Friday, 17 April 2015

April 2015 Book Reading/ Purchasing Update

Well here we are, half way through April and spring has sprung in our neck of the woods. The dogs can now spend their afternoons in the back yard, lying in the sun and we don't have to worry about having to dry them off every time they come back in the house. Of course, it also means we've got to get the yard back in order after the winters winds and rain, but hey, small price to pay to look out at all that lovely plant growth.

Relaxing on a Friday morning, I've taken Friday and Monday off so can revel in a nice long weekend. I hope to finish off a couple of books in between watching Blue Jays baseball and doing yard work and helping the missus enjoy her birthday.

So let's start off with my current reads. I have to admit they are all a bit of a slow go, two because I'm just starting them and they are new authors so I have to get used to they story-telling and method of presenting their ideas, the other because it's a classic and, even though so very well-written, I do find them a bit slower to read as I like to absorb what they have to say about the time - frame and their characters. So here we go -

Currently Reading

1. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (1860). I'm trying to read at least 4 classics this year and I know they'll take me a little longer than my average book, but I have enjoyed delving into these stories the past few years. I've previously read Daniel Deronda by George Eliot and enjoyed so very much. I like the intelligence of her writing. So far, and I'm about one - third through this story, I'm also enjoying this story. The synopsis - "The Mill on the Floss, based on George Eliot's own experiences of provincial life, is a masterpiece of ambiguity in which moral choice is subjected to the hypocrisy of the Victorian age. As the headstrong Maggie Tulliver grows into womanhood, the deep love which she has for her brother Tom turns into conflict, because she cannot reconcile his bourgeois standards with her own lively intelligence. Maggie is unable to adapt to her community or break free from it, and the result, on more than one level, is tragedy."

2. Cool Jazz Spy by Paul J. Bartusiak (2015). This is a first for me. The author is a member of one of my Goodreads groups and asked if I minded reviewing the book. So, I said yes and here we are. I've just started and will readily admit I've struggled a bit at first with the technical, computer jargon, but we'll see how it goes. I've just barely got into the story and the premise does sound interesting. "Friday morning at Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport, Terminal A is bustling as business travellers await their flights, anxious to return home for the weekend. All of a sudden, information on arrival and departure monitors becomes distorted; pixels seem to melt away from the screen. Airline computer systems crash. Even the building's lights and HVAC system shut down. Crowds form around flight desks, but no one knows what is happening. When extra security suddenly moves in, confusion turns to fear. Just as panic reaches its peak, the malfunctions mysteriously stop. Airport infrastructure performs an automatic reboot, and operations eventually return to normal. The US Intelligence Community is later summoned to a top secret meeting of the utmost importance: DFW Airport was hit with a highly sophisticated cyber attack. The perpetrators remain a mystery, the motive unclear. Even more alarming, evidence suggests something bigger is coming. Cyber experts, cryptologists, and data scientists feverishly combine their skills to try and prevent the ultimate cyber attack - one on the scale of a cyber nuclear bomb!"

3. Death at Bishop's Keep by Robin Paige (1994) - This is another new author for me, or rather authors as Robin Paige are a husband/ wife writing team. I found this book series while exploring one of my favourite book stores in Victoria, The Chronicles of Crime, but it's been on my bookshelf for a little while now. One of my reading challenges this year was to first book in a number of series that I had not yet had a chance to try. Death at Bishop's Keep is the 11th new series. It's classified as a Victorian mystery. "Kathryn Ardleigh is everything the Victorian English gentlewoman is not - outspoken, free-thinking, American... and a writer of the frowned upon 'penny-dreadfuls.' When Kate arrives in Essex, England, she shocks the household at Bishop's Keep - and captures the interest of amateur detective Sir Charles Sheridan as they begin their first case together. A dead body has been uncovered at a nearby archaeological dig. The investigation provides the perfect research for Kate's fiction. But the curious writer may be digging too deep - especially when the trail leads her into a secret occult society known as the Order of the Golden Dawn..."

So there you go, my current reading. I'm basically on track with my planned total for the year and if I can finish off one at least this weekend, I'll right on schedule. Now onto my latest purchases. I dropped off a few books at my local, Nearly New Books, but came out, as usual, with a few new selections to keep my library full of books. Much to Jo's joy.. ;0)

New Purchases

1. The Common Lawyer by Mark Gimenez (2009). Another new author for me, recommended in my Mystery book group. The stories did sound interesting, in the John Grisham line. "Andy Prescott is the most laid-back young lawyer in Austin, Texas. Specialising in traffic law, he operates from a small room above a tattoo parlour. Ambition has never been Andy's strong point - he prefers to take it easy. That is, until one of Texas's wealthiest men walks into his office. On the spot, billionaire Russell Reeves retains Andy as his lawyer and pays him more money than he has ever earned before. Andy's life is transformed. But nothing comes for free. Russell is a desperate man whose sole aim is to save the life of his eight-year-old son, Zach. He is prepared to do anything - even if it means putting Andy's life in danger.."

2. Murder in Washington Square by Victoria Thompson (2002). This is the fourth book in the Gaslight mystery series, featuring mid-wife (cum detective) Sarah Brandt and Police detective Frank Malloy. I've enjoyed the first books in the series, each one a bit better than the past one, so I'm looking forward to starting this one. "To Sarah Brandt, the mere thought of mild-mannered banker Nelson Ellsworth murdering his mistress seemed absurd. But to the police, it made perfect sense. Especially since the woman was allegedly carrying his child. But Sarah met the young woman the day before the incident. And something in her eyes made it quite clear that she was neither as poor nor as innocent as she would have people believe. Now it will take the seasoned skill of Detective Frank Malloy to help clear Mr. Ellsworth's good name. And to determine if Sarah's suspicions are correct - that the victim may have been the victimizer.."

3. Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson (2011). A new book for me that I'm not sure I've heard of before, but is an international best seller and has also been made into a movie (2014) starring Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen. Interesting synopsis "Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story. Welcome to Christine's life."

4. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (2003). A historical mystery series, a new one for me that was recommended in one of my book groups and sounded very interesting. "The daughter of a struggling greengrocer, Maisie Dobbs was only thirteen, when she was sent to work as a maid for wealthy London aristocrats. But being bright and thoughtful beyond her years, Maisie studies her way to Cambridge, then serves as a nurse on the Front during the Great War. Now, it's the spring of 1929, nearly ten years after the Armistice and Maisie has just opened her own detective agency. Her first assignment, a seemingly open-and-shut infidelity case, will reveal a much deeper, darker mystery, forcing Maisie to revisit the horrors of the war and the ghost she left behind."

5. The Butcher's Boy by Thomas Perry (1982). A thriller series that I believe my older brother reads and recommended. Time to give it a try. "How good is a hit man who blows his big hit? As good as dead. How good is the woman assigned to catch him before his killers can? As good as her next move. How good is The Butcher's Boy? As good as they come."

6. From Doon with Death by Ruth Rendell (1964). I've been slowly searching for the Inspector Wexford series books and finally have found the first in the series. Time to get started reading it. "No one believed Mr. Parsons' fears for his missing wife. Until two days later she was discovered in the woods, her face swollen and her clothes damply clinging to her lifeless body. With no useful witnesses and a victim known only for her mundane life, Chief Inspector Wexford has just one clue: a lipstick found at the scene. To find the killer, Wexford must first discover a motive. Because what he can't understand is how such an unassuming woman became the victim of such a passionate and violent crime."

There you go, another successful shopping trip. Now the dogs are getting restless, awaiting their noon walk and lunch.. See you later!!

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