Looking Forward to May 2014

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Tuesday Top Ten

spring tbr

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week’s challenge was to list the top ten books on our TBR list for this spring.  I stuck to books that are being released this spring.  What are you looking forward to reading this spring?

  1. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – A novel about bookstores – how can I resist?!  And it sounds like an interesting story, too.
  2. Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy – One last book from a master storyteller…
  3. One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern –Ahern’s books always have a unique perspective on life.
  4. The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt – The next book in my Indiespensables subscription which rarely disappoints!
  5. The Ninja Librarians by Jen Swann Downey – Sorry, I can’t help it!  When I told my husband I wanted this book, he told me I already have too many books.  My argument?  None of them are about Ninja Librarians!

And a bunch of books in series that I read are coming out this spring!

  1. Field of Prey by John Sandford – I didn’t love his last book, but I have always liked the Lucas Davenport books in the past, so I’m giving him another chance!
  2. Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot by Ace Atkins – Ahh… the chance to hang with Spencer and Hawk again!
  3. By Its Cover by Donna Leone – I’m looking forward to the opportunity to travel the streets of Venice again with Commissario Guido Brunetti
  4. In the Morning I’ll Be Gone by Adrian McKinty – The last book in The Trouble Trilogy, it will be interesting to see where Sean Duffy, a Catholic cop in the Protestant police force in Northern Ireland in the early 1980s, will end up.
  5. The Hollow Girl by Reed Farrel Coleman – I am so excited to read this book, but so sad to see the end of the Moe Prager series, one of the best detective series ever written.

Mystery Mayhem

Here’s a quick look what’s new in some of my favorite mystery series!

w is for wasted

The Kinsey Millhone series is a set of mystery novels set in Santa Teresa, California during the 1980s.  Kinsey is a former police-woman turned private investigator who lives in a converted garage owned by Henry, her elderly but vibrant friend and neighbor.

In this latest installment, W is for Wasted, there are two mysterious deaths to be solved.  Pete Wolinsky, a shady private investigator, is found dead of a gunshot in a nearby park.  They a homeless alcoholic, R.T. Dace, is found dead with Kinsey’s name and address in his pocket.  Surprisingly, he turns out to be a distant relative of Kinsey’s, has made her the executor of his will, and has left her half a million dollars.  As she tries to investigate his past and learn more about this man she finds herself in a complicated maze of connections that will eventually tie the two men and their fates together.

Title: W is for Wasted
Author: Sue Grafton
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 496
Publication: Putnam, September 2013

storm front

The Virgil Flowers novels are a spin-off of the Lucas Davenport series by John Sandford.  Virgil is a detective in Minnesota, a member of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) which is led by Davenport.  Virgil is thrice-divorced, in his cowboy boots and rock band t-shirts, spending his extra time fishing and attracting women, he is much more laid-back than Lucas, but no less effective.

In this latest installment, Storm Front, Virgil gets a phone call telling him to meet an Israeli artifact expert who needs his help in recovering an important artifact stolen from Israel.  It seems that a local minister/professor was in Israel on an archaeological dig when he absconded with the ancient stele that may reveal secrets about King Solomon.  The thief is dying of cancer and seems to want to sell the artifact to the highest bidder, and there are a lot of interested parties – a TV star, Hezbollah, a Mossad agent, an archaeology professor…  Throw in a Middle Eastern college student, a “loose” single mother of five, and the CIA and there is bound to be more than a little chaos.  There was more humor in this book that others in the series, but the whole story seemed a little out-of-control at times, dependent on luck for resolution.  Not as much of a page-turner as some of the other Virgil Flowers novels, but still a fun read.

Title: Storm Front
Author: John Sandford
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 384
Publication: Putnam, October 2013

davidson

The Goldy Schulz novels follow the caterer as she manages to blunder over one dead body after another in Aspen Meadow, Colorado.  And no matter how much the police detective (who also happens to be her husband) wants her out of harm’s way, she seems to stumble into that as well as she tries to get justice for the recently deceased.

In this latest installment, The Whole Enchilada, her friend Holly drops dead after leaving a birthday party catered by Goldy.   Even as the police try to figure out whether she was actually murdered, and if so, how, it becomes apparent that Holly had plenty of secrets and there are plenty of available suspects.  Why was she broke?  Who were all those boyfriends she kept talking about?  Why did someone also try to hurt Holly’s son and their priest?  And who’s after Goldy and why?  She doesn’t think she knows anything, but someone is convinced that she does.  Joined by her friend Marla, some friends from the police department, her catering partner Julian, and her husband Goldy unravels yet another mystery.

Title: The Whole Enchilada
Author: Diane Mott Davidson
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 384
Publication: William Morrow, August 2013

Mystery Mayhem

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of a good (and even some not-so-good) mysteries.  I thought I’d share some quick thoughts on what’s new this spring in some of my favorite series.

goldeneggIn the most recent installment of the Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries by Donna Leon, Brunetti’s wife is concerned about the suicide of a deaf and mentally handicapped man working at their drycleaner’s.  As Brunetti begins to investigate he can find no record of the man every having existed, the man’s mother refuses to speak with the police, and the whole affair seems to be connected to one of Venice’s wealthy and powerful families.  In typical Brunetti style, he navigates through a web of politics and misinformation to get at the truth, even if there is nothing he can do about it…  For more of my thoughts on the Brunetti mysteries, check out my review of Uniform Justice.

