Monday, 30 June 2014

Mid-Year Review

Happy Canada Day!!!

It's Jun3 30th and tomorrow is Canada Day, thought I should at least have a shout out for my country to start things off. :0)

Bonnie and Clyde plotting a Great Escape!
It's amazing to me that it is already half way through 2014. I have to say it's been a good year so far. Work is busy enough and I'm getting enough hours to keep my happy. Jo and I have put a few hours into the yard and garden and it's the best it's ever looked. Our two puppies; Bonnie and Clyde are now a year+ and adjusted well to us and we to them. Other than Bonnie trying to dig her way out of the backyard a couple of times and Clyde barking at pretty well anyone he sees, they are just fine and a joy to have. At the moment, Clyde is on his pillow in the den with me and Bonnie is out in the family room having her nap. Almost time to take them both for a quick walk; too hot to go too far, so maybe just down to the mail box. Then I'll finish this Blog before I head out to pick Jo up from her day downtown.

So let's see, where to begin. Well, let's see some overall stats. This year I decided to try and read 90 books as my Goodreads challenge. As of 30 Jun, I've completed 50 books and read approximately 18,000 pages, so if I can keep up my pace of about 9 books a month, I should be able to manage this challenge. Most of my books have been 3 or 4 star reads. My ratings usually go from 1 - 5, with 5 being my favourites. In my reviews I do sometimes break it down further, e.g. 3.5 or 4.5, but I won't bother with that here. This is how my ratings total out-

5 Star - 5 books
4 Star - 24 books
3 Star - 20 books, and
2 Star - 1 book

I'll provide a breakdown by book, but won't put all my reviews in. For the most part, I've provided the majority during my monthly review Blogs. Check them out.. :0)..

5 Star Ratings

1. Jussi Adler - Olsen (Scandinavian Mystery) - The Keeper of Lost Causes
2. D.H. Lawrence (Classic/ Fiction) - Lady Chatterley's Lover
3. Minette Walters (British Mystery) - Disordered Minds
4. Martin Walker (French Mystery) - Black Diamonds
5. Ford Madox Ford (Classic/ Fiction) - Parade's End

4 Star Ratings

6. Agatha Christie (Classic/ Mystery)  - The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
7. Tana French (Irish Mystery) - In The Woods
8. Agatha Christie (Classic/ Mystery) - N or M?
9. Patricia Highsmith (US Mystery) - Deep Water
10. E.M. Forster (Classic/ Fiction) - A room with a View
11. Jenny White (Historical Mystery) - The Sultan's Seal
12. Oliver Potsch (Historical Mystery) - The Hangman's Daughter
13. Neil Gaiman (Fantasy) - Neverwhere
14. Lynn S. Hightower (US Mystery) - No Good Deed
15. Susan Hill (British Mystery) - The Pure in Heart
16. Kate Ellis (British Mystery) - Playing with Bones
17. Cornelia Funke (Fantasy) - Inkheart
18. Hillary Waugh (US Mystery) - Last Seen Wearing
19. Kate Ellis (British Mystery) - Seeking the Dead
20. Anthony Horowitz (Historical Mystery) - The House of Silk
21. Victoria Thompson (Historical Mystery) - Murder on St. Mark's Place
22. John Fowles (Fiction) - The Collector
23. Francis Iles (British Mystery) - Malice Aforethought
24. Ariana Franklin (Historical Mystery) - A Murderous Procession
25. Barry Unsworth (Historical Fiction) - Morality Play
26. Karen Irving (Canadian Mystery) - Mars Eclipsed
27. R.D. Wingfield (British Mystery) - Night Frost
28. Robertson Davies (Canadian Fiction) - What's Bred in the Bone
29. R.D. Wingfield (British Mystery) - Hard Frost

