Saturday, 15 October 2016

Bill's Book Recommendations - The Keeper of Lost Causes

I'm not totally sure how I want to proceed with this thread. I see it as an introduction to some of my favourite books, or more specifically, books I've given a 5 out of 5 rating. I have already provided some Top Ten Lists in previous BLog entries and if you're interested in those, you can scroll down the page and on the right side (at least from my view of the BLog) until you hit a grouping called labels. That has all sorts of Favourite(s) and Top Ten Lists. Now, I'm sure I'll probably cover some books or authors that I've already Blogged about previously in this Topic, but I'll try not to be too repetitive. Anyway, with that preamble, let's start with my first recommendation. The reason I picked this book is that in my Goodread's 'Read' bookshelf, this is my first 5 - star rated book. Simple, eh?

I was on a bit of a Scandinavian mystery writer kick when I saw this book, The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen. I'm pretty sure that the first thing that caught my notice was the colour of the book jacket as I do like those autumn colours. (Ask the missus, she'll verify that.) Then I read the jacket and the synopsis sounded very interesting. This is the synopsis.

"Carl Morck used to be one of Copenhagen's best homicide detectives. Then a hail of bullets destroyed the lives of two fellow cops, and Carl - who didn't draw his weapon - blames himself. So a promotion is the last thing he expects. But Department Q is a department of one, and Carl's got only a stack of Copenhagen's coldest cases for company. His colleagues snicker, but Carl may have the last laugh, because one file keeps nagging at him: a liberal politician vanished five years earlier and is presumed dead. But she isn't dead...yet."

The synopsis intrigued me but I readily admit that I didn't buy it right away. I think I was somewhat suffering from Scandinavian mystery overload. Some of the stories were great, some not so much.

Finally, in 2013, during one of our trips to Nanaimo, while the missus was at HomeSense, I wandered across the highway to Chapters and decided to purchase a copy. (Chapters was having one of its sales so that made it even more worthwhile.)

I bought it in January and waited until 2014 to take it off my shelves and give it a try. Of course, it was one of those books that you just can't put down. I had it read in just a few days and wondered why I had waited so long to finally try it. This was my review.

"What a surprisingly excellent mystery and story! I've had it on my bookshelf for awhile and am so glad that I finally pulled it down to read. The mystery, the cold case involving the disappearance of Merete, was different from any I've read before. The main characters, Carl Morck, head of new Division Q and his assistant, Assad, were so well crafted.

Carl is a police detective just coming back to work after he and his two partners were ambushed, one killed, one a cripple still in hospital and Carl, recovered, now trying to get back to work. His boss assigns him to a newly created unit as its chief, partly to keep him away from the other detectives. Carl avoids work until his new assistant, Assad brings him the cold case involving Merete, who became missing, presumed dead, five years ago on a ferry to Germany.

The story weaves between Carl and Assad, working their way through the old case and Merete, working from the past, 5 years before, until the present as she tries to adjust and sort out where she is and why she was abducted in the first place.

Carl is an interesting character; his personal life also slowly being developed and his investigating talents becoming more visible. All in all, it was an excellent story, witty, but also with a great deal of tension as the story winds up to its climax. Loved it and am looking forward to reading more Department Q mysteries."

Carl and Assad were both excellent. Carl really doesn't want to work and loves making waves for his boss. Realising that he has a pot of money for his new department, he takes advantage of it to fix up his office in the basement. Assad just sort of shows up, but he is the one who pushes Carl into the investigation and gets Carl interested in the case. There are many interesting characters and story lines. Carl's roomies add to the quirkiness of the story. It has a wonderful mix of tension and humour. The book was such a nice surprise.

Carl Valdemar Jussi Henry Adler-Olsen is a Danish writer. He made his debut in non-fiction in 1984 and as a fiction writer in 1997. The first book in the Department Q series, The Keeper of Lost Causes came out in Denmark in 2007, with the first English translation in 2011. (I've had some issues with translations of other author's works, but have been very pleased with the Department Q translations so far.)

