FATAL DIVISIONS by Claire Booth (who visited the Reds earlier this month). Love the Hank Worth series.

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    1. 60+ books--you're in the same boat I am Grace!

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    2. Roberta, yes I am happy to support local bookstores by BUYING the books but many remain on my TBR mountain since the ARCs and library books are my priority, lol.

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    3. A few of the ARCs on my TBR pile that have release dates this winter/spring that I am looking forward to reading:

      WITHOUT BLOOD by Martin Michaud (Jan 19)
      INK & SHADOWS by Ellery Adams (Jan 26)
      THE ANCIENT DEAD by Barbara Fradkin (Jan 26)
      CRUEL AS THE GRAVE by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles (Feb 2)
      LONG ISLAND ICED TINA by Maria di Rico (Feb 23)
      SHUCKED APART by Barbara Ross (Feb 23)
      FATAL FRIED RICE by Vivien Chien (Mar 9)
      BITTERROOT LAKE by Alicia Beckman (aka Leslie Budewitz) (Apr 13)
      DEADLY EVER AFTER by Eva Gates (May 11)

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    4. I shall have to return to this post many times to create a list of must-reads when I can move beyond my current state of comfort-re/reading only. So many interesting titles, GRACE!

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  7. Thanks for all the recommendations, and I just signed up for the Key West event!

    I'm currently reading BLOODLINE, Jess Lourey's new suspense. It's definitely suspenseful, and dark, and I almost stayed up way too late last night to finish. But I knew I'd be late to work today if I did.

    I'll pick up CITY OF SCHEMES at my local indy today and can't wait to read it. My copy of WATCH HER should be on its way - signed by Edwin - and coming up is Joanna Schaffhausen's newest, ALL THE BEST LIES.

    Just finished Sherry Harris's ABSENCE OF ALICE, which is a little darker than the other books in her Sarah Winston Garage Sale series, and very twisty. I loved it.

    And now I'm off to start revisions on my own next book!

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    1. Sherry will be visiting here tomorrow Edith--the new book sounds so interesting! I know you'll have fun at the Friends' event...

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  8. I recently finished advance copies of the new C.J. Box thriller DARK SKY and P.J. Tracy's DEEP INTO THE DARK. I'm currently reading an advance of the new Donna Leon book TRANSIENT DESIRES. After that is an advance of the James Grippando book TWENTY.

    This week sees the release of Vicki Delany's A CURIOUS INCIDENT and the Ace Atkins book ROBERT B. PARKER'S SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME so I plan to get those (I hope). But the first book I'm going to read after the advance copies is my Christmas gift book COLD WIND by Paige Shelton.

    Oh, and to take my mind off things a bit over the last week or so when I didn't feel up to reading some prose novels, I've been reading a 1,000 page collection of Archie Comics stories. Just a few pages at a time but delving into short little tales of Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Reggie and the rest of the Riverdale cast of characters gives me just a tiny break from reality.

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    1. The comics sound like such fun Jay, and a perfect escape from reality.

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  9. Like Hallie, I have been a news junkie and I'm grateful for the wonderful recommendations!

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    1. We've had to turn off the news except for the PBS newshour and occasional dashes of NPR--it's so discouraging...

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  10. SJ Rozan for January: PAPER SON followed by her new release, THE ART OF VIOLENCE.

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    1. So glad that Bill Smith and Lydia Chin are back!
      I enjoyed reading PAPER SON last year, and THE ART OF VIOLENCE is one of the books I bought in December.

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  11. In December I began to read the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum books from book 1, and I cannot put them down. I started book 9 last night. I am howling with laughter. Her humor may not be for some, but I am hooked.

    Besides that, I've been reading Rhys's Molly Murphy series and have Time of Fog and Fire all ready to go. I also have a copy of In League with Sherlock Homes in the immediate must read pile.

    I just finished August Snow, a detective story told in first person by a really gritty, tough, black-Hispanic ex-cop, by Stephen Mack Jones. Irwin is just finishing it now, praising it highly, and we are going to get the next one in the series, Lives Laid Away. The third book is due out in May. Highly recommended!

