Friday, 29 July 2016

Book Purchases - July 2016

Some of our hydrangeas
Summer is definitely here. The past couple of weeks have been in the mid-20s and we've had very little rain. We've finally gotten around to doing a few things in the yard. The dog's pool is blown up and filled with water, although they seem to just think it's a super large water dish. Bonnie does wade a bit, but only if we throw her bouncy ball into it and she has to go in and get it. We've bought some new deck furniture, the last piece should arrive early next week. And the deck is a bundle of greenery, all sorts of potted plants that Jo has found this year. It looks very nice. We've even had a couple tree guys (arborealists) come over and quote to clean up the trees a bit as they're getting a bit overgrown. So lots of fun. :)

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

1. China Miéville - Un Lun Dun. I've read one book by China Miéville this year, that being Perdido Street Station. It was definitely one of my favourites this year. So when I found this book at my local, Nearly New Books, I figured I should give it a try as well. This is the synopsis.

"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."

2. Pierce Brown - Red Rising. I've been looking for this book for awhile now, since some of my Goodreads' acquaintances mentioned that they enjoyed a lot. I found a copy at Blue Heron Books.

"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."

3. Clifford Simak - The Werewolf Principle. This book was one of those that was listed in the back of another SciFi book I finished this year and I remembered reading and enjoying Simak's City back in my university days. I thought I should give it a look-see.

"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."

Canadian Authors

 6. Marina Endicott - Good to a Fault. Endicott is a new author for me, one recommended in a book about Canadian literature that I read earlier in the year. I ordered this from Goldstone Books in the UK.

"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?"

7 & 8 Stanley Evans - Seaweed under Water & Seaweed on the Rocks. I've read the first book in this series, Seaweed on the Street, featuring Victoria native policeman, Silas Seaweed, and I found it to be excellent. I liked the setting, just down island from me and the story and the characters. These books are the 3rd and 4th in the series. Book 2 already awaits my attention.

"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."

And now....

Mysteries and Thrillers

9. Lee Child - Echo Burning. The further adventures of Jack Reacher.

"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..."

11. Meg Gardiner - The Memory Collector. I enjoyed the first book in the Jo Beckett, forensic psychiatrist series, The Dirty Secrets Club, very much. This is the second book.

"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."
13. J.T. Ellison - Edge of Black. This is the second book in the Dr. Samantha Owens, forensic pathologist series. I enjoyed the first book awhile ago.

"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..."

14. Jacqueline Winspear - A Dangerous Place. Further adventures of Maisie Dobbs.

"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."

15. Joseph Kanon - Leaving Berlin. I've enjoyed the one book by Kanon that I've read. He reminds me of Alan Furst, another of my favourite spy novelists.

"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...

16. John Burdette - Bangkok Haunts. This is the third book in the excellent Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep mystery series, set in Bangkok.

"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.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Bookshelves - The Den

The Den - 2012
Back in 2012, I did a few posts showing where I keep our books, going from room to room. The above picture was taken in the Den/ Office and as you can see, it's fairly neat and organised. (Thanks to the missus, of course, as she has a deft touch when it comes to that sort of thing.

TBR shelves

Over the following years, I've purchased a 'few' books and traded in many others. In January of this year, my computer program, in which I tracked my purchases, trade-ins and the locations of our books throughout the house, crashed. Unfortunately, that meant I had to start all over, lots of fun. But for a list-maker, I guess it's kind of heaven in disguise.

A few of my TBR books
So this year, as I've gone from room to room, updating my new book list program, I've been doing some serious vetting. I think I've traded in over 200 books. Having said that, I've also bought a few. In December of 2015, I wrote a post in which I showed the various locations around the house where I keep my 'to be read' books. If I'm honest, basing this statement on my ability to read on average 100 books per year, I've probably got enough unread books to last me another 5 or 6 years. And with my steady rotation of books throughout the year, that amount shouldn't decrease anytime soon. Yes, I can survive the zombie apocalypse and outlive any need to buy a Kobo or a Kindle. The above photo shows a few of my unread books. As you can see, it's getting a bit overflowing.
A few more unread books
I try to organise the unread books alphabetically, but, sometimes they are just too big to fit in these shelves, so they'll be located in some of my other hiding places. :) Every year, I pull the books out and do a reshuffle and reorganisation so they look neater. Jo is thrilled when I do that. The dogs are always interested when I crawl around stacking books and trying to keep them from falling over as I restack the shelves.
The last of the TBRs in the Den, plus some others
The picture above, as my TBR shelves in the Den are currently organised, displays the A's and B's of my TBRs. The top shelf contains books I've read, a mix of SciFi and mystery, that I want to keep but they aren't necessarily my favourites that I want to have out on display.

