Monday, October 2, 2023

What We're Reading





LUCY BURDETTE: I feel like I am still reading slowly, and my TBR pile is not going down. But perhaps that is because I keep adding to it? Anyway, here are some of the books I’ve read since we last had this discussion. I just finished reading Ragnar Jonasson's new book, Reykjav√≠k, written with the Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrin Jakobsdottir. I am completely fascinated by this duo of authors, not the least, because Katrin has a masters degree in Icelandic literature, including a dissertation on the subject of the crime fiction of Arnaldur Indridason. I love his books, so how could I resist this one? Reykjavik has great pacing, plus a fascinating old case, and I love the setting of Iceland. It made me want to travel there immediately.

Before that, I read Ann Cleeves’ new book, The Raging Storm. This is the second third Detective Matthew Venn book, and he is growing on me. She is such a master at creating a crime story that reflects the cold and claustrophobic setting, this time a small town called Greystone in Devon. She also does an amazing job creating and filling out secondary characters. Now I am eagerly awaiting the next Vera book.

I also very much enjoyed Spencer Quinn’s (a.k.a., Peter Abrahams) new book, Mrs. Plansky‘s Revenge. Mrs. Plansky, a retired 70 something in Florida falls victim to a scam that cleans out her savings. She rises to the occasion in the most charming and wildly believable way. If you enjoy Richard Osman's books (or even Miss Gloria from the Key West mysteries), Mrs. Plansky is for you. Also on the cozier side of the spectrum, I finished Alicia Bessette’s Murder on Mustang Beach. The writing is lovely, the Outer Banks of North Carolina is a wonderful setting, and she writes appealing characters living in a small town.

Last night I started Barbara O'Neal's The Starfish Sisters. She's such an amazing writer--I can hardly wait to get back to it. How about you Reds, what are you reading?

HALLIE EPHRON: I just finished reading an advance copy of Lori Rader-Day’s THE DEATH OF US. It’s a heartwarming/heartbreaking mother/son story. Gorgeously written. Reminded me of the way Megan Abbott brings the complicated teenage daughter/father relationship to the page… only Lori does it with mother/teenage son. The cover blurb from Ann Cleeves nails it: “So sharp, and tight and clear. And real.” It’ll be out in October.

Now I’m into Geraldine Brooks: HORSE. Historical fiction about an enslaved groom and a record-setting horse, set during the Civil War. Incandescent prose. Great storytelling. I’ll truly never look at a painting of a racehorse in the same way again.

A horse of a different color, I’m listening to: BECOMING DUCHESS GOLDBLATT. By Anonymous! It’s the hilarious and deeply moving the story of a woman who creates a Twitter alterego for herself (Duchess Goldbaltt: an 81-year old purveyor of wisdom) based on a portrait in a Frans Hals painting. It’s funny and surreal and breathtaking. I’m listening to the audio book in which Lyle Lovett narrates his own part. Thanks to my friend Patty Jo for recommending it.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I just finished Allen Eskens’ SAVING EMMA, a brilliant and thoughtful literary legal thriller–highly recommended. And whoa–Lisa Jewell’s None of This is True and Shari Lapena’s Everyone Here is Lying–such different books, amazing, but two absolutely breathtakingly wonderful authors.

Oh, have you read The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Pattii Callahan Henry? Drop everything, seriously, and get it.

On my pile, and cannot wait, Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAlllister, and Happiness Falls by Angie Kim! I have no doubt they will both be fabulous.

And back to TV? The oh so talented Alexis Gordon’s Gethsemane Brown mysteries are on Hallmark Mystery now! And they are SO perfect. YAY!

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Representing science fiction here with two amazing and quite different novels that both have animals as main characters: John Scalzi’s STARTER VILLAIN and Paul McAuley’s BEYOND THE BURN LINE. The former is an homage/satire/updated twist of the Blofeld type of baddie, complete with volcano lair and fluffy cat; the latter… really, it’s best to go in not knowing much.

In our own genre, I absolutely loved Nina Simon’s MOTHER-DAUGHTER MURDER NIGHT (and now I want to write a book where the Maine Millennial and I solve a mystery!) THE BONES OF THE STORY by Carol Goodman is a fantastic locked-room mystery set in her signature gothic-academic setting. I love Carol’s writing so much; her work perfectly balances literary and crime fiction.

Non-fiction read: THE HEAT WILL KILL YOU FIRST, by Jeff Goodell, a climate journalist who also write THE WATER WILL COME. If you like having the crap scared out of you, read these terrific books and start planning your escape route. I suggest Michigan.

JENN McKINLAY: Julia, I’ve heard amazing things about Simon’s MOTHER-DAUGHTER MURDER NIGHT - adding it to my TBR!

I have been on a reading bender and it’s been glorious! As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m heading into a new genre (sort of) that’s a grown up Harry Potter meets Agatha Christie with some Edgar Allan Poe thrown in because why not? So my reading is joyfully all over the place.

