Sunday, March 22, 2015

Be Aware

Please excuse missing links, syntax or spelling errors, things seeming unfinished, or any squirrelly-ness. My hard drive just completely fried out and some parts of creating a blog aren't compatible with my iPad. I'm waiting for FedEx or UPS to visit me with something shiny and silver from Dell.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? 3/2

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. I find it a great way to organize my thoughts on what I need to read and review in the up coming week, as well as anything for reading challenges.

BOOKS I FINISHED

Altered by Gennifer Albin is the second in the Crewel World trilogy. I will review them all together once I've read Unraveled, the last book. I already reviewed Crewel when I first read it.
The Burning Wire by Jeffrey Deaver is the ninth Lincoln Rhymes forensic thriller.
Mermaids in the Basement by Michael Lee West is contemporary Southern fiction about family secrets.
A Death in the Small Hours by Charles Finch is the sixth Charles Lenox historical mystery.

CURRENTLY READING
A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear is the eighth Maisie Dobbs historical mystery.

TO READ - All from the library.
The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuels
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly is the fifth Mickey Haller legal thriller.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie is the first book featuring Hercule Poirot.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? What are you reading right now?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Favorite Heroines-Top Ten Tuesday 2/24

This week's Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke & the Bookish is Favorite Heroines. I made my list and then did a little online research to see what others have written on this topic, which inspired me to reflect more on my reading and the actual feelings I have about some characters as people.
Arya Stark from George  R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series is amazing! A little tomboy at the beginning, all she wants to do is learn to ride horses, shoot a crossbow, and wield a sword. She learns sword play secretly from her dancing master, which comes in handy when the world of Westeros erupts in civil war and her family is flung to the 4 corners of the world. She escapes the riotous city only to meet up with a band of thieves, become prisoner of an evil lord, become a hostage, join a religious sect and a variety of other things that are dangerous and unsuitable for children. She's a true bad ass!
Flavia De Luce first appears in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. There are currently 7 mysteries in the series. At 11 years old, Flavia is basically raising herself in her family's crumbling manor house, although she lives there with her two older sisters, and father who is in his own little world. Flavia works away in her upstairs chemistry lab, rides her bike all over the countryside with no one knowing where she might be, and gleefully solves murders when the locals don't get in her way. Flavia is a favorite of mine because of her intelligence and spunkiness. She also makes me sad, because even though she is good hearted and smart, all she wants is for her sisters to be kind to her and her father to give her some attention, which it appears will never happen.
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear has her own mystery series set in the "time between the wars". I love how Maisie has accepted help and education, raising herself from the daughter of a chauffeur to a young woman running an inquiry service assisted by a soldier with shell shock. Maisie is a very thorough investigator and doesn't just find the information her client asks for, but helps ease their worries in all areas related to the mystery. She also has several hunky beaux over the course of the years.
Precious Ramotswe  is a lady detective in Gaborone, Botswana in the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith. She is very old-school in her behaviors, proud of being "traditionally" built, philosophizing about her cases, and content to spend her day drinking red tea with her assistant Mma Potakwani as things fall into place. She leads a simple, quiet life and is very content with what she has. I wish I could be like that, instead of always wanting more or better.
Mary Russell by Laurie R. Martin is an independently wealthy British/American woman in the 1920s who befriends a retired Sherlock Holmes who is raising bees in the countryside. Her intelligence and affinity for details inspire him to return to solving crimes, which they do together. I would love to have her intelligence and moxie.
Rina Lazarus first appears in The Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman. She is a widowed mother to 2 boys living in a very private, sheltered Orthodox Jewish community in Los Angeles. She is dragged into assisting with a police investigation after she witnesses a a brutal crime on the grounds of the yeshiva. She is a very calm person, who does not let her beliefs keep her out of the real world. She is also a wonderful cook. I wish I could be calm and cook!
Meggie Cleary from The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough is a character we meet as a young child and follow into the late years of her life. She starts out lively and full of promise but poor choices, the whims of others, and the social rules of the time and world she lives in turn her tough and bitter. I like her as a character because she goes through so much and it doesn't break her, but it does change her.
Harriet M. Welsh, created by Louise Fitzhugh as Harriet the Spy rules her neighborhood of New York City from alleys and closets, collecting the info on all her neighbors, whether she knows them or not. As a kid I wanted to be Harriet so badly! She has free range of the city, sparkling intelligence, and was fearless in her own world. Unfortunately we all know what happened when people in the real world got to know her inner thoughts and actions.
Scarlett O'Hara we all know is the heroine of Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. She is not a very likable woman, and that's why I like her. How often do authors give us beautiful, poorly educated,, narcissistic main characters? Never! Scarlett is the original mean girl and she's pretty proud of it. That's what makes her enjoyable to me.
Adelia Aguilar, Mistress of the Art of Death by Arianna Franklin solves 12th century crimes using her training as a doctor. While many of us would scoff at the premise, women were educated as doctors at the University of Salerno briefly during this time period. Adelia is working specifically for King Henry II, cousin to the King of Sicily, who has sent her to help him. Adelia travels from Sicily to England and all over with her 2 male companions, a Jew and a Moor. That is quite a motley bunch. Although Adelia knows the problems for which she is setting herself up, she sticks to who she is and who she trusts. She doesn't take BS from anyone, even the King. Unfortunately Arianna Franklin passed away after writing only 4 books in this series.
Something I notice is that most of these ladies are parts of a series. I probably like them because I know them well from reading all their books. Part of the thing that brings us back to a cozy mystery are the well thought out lead characters. The others are very detailed and part of very thick books, their personalities being a huge driving force of the overall story.