My Cadfael collection
Left Side of bookcases

So let's take a look-see at the rest of the bookshelves in the Den and see if they've changed much since I last checked them out. Firstly, just inside the door is something new. We have so many Cd's, we will play them someday. We got a nice set of floating bookshelves that we set up just inside the door and we put the majority of our Cd's in there. Jo suggested that it might be a nice idea to put my Cadfael (by Ellis Peters) books on the top shelf and, of course, she was quite right. They do look nice there. I've read about 9 of the series so far; the mysteries are always entertaining. I think I'm only missing one or two of the books.

The top left corner, SciFi/ Horror/ and a few others
As you can see from the first picture, the top left has changed a bit. It's become an area for some of my Science Fiction (especially that of J.G. Ballard and on the second shelf, Iain M. Banks). I've also got some of my favourite graphic novels there, mainly The League of Ordinary Gentlemen series and some others by Alan Moore).

Iain Banks and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
This shelf is just below the top and, as mentioned just before, it contains some of Iain M. Banks Culture series books, an excellent series. And, yes, I do still have a few graphic novels (no comment, Jo!), but I haven't bought them since ABC Books closed down and our visits to Victoria became a bit fewer and further between.

Middle left shelf

A few new books
This shelf really hasn't changed very drastically. The top shelf is pretty well Jo's, with a few of her design books and perfume bottles. I think there are couple of newer books of mine on this shelf and Jo put a nice bowl she bought at the back, but it's not changed too drastically either.

My Narnia books
This shelf hasn't changed much either. It has a different backdrop, as you can see. The books, but one (the Bill Bryson) were all there in 2012. It contains my Narnia books (from my university days in 1974), Jo's Sun Signs book and a book about H.R.H., the Prince of Wales.

As I mentioned earlier, Jo has done a very nice job mixing and matching her perfume bottles and some other items we've purchased over the years with our books. It makes for a nice perspective.

Middle Right shelves

The Top Shelf
I did vet this and a couple of the books might be new additions, but otherwise, it's a nice mix of my books and Jo's.

The middle right
I think this is one of my favourite shelves. The books have that nice aged look. In fact, the bottom book is a German Lutheran bible that my mother's parents brought over from Germany when they emigrated to Canada after World War I. The top book is our family bible, it's been well-perused. I remember it from when I was a child, even though it's probably been around longer. The little case at the top is a set of perfume bottles I bought Jo one Christmas and I got the cricket ball when I was deployed to the Middle East a few years back.

The other side
The main books here are a collection of George Eliot's works that we bought at one of our favourite stores in Courtenay, A Gentler Time, when it had to close down due to the death of the owner. It was a lovely antique store. We still miss it.

The Right Side

The top right
I vetted this shelf quite extensively this year. It's organized a bit nicer, with some of my favourite mystery series; Martin Walker's Inspector Bruno, George Simenon's Inspector Maigret, etc.

The Top Right Part Deux
This is the other half of the top shelf. It hasn't changed all that drastically, a mix of mystery, Science Fiction and Horror books.

Top Middle Shelf

H.P. Lovecraft and others
This is another shelf I vetted quite a bit, adding some new books and leaving a bit more room for some of Jo's perfume bottles.

Bottom Middle

Another favourite shelf
I do like the old hard cover books on this shelf. It gives it a nice old-fashioned den look. On the right side of this shelf, are some of my mother's old school books, plus some antique books Jo and I found, a Dickens and a Robert Louis Stevenson. The photo in the background is one that we bought in London on one of our visits.

The other side
This side fleshes out this shelf. Some excellent books. There is a chair just snugged in this corner and it's a nice cozy spot to sit and read.

So there you go, my updated library in our nice den. It's always a work in progress, but one of our favourite rooms.

I'll try and continue with this update over the next while. I hope you find it interesting. :)

Friday, 1 July 2016

Mid-Year 2016 - Reading Group Challenge Update

Today is July 1st, Canada Day for we Canadians. There will be celebrations all across the country, with the biggest probably in the nation's capital, Ottawa, Ontario. I think I'll just hunker down at home with the missus and dogs and have a nice relaxing day. It's started off here a bit drizzly and cool, but the sun seems to be peeking through. A few moments ago, I could hear one 19 Wing Comox's Cormorant Search and Rescue helicopters fly over the house. I presume it was heading downtown for a flypast for the local July 1st parade. The Air Force is very popular on such holidays, requested for flypasts all over the country.