Right now, I’m reading an epic fantasy THE KINGS OF THE WYLD by Nicholas Eames (middle-aged mercenaries on a rescue mission, it’s a blast). I’m also reading a romcom ARC by Nic DiDimizio called NEARLYWED (two gay men, who hit some relationship obstacles as they gear up for their wedding - poignant and hilarious). Nic’s writing is just so fun! And because it’s the season of all things scary (which I love), I just read T. Kingfisher’s A HOUSE WITH GOOD BONES (which our Hank rightly endorsed) and up next is Kingfisher’s THE TWISTED ONES. Oh, and I just finished THE HOUSEMAID by Freida McFadden. I figured out the twist early on, but it was still excellent.

RHYS BOWEN: Julia, I can absolutely recommend writing a book with your daughter. Clare and I have so much joy writing together! I haven’t read much recently as I’ve been traveling and working on edits,but I did read The Marsh King’s Daughter that I picked up at Bouchercon–brilliant but darker than I usually read. I also dipped back to several old favorites, including a couple of Mary Stewarts. I wish there were more like her being written today. A recent favorite is THE SECRET BOOK OF FLORA LEA by Patti Callahan Henry. I love her work!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I want Jenn's list! The fantasy and the gay wedding book sound fabulous. I feel like a slacker compared to some of you. I know I mentioned it before Bouchercon, but I absolutely adored Allison Montclair's latest, THE LADY FROM BURMA. Since B'con I've read Jacqueline Winspear's THE WHITE LADY–so good. Also James Benn's latest Billy Boyle, PROUD SORROWS. I'm behind in the series but really enjoyed this regardless. Now I've just started the latest Richard Osman, THE LAST DEVIL TO DIE. And this week is a bonanza, with G.M. Malliet's new Max Tudor, THE WASHING AWAY OF WRONGS, the new Robert Galbraith Cormoran Strike novel, THE RUNNING GRAVE (at almost 1000 pages, that may take me a day or two…,) AND a book I have been looking forward to for ages, S.J. Bennett's 3rd Her Majesty the Queen Investigates novel, MURDER MOST ROYAL. If you've missed the first two books in this absolutely delightful series, I highly recommend them!


What are you reading Reds?

117 comments:

  1. Roberta, I loved THE RAGING STORM (it's the third Matthew Venn). I read Sarah Stewart Taylor's new STOLEN CHILD - fabulous. And yesterday I finished an early copy of Ellen Byron's series debut set in California Gold Rush country, A VERY WOODSY MURDER - you won't want to miss that in the spring. On the stack are Joanna Schaffhausen's DEAD AND GONE and Joyce Woollcott's second DS Ryan MacBride mystery, BLOOD RELATIONS, plus HOLLYWOOD SPY, a Susan Elia MacNeal Maggie Hope mystery from 2019 that I picked up at Bouchercon.

    Believe it or not, I still haven't gotten over to the bookstore to pick up Rhys's THE PARIS ASSIGNMENT. Looking forward to that and to Lori Rader-Day's latest. And DEMOCRACY AWAKENING, Heather Cox Richardson's new non-fiction. Not enough reading time!

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    1. thanks for the correction--second didn't seem quite right. I love Sarah's series as well and look forward to the Ellen Byron.

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    2. Edith, you are blessed that you got to read Ellen Byron's California Gold Rush mystery before publication. I look forward to reading the book when it is published.

      Diana

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    3. Edith, thank you SO much for the shout-out! Muhwaah.

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    4. Edith, after reading Hollywood Spy by MacNeal, try Mother Daughter Traitor Spy: a Novel by MacNeal, a stand-alone where she made good use of all the research she had done for Hollywood Spy--it is also a good read. Marjorie

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  2. Although I keep reading, but my teetering to-be-read pile doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller; recently I’ve enjoyed Gregg Hurwitz’s LONE WOLF: AN ORPHAN X NOVEL . . . Steve Urszenyi’s PERFECT SHOT . . . Jonathan Kellerman’s latest Alex Delaware novel, THE GHOST ORCHID . . . John Grisham’s THE EXCHANGE . . . B. S Paris’s THE GUEST . . . Dr. Nick Crumpton’s EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT DINOSAURS IS WRONG . . . .

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  3. DEAD AND GONE by Joanna Schaffhausen, BAKE, BATTER, AND ROLL by Catherine Bruns, and I just finished FALL by Tracy Clark (coming December 2023). All great reads.

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  4. I'm currently reading COLD TURKEY by Amy Patricia Meade, GUILT STRIKES AT GRANGER'S RANGE by Terry Shames, listening to WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME by Gillian McAllister (Hank's recommendation is so on point), and THE DEATH OF US by Lori Rader-Day. I recently finished listening to THE LAST DEVIL TO DIE by Richard Osman. This 4th book in the Thursday Murder Club series was funny (as usual) but had some poignant moments, too.

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    1. Really looking forward to the Osman and Rader-Day!

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    2. And I am moving Hank's recommended EVERYONE HERE IS LYING by Shari Lapena to my short stack TBR. I will be seeing Shari on a panel at the Vancouver Lit Fest in 2 weeks.

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    3. All of these books look wonderful! Diana

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    4. YAY!!! Yes, Gillian and Shari are so wonderful--I just interviewed them both, separately, and I am in fan love.

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  5. Hallie, HORSE is amazing. My favorite read of the year so far.

    I recently finished THICKER THAN WATER, Liz Milliron's amazing new release, and Lisa Scottoline's WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BENNETTS? which kept me up way too late. Currently, I'm reading pages for critique sessions.

