Tuesday Top Ten

gateway

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 and/or authors that were gateways in my reading journey, ones that introduced me to a new genre, reinvigorated my interest in reading, somehow changed or affected my reading journey.

  1. Dystopian Books – The Giver by Lois Lowry – My first foray into dystopian novels, The Giver will always be my first and my favorite!
  2. Young Adult – Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson – It wasn’t my first YA book, but the first one that dealt so directly with difficult issues that matter to young adults, the first time I realized what great literature exists for teens.
  3. Stories told in a series of books – Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling –  They’re everywhere!  Prior to this series, I don’t ever remember reading books where you needed to wait until the series was complete to be able to finish the story! I do love many of these series, I just have taken a vow not to start one until all of the books are released so I don’t have to wait so long between pieces of the story!
  4. Historical Non-Fiction – Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham – Historical non-fiction has never really been my thing – I don’t want to read the equivalent of a high school social studies textbook – but this book proved that there was historical fiction out there that would tell me a story while teaching me about the past.
  5. Current Non-Fiction – Born to Run by Christopher McDougall – Too much of current non-fiction is just someone trying to turn their opinions into fact or someone trying to catch the wave of popularity associated with the issue or personality of the day.  But this story grabbed my interest and held it, teaching me about the past and the present.
  6. Mysteries – Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene – Giving credit where credit is due, Nancy and the gang were my first introduction to the mystery genre, one that I still love today.
  7. Cozy Mysteries – Kinsey Milhone series by Sue Grafton – My first cozy mystery series, there are still a number that I regularly read and enjoy – they are always a fun, quick escape!
  8. Detective Stories – Moe Prager series by Reed Farrel Coleman – Another part of the progression, the jump to grittier detective stories, this series continues to be a favorite.  It will be bittersweet when the last book comes out next month.
  9. Historical Fiction – A Good American by Alex George – I had not read historical fiction in a long time, didn’t really consider it a genre that I liked that well, until I read this and now I find myself reading all kinds of historical fiction!
  10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – The book the reinvigorated and affirmed my love for the written word.  The funny thing?  I walked by it in the bookstore for months, picked it up and put it back down, before I finally decided to give it a try – and it is my favorite book.
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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