Well, anyway, I've rambled on enough. Now on to my monthly book reading summary. Since it's now half way through the year, before I get into the books I completed in Jun, below is my half year summary. I've been very pleased with my progress this year. I'm way ahead of my planned total of trying to finish 100 books. I've finished 74 books so far, partly will credit that to finishing a number of books below 250 pages long; mainly short story collections. Still, that will give me lots of leeway in my selections for the rest of the year. OK, so let's go. First off, here are my top three selections so far this year.

I've had 11 5-star ratings up to now. The below three are probably my favourites. Two are Science Fiction, the other humour.

1. Perdido Street Station by China Miéville. This was a fantastic surprise. I've since purchased another of his books, The Scar, and hope to read that this year. Here was my review.

"Wow! My first exposure to China Miévielle's writing and I'm so very impressed. Call it a combination science fiction/ fantasy. China has created such a unique world in New Crobuzon and populated it with wonderfully described and written characters and species. New Crobuzon is a city that is built beneath the ribs of some ancient creature. It is filled with humans, other species, remade creatures (a form of punishment) and also mechanical creatures. It's basically a dictatorship masked as a democracy.

Crime is rife, the city is a maze of districts and it's all so interesting. The story is a slow - burn at first; rebel scientist Isaac is asked by a Garuda (a flying creature) to help him get his wings back, as they had been removed as a punishment. Isaac's girlfriend, a Khedri (an insectoid - type creature) is an artist who has been commissioned by the city's biggest criminal, to do a statue of him/ her (he is a remade to the extreme). Isaac, while exploring theories of flight, has a petty thief find him specimens of as many flying creatures as he can, including eggs, so he can explore flight and see how he can help the Garuda. Unfortunately, one of the eggs contains a slake moth (one of the most horrific fictional beasts you will ever read about, I think) and when it hatches, it escapes and sets in motion the rest of the story.

The City governors have had 4 other adult slake moths as prisoners. When they all escape, the whole city is in danger. This leads to the 2nd half of the story, a fascinating chase by Isaac, Derkhan, another friend and my favourite character, and the Garuda to try and stop the Slake Moths. I hope I haven't told too much of the story; just suffice to say it's fascinating and worth the read."

2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I've had this book for a little while now and finally got around to reading it. Another excellent Science Fiction/ Dystopian future by this Canadian writer.

"I loved Station Eleven. It was one of those books that I wanted to finish to see how it ended, but, at the same time, I wanted to continue exploring the lives of the characters. Does that make sense?
It brought out so many emotions; sadness, anger, tears (in both a good and bad way), happiness, encouragement, etc. In some ways it reminded me of The Road by Cormac McCarthy, but it wasn't so consistently dour and scary. Probably part of the reason for that may be that Station Eleven had more characters and it also didn't just situate itself solely in the dystopic (am I spelling this right?) future.
I particularly liked how the story moved along, starting in their present (our future), introducing the Travelling Symphony and highlighting the new way of life of people trying to survive, then wandering to other characters, explaining where they were when the Georgia Flu caused this world-wide destruction and following their adjustments to the post-flu life.

I liked how the main characters are slowly linked up, such as how Kirsten came to be in possession of Miranda's comic, Station Eleven, even how this comic may have impacted The Prophet. The Prophet introduced a very scary element into the whole story. Was he not utilized enough? Maybe but, personally, I think his appearances were just sufficient enough to provide a negative counterpoint to those trying to live safe lives. More of him might have put a completely different tone to the overall story. How people coped with this new future is what was most interesting.

There were so many nice touches. I liked Kirsten especially but every character was excellent and their personalities developed just to the right amount. I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, it's an excellent story and well worth reading. I think the ending left the story open - ended enough to provide a continuation story to show us how the future continues to unfold, should Emily St. John Mandel so desire. Maybe?? Please.."

3. The Man With Two Left Feet and Other Stories by  P.G. Wodehouse. I've read other books by English humorist, Wodehouse and enjoyed his light touch. This was an excellent collection of short stories.