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  6. Sort of glad you didn't put links to purchase on all your great recommendations, or I'd be penniless this morning!

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  7. What am I reading? Gawd, what am I not reading.

    Well I recently finished ONLY THE DEAD by Jack Carr and CODE RED by Kyle Mills. I haven't written my Goodreads reviews of those yet but that's on the horizon soon hopefully.

    I'm currently working on James R. Benn's THE DEVOURING. Because my library is closed for the month of October for repairs, I took out the next five books in his Billy Boyle series in the likely futile dream that I'll have time to finish them all before the library reopens.

    I say likely futile because I've got a lot of other stuff that I HAVE to get read in time for certain things.

    I've got advance copies of the Maddie Day books MURDER UNCORKED, the anthology CHRISTMAS MITTENS MURDER and DEEP FRIED DEATH. It would be nice to get them read before the Maddie Day event at the Falmouth Library on October 14th. I also have to re-read MURDER ON CAPE COD for my mystery book club because Maddie (or Edith as we all know her :D) is coming in person to our November meeting.

    But before that, I'm also reading THE COLD DISH by Craig Johnson for the book club's October meeting where we'll be joined by the author via Zoom!

    Of course, I'm also working on A CHRISTMAS PERIL by J.A. Hennrikus...who will be coming to the book club in December!

    And then I have to the advance copy of LOST HOURS by Paige Shelton that I got in the mail to review for Mystery Scene. There's a couple other ARCs I'm hoping will come in soon for other reviews.

    There's also READ TO DEATH AT THE LAKESIDE LIBRARY by Holly Danvers and REDEMPTION by Deborah J. Ledford on the schedule as well.

    Plus all the other massive quantities of books I have that I want to read.

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    1. Looking forward to seeing you two months in a row, Jay!

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    2. JAY: WOW, a Zoom book club with Craig Johnson sounds awesome! I have the latest Longmire book, THE LONGMIRE DEFENSE, on my Audible to listen to after the McAllister book.

      I enjoyed reading Maddie/Edith ARCs for CHRISTMAS MITTENS MURDER and MURDER UNCORKED. These two stories launch the new cozy series set in northern California wine country. And I just got approved for DEEP FRIED DEATH on Netgalley.

      And I bought REDEMPTION last week after hearing positive things about this book.

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    3. Lucy, yeah things just managed to work out that we're having three straight months with author appearances.

      Edith, same goes for me.

      Grace, I know I was shocked as well. I didn't try to do it. He OFFERED when I sent him the flyer for the month's meeting just as a way to say we were reading the book. I was floored but definitely wasn't going to pass on that.

      Oh, and on October 15th, I'm going to an event where I'll get to meet Sara Paretsky! I bought REDEMPTION for the same reason as you.

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    4. Jay, THE DEVOURING is one of my favorite Billy Boyle books. Benn always brings in real life famous individuals who were involved in the war in the place and time of each story. Keep an eye out for the characters he includes in that book!!

      As for your book club and its visiting authors, WOW!

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    5. Judy, I am enjoying The Devouring. With luck and a little bit of laziness here at work, I'll be able to finish it today.

      And "Wow!" is my reaction every time I have any kind of interaction with all these great authors wherever it may happen. It's only amplified when they say yes to appearing at our little book club.

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  8. Wow, look out TBR pile/list. You are increasing again!

    I just began reading Donna Andrews' Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon. Book #4 out of 34 sure promises plenty of laughs for a very long time!
    I have been listening to Mick Heron's Slough House books, most of which are on Audible Plus but also available through Hoopla. Excellent. Also listening to James Benn's Billy Boyle series in order. That's a fun way to reread favorites. Speaking of Audible Plus, some of my favorite romances by Louise Bay are about to drop out of my library so, I am listening to them once again.

    Yesterday, I finished reading Rhys and Clare's latest Molly Murphy, ALL THAT IS HIDDEN and it is fabulous! I loved this series before, it being one that I devoured during the pandemic, and the latest books written with Clare are just perfect!

    Debs, I, too, loved Allison Montclair's latest Sparks and Bainbridge, THE LADY FROM BURMA. So good! THE ROAD TRIP by Beth O'Leary has some really whacky characters and the situation is hilarious if you don't mind a bit of slapstick. I loved it. FIELDS OF FIRE, by Ryan Steck is the first book in his Matthew Redd series. If you like a Jack Reacher type of character, this series is for you! Terrific! A NEWLYWED'S GUIDE TO FORTUNE AND MURDER by Dianne Freeman is just delightful with great characters and lots of laughs! And lastly, Amazon pushed a romance at me for $1.99. I bit and started one, then put everything else aside for several days to read through the whole series. Candace Camp's Matchmaker series. Irresistible. Bodice rippers all. Oh, oh, oh, Hannah Mary McKinnon 's latest Christmas romance, written as Holly Cassidy THE CHRISMAS WAGER will be my next read.

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    1. JUDY: I agree you are in for plenty of laughs as you continue to read Donna Andrews' books. And I enjoyed listening to all 8 Slough House books. Is Dianne Freeman's books part of the same historical series? I remember reading book #1, but did not continue reading (so many books, too little time syndrome).

