|Some of our hydrangeas|
Since it's nearing the end of July and I know I won't be buying anymore books this month, I figure it's time to update on what books I've found this past month. I'm still ahead of the game in trading in books vs. buying books, so that's good. (Isn't it?) Most of the books purchased this past month have been mystery/ thrillers, but not by much. So here you go, these are my purchases -
Science Fiction / Fantasy
"What is Un Lun Dun? It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book.
When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong."
"His wife taken. His people enslaved. Driven by a longing for justice and the memory of lost love, Darrow will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies.. even if he must become one of them to do so. For the first time, Red will rise."
"In the middle-distant future, Andrew Blake, discovered on a distant planet huddled inside a capsule, is brought back to Earth suffering from total amnesia.
Over 200 years old, he thinks and acts like a man but becomes frighteningly aware of two alien beings that lurk within his body - a strange biological computer and a wolf-like animal. With the latter in control he breaks out of hospital to look for his past..."
4. Orson Scott Card - Speaker for the Dead. This is the second book in the series that started with Ender's Game.
"In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: the Speaker for the dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War.
Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered, but again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening... again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the dead, who is also Ender Wiggins the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery ... and the truth."
5. John D. MacDonald - Ballroom of the Skies. I've read quite a few of MacDonald's Travis McGee books. I didn't realise he's also written SciFi. This book was originally published in 1952, one of his earlier books.
"Have you ever stopped to wonder why the world is eternally war-torn? Why men of good will, seeking only peace, are driven relentlessly to further disaster?
In Ballroom of the Skies, John. D. MacDonald suggests a strange and monstrous explanation. He pictures an intricate ant totally convincing future society, where India rules the globe, and everyone chases the mighty rupee. The First atomic War has just ended, and already the Second is clearly building.
People shrug. War is man's nature, they think. And that's what Dake Lorin thought until he became aware of the aliens living among us - and discovered their sinister purpose."
"Absorbed in her own failings, 43-year-old Clara Purdy crashes her life into a sharp left turn, taking the young family in the other car along with her. When bruises on the mother, Lorraine, prove to be late-stage cancer, Clara moves the three children and their terrible grandmother into he own house while Lorraine undergoes treatment at the local hospital.
We know what is good, but we don't do it. In Good to a Fault, Clara decides to give it a try, and then has to cope with the consequences: exhaustion, fury, hilarity, and unexpected love. But she questions her own motives. Is she acting out of true goodness, or out of guilt? And more shamefully, has she taken over simply because she wants a family of her own?"
"In Seaweed under water, Coast Salish investigator Silas Seaweed is back in another suspenseful page-turner.
What begins as a missing-person investigation takes a nasty turn when party girl Jane Colby is found drowned, strangulation marks around her neck. Silas soon discovers that some of Jane's friends would benefit by her death. Tackling the case with his usual intelligence, wit and compassion, he sets out to find Jane's killer. His search leads him to a dangerous family with disturbing secrets.
In the course of his investigation, Silas is pulled into Salish mythology and ritual, and a terrifying underwater vision quest - one from which he may never return."
"In Seaweed on the Rocks - Springtime in Victoria isn't so sweet as Coast Salish cop Silas Seaweed finds a local street girl dying of an overdose in an abandoned house. As Silas starts his investigation, he begins to suspect that all is not what it appears to be. With a mysterious haunting by a ten-foot-tall bear, a burglary in a hypnotherapist's office and the shady workings of small-time crooks, Silas finds himself in a criminal ring full of deception, murder and blackmail."
Mysteries and Thrillers
"Thumbing across the scorched Texas desert, Jack Reacher has nowhere to go and all the time in the world to get there. Cruising the same stretch of two-lane blacktop is Carmen Greer. For Reacher, the lift comes with a hitch. Carmen's got a story to tell, and it's a wild one - all about a husband, her family secrets, and a hometown that's purely gothic. she's also got a plan. Reacher's a part of it. And before the sun sets, this ride could cost them both their lives."
