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!

minor adjustment beauty salonThe No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novels take place in Botswana, where the traditionally-built Mme Precious Ramotswe, with the help of her assistant Mma Grace Makutsi, uses her common sense to solve the mysteries of those around her.

In this latest installment, The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, Mme Ramotswe has two cases to worry about.  A lawyer has asked her to confirm the identity of the beneficiary of a deceased farmer’s estate and the owner of the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon has been subjected to nasty rumors that are ruining her business.  Is someone trying to get an inheritance that isn’t theirs?  Why is someone trying to destroy the new salon’s reputation?  And, although she has yet to mention it, it has become obvious that Mme Makutsi is pregnant.  Will she mention it before the baby’s born?  And who will keep the office running smoothly while she’s out?

Reading a book in this series is always relaxing for me.  No matter the mystery, no one ever feels the need to rush; there is always time for a cup of tea and polite conversation.  Mme Ramotswe is as lovable as ever – kind, thoughtful, respectful, and insightful.  Mme Makutsi, while always quirky, becomes more likable in this installment of the series – motherhood seems to soften her, make her more aware of the importance of her relationships and those who support her.  Another fun and restful trip to Botswana – perfect with a cup of tea!

Title: The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon
Author:Alexander McCall Smith
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 256
Publication: Pantheon, November 2013

critical massThe V.I. Warshawski novels follow Chicago private investigator V.I. Warshawski as she takes on cases that take her from the social echelons of Chicago to its seediest sides.  There were times, in the middle of this series, where I was beginning to tire of the characters and the storylines, but I am thrilled that I stuck with her; Critical Mass may be the best yet in the series.

In this latest installment, Critical Mass, V.I. is asked by her friend Dr. Lotty Herschel for help.  Lotty grew up in Vienna and lost her family during the Holocaust.  One of the children she escaped with is now living in Chicago and her daughter, a drug-addict, is in trouble.  When V.I. starts digging she uncovers a mystery that goes back to Vienna and WWII, the atomic bomb, and the Holocaust, involving drug addicts, physicists, computer scientists, and corporate giants.

The history and the science could’ve made the story overly detailed and boring, but it didn’t.  Instead, it added depth and interest to an already fascinating story.  This page-turner has me eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

Title: Critical Mass
Author:Sara Paretsky
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 480
Publication: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, October 2013

dustThe Kay Scarpetta novels follow medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta and the rest of her team – her husband, FBI profiler Benton Wesley, her niece, computer genius Lucy, and detective Pete Marino.  The series starts with Kay as the medical examiner in Virginia, but at this point in the series she is in Boston.  The crimes she is involved in solving are always brutal, the violence always graphic, but at one point, the stories were always page-turners.  Unfortunately, that is not the case anymore…

I was very disappointed with her last book in this series, The Bone Bed, and was hoping for a return to better writing, character development, and storytelling in this latest installment.  But it was even worse.  The book starts off with Kay sick in bed, having just returned from working the scenes of the killings at Sandy Hook.  Why this was incorporated into the story at all is a mystery to me – it added nothing to the storyline and just seemed like a blatant attempt to incorporate current events.  Personally, I found it disturbing and insulting that it was included at all.  But even putting that aside, the rest of the story was painfully slow – there is a serial killer on the loose and the FBI seems to be working against the good guys – but I just couldn’t care for long.  Marino has left working for Kay to become a cop again – too much of the story is just nonsense about Marino and Benton and Kay and their personal issues and some love triangle that was played out a long time ago.  Again, I couldn’t care less.  Lucy never changes and grows as a character.  Honestly – all of the main characters seem to be stuck in destructive and annoying cycles of their lives.  Unfortunately, this will be the last second-chance I am giving to the series…

Title: Dust
Author:Patricia Cornwell
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 523
Publication: Putnam Adult, November 2013

silent nightThe Spenser novels follow Boston private investigator Spenser with the most common recurring characters being his love interest Dr. Susan Silverman and his best friend Hawk.

A scared kid shows up at Spenser’s office door, looking for help.  The home for homeless boys where he has been living is being threatened.  Without it there will be a bunch of kids on the streets.  Spenser, with help and back-up from Hawk, follows the trail to drug kingpins and ultimately saves the boys and their home.

What I have loved most about this series is the interactions between Spenser and Hawk, hilarious dialog with a core trust and friendship that both men share with few others.  With the death of Robert B. Parker the series has been turned over to Ace Atkins who has done a wonderful job catching Parker’s voice.  However this Christmas novel, started by Parker, was completed by his agent Helen Brann who seemed to give the characters, and the actual detecting, little attention.  It was unfortunate, but it was also a quick read over the holidays so I’ll let it go and hope for more from Ace Atkins soon!

Title: Silent Night: A Spenser Holiday Novel
Author:Robert B. Parker, Helen Brann
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 240
Publication: Putnam Adult, October 2013

Tuesday Top Ten

top ten movie

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 books that we would love to see as a movie or TV series, assuming that it was done well!

  1. Book Thief by Markus Zusak – This is actually going to be a movie coming to theaters on November 15!  I’m a little nervous, hoping that they will do the book justice, but I can’t wait to see it!
  2. Inspector Gamache Series by Louise Penny – Another favorite that is about to hit the screen and is making me keep my fingers crossed!
  3. Commissario Guido Brunetti Series by Donna Leon – I would love to see this character come to life, and the setting of Venice would be wonderful!
  4. Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – Done right, this would make a great movie – touching and horrifying!
  5. Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – I would love to see these quirky characters come to life, and a quest full of intrigue, history, and technology would make a great movie!
  6. The Giver by Lois Lowry – There has been talk about this becoming a movie for years now, and it looks like it’s finally going to happen…
  7. Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer – There have been rumors around this series becoming movies for a long time, but hopefully they will finally bring this evil boy genius and the world of fairies to the big screen!
  8. Thieves of Book Row by Travis McDade – This non-fiction historical book could be made into a really interesting historical drama.
  9. The Spellman Series by Lisa Lutz – This wacky set of characters would make for a great comedy/drama with some romantic tension thrown in!
  10. Spenser Series by Robert B. Parker – OK, I know this was a TV series in the 70s but it seriously needs to be redone!  Less corny and without cutting out all the swearing and politically incorrect conversations!