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    2. Yes, Dianne Freeman's series is up to 6 or 7 books already. I just love her main character whose wry observations of turn of the 20th. Century British, their rules and sensibilities, are thoroughly hilarious. It is one of my favorite cozy series. When Frances, Countess of Harley, describes getting awakened by her husband's mistress to carry his dead body out of her bed in the middle of the night, well, that situation made me a complete ddevotee of author, Dianne Freeman.

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    3. OK, thanks, you convinced me. Also helped that Bookbub listed the Kindle version of A NEWLYWED'S GUIDE TO FORTUNE AND MURDER for $1.99 today.

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    4. Loved A NEWLYWED'S GUIDE TO FORTUNE AND MURDER by Dianne Freeman.

      Diana

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    5. Perhaps it’s because I’m “a woman of a certain age” : Diana Freeman’s Aunt Hettie is my new role model! Love this series. Elisabeth

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  9. Thanks for repping SFF, Julia, STARTER VILLAIN is coming up soon for me. And I stan all things T Kingfisher, Jenn, and have THORNHEDGE coming up. For less horror and more romance, I really enjoyed her Saint of Steel series.

    Recently read KILLERS OF A CERTAIN AGE by Deanna Raybourn and loved the Golden Girls meet Burn Notice vibe. Have been reading Jeffrey Siger’s Chief Inspector Kaldis series while vacationing in Greece. Walking in a certain direction from our flat in Athens that looked a bit … transitional, I realized that this was the rough neighborhood where the murder took place in one of those books (so future forays headed in another direction).

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    1. LISA: Enjoy your time in Athens, but please avoid the sketchy neighbourhoods IRL.

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    2. Lisa, we LOVE Jeffrey Siger's Cgief Inspector Kaldis series. It's a favorite here!

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    3. LISA:That's so cool that you are in Greece while reading Siger's book and can follow the path of the story so to speak! A friend & I vacationed in Key West many years ago so when I read Lucy Burdette's Key West mystery series it is fun to know the town.

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    4. GRACE: the key will be to read the series BEFORE booking the AirBnB location next time!

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    5. JUDY: I got the first book at Bouchercon Long Beach after seeing him in a panel, but it fell through the reading cracks. Knowing I was going to Greece, I got the second book this year at Bcon San Diego and really have enjoyed them.

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    6. Ah, gotcha. Next vacation be better prepared!

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    7. Lisa, it is such a good series. His character falls in love so you must keep reading;-)

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  11. I’ve been diligently working my way through my TBR as some have been waiting for me for well over a year. Recently I read The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor while on a road trip. I liked it so much I found a bookstore to try to get the next one in the series. They didn’t have it, so I wound up with Reef Road by Deborah Goodrich Royce instead. No wonder I cannot get to the bottom of my TBR…always adding. I just finished You Will Remember Me by Hannah Mary McKinnon. I was not expecting that ending!
    I am looking forward to the new Cormoran Strike tome and the next in Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club and I adore SJ Bennett’s series too! I just got Mary Kay Andrews’ Bright Lights, Big Christmas to start me off on holiday reads.
    I need to go back through these comments and make a list of all the titles that caught my eye.

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    1. BRENDA: Sarah's series is one of my faves. It will be worth while tracking down the next 3 books.

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    2. Grace, I will. Not available through my library via the Libby app. I need to check their print catalog. As much as I would like to buy them all, I need to explore free options first even though I would have bought the next one on our trip as I was running out of books.

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    3. I understand. I bought THE MOUNTAINS WILD after reading a digital ARC since I loved it so much. But I got the next 3 books via Netgalley or my public library.

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    4. Really, I just don't think that I can buy any more books than I already do! I now have personal relationships with so many authors that I feel that I must buy, read, review for them! Otherwise, I look at the library first, unless it is a really good price for a Kindle book.
      Brenda, does your library offer Hoopla? They also have free access to thousands of books and audiobooks, too.

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    5. You might not believe it from the comments I posted above, but I really do buy fewer books than when I worked full-time. About 80% of books I read are from Netgalley ARCs or the public library. The other 20% monthly reads are from my ever-growing personal TBR mountains.

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    6. Judy, no hoopla, just Libby although I do have access to the libraries in an 11 county region with my one library card for Libby and inter-library loans.

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    7. Grace, I actually won the Mountains Wild from the First Chapter Fun 3rd anniversary day of giveaways. Last year I kept track and I bought about half my books and the other half were library, books I won, or borrowed from friends.

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    8. My Kindle is a jungle. I am a sucker for those $1.99 sales. This week, I am going to map it out so that I can get to the books by authors I already love first.

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  12. I'm reading Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (and have tickets to see her on October 17). I'm only a couple of chapters in but am enjoying it. I continue working my way through William Kent Krueger's Cork O'Connor series (finished #15) and Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series (finished #16) and have started Ann Cleeves Shetland series and Mick Herron's Slough House series.

    A couple of important non-fiction reads from earlier this summer-- The first was Matthew Desmond's POVERTY BY AMERICA. He makes the point through our tax codes and other incentives, the rich receive way more government handouts than do the poor. It will make your blood boil. The second book is I WANT A BETTER CATASTROPHE: NAVIGATING THE CLIMATE CRISIS WITH GRIEF, HOPE, AND GALLOWS HUMOR. I'm so glad we were able to read this one in a small group where we could talk about our grief and our hope and make plans for personal next steps. It's very hard, but we have to acknowledge that we are past the tipping point, that climate chaos/catastrophe is here to stay and then think about how we can still move forward to mitigate the on-going problems.