Have you met any of these ladies before? Hop on over to The Broke & the Bookish to check out everyone else's Top Ten Tuesday.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

It's Monday, What are You Reading? 2/23

It's Monday, What are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. It's a great way to look back over the past week and plan your reading for the next.

FINISHED THIS WEEK

Searching for Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe For the Historical Fiction challenge.

Betrayed by Lisa Scottoline For the Mystery/Thriller challenge. I'll review this one shortly. Excellent mystery/thriller series about female lawyers.

Saving Grace by Jane Green

Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas is the first in a series about a small town in Texas. It was well written with interesting characters. I went into it thinking this would be a cornball story, but it really wasn't.

They are all women authors, so I only need 3 more to finish that challenge.

I was hoping to read more  books, but I spent the weekend participating in the Book Bloggers LoveAThon visiting and commenting. If you didn't participate but have the time you should check out some of the fun things we did. There were crafts, poetry writing, random acts of kindness, and Twitter chats.

UP ON DECK - All library books

Mermaids in the Basement by Michael Lee West Have you ever visited her recipe and style blog, Rattlebridge Farm?

Altered by Gennifer Albin I'm very excited for this one, the second in the Crewel distopian society trilogy.

The Burning Wire by Jeffrey Deaver (Lincoln Rhyme series)

The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly (Mickey Haller series)

A Death in the Small Hours by Charles Finch (Charles Lennox series)

A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear Maisie Dobbs series)

That's almost all series; I should have signed up for a series challenge!

Book Journey and the other participants have some interesting things planned for the week, as do Mary-Andering Creatively with Literacy Musings. Please go visit and comment.

LoveAThon High Five

In this post for the Book Blogger LoveAThon we are asked to name our current favorites in these categories.
Book: Greenglass House by Kate Milford is the  book I am currently recommending to young and old. Nostalgia for some readers, a little mystery, smugglers and maybe even a ghost add up to a lot of fun! You can go back and Read My Review.

Genre: Mystery/Crime Thriller I am working through the various series of Michael Connelly and Jeffrey Deaver right now. I've been with Jonathan Kellerman for 15 years, so I just keep getting the new one each year.


Australian author Liane Moriarty.
Author: Liane Moriarty is who I am singing about all over the place. I only read my first book by her 3 months ago. How did I go so long without meeting her?! Each book I read is more interesting than the last.

Blogger: Becky's Book Reviews Have you ever visited? You won't see Becky participating in memes or running around leaving a lot of comments so you may not know her. When stopping by, you won't be inundated with images and advertisements. What you will see is at least 2 thoughtful, honest book reviews posted daily since 2006, with her record of 1,144 posts in 2008. Becky reads a variety of genres in all age groups and participates in more than 15 challenges.

Book Merchandise or Related Site: I don't have any except for GoodReads which I originally joined 6 years ago to keep track of things I wanted to read and now use for recommendations and reading reviews.
This is our last official post for the Book Blogger LoveAThon, sponsored by Alexa Loves Books. I've gotten a lot of great book recommendations and blog design/organization ideas. I've met bloggers I like a lot, so I hope I've made some friends. Alexa's cheerful attitude, organizational abilities and desire to bring us back to the heart of why we write about books has brought so many people together to share bloggy love. Be sure to stop by and thank her for all she has done. I think I will write a reflection post in a few days.