"I have to say this is a perfect little book. As I wondered what to rate it, I thought, 'well, they're nice stories, they make me feel good, they are perfectly written.....' It has to be 5-stars. I've read a few of Wodehouse's books, particularly enjoy the whimsy of his Jeeves and Wooster stories. This collection contains one story involving Bertie Wooster, in which Bertie is sent to New York to extricate his cousin from an impending marriage with a 'dance-hall' girl. For once Jeeves play almost no role and we see Bertie at his very best. It left me feeling very happy. The stories, for the most part, deal with relationships and you tend to leave the stories with a positive view of life. I particularly enjoyed The Mixer, two stories told from the perspective of 'the dog', in which the dog moves through life happily affecting the people around him and, for all his mishaps, landing on all four feet. Just a joy to read and I highly recommend. (I even liked the cover of this Penguin edition, with illustration by Ionicus.)"

It was difficult to pick this three as all of my 5-star rated books were excellent. But that will give you a bit of a flavour of the fun I've had this year with my overall selections. Now to move on to some stats.

Total Books - 74
Total Pages - 22,500

Page Breakdown
       < 250     30
250 - 350      21
351 - 450      10
       > 450     13

Author Gender
Male       -     48
Female    -    26

5 - star     -    11
4 - star     -    37
3 - star     -    26

Fiction                                            -      9
Mystery / Thriller / Spy / etc         -    37
SciFi / Fantasy / Horror                 -    15
Non-Fiction                                   -      6
Humour                                          -     3
Classics                                          -     4

I've updated some of my various challenges due to how many books I've read so far, such as adding another Decades Challenge and adding a couple of books to my Classics challenge. I guess retirement is suiting me; I have enjoyed this past year's reading.

Just to finish off the challenge, these were the books I read in the month of June. I finished 13 books in June. I also completed my 12 + 4 Canadian Reading Group Challenge and decided to start a new one, limiting myself to 12 + 0 Canadian books this time. I read 5 books in this challenge in June. I've listed them below.

1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (SciFi) 5 - stars.
2. Dead Cold by Louise Penny (Mystery/ Inspector Gamache #2) 4 - stars.
3. Scar Tissue by Michael Ignatieff (Fiction) 4 - stars.
4. Never Saw it Coming by Linwood Barclay (Thriller) 4 - stars.
5. The Rules of Engagement by Catherine Bush (Fiction) 4 - stars.

Decades Challenge (1900 - Present)
I finished this challenge and have made a new one, basically to catch some of the overflow and see what other books I can read from the various decades. I read three books in this challenge in June.

1. 1980 - 89: The Envy of the Stranger by Caroline Graham (Mystery) 4 - stars.
2. 1990 - 99: Blind Date by Frances Fyfield (Mystery) 4 - stars.
3. 2010 - Present: Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon (Spy) 4 - stars.

Science Fiction / Fantasy / Horror
I finished two collections of short stories in this challenge. I've read 10 of 12 anticipated books in this particular challenge and am currently reading my 11th. I imagine I'll increase this by another few books when I finish.

1. A Touch of Strange by Theodore Sturgeon (4 - stars).
2. Dark Side of the Earth by Alfred Bester (3 - stars).

Classics (Pre - 1900)
I read one book in this challenge in June and thereby finished my planned total of 4 Classics for 2016. I've increased this challenge by 2 books and hope to attempt 2 more before year's end.

1. Rip van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving (1819 / 20) 4 - stars.

Ongoing Series
I've not really set a limit on this challenge as I've got so many series on the go. I hope I might attempt at least 40 - 50 of them. So far, I've completed 22 books and have one on the go. I think it looks good. In June I read 2 more books in this challenge.

1. Silesian Station by David Downing (Spy) (John Russell #2) 3 - stars.
2. Petrella at Q by Michael Gilbert (Mystery) (Inspector Petrella #3) 5 - stars.

Non - Fiction
I hope to read 6 books in this challenge and so far have completed 4, with one read throughout May and June. It was an excellent history book by Margaret MacMillan, the second book I've read by her.

1. The War that Ended the Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan (History leading up to WWI) 4 - stars.

So there you have it, my mid - year and June update. It's been an excellent, enjoyable year so far, both from a reading perspective and just life in general. I'm looking forward to the rest of the year. Just for your update, these are the 4 books I've started July with.

1. Helsinki Noir by various authors, compiled by James Thompson - a collection of mystery short stories set in Helsinki, Finland.
2. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - a dystopic futuristic young adult book, somewhat à la the Hunger Games and Divergent series, amongst others.
3. Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie (Grantchester #1) - The first season of the Grantchester mystery series on PBS was based on this book.
4. Seaweed on the Street by Stanley Evans (Silas Seaweed #10 - a mystery series set in Victoria, B.C., Canada featuring police detective Silas Seaweed.

If you're Canadian, enjoy your Canada Day weekend and if not, just enjoy your normal weekend.. :)
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