Title: Golden Egg
Author: Donna Leon
Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Pages: 256
Publication: Atlantic Monthly Press, March 2013

deadwhiteandblueThe Death on Demand mysteries take place on Broward’s Rock, an island in South Carolina, where Annie Darling owns the mystery bookstore (Death on Demand) and her husband Max runs “Confidential Commissions” (not an investigative agency since he doesn’t have his PI license).  In this newest book in the series, Shell Hurst disappears during a Fourth of July dance.  Shell is beautiful and haughty, the type of woman hated by other women, and loved by most of their men.  Where has she gone and what happened to her?  And why does no one seem to care? Who’s to blame?  The husband she’s cheating on, his jealous ex-wife, his unhappy son, the man she is having an affair with, his ill wife, one of the other people she has managed to cross? As always, Annie and Max dash in to figure it out.  Nothing extraordinary here, but a fun visit to familiar characters and visions of warm weather and sandy beaches.

Title: Dead, White, and Blue
Author: Carolyn Hart
Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Pages: 288
Publication:Berkley Hardcover, May 2013

silkenpreyJohn Sandford’s Prey series focus on Lucas Davenport, an independently wealthy detective for Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.  In this role, he takes on complicated and politically charged cases, and in this latest installment Davenport is in the thick of the politics, helping out the governor with a potential scandal in the upcoming Senate race.  With a missing political operative and no one offering up information, Lucas calls in his friends to help out.  Appearing from other Sandford series are Virgil Flowers and Kidd, both offering their own talents to the case.  Since I love Flowers and Kidd, I was hoping for more out of this meeting, it left me wanting more of them and less on-and-on about the nightmare that is political wrangling.  More suspense than mystery (you know who the bad guys are early on and can’t figure out why Lucas can’t figure it out), it was not one of my favorites in the series.  Maybe I’ve grown out of the series and need to move on to other authors, or maybe this just wasn’t his best work and the next one will be better…

Title: Silken Prey
Author: John Sandford
Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Pages: 416
Publication: Putnam Adult, May 2013

Top Ten Characters I Would Crush On If I Were Also A Fictional Character

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week the challenge is to list the characters that we would “crush on” if we were also a fictional character (because of course no real person ever actually crushes on a fictional character – that would just be silly and we are all firmly planted in reality…).  This was actually a really difficult list for me, I don’t tend to crush on fictional characters all that  much – I might like them, think they’re funny, inspiring, intriguing – but the idea of having a “crush” on them was a little weird for me, and I may have ended up with a list of male characters that I like, but don’t “like-like”, but I tried…

  1. Jack Reacher  – The main character in Lee Child’s Reacher series (the way that he is written – NOT Tom Cruise!!!), he is certainly characterized as being smart, tough, good-looking, and good with women.  He’s a tough guy, and you know that he’s going to move on after the current catastrophe is resolved, but hey – not a bad guy to have around if your life needs saving…
  2. Morelli vs Ranger – For fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series I will provide my thoughts on the Morelli vs Ranger question.  My vote?  Morelli.  Sure, Ranger is supposed to be crazy hot, but so is Morelli and wouldn’t it be nice to have a guy who was there even when your car wasn’t on fire?
  3. Edward vs Jake – For fans of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight stories – I pick Jake.  Sorry, but vampires are creepy – all that undead, blood-drinking, not sleeping, pale skin – doesn’t do anything for me.  Jake may be a werewolf, but at least they’re living, somehow makes it less weird, I guess?
  4. Atticus Finch – The dad in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is definitely crushable – honest, ethical, a great single dad – and always Gregory Peck in my mind…
  5. Lucas Davenport – The main character in John Sandford’s Prey series is intense, well-dressed, extremely wealthy from his former dork-days (I’ve always been a sucker for a cute dork), and always catches the bad guy – what’s not to like?
  6. Robert Langdon – I have a soft-spot for smart guys, and Langdon from the Dan Brown books is definitely uber-smart, travels all over the world, and has crazy history-changing adventures.  Sounds like fun to me… as long as I don’t get killed…
  7. Cliff Janeway – Cliff Janeway is a former cop turned rare book dealer in John Dunning’s Janeway series.  A tough guy, always saves the day, who knows and loves books – what’s not to love?
  8. Rhett Butler – I’m much more reasonable than Scarlet ever dreamt of being, Rhett wouldn’t have to curse at me…
  9. Inspector Gamache – Inspector Gamache from Louise Penny’s mystery series is probably just a character that I really want to know – not necessarily a crush – I would be happy to have him as a friend, an uncle, a colleague – his constance, his sincerity, his intelligence, his kindness – I have always wished that I could actually meet him!  Plus, he’s married to a librarian… 😉
  10. Rudy – The perfect childhood crush – filled with innocence and adoration – the boy that will do anything for you while begging for a kiss and annoying you – Rudy from Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief is my definition of great childhood love.