3 Star Ratings

30. Jefferson Bass (US Mystery) - Carved in Bone
31. Jefferson Bass (US Mystery) - Flesh and Bone
32. Margery Allingham (British Mystery) - Death of a Ghost
33. Patricia Wentworth (British Mystery) - She Came Back
34. Margery Allingham (British Mystery) - Dancers in Mourning
35. Lee Child (US Thriller) - Killing Floor
36. Lee Child (US Thriller) - Die Trying
37. George R.R. Martin (Fantasy) - A Feast of Crows
38. Matt Long (Biography) - The Long Run
39. Nevada Barr (US Mystery) - Endangered Species
40. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Adventure) - The Lost World
41. Nevada Barr (US Mystery) - Blind Descent
42. Alan Hunter (British Mystery) - Gently Down the Stream
43. Victoria Thompson (Historical Mystery) - Murder on Astor Place
44. Patrick Susskind (Historical Fiction/ Horror) - Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
45. Peter O'Donnell (Thriller) - Sabre-Tooth
46. Peter O'Donnell (Thriller) - I, Lucifer
47. Karen Irving (Canadian Mystery) - Pluto Rising
48. Tony Hawks (Humour/ Travel) - Playing the Moldovans at Tennis
49. Arnaldur Indridason (Iceland Mystery) - Jar City

2 Star Ratings

50. V.S. Naipaul (Fiction) - Mimic Men

So there you have a list of what I've managed to finish over the past six months. At the moment I'm reading 3 books, but won't finish by the end of today.

Currently Reading

1. John P. Marquand (Spy) - Your Turn Mr. Moto (1935). I've previously read one of the Mr. Moto spy novels, Thank You Mr. Moto (1936) and enjoyed. Marquand wrote six Mr. Moto books and I've managed to find 3 for my collection. I decided to dust the two books I still have on my TBR shelves, Your Turn Mr. Moto and Mr. Moto is So Sorry as part of my Bedside Table challenge and also as part of one of a new challenge set up in my Mystery Book Club; Mysteries by the Decade. I consider this to be one of the classics and it definitely fits both challenges. I'm enjoying Your Turn Mr. Moto so far, it's a nice easy read. This is the synopsis "A down-on-his luck American airman... a beautiful international adventuress.. a mysterious Chinese courier.. a scrap of paper worth many lives and the peace of the entire world.. and a jigsaw pattern of treachery and sudden death that had been expertly designed to deceive and destroy... and that only the inimitable Mr. Moto could hope to decipher and destroy.

2. Hugh Howey (SciFi) - Wool (2012). Quite a few people in my Book Addicts book group have read and recommended this novel and I finally found a copy and made it part of my 12 + 4 reading group challenge. (As a matter of interest, when I finish Wool, I will have completed 11 of the books in this challenge) . I've barely broke the surface of the novel, but it seems interesting so far. "What would you do if the world outside was deadly, and the air you breathed could kill? And you live in a place where every birth required a death, and the choices you made could save lives - or destroy them. This is Jules's story. This is the World of Wool."

3.  Charles Todd (Historical Mystery) - A Test of Wills (1996). This is the first of the Inspector Rutledge series written by mother and son team, Caroline and Charles Todd. I've seen the series at my local book store and managed to find the first in the series. Recently, I found the next 3 at the local Rotary Club Book Sale. I decided to read this as part of my alphabetical Mystery Author Challenge and I'm enjoying so far. In some ways it reminds me of Anne Perry's Inspector Monk books. I won't put in the synopsis of this book as I did so in my previous Blog.

Looking at the various challenges I've got upcoming, these will probably be some of my next books.

Upcoming Books

1. Emile Zola (Classic Fiction) - The Ladies' Paradise (1883). My wife became quite addicted to the BBC TV series based on this book. I watched the first season and enjoyed as well, but for one reason or another never managed to keep up with it as she did. However, I decided to try the book and bought it for her for Xmas this past year and also added it to my 12 + 4 challenge. I hope I enjoy it. "The Ladies' Paradise recounts the spectacular development of the modern department store in late nineteenth - century Paris. The store is a symbol of capitalism, of the modern city, and of the bourgeois family; it is emblematic of consumer culture and the changes in sexual attitudes and class relations taking place at the time. Octave Mouret, the store's owner-manager, masterfully exploits the desires of female customers. In his private life too he is the great seducer. But when he falls in love with the innocent Denise Baudu, he discovers she is the only one of the salesgirls who refuses to be commodified."

2. Karen Irving (Canadian Mystery) - Jupiter's Daughter (2000). When I finish my Charles Todd book, I move back down the alphabet in my Alphabetical Mystery Author's challenge, back into the I's. Conveniently, I have managed to find the 2nd in Karen Irving's Katy Klein books, so that will be the next book for me and will also finish off the trilogy. I do hope she sorts out her publisher issues so that the series can continue. It's most enjoyable.

I'll stop there for now. I'm looking forward to the second half of 2014. So many books and authors to explore.

Keep on reading!!

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