    I also read the first Atlee Pine book by David Baldacci. The tall, strong female FBI agent is a very engaging protagonist. It's the first Baldacci book I've read and I will probably continue to read that series.

    I am listening to all my favorite books over on Audible, especially while cooking or baking. I am currently listening to Deb's Dreaming of the Bones. In the last month or so I've listened to 4 of Jenn's Hat Shop Books, 3 of Rhys's Royal Spyness books and 2 of Lucy's Key West mysteries. I do sample the voice of the reader first to be sure that it does not disturb the voices in my head. LOL.

    I'll be back late this afternoon to get all of your suggestions but my TBR pile tippith over already.

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    1. JUDY: I also liked AUGUST SNOW, and Lesa Holstine posted on the Poisoned Pen bookstore blog that the series has been picked up for development as a TV series.
      https://poisonedpen.com/2021/01/09/read-it-before-you-can-watch-it/?fbclid=IwAR1M8aj1UmtsGENtd2kfRDSt22OfG2vZ0RyFvGbDUrnYZX-CQxhQ0-wpoXY

      And I wonder if Joan liked Stephanie Plum's FINAL book (#27) Fortune and Glory: Tantalizing 27? I have made it to book 25 but am getting tired of reading the same love triangle that is unresolved!

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    2. Stephanie Plum and Lula make me howl too, Judy! I used to share those books with my mom.

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    3. Judy, Jenn's Hat Shop books are great to listen to. I finished the first one in December and look forward to more.

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    4. DREAMING OF THE BONES is my favorite Deborah Crombie book ever! Hope you love it as much as I do.

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    5. Kathy, I agree. The woman who reads the Hat Shop series does such a nice job.
      Grace, thanks for the heads up on August Snow. I do hope that they make it because the character is terrific.
      Pat D. I am loving it now, but if, as Grace just said, she is still stuck between the two loves, after 27 books...I may loose patience. That has happened to me before.

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  12. So many great reads!

    The best non-mystery book I read/listened to last year was NOTHING TO SEE HERE, by Kevin Wilson. So inventive.

    Lisa Braxton's Talking Drum was great, and our book club also read Americanah, by Chimamda Nzozi Adichie, which I highly recommend. Melinda Mullet's Whiskey Business mysteries are fun. The Beekeeper's Promise by Fiona Valpy is another good WWII story, as was her The Dressmaker's Gift. And I just read the first two Enola Holmes mysteries by Nancy Springer. So fun.

    If you've read all Lucy's Hayley Snow books, but still need your Florida fix, I recommend Teresa Michael's Mariposa Beach series, starting with Murder in Mariposa Beach. Teresa was working on that book at Rhys's writing workshop in Tuscany five years ago, and now she has a series! Our big success story from that wonderful time.

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    1. that's wonderful Karen, I will have to look the new series up!

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  13. I just finished FATAL DIVISIONS, which I loved. Tried to read THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT but stopped when I realized life is too short to bother with something I really wasn't liking much. I also have recently read AN IRISH COUNTRY FAMILY by Patrick Taylor and BROOKLYN LEGACIES by Triss Stein. Both were excellent.

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    1. I agree on not finishing what you're not enjoying. Unless it's for a class LOL

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  14. Jenn, 7/12 DEATHS was amazing. I don't know how he kept it all straight.

    I'm reading THE WICKED DAY, the last in Mary Stewart's Arthur legend - although the first three are really about Merlin and this one seems to be about Mordred, so I don't know you can really call them Arthurian legend.

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    1. Liz, I read those years ago and loved them.

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    2. Would you believe I never read them? Finished the first three over the holidays.

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  15. I am happily revisiting old friends in Millers Kill courtesy of Julia's series, and thereafter I'll revisit the other Reds' series. While I am loving hearing the first chapters read by Hank and Hannah Mary McKinnon every Tuesday and Thursday on Facebook, I seem to be re-reading old faves rather than exploring new finds. I'll get there, I'm sure; but for the moment, the familiar is what I'm reading.