The series has proven very popular for Olsen. Since the first, there have been 5 new books written and translated. The series consists of -

1. The Keeper of Lost Causes
2. The Absent One
3. A Conspiracy of Faith
4. The Purity of Vengeance
5. The Marco Effect
6. The Hanging Girl

I've since read the second book, The Absent One, in 2015 and enjoyed it just as much. A new character has been introduced to spice up the Department Q team, an unwanted assistant by the name of Rose, who is wonderful.

If you are interested in trying out Scandinavian mystery fiction, you can't go wrong with The Keeper of Lost Causes. It's an excellent book and, as far as I've delved into it so far, an excellent series.

So, there you go, my first Book Recommendation. Next will be....... well, we'll see.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Scary, Scary Monster Books - October (AKA Hallowe'en Month) Recommencations

I have to say that my reading and Blogging has taken a bit of a tumble as we get into October. I find myself drawn to the US Election (and I'm a Canadian!!!). I know he has many, many supporters, but the thought of Donald J. Trump becoming President of the United States of America scares the bejeebers out of me. I know that Mrs. Clinton isn't perfect by any means, but every thing that comes out of Trump's mouth, when he isn't sniffing, is a lie or contradiction from something he said previously. My wife says that the sniffing is a 'tell', like in poker when you have a twitch that gives away your hand. In this case, his snorting might be a 'tell' that he is lying.

Anyway, I find myself watching the debates, reading everything I can about the election, much to the detriment of my normal activities. I think I'm driving the missus a bit bonkers. ;0) So October might be a scarier month than we realise, depending on how the election in November turns out. Cold chills keep running down my back.

So, anyway, since I'm in that sort of a mood, I thought I'd do a BLog entry on some horror books I've enjoyed. Horror isn't my favourite genre, probably because they SCARE me!! But I have enjoyed horror stories in the past. I read everything by Stephen King at one time. He has the ability to find those things that infest your mind and terrify you and to write about them so you feel the horror. It's been a long time, however, since I read anything by King. I kind of got overloaded with his writing. I did receive one of his later books for Xmas a couple of years back, that being Under the Dome. I started it as part of the October Spooktacular challenge that one of my Goodread's book groups set up and I am enjoying it very much. I don't know yet if it falls under Horror or under Science Fiction, but more to follow on that. I'm only half way through. Oh yes, that's another thing about King, he can be wordy.

If you'd like a recommendation for a scary King book or two, well, let's see. Above are photos of two books, one written under King's pseudonym, Richard Bachman, The Regulators and the other as King, Desperation. Unique stories as they contain the same characters, put into a dangerous, scary situation, with different results. Pet Sematary, which was made into a relatively awful movie, was one of his scariest, a page turner and pulse pounder. A few others might be Christine, haunted car, Carrie, girl with powers who seeks revenge, Cujo, rabid dog, It, scary clown (how appropriate this month with all the purported sightings of scary clowns and Salem's Lot, a vampire story. And those are just a few. King didn't just write horror, but it is one of his specialities.

I've tried Dean Koontz in the past but, of the few stories I tried, I found him somewhat forgettable. In fact, I would pick up a book and for the life of me, couldn't remember if I'd read the story or not. A couple highlights though. You might like to try Phantoms, about a haunted town or Watchers, about genetically enhanced creatures. At the moment, I've been buying a few of his Odd Thomas series as I've heard good things about the books. Time to give Mr. Koontz another try.

A series I started back when I lived in Ottawa is that featuring Anita Blake,Vampire Hunter by Laurell K. Hamilton. At one time I couldn't get enough of them. Each book was scarier and more graphic than the last. They are really worth a try. Once I had to start waiting a year or so for the next book, I found that my interests had already been turned in another direction. I do have a couple still sitting on my bookshelf that I will get around to reading. I may find my interest rekindled. Who knows. :) The first book in this series is Guilty Pleasures.

A similar series to the Laurell Hamilton books is one written by Charlaine Harris, the Sookie Stackhouse books. I always found the stories to be a little like Anita Blake light, but they were still entertaining. The series was turned into a fascinating, scary, gritty, sexy TV series on HBO by the name of True Blood. The first book in this series is Dead Until Dark.