    In Spanish class, we finished VIOLETA by Isabel Allende and are now reading LEONORA by Elena Poniatowska. It's a biography of the surrealist artist Leonora Carrington, who was born in England, but spent much of her life in Mexico, written by a French immigrant who became one of Mexico's most famous authors.

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    1. The climate book was by Andrew Boyd

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    2. I also want to read Demon Copperhead and the newest kent Krueger. sigh....

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    3. Lucy, my book club read Demon Copperhead. Like Gillian I enjoyed the first part of the book and liked the main character. Our book club gave it 4 stars because it got a little discouraging toward the end. One of the ladies read David Copperfield just prior to our meeting and apparently there is a connection to Dickens.

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    4. Cannot wait to read Demon COpperhead.

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  13. What a treat to have "what are we reading week" to respond to just after I returned from my trip to the British Isles! (I was reading the blog most days there, but not up to responding on my tiny little phone screen.)

    I have read several wonderful mysteries that I know you are all familiar with (Sarah Stewart Taylor's A STOLEN CHILD plus the next for me in Paige Shelton's ALASKA WILD series and Deanna Raybourn's VERONICA SPEEDWELL series.) But two books that have stood out for me that are outside the mystery genre are THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern and UNDER THE WHISPERING DOOR by T.J. Klune. They are both in the fantasy genre which isn't where I usually gravitate, but I loved them both. Klune's book, in particular, keeps popping back into my head. In it a perfectly awful lawyer dies and almost the whole story takes place after that, as he is taken to a "ferryman" responsible for helping him prepare to transition on into the afterlife. Except as he begins to acknowledge his mistakes in life, he falls in love with his ferryman, and complications ensue. It was often funny, always warm, and ultimately uplifting and life affirming.

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    1. Susan, Deanna Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell series is one of my all-time favorites. It is very witty. The main character has an acerbic tongue and is fresh and competent, with a great backstory. Stoker is a perfect foil for her, and I love the humor in it.
      I have been meaning to read one of T. J. Klune's books.

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    2. I LOVED UNDER THE WHISPERING DOOR! I’ve already gone back and re-read it and have enjoyed Klune’s other books.

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    3. The Night Circus is an all-time favorite of mine! Not an easy or quick read, as it is very dense, also very beautiful and perfect for savoring. -Melanie

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  14. Hank, I am reading JUST ANOTHER MISSING PERSON now.

    Before that, I read WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BENNETS by Lisa Scottoline, a women's fiction titled THE THINGS WE'LL NEVER HAVE by Hilary Hauck, ALL THE SINNERS BLEED by S.A. Cosby, HIDE by Tracy Clark, and Debs' A KILLING OF INNOCENTS. (Side note: Some day I have to go back and read the first 15 books in this series LOL).

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    1. I have the SA Cosby on my pile. I'll have to see whether it's too violent for my fragile mind, though I love his writing!

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    2. It might be. There are some pretty gruesome murders.

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  15. One of the highlights for me at Bouchercon was meeting Hank, Edith, Deb, and Grace! Another was finding out from Alan Gordon, at the Author Speed Dating session, that he is also Allison Montclair! I have loved all five in that series and may or may not have actually slapped the table when I found out they were written by a man.

    I haven't started on the eight books I brought home from Bouchercon, but I was thrilled to sit at Naomi Hirahara's table at the awards banquet and will be reading CLARK AN DIVISION soon. Other books I have enjoyed lately include HIDE and FALL by Tracy Clark, THE ASCENT by Adam Plantinga (warning: graphic violence), BEING HENRY by Henry Winkler, THE TAKEDOWN by Carlie Walker. THE WISHING BRIDGE by Viola Shipman, and DARK RIDE by Lou Berney. I was thrilled to be able to tell Lou in person at Bouchercon how much I had enjoyed this book. Highly recommended!

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    1. MARGIE: It was lovely to meet you and several JRW commenters in person at San Diego Bouchercon! Lucky you, sitting at Naomi's banquet table. She is so nice. CLARK AND DIVISION was one of top reads last year. I read the sequel EVERGREEN in August. Also good but I liked CLARK and DIVISION better.

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  16. I am madly taking notes here, and adding to my already long list: fresh from the library, Tracy Chevalier's Remarkable Creatures, because it si about Lyme Regis, UK, where we were recently, and Richard Russo's new Somebody's Fool, because i love all his books. And I have read Mrs Plonsky's Revenge which was hilarious! Just what I needed. I have fallen behind on books by Rhys and James Benn and Richard Osman, so have some catching up to do. And by my friends Nancy Bilyeau and her new Orchid Hour and Naomi Hirahara's Evergreen. And James McBride's Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, which is beautifully written but needs some time to pay attention. That should keep me busy for awhile. :-)

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  17. I'm in the middle of Let It Crow, Let It Crow, Let It Crow, Donna Andrews' latest ARC. I just got the Flora Lea book from the library. If you haven't read her Saving Savannah, grab it! Also got a spooky book, Hacienda. I've got different ARCs to read from a romcom to suspense. And I just read Ann Charles' latest Deadwood book. Hilarious!