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    1. Amanda, during the Holidays, between books in French, I reread Julia's whole series. A little like comfort food,
      I needed comfort books. I'm still reading old favourites.

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    2. That's exactly it, Danielle: comfort food/comfort books. So satisfying at the end of the day, as that is the only time I currently have for reading.

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    3. That makes perfect sense to me. We are doing that with TV--have rewatched all the seasons of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and almost finished with rewatching the Crown. We keep hoping the pandemic will be over:(

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    4. It is so funny, Amanda. I do reread books often, but most books I read are new to me. However, almost every one of my Audible selections have been books I've already read and loved. Only 2 books by Rhys were first time reads on Audible. All the rest of my Audible books I've read previously.

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  16. I want to join the chorus praising THE 7 1/2 DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE. It was one of the most innovative, gripping, indescribable books I have read in quite a while. I have recommended it to many friends.

    I'm in a difficult reading period right now. My first read of the year was a non-fiction work on race (STAMPED:RACISM, ANTIRACISM, AND YOU by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi) that was very good and thought-provoking, but a difficult read in many ways. I wanted to follow it with something easy and soothing, but instead my next book club read came up in my library reserves so I am reading THE BOOKWOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK by Kim Michele Richardson. While well-written, it is full of racial themes and suffering and definitely NOT a wise follow-up. I know I would enjoy it more if I read it at another time, but the book club clock is ticking so...

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    1. Susan, my book club read The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek, too. I really liked it, but there is a bit of heavy weather there. JoJo Moyes wrote a so-close to the same story in her Giver of Stars, which came out a few months later.

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  17. Obviously I need to get my hands on a copy of 7 1/2 Deaths...

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  18. I've read Murder with a View by Diane Kelly, Finlay Donovan is Killing it by Elle Cosimano, Killer Content by Olivia Blacke, all releasing in February. I also read Absence of Alice by Sherry Harris and Inherit The Shoes by E.J. Copperman. All were great reads. I just started A Side of Murder by Amy Pershing, coming in February.

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  19. As per usual, I spend a lot of time reading instead of doing something social, am tuning into an anchorite. Please leave my tray by the door and I'll grab it when no one is looking.
    December books:
    BLOODLINE, by Jess Lourey
    LAZARUS by Lars Kepler
    DID YOU EVER HAVE A FAMILY by Bill Clegg
    SHUGGIE BAIL (Booker Prize winner) by Douglas Stuart
    MURDER IN OLD BOMBAY by New March
    LITTLE SIBERIA by Aanti Tuomainan
    THE WORD IS MURDER by Anthony Horowitz
    PIECE OF MY HEART, by Mary Higgins ClarK
    HUNTING GAME by Helene Tursten
    THE TENANT by Katrine Engstrom

    January so far:

    EDDIS'S BOY by Thomas Perry
    THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE BY Katrine Engstrom
    HARD TIMES by Les Edgerton
    FLUDD by Hilary Mantel, in progress.

    If I had to pick only one out of all the above, it would be SHUGGIE BAIN This book is a masterpiece, deserving of the Booker. Kudos to Douglas Stuart

    I'm spending way more time that usual, glued to the tube, and I'm fairly terrified of the climate in our country at present. Book continue to be my escape from the unbearable.









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    1. Ann, I have Shuggie Bain on my Kindle but haven't gotten to it yet. Moving to the top of my list now!

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    2. I loved Murder in Old Bombay! I hope we have more books with Captain Jim and his new family.

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    3. Ann, what a great list. I gave Shuggie Bain to my daughter for Christmas, with the sneaky plan of borrowing it after she reads it.

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  20. Such fun to see this! We had James Benn a n the back room yesterday, and he was fabulous.
    I have been suggesting the Elly Griffiths Stranger Diaries so relentlessly this year! I love that book so much! And Evelyn Hardcastle, too. Amazing! it’s so much fun to see what you all are reading!

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    1. Hank, everyone knows how much I love Elly Griffiths' books, first falling head over heels in love with the Ruth Galloway series, then the series in Brighton. Then she went and started writing stand-alones, and The Stranger Diaries was so great. I'm now reading the new stand-alone, The Postscript Murders, and I can't wait for you to read it. Also, Elly/Dom writes a new children's/young adult series, with Justice Jones as the main character. There are two so far in that series.