10. Robert B. Parker - Sea Change. I may not read this right a way as it's not the first book in the Jesse Stone series, but I've enjoyed the TV movies and I want to give this series a try.
"After the body of a divorced Florida heiress washes ashore in Paradise, Jesse Stone discovers her kinky secrets - and a sordid past that casts suspicion on everyone she knew, from friends to family. Unfortunately no one is talking, so it's up to Stone to speak for the dead..."
"In her toughest case yet, Jo is called in to assist Ian Kanan, a passenger on a flight to San Francisco who is under restraint for his erratic behaviour. Suffering from a rare form of amnesia where he cannot form new memories, ex-soldier Kanan believes his family has been kidnapped by a terrorist cell, intent on stealing a deadly biological agent to which he himself has been exposed.
But is this fact - or delusion? In a race against time Jo must delve deeper into the life of a patient than ever before, hoping the truth emerges in time to save not only her beloved city, but also herself..."
12. Kay Hooper - Haven. Hooper is another new author for me. I can't exactly remember if anyone recommended her to me or I just saw some synopsis of her books in other mysteries I was reading.
"A young woman returns to her forbidding hometown only to realise that her sister's terrifying nightmares hold the key to her past - and a secret someone will kill to keep buried."
"The killer is armed with a lethal weapon: an invisible pathogen that has been released into the Washington Metro. Two hundred people exhibit symptoms, but only three are pronounced dead.
Dr. Samantha Owens is the forensic pathologist to consult on the case, but as she dissects the mysterious connections between the victims, it becomes clear that this attack is not random. This pathogen is targeted.
As Sam starts to close in on the killer's identity, finding the truth might just lead her into risking her life..."
"Spring 1937. In the four years since she left England, Maisie Dobbs has experienced love, contentment, stability - and the deepest tragedy a woman can endure. Now, she hopes to find peace by returning to India. But her sojourn in the hills of Darjeeling is cut short when her stepmother summons her to England: her ageing father, Frankie Dobbs is not getting any younger.
On a ship bound for England, Maisie realises she isn't ready to return and disembarks in Gibraltar. In the British garrison town at the southern tip of Spain, she becomes enmeshed in the murder of Sebastian Babayoff, a photographer and member of Gibraltar's Sephardic Jewish community. Meanwhile, at a crossroads between her past and future, Maisie must choose a direction, knowing that England is, for her, an equally dangerous place, but in quite a different way."
"Berlin, 1949. The city is still in ruins, partitioned into sectors by four former allies who no longer trust each other. In the West, a defiant, blockaded city is barely surviving on airlifted supplies: in the East, the heady early days of political reconstruction are being undermined by the murky compromises of the Cold War. Espionage, like the black market, is a fact of life.
Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer, fled the Nazis for America before the war. But when the politics of his youth put him in the crosshairs of the McCarthy witch hunts, he makes a desperate bargain with the fledgling CIA; he will earn his way back to America by acting as their agent in his native Berlin. Almost from the start, things go fatally wrong. A kidnapping misfires, an East German agent is killed, and Alex finds himself a wanted man. Worse, he discovers his real assignment - to spy on the woman he left behind, the only woman he has ever loved."
And, last but not least...
"Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep has seen just about everything on his beat in Bangkok's crime-riddled District 8.
But the terrifying snuff movie he's been sent anonymously is something else: the person who dies is Damrong, the beautiful woman he once loved and whom he still dreams about.
Sonchai's enquiries into her death follow a dizzying route from his own apartment, where he sleeps next to his pregnant wife while his fantasies deliver him up to Damrong; to the backstreets of Phnom Penh, where street gangs are only the most visible threats; and to the gilded rooms of the most exclusive men's club in Bangkok, whose members will do anything to explore their darkest fantasies..."
Well, there you go. I have to say this has been the most frustrating typing I've done in a long time. My fingers are not working well today. Anyway, I hope maybe some of these books might whet your appetite. I'll let you know my thoughts when I've read them. Have a great end of July.