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    1. I have pre-ordered Let it Crow. Donna Andrews’ current one is waiting for me on my nook. Yes, The Secret Book of Flora Lea and Surviving Savannah are both great!

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  18. Reading new fiction is still really hard for me, but am currently reading Die Around Sundown by Mark Pryor, which I'm enjoying and hope to be able to concentrate long enough to finish. Alternating between that book and Allison Montclair's The Right Sort of Man. Both of these are the first books in series, so I'm hoping to keep going! Also on my nightstand, a copy of Michael Falco's Murder in an Italian Village. These are all new-to-me authors. Looking forward to Terror in Topaz, the fourth (and perhaps final) book in the Harriet Gordon mysteries by A.M. Stewart.

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  19. I have a short list.
    1. The first is a book probably everyone in the US has read except me:
    LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY by Bonnie Garmin.
    2. I am reading An Agatha Raisin Mystery (she is a hoot and the books were made into a BBC show which was fantastic). DEAD ON TARGET by M.C. Beaton (written by R.W.Green).
    3. JULIET by Sophie Duncan (Oxford Shakespeare Scholar). This is easy to read but a difficult subject. It talks about Shakespear's Romeo & Juliet famous play. Is this the greatest love story or something else? Duncan traces our obsession with young love and how it defines Western ideals of romance.

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  20. Me again from above: I mean to add The BONES OF THE STORY by Carol Goodman. Intriguing. Well written

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    1. You are not the last person in the US to read LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY. It's still on my TBR stack, too.

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    2. And mine!

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    3. Also reading Lessons in Chemistry--started and read to page 70, but books due at the library had to be read. Do like it however and will return to it soon. Marjorie

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    4. Mine, too. The upcoming TV adaptation of LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY will move it up to my short stack TBR.

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    5. Lessons in Chemistry was one of my favorite books (that wasn't part of a series) the year it came out. It is definitely one of the better books "that everyone is talking about." I like to choose my own "to die-for" authors. I probably won't watch the tv adaptation.

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  21. Love to talk about books. Picked up several novels at B'con.

    Just finished the ARC of JANE AND THE FINAL MYSTERY by Stephanie Barron. Five Stars!!!

    Currently reading THE WASHING AWAY OF WRONGS by G.M. Malliet. And the second book in the Gethsemane Brown cozy mysteries by Alexia Gordon. Also reading THE VERY SECRET SOCIETY OF IRREGULAR WITCHES by Sangu Mandana.

    When I finish these books, I plan to read more Cozy Mysteries and for Halloween, one or two spooky novels.

    In October, I like to read spooky novels in honor of Halloween.

    Any recommendations for spooky novels (no bloody gore please) to read in October?

    Diana

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    1. Our own Lucy Burdette's KILLER TAKEOUT (is a cozy mystery) set during Fantasy Week celebrated in Key West which takes place around Halloween with costumes.

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    2. Thank you. Already read the book twice! Looking for more recommendations.

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  22. Yeah, two libraries near me each have a copy of HORSE by Geraldine Brooks.
    Looking forward to reading this book. Thanks to Hallie for her recommendation.

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  23. I've had a really crazy, busy few months with many long-term goals finally coming to fruition--new car, new phone, new fence--as I watched the money flow out of my bank account like water. As a result, my book-buying budget has been trimmed way back. That doesn't stop me from reading, or seem to make much of a dent in my TBR pile. I have recently enjoyed the following, in no particular order:
    Allison Montclair's THE LADY FROM BURMA, which I loved
    The new J. D. Robb, PAYBACK IN DEATH, which was reliable comfort food reading, and good
    Ann Cleeves, THE RAGING STORM, which I enjoyed as I like Matthew Venn,
    Two of David Rosenfelt's K-9 novels, which were great fun
    S. A. Cosby's ALL THE SINNERS BLEED, which takes Southern Gothic into great new territory, and made me laugh at some of his observations on Southern social ways. It wasn't anywhere near as grim as I'd expected it to be from that title.

    But the book of the summer, for me, is BURNOUT, a non-fiction look at all the various stressors women have to deal with, and how to unwind them from your life and your psyche. It's by twin sisters, Emily and Amelia Nagoski, and I have sent probably a dozen copies out to all the ladies I love who are absolutely dealing with exactly the stressors the Nagoski sisters are talking about. You all need this book. All of you.

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    1. Adding BURNOUT to my list. It’s what led to my early retirement - no regrets in doing that, but it would have been nice not to have reached that stage.

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  24. So many great recommendations! This is one of the reasons why I love being part of Jungle Red.

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  25. I'm three chapters away from finishing LIGHTS OUT by Elise Hart Kipness. It's an Amazon first reads. The story is absolutely fantastic. I started the novel on Saturday morning, read into Sunday morning. At the last three chapters, I forced myself to stop. In preparation for what I knew was going to be a long-hard week, I wanted to give myself something to look forward to. It's Monday, almost noon, and I can't hold out any longer! I'm skipping lunch and finishing.
    I would love to hear what Reds think. The story is phenomenal.

