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Archive for April, 2015

Books Read in April..

For me, I have done exceptionally well reading this year!  But it is about to fall off a bit in May as I will have company and not be reading very much for a while.  But until then, here’s my list of seven books for April:

 

April…

25..The Alchemyst…………………..Michael Scott…….(400 pgs)

The Alchemyst is the first of a 6 book young adult series… it is really, really, (REALLY) a good series!  Matter of fact Paramount PIctures has bought the rights to make a movie from the first book!  And if that’s not enough to want to read them:  Michael Scott is a fantastic writer! (’nuff said)

26..What She Left Behind…………….Ellen Marie Wiseman.(321 pgs)

I have to admit that all the books I read this month were really good.. including this one!

27..The Forgotten Girl………………David Bell……….(448 pgs)

David Bell has turned into a writer that I enjoy.  I’ve read a number of his books and they all are good reads!

29..The Lewis Man…………………..Peter May………..(320 pgs)

ok… so this Peter May series that begins with The Blackhouse, and takes place in the Hebrides Islands (Lewis Island) off of Scotland are just and outstanding trilogy!!

30..Firedrake………………………Richard Knaak…….(234 pgs)

This one, although I liked it would be my least favorite. 

31..The Chessman……………………Peter May………..(308 pgs)

Book 3 of the Peter May trilogy.  I wish it wasn’t over the characters and the Island are all fascinating even if the story is fiction!

32..Gaudy Night…………………….Dorothy Sayers……(544 pgs)

I got a bit lost in this book. As I age I can’t keep track to too many characters! lol.. but still a good mystery!

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Gaudy Night

Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers.

Series: Lord Peter Wimsey
Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks;(October 16, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0062196537

 

 

From the Back Cover

When Harriet Vane attends her Oxford reunion, known as the Gaudy, the prim academic setting is haunted by a rash of bizarre pranks: scrawled obscenities, burnt effigies, and poison-pen letters, including one that says, “Ask your boyfriend with the title if he likes arsenic in his soup.” Some of the notes threaten murder; all are perfectly ghastly; yet in spite of their scurrilous nature, all are perfectly worded. And Harriet finds herself ensnared in a nightmare of romance and terror, with only the tiniest shreds of clues to challenge her powers of detection, and those of her paramour, Lord Peter Wimsey.

Basically we have a mystery at Oxford, seemingly based around the dons. (all women).

I easily admit I am not the brightest bulb in the pack and it took me a while to get into this book. A good part of the first half of the book was beginning to feel like it was overwritten.. a lot to do about not a big deal.  But the second half of the book perked up, especially when Lord Peter Wimsey entered the story.

It seemed to be a number of minor stories going on and so I found myself lost a number of times. But in the end I have to say I did enjoy the book.  I like the character of Wimsey, and I think I would have liked Harriet more had I read other books by Sayers. 

Of course the ending is one you didn’t really see coming… but then that’s what a good mystery is about.. not knowing the ending before it happens!

Another moment to admit that Oxford would not have been for me! lol.  Brilliance abounds with the dons but I really didn’t feel that “doing what they loved” made them happy people… I found that odd.

So.. onward and upward to another good book… I hope!

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The Chessmen by Peter May.

Series: Lewis Trilogy

Hardcover: 308 pages
Publisher: Quercus;(February 3, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1623656044

 

 

Amazon Review

Now, with The Chessmen, Peter May gives us a dramatic conclusion to his award-winning Lewis trilogy. Living again of the Isle of Lewis, the ex-Detective Inspector Fin McLeod is working as a security officer for a local landowner. While investigating illegal activity on the estate Fin encounters the elusive poacher and former childhood friend Whistler Macaskill.

But while Fin catches up with Whistler, the two witness a freak natural phenomenon–a ‘Bog Burst’–which spontaneously drains a loch of its water, revealing a mud-encased light aircraft with a sickeningly familiar moniker on its side.

Both men immediately know that they will find inside: the body of Roddy Mackenzie, a friend whose flight disappeared more than seventeen years before. But when Whistler’s face appears to register something other than shock, an icy chill of apprehension overtakes Fin. What secret has Whistler been hiding from him, and everyone else on the island? Fin is unprepared for how the truth about the past will alter the course of the future.

What a really good trilogy!  Love our protagonist, Fin, and all the characters we meet along the way.  Even by the end of book one you feel you know Fin, but learn more about him with each book.

The atmosphere is phenomenal!  In the first two books you feel you’ve stepped back in time.  The Chessmen I had a little more feeling of “more recent”.  But no matter what Peter May writes a great story!

As in the other books there has to be a death or a body.. or both! 

This time I had some moments where I felt it was being stretched out a bit… but he sure makes up for it in the last 80 pages!!

I certainly learn things when he writes also… never heard of a “bog burst”!  But then again until my second life here in Florida I had not known of sink holes!  So there ya go lol.

I think I tried to read the Chessmen a little slower because I didn’t want it to be the last I’d read with these characters. To sum it up I would say that anyone who likes mysteries and plenty of atmosphere will not be disappointed in this trilogy!