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    2. Yes, Hank, The Back Room was wonderful yesterday and it is always a treat to see Jim at a live event. AND, I put the 3 other authors's books on my TBR list.

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    3. Yes! Just got the Postscript Murders. Wait..where did I put that?

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  21. Lucy, thanks for the heads' up on the Key West event--sounds fantastic!

    I'm like Amanda, re-visiting old friends--Ngaio Marsh's novels and Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael books--is about all I can do at the moment. But I did read The Lefthanded Booksellers of London and like you, Deborah, I'm hoping there will be more of these by Garth Nix. I also read The Midnight Library and found it clever and thought-provoking.

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    1. Oh, yay, Flora! So glad you liked the Garth Nix, too. It was such fun that I couldn't put it down, and that hasn't been happening to me very often this year.

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  22. I, too, binged Bridgerton! I’d read most of them but thankfully forgot who Lady Whistledown was. So fun!!! Also, I have The Stranger Diaries on deck! Yay.

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    1. We just started watching Bridgerton and I am so happy that Irwin is watching with me. It's a bit romantic cutsy for him, usually, but we are hiding from the plague, so...

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  23. My list overlaps with a lot of what the rest of you are reading. Like Lucy I enjoyed THE RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE, and like Judi, I've enjoyed escaping into Patrick Taylor's IRISH COUNTRY stories. Susan, STAMPED is in my TBR stack, but I haven't gotten there yet.

    These past few months I've read a lot, but like many of you I've gone for more easily digestible fare: Richard Osman's THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB; Edith/Maddie Day's WHEN THE GRITS HIT THE FAN; and Annette Dashofy's UNDER THE RADAR.

    Debs has been responsible for a big chunk of my recent reading list. She got me hooked on British rom-coms by Jules Wake/Julie Caplan. The most recent of those was THE NORTHERN LIGHTS LODGE, which I really enjoyed. Now she has THE LEFT-HANDED BOOKSELLERS OF LONDON lined up on my Kindle. (Which device she also insisted I buy. I am easily led.)

    Other recent reads that I really enjoyed include:
    Paige Shelton--THIN ICE (Yes, Jay, I'm planning to get to COLD WIND very soon!)
    Christina Dodd--DECEPTION COVE
    Barbara Ross--JANE DARROWFIELD AND THE MADWOMAN NEXT DOOR
    Anna Kendrick--SCRAPPY LITTLE NOBODY (a memoir, not a mystery, but fun)

    For those of you who are looking for cozy mysteries that are completely fun, with a period setting and a touch of romance, I highly recommend Maggie Robinson's Lady Adelaide mysteries, starting with NOBODY'S SWEETHEART NOW. Set in the Cotswolds and in London during the mid-1920s, there are three books in the series so far. All are fun, funny, and sharp, dealing with real social issues but in a gentle way--you never see a body, and there's a persistent ghost. Bonus! Detective Inspector Hunter is a hunk.

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    1. You tempted me to try Maggie Robinson's Lady Adelaide, Gigi

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    2. A resounding Yes! to everything you said about the Lady Adelaide books. The fourth and last won't be out until September, darn it. She has another series called Cotswold Confidential that is a hoot. An entire village is a rehab facility, more or less, for rich families to dump embarrassing relatives for a "reform" program. The stories are a lot of fun.

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    3. Thank you for the Maggie Robinson recommendation, Gigi -- sounds heavenly. And Pat, thanks for expanding it. That Costwold Confidential sounds hilarious!

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    4. Oh, wow, Pat! I'll get after the Cotswold Confidential series right away. I already have Lady Addie #4 on pre-order. For those of you who are tempted, they are available on Kindle.