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    1. Thanks for mentioning Amazon First Reads, T.M.! For some reason I don’t reliably get the notification about the First Reads books (or miss seeing it in the Promotions file of emails). I immediately looked up the latest and, at your recommendation, selected Lights Out! I’m in the middle of about four other books, but will start it asap. — Pat S

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    2. I can't wait to read Elise's book! She is going to be one of our friends of the Key West Library speakers this year.

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    3. Wow, Lucy. It is just amazing all of the connections between authors and readers and fans here. I love this blog!

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  26. Hallie, I agree! I’m so far behind in the many series you all have mentioned (Sarah Stewart Taylor, Lucy’s Key West, Richard Osman, et al) because every week someone suggests a new book or series and I go down that rabbit hole!
    Recently I’ve read our own Kim Hays’ first book, Pesticide (really enjoyed the character development and am looking forward to her second, Sons and Brothers), David Baldacci’s latest, Simply Lies, Rachel Howzell Hall’s What Never Happened and Debs’ sixth book in her Kincaid & James series, Kissed a Sad Goodbye. Currently reading Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt; Chained (from the Kate Turner, DVM series) by Eileen Brady and trying to finish The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams that I started in August, but set aside while traveling and going to B’con. It’s a really good book, but I have forgotten who’s who so doing some rereading. I’m in awe of all of you who can read/listen to so many books at once and keep them straight, let alone the authors among you who are writing your own stories and still have time to read! — Pat S

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    1. Remarkably Bright Creatures!!! Love!

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    2. PAT S: I enjoyed reading Kim's PESTICIDE last year (thanks to DEBS and Jim Ziskin's recommendations). Since Kim was going to San Diego Bouchercon, I made sure to go to her Wednesday pm panel & to get her to autograph book#2, Sons and Brothers.

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    3. Irwin is reading my copy of Pesticide which I thought would be one of my reads last month, but he is doing 100 other things, and I am being patient.

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    4. That’s a very good wife, Judy! I am supposed to be reading a book my son gave his father for his birthday so my husband can read it before we visit our son at Thanksgiving so my husband can give it to him to read. (Follow that?!) While the book looks interesting (The Madam and the Spymaster), it’s not attracting me like most of the books mentioned here today! — Pat S

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  27. Lucy, it's not you - it's that so many fabulous books are coming out it is impossible to keep up, try as we might.

    For example, Oct. is stuffed with new releases, including a couple of new books in series that haven't had a new release since 2019. I enjoyed BRUSH UP ON MURDER

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    1. by Sybil Johnson, and I'm currently reading HUNTERS OF THE DEAD by Steven Hockensmith.

      Other October releases I'm planning to enjoy are SUGAR PLUM POISONED by Jenn McKinlay, A NUTCRACKERS NIGHTMARE by Christina Romeril, MURDER BY THE SEASHORE by Samantha Yew, the novella MISTLETOE AND MURDER by Connie Berry, A PARFAIT CRIME by Maya Corrigan, BARBEQUE CAN BE DEADLY by Ryan Rivers, and CHEAP THRILLS by Wendall Thomas.

      Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be over here reading.

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    2. Mark, thanks for the recommendations. I already am planning to read several of these books and others are new to me authors.

      Diana

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    3. MARK: I have several of your October titles in my Netgalley ARC queue this month.

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  28. I still have books from last year waiting. I did just put Elly Griffith's The Night. Hawks on my bed to read next. I'm in the middle of The Christmas Mittens Murders in anticipation of Maddie/Edith's Murder Uncorked. I'll be at Pedroncelli later this month since I didn't make it to Bouchercon. But first, my sister and brother-in-law are arriving later today and the bed is still covered with laundry, clean, it's clean and the kitchen had no food so I'm off to clean and shop.

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    1. Good luck, Deana! Don’t you hate when “real life” intrudes on your reading time! — Pat S

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  29. So many wonderful recommendations. Looking for more recommendations re: Spooky Books in honor of Halloween.

    Diana

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    1. WHAT MOVES THE DEAD (new take on the Fall of the House of Usher) and THE HOLLOW ONES by T Kingfisher, MEXICAN GOTHIC and THE DAUGHTER OF DOCTOR MOREAU by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

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    2. Thank you. I want spooky without the blood or the gore or the violence. I will look these up.

      Diana

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    3. Agree with Lisa's recommendations. Anything by T. Kingfisher is great. Also under her Ursula Vernon name the Hamster Princess series is very entertaining. Both my husband and I (both 70+) really like them. Marjorie

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    4. DIANA: Have you read Libby Klein's Poppy McAllister books? She runs a B&B in Cape May, NJ & bakes gluten-free desserts. Her wacky aunt Ginny & other B&B staff are a hoot. And there is a slow burning romance. The latest book, Mischief Nights Are Murder, is set at Halloween.
      https://www.kensingtonbooks.com/9781496733153/mischief-nights-are-murde

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    5. Diana, Catriona McPherson has a Halloween book, one of her Scot books. I posted about it earlier but Blogger dumped it. Lol