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The Lewis Man

The Lewis Man by Peter May.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Quercus;(September 2, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1623658195

 

 

In The Lewis Man, the second book of the trilogy, Fin Macleod has returned to the Isle of Lewis, the storm-tossed, wind-scoured outer Hebridean island where he was born and raised. Having left behind his adult life in Edinburgh–including his wife and his career in the police force–the former Detective Inspector is intent on repairing past relationships and restoring his parents’ derelict cottage. His plans are interrupted when an unidentified corpse is recovered from a Lewis peat bog. The only clue to its identity is a DNA match to a local farmer, the now-senile Tormod Macdonald–the father of Fin’s childhood sweetheart, Marsaili–a man who has claimed throughout his life to be an only child, practically an orphan. Reluctantly drawn into the investigation, Fin uncovers deep family secrets even as he draws closer to the killer who wishes to keep them hidden.

I read Peter Mays first book of this trilogy in October of 2013.   I loved the book.  I really liked the main character, Fin, and the authors descriptions of the Isle of Lewis and surroundings made you feel like you stepped into a third world and put you smack dab in the middle.

Due to rising prices of hardback books I thought I would go no farther.  It seemed his second book, The Lewis Man was more then I have come to spend on a single book anymore.  In order to stretch finances I buy mostly used books and find that many people take excellent care and they are like new.

Anyway… along comes my birthday and my girlfriend Michelle sends me two books.  New books!  And one of them is: The Lewis Man!

My first thoughts were, utoh… it’s been a looooong time since I read the Blackhouse I wonder if I can read this without rereading The Blackhouse?   Peter May put me at ease quickly.  He put just enough small reminders that I didn’t feel like it was that long ago that I read book one.  I was right back there on the Isle of Lewis with Fin!  In this book there is a “cold case”, a mystery, and a budding romance of the past.

Peter May puts very original twists on his mysteries.  He’s so descriptive that you have no doubt you can “see” what is happening and the sights around you.   I had no choice but to send for the last book!

Since I always include the Amazon review I don’t like to say much more other than saying.. they are a compelling set of books that I am more then happy I have read. (can’t wait for delivery of book 3!)

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The Forgotten Girl by David Bell.

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: NAL (October 7, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0451417526

 

Amazon Review:

The past has arrived uninvited at Jason Danvers’s door…
…and it’s his younger sister, Hayden, a former addict who severed all contact with her family as her life spiraled out of control. Now she’s clean and sober but in need of a desperate favor—she asks Jason and his wife to take care of her teenage daughter for forty-eight hours while she handles some business in town.
But Hayden never returns.
And her disappearance brings up more unresolved problems from Jason’s past, including the abrupt departure of his best friend on their high school graduation night twenty-seven years earlier. When a body is discovered in the woods, the mysteries of his sister’s life—and possible death—deepen. And one by one these events will shatter every expectation Jason has ever had about families, about the awful truths that bind them and the secrets that should be taken to the grave.

I have read a number of books by David Bell, including:  Never come Back, Cemetery Girl, The Hiding Place and now, The Forgotten Girl.  He is a very good story teller! I’ve enjoyed all the books I’ve read by him and even waiting for July for yet another book to come out.

This particular book I wasn’t really sure of, because it was a more modern then most I like to read, but I should have known better.  Once the characters grab you and you can tell there are “secrets” to be revealed, it becomes  a page turner. And as any good story teller he leaves a few surprises for near the end of the book. 

I’m looking forward to his next book .. and glad each story is different from the others.

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What She Left Behind

What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman.

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Kensington;(December 31, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0758278454

Ten years ago, Izzy Stone’s mother fatally shot her father while he slept. Devastated by her mother’s apparent insanity, Izzy, now seventeen, refuses to visit her in prison. But her new foster parents, employees at the local museum, have enlisted Izzy’s help in cataloging items at a long-shuttered state asylum. There, amid piles of abandoned belongings, Izzy discovers a stack of unopened letters, a decades-old journal, and a window into her own past.
Clara Cartwright, eighteen years old in 1929, is caught between her overbearing parents and her love for an Italian immigrant. Furious when she rejects an arranged marriage, Clara’s father sends her to a genteel home for nervous invalids. But when his fortune is lost in the stock market crash, he can no longer afford her care–and Clara is committed to the public asylum.
Even as Izzy deals with the challenges of yet another new beginning, Clara’s story keeps drawing her into the past. If Clara was never really mentally ill, could something else explain her own mother’s violent act? Piecing together Clara’s fate compels Izzy to re-examine her own choices–with shocking and unexpected results.
Illuminating and provocative, What She Left Behind is a masterful novel about the yearning to belong–and the mysteries that can belie even the most ordinary life.

Oh-M-G !!! This book took me by surprise!!  I knew it was about a young girl wrongly put into an asylum, and I thought this would be something different to read for a change.

Hello! I couldn’t put this book down longer then it took for my blurry eyes to clear up enough to pick it up again! 

As the Amazon review says, it is about two young girls, years apart.  A long time ago it was about Clara being put into the asylum and the “now” part was about Izzy who’s mother killed her father when she was very young and her mother was in prison for the crime and Izzy was put into the Fostering system.

This book reminds me of The Thirteenth Tale, in that no matter how horrendous things were I couldn’t stop reading.  I needed to find out how it all turns out!  Both stories were compelling.  Both had horrendous things happening.  And I needed to know the endings for both of the females!!!

This author did a lot of research to find out what asylums were like back then in order to write Clara’s part of the story, and boy did she do her homework!  This scared me more then any murder mystery!  Yet I couldn’t stop reading!

This book is surely going to stay on my “OMG this was a great book” list!

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