For Richer, For Danger & In Sickness and in Death by Lisa Bork

 

Insomnia strikes again so I put it to good use.  Here are two more titles for the library read-a-thon.  These two are books 2 & 3 in  Lisa Bork’s Broken Vows Mystery series.

I finished For Richer, For Danger and it left off the story of the characters Jolene and Ray at such a place that I just picked up the next one and kept going.  Both of these books have good mysteries and the character’s stories are so interesting that I just wanted to know more.  Not a typical cozy in that their are some pretty devastating personal things going on that don’t necessarily end all nice and neatly (or happily).  I don’t want to give anything else away.

Besides the main characters there are some other recurring characters that we see more  of, especially Erica and Cory.  Both of them are now well developed characters with lives and stories of their own that weave with Jolene and Ray’s. The mystery is engaging and well crafted, however it is almost overshadowed by the personal crisis stuff.  In other words, rather than being a mystery with a chick lit feel, it is more of a chick lit with a mystery plot line.  I thought that it really worked well.  The only criticism that I would have to say would be Jolene’s business.  The fact that it manages to stay afloat just seem highly improbable to me, but I find that in many cozy mysteries.

The author also manages to sensitively deal with some social concerns without beating you over the head with her message.  One of the main characters is gay and openly dating, there is another character in book 3 with gender issues, and the issue of adoption/foster care is a focal point in both books.   the great thing is the normality with which the author addresses all these points.  Some books seem so self conscious and almost make a parody of social issues with their treatment.  On the whole, a well written mystery series with good character development.

 

 

Library Read-a-Thon

Have lots of library books around so I thought that this might be a good challenge.  Starting a little late, but better late than never.  I already read today:

The other library books I am planning on reading this week::

Well, that is all for now.  Some more might come in during the week.  Happy library reading everyone!

Dangers of Raving about a Book…before you’re finished

d0728-sundaysinbedwithsmall

Welcome to my Sundays In Bed With… Meme! The meme that dares to ask, what book has been in your bed this morning? Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed, or which book you wish you had time to read today!  Hosted by Midnightbookgirl.com

 

So, anyway, I am reading, stop, make that I am supposed to be reading this:

I started it yesterday and it was excellent.  My daughter came home and I had to stop reading to make dinner, which I did reluctantly and I told her how great the book was and how I couldn’t wait to finish it.  Big mistake.  She has inherited the bibliophile gene from me and so while I was distracted with dinner, she absconded with my book.   I managed to swipe it back for a few minutes but when I went to put my teacup back in the kitchen, she struck again.   Now she won’t give it back until she’s finished…this is an argument  against having children, if I ever heard one.

Giving in and moving on with my life, I picked up this, also a library book, instead:

How I found this series is interesting.  David, over at Goodreads English Kindle Mystery Club, posted about book 5  being free on Amazon.  So, I downloaded it and another that was also free but realized I didn’t want to start half way through the series.  Luckily, my library had the earlier books and this is book 1.

Very good writing.  Complex and engaging characters.  A thrilling plot with lots of twists and turns.  Red herrings and misdirection lead the reader on a very satisfying mystery chase,  some characters are convinced that TIm is still alive, while others are equally convinced that he is dead.  The story begins with a doctor getting called in on an emergency early in the morning.  He never arrives at the hospital and that is the beginning of what begins as a missing person case and ends in multiple homicides.  Not for the squeamish, some  graphic violence and descriptions of bodies/parts, but that is not just done for effect.  It is definitely core to the story.

The characters reactions are very realistic and run the gamut just as normal human reactions would.  The climax is thrilling and although I suspected there was something “wrong” with the character who ends up being involved in the crimes, I didn’t know exactly what was wrong.

A great start to a new-to-me series.  Highly recommended to readers of very dark mysteries.

Book, Line and Sinker by Jenn McKinlay

 

I picked this up from the library which only seems appropriate since it is book 3 in a “Library Lover’s Mystery” series.  For some reason I had a hard time getting into this book, I picked it up and  put it down a few times and that is unusual for me.  It may have been that I was trudging,  er…I mean reading through Stephen King’s Under the Dome at the same time.

Anyway, today after my errands I had a lunch out on the patio with my mom of  salad, a delicious pate, some wonderful olives and fresh bread along with a bottle of Jersey White wine.  I brought the book along and after we finished eating I sunk into my sun lounger  to read.  This time I got right into it.  There was more than one mystery going on in the story, an older unsolved mystery and the current one.  Pirates (ahoy matey, eye patch and all), treasure and eco-warriors abounded, all great fun.

I did find some of the dialogue stilted or even trite and I was concerned about the return of an old love interest creating the classic “love triangle”, but there was an interesting twist on it.  We see more of Sully in this book and I like his character.  I enjoy this type of plot, in which there is an old crime and a new crime that are connected and we just have to figure out how.

Cute mystery that is a quick, fun read for anyone who likes book themed cozies.