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  30. I just finished The Discrete Charm of the Big Bad Wolf by Alexander McCall Smith, 4th in one of my favorite new series. Martin the dog is a great character. Just starting The Golden Gate by Yale Law Professor Amy Chua. Reading Several cozy series "the grilled cheese series" by Linda Reilly, Honey Drop Dead by Laura Childs. Read 1st in series by Claire Booth, The Branson Beauty. Other recent books: Mrs. Jeffries Aims to Win by Brightwell, Bound for Murder (#4) by Gilbert, Waco by Jeff Guinn (nonfiction), The Devil's Blaze: Sherlock Holmes 1943 by Robert J. Harris, several in Sharyn Howard mystery series by Joyce and Jim Lavene (my husband likes books wth women sheriffs), Murder on Mustang Beach by Bessette (another new favorite series). Favorite children's book of late--I am a Dragon by Sabina Hahn. Once Upon a Tome: the MisAdventures of a rare bookseller by Oliver Darkshire (nonfiction). About halfway through Flat White Fatality by Emmeline Duncan another favorite new cozy--this is 3rd in series--about Portland, OR; food carts, coffee, --what's not to like. These are a few that stand out--read a number of others. Ready to start Red Rabbit by Alex Grecian, a favorite author--have read all his books, this one sounds like fun, and a little different. Marjorie

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    1. I enjoyed ONCE UPON A TOME after enjoying that Twitter Account.

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  31. You are all amazing.! I have put comments throughout.. and PLEASE look for ONE PUZZLING AFTERNOON by Emily Critchley! It is brilliant.

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  32. This is Kathy R. I always love this post where everybody talks about what they're reading. But, I have little to add this time. I'm not saying this to prompt any comments of sympathy, but since my son Kevin was killed the end of May, I have been unable to read even one fiction book. Being unable to read is a common symptom of grief like mine. Believe me, I have read lots about grief, and it's mentioned over and over again. So, I guess I have read, but they are all books about grief and losing a child. When this tragedy first happened, I needed somebody to help me know what to do, how to grieve this tremendous loss. I know that may sound strange to some of you, but I didn't even know if I should be watching television, or if that was uncaring or disrespectful. Well, since I'm pretty good at finding resources, I came across a perfect book, just about grieving, not about my particular situation, and it wasn't a religious book. I don't have anything against those, but I needed something else first. Megan Devine's It's OK That You're Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand is an outstanding book for those just beginning to grieve. It lets you know right off that this is as bad as it seems and that there is no right way to grieve. I've got other grief books, some specifically about losing an adult son and some spiritual ones, but I hope none of you need them. If you ever do want a list of some good ones, you can always contact me.

    Now, here's a little oddity that came up in my reading during the last four months, and I've been reading it very slowly, just a small bit at a time, sometimes I could make it through a chapter. You probably know author Susan Orlean for her books The Orchid Thief and The Library Book. Well, in July, I wanted to see if I could maybe read something non-fiction and started her book On Animals. It has chapters on different animals, like keeping chickens, a lady with 20 tigers in Florida, the underappreciated mules, pigeons that race, and the most famous orca named Keiko (Free Willy), and more. Keiko's story is both sad and triumphant. I just finished that chapter and have started one on lions. I think the secret is I have to read something totally disconnected to my life and especially my beloved mystery and crime reading. Murder and its repercussions is all too real for me now. But, I'm hoping that I might be able to read another of Orleans' books after this one. I already have The Library and her book about Rin Tin Tin here at home. Debs, you might enjoy Rin Tin Tin, with him being a German Shepherd.

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    1. I'm so glad you found a helpful book Kathy. I do not find it strange at all that you should wonder what is the right way to grieve. I'm also glad the Orleans book is catching your attention. It's a long, painful journey, isn't it? Lots of love to you!

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    2. Oh, Kathy, I have been wondering how you are. I am so sorry for your loss. The loss of a child is unthinkable. A horrific imbalance of nature. I am glad that you are finding some peace. Hugs

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  33. For some reason I can’t get my comments to post on my laptop. Hoping this will go through like it’s supposed to.

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  34. Kathy, it went through. I cannot begin to imagine what you have been and are going through and I agree that I hope no one among us ever has to go through this. I wish you peace. And maybe try an entirely different genre like women’s fiction or classic literature. Sending you hugs. —Pat S

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  35. Like many others, I've been having trouble concentrating on reading during the pandemic, and then after losing someone dear to me, and now I don't seem to have time after loading myself up with post-retirement activities! However, I did just finish Mrs Plansky's Revenge, by Spencer Quinn, and I *loved* it! Very much in the style of Mrs Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman, so if you loved that series, I think you'll get a kick out of Mrs Plansky.
    Avis Crane

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  36. I just finished Killers of a Certain Age (more thriller than mystery) but it was fun/funny and a well-laid plot. I enjoyed it very much and recommend it to those who like plucky characters (four soon-to-be-retired female assassins) who use old-school techniques to get themselves out of a situation. I am currently finishing up Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. I put off reading it for a long time because of the video-game backstory (not a personal interest of mine). However, I am glad that I stuck with it because the storytelling and writing is quite impressive. For my non-fiction read, I am reading Birding for a Better World. Written by the co-founders of the Feminist Bird Club (FBC), it is a book for anyone who is interested in birding and the importance of paying close(r) attention to what is happening in our natural world each day, all while fostering a community of like-minded people. I love the book and just went on my first birding event with the FBC a few weeks ago! And boy do I love these “what are you reading now” posts! I have (too many) more books to add to my read list now!

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