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  24. Late to the party as I was reserving my slot at the Key West event, and reserving another load for my book storehouse. I am so very grateful JRW's taught me about ARC's. Currently I am finishing:
    The Unkindness of Ravens - M.E. Hilliard
    One Poisoned Pie - Lynn Cahoon
    Under the cover of Murder -Lauren Elliot
    Out of Hounds - Rita Mae Brown

    I currently finishing Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder - JoAnne Fluke
    next up is The Venice Sketchbook - Rys Bowen (lucky lucky lucky me)

    The are another 15 books in the on going reading pile. They are all good books, I like many of you feel like a reader with a bad case of ADA. I can't stay focused. The house is in shambles, as the pages turn..

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    1. Lucky you, indeed, Coralee! I'm looking forward to Rhys' The Venetian Sketchbook! And Rita Mae Brown's Out of Hounds is going on my list as well.

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    2. The house will still be there:), that's a good trade-off

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  25. I'm still rereading the "In Death" series and have finished Dying in a Winter Wonderland by Vicki Delany and One for the Books by Jenn. I read so slowly. I just purchased Sally Goldenbaum's A Murderous Tangle. I think I need to create a spreadsheet of all these books that I am reading about here and hearing about on The Back Room and First Chapter Fun.... too many for one to remember off top of one's pointy little head.

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    1. There's a new In Death out in February, Deana!

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  26. Lucy, fantastic programs at the Key West Library. Would love to be there, but ZOOM and I are truly incompatible, since way before the pandemic made the whole world zoom-literate. Hope others for whom ZOOM just zooms through can enjoy them.

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    1. Oh I'm sorry about you and Zoom since we're all practically living on it now!

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  27. Not reading much new, the newest were Julia’s Hid from Our Eyes and Ann Cleves’ The Darkest Evening which led me earlier Vera stories (new to me). Also picked up a short story collection of Margaret Maron’s Deborah Knot tales. But mainly staying in Three Pines at the Bistro with Myrna, Ruth, and all. Such a safe and quiet place with no cell service and just dial up Internet (except for the thrilling satellite dish of How the Light Gets In). Keep those hands washed, the masks on, and be well, kind, and allow some light in.

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  28. I love it when we do these lists because I always pick up so many titles I either hadn't heard of or that whizzed by me. Debs, I read an online excerpt of THE LEFT HANDED BOOKSELLERS OF LONDON on the HarperCollins site, and now I'm hooked!

    And yes, this is a plea for publishers (or authors) to put up excerpts online! Unless an author is a known quantity, I rarely buy a book in a bookstore without picking it up and reading a few pages. Make it easy for me to do the same thing when I can't go into a bookstore!

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    1. Wow, that was a lot of exclamation points. I guess I'm a bit ramped up this morning...

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    2. Books will do that to a person, Julia! And I hope you will love the Lefthanded Booksellers. I think the title was enough to hook me!

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    3. Deborah, exactly! What, I wondered, did the Right-handed booksellers do?

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  29. These posts get me in so much trouble! So far this morning I have bought The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, the first three Julia Quinn books (I'm watching Brigerton, too), and the first Lady Adelaide book. Now if I would just manage to find time to read them!

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  30. So sorry I am late to the party again. Monday mornings!

    So many wonderful books, everyone!

    I'm still composing my list of Favorite Books of 2020. Too many wonderful novels!

    CURRENT READS: HRH so many thoughts on Royal Style by Elizabeth Holmes; re-read of Chilled to the Cone by Ellie Alexander (I read an advanced digital copy for NetGalley several months ago) and a memoir by Barack Obama.

    FIRST BOOK OF 2021: A PROMISE OF ANKLES by Alexander McCall Smith

    Right now I need to read lighthearted books. There are some books that sound interesting, though they are heavier or sadder. I plan to read these in February. Books like THE PROPHETS, which got lots lots of positive reviews on Instagram / Bookstagram.

    Diana

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  31. I LOVE "what we're reading" posts! I will definitely read THE LEFTHANDED BOOKSELLERS OF LONDON, because I'm a fan of Ben Aaronovitch, Susan Cooper, and Alan Garner. I still have some of those old fantasies on my bookshelves and actually looked something up in The Weirdstone of Brisingamen a few months ago. Thanks for the recommendation. :)

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