Now I am working on:

 

This book has sucked me right in and I will probably finish it tonight.

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

 

I’m not going to repeat the blurb, basically the book’s plot is centered around immigration and repatriation.  A group of young people from a small Mexican village sets out for America to bring men back to their small town.  I am reading it for a book club and I picked up my copy from the library.

Into the Beautiful North includes bits and pieces from several story types, romance, buddy story, road trip story, women’s fiction, YA, parable, political statement and thriller, although you never get to the  “thrill” part.  The book seemed to suffer an identity crises.  There was not enough of any one genre to satisfy me as a reader.  The girls’ characters felt flat.  In contrast, some of the men were cartoonish in their extremes, which could work in a parable, but not so much in romance or women’s fiction, and we never see a resolution to the the thriller part of the plot.  The road trip is somewhat monotonous and the political statement is very shallow, just a cursory overview of the issue.  No real depth there.

Urrea does excel at description of place and his prose is clear and engaging.  I did enjoy that about this book.  It was a quick, very easy read,  struck me as something one would read in high school, thus the YA reference.  The main theme of the book was love in all its forms and it  presents some very  positive messages in that light.

 

 

 

 

 

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

 

Finished this in one sitting tonight, very quick read, but not light by any stretch of the imagination.  This book is very graphic with details of animal torture, experimentation on humans, murder of children…not light stuff.  Seriously, I have problems reading about animals being tortured and this was beyond what I would normally read but I kept going because I HAD to know what was going on.  The story is about a young teen, who lives with his…eccentric father, was abandoned by his hippie  mother and has a brother who just escaped from a mental institution and it just gets darker from there.  I don’t want to say to much and give away any twists and turns in the plot but I will say I thought I had it figured out and I was completely wrong.  I didn’t see the twist at the end coming.

Very well written, elements of black humor amid all the gore.  I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it because it more horrified me than anything. A fascinating story that kept me turning the pages against my better impulses that were telling me to just shut the book and walk away.

Under the Dome by Stephen King

 

I finally finished it!  I felt like a trudged along forever through this book.  I used to read a lot of Stephen King and I loved Salem’s Lot but I just couldn’t get into this.  Don’t get me wrong it is well written and Stephen King really does description well, allowing the reader to picture every scene.  I think if you are a fan of Stephen King, especially the older King, this has a similar feel to it and you will probably like it.   It reminded me of The Stand to some extent.

The premise is basically a town gets sealed off from everything by a giant dome one day.  There are various accidents and events until people realize the dome is there.  Once the townsfolk realize what is happening, there the struggle for power, a fight between good and evil, maybe Lord of the Flies without the island?   There is some non-consensual sex and some gruesome scenes, but nothing I wouldn’t have expected.

I think I am just not into reading this kind of science fiction and the commitment this book required at 1,100+ pages was too much when I wasn’t really into it.

Death of a Gossip by M.C. Beaton

8857

 

 

I finished rereading this today.  I have read most of the Hamish Macbeth series and just went back to revisit book one as it was a group read for the English Kindle Mystery group this month.  As this was a rereading, I already knew the villain and the victim.  What was interesting about this book is that it seems  so different from later books in the series, which are very Hamish centered.  In this book, Hamish is definitely present, however working quietly in the background.  As a reader, you get the hints of Hamish’s intelligence and abilities that become more evident in later books.  I love this series and the characters.  The Scottish setting is wonderful.  This is a great example of a cozy mystery.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

 

This is a meme hosted by bookjourney.  Visit her blog here.

This week I am reading:

 

Still reading this…tough going.  The last Stephen King I read was in 1989.  I just feel like I’m trudging through right now.

Also – rereading this for a the English Kindle Mystery Club on Goodreads

8857

 

I love this series, so I think it will be fun revisiting the beginning 🙂

I also need to return these to the library, so I will try to get to them this week:

  and 

 

 

So – What are you reading this week?

Knock off by Rhonda Pollero

I read this today sitting out on the back patio, drinking Middle Sister Rebel Red wine.

Anyway, I started out by being  turned off by the protagonist.  Finley is a paralegal and spends the first 30 or 4o pages explaining how she is irresponsible with money a credit abuser, a compulsive shopper of name brand items, and a nightmare co-worker.  She basically brags about coming in late and taking long lunches, lying to her employer about going to the courthouse and meeting her friends for long lunches instead.  I almost put the book down but I was too comfy in my lounge chair and didn’t want to get up to get another book so I continued.

I’m glad that I did.  The mystery turned out to be quite good and Finley redeemed herself somewhat by working hard once she got involved in solving the mystery.  I liked all the twists and turns and connections to other victims.  I also enjoyed the legal theme and the investigative techniques.  The writing is well done.  I still will not say that the protagonist is one of my favorites but there is enough else good in the book to redeem it.  Perhaps the problem is me, I tend to need to like characters or at least relate to them, in order to like a book… or maybe I’m a little too old for the target demographic.