There are other series I'll mention, without any other detail, that you might like to try:
- Tanya Huff's Blood Books, starting with Blood Price
- P.N. Elrod's Vampire Files, starting with Bloodlist
- Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles, starting with Interview with a Vampire. I kind of got tired of this series, but of those I read, my favourite was The Tale of the Body Thief.

So, let's see a few others that you might like to consider...

Richard Brautigan, The Hawkline Monster. I found this book on one of my trips to Victoria with the missus. The story looked kind of neat and I think I was looking for a book to satisfy a Western challenge. Yup, this is a combination Western meets Horror. Neat story, totally different.  This is the synopsis.

"The time is 1902, the setting eastern Oregon. Magic Child, a fifteen-year-old Indian girl, wanders into the wrong whorehouse looking for the right men to kill the monster that lives in the ice caves under the basement of Miss Hawkline's yellow house. What follows is a series of wild, witty, and bizarre encounters. The book was originally published in 1974."

Max Brooks, World War Z. I found this book purely by chance when I was stationed down in Victoria back in 2007, while wandering through Munro's Books. It looked weirdly interesting and I'd never really read any zombie-type books before that. Who knew that after this zombie books, movies and TV shows would be everywhere. You probably know the story if you've seen the movie based on the book, well, loosely that is. The book is more of a documentary, explaining how the zombie apocalypse took place, what happened to the earth and how mankind was coping with the aftermath. It focuses on 4 or 5 people in various parts of the Earth and their particular stories, while, at the same time, generally highlighting the whole situation. Excellent book, I must say. Below is a brief synopsis of the book.

"The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, travelled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. "World War Z" is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War."

Nick Cutter, The Troop and The Deep. In the past couple of years I've read two of Canadian Nick Cutter's horror entries. I think you might classify them as right of Stephen King, especially The Troop, which I preferred of the two. The books are very graphic and gruesome, sometimes cringe-worthy, but both were very different and interesting.

The Troop is set in Prince Edward Island (PEI) and follows a troop of Scouts and their leader as they journey to an isolated island off the coast of PEI for a weekend of roughing it in the bush. Unbeknownst to them, another individual, an escapee from some sort of germ experimentation, also lands on the island, infecting some and leaving the others to try and survive the encounter. Kind of like Lord of the Flies to the extreme. Throw in the Canadian Navy trying to blockade the island to prevent anyone else getting infected and you've got a taut, exciting horror thriller.

The Deep is about a plague that is killing off mankind. A group of scientists, living in an underwater laboratory in the Pacific may have found a cure. But the cure also seems to have side effects, disastrous side effects. We follow these people around the claustrophobic environment on the ocean's floor as they hallucinate (maybe) and try not to be killed by the others. Creepy and scary.

James Herbert, The Secret of Crickley Hall. I first heard about this book when the missus and I watched and enjoyed the BBC drama based on the book. It is in the best of traditions of the classic ghost story. A family, suffering from the disappearance of their youngest child, move to another area of England to try and adjust to the loss and maybe get a new start. Unfortunately, the house has issues of its own, yup, it's haunted. We voyage back to many years before when the home was a home for orphan children. The owner has issues and punishes these children for no reason, except his own deep seated issues. He wants the Caleigh's other children, two girls, to join the other trapped spirits. Excellent, tense, scary story.

I have purchased another of Herbert's horror stories (see picture above the discussion on Dean Koontz). The Fog was written in 1975 and was Herbert's second book. Briefly, it is about a deadly fog that drives its victims insane when they come into contact with it. It has nothing to do with the John Carpenter movie of the same name. It is on my TBR shelf awaiting my attention.

Susan Hill, The Woman in Black and The Mist in the Mirror. Hill is also known for writing detective mysteries but The Woman in Black and The Mist in the Mirror are excellent ghost stories. Of the two, I preferred The Woman in Black. I bought the book because we'd watched the movie starring Daniel Radcliffe and it was excellent; moody, spooky and at times quite scary. While the book wasn't out and out scary, it also had a spooky atmosphere that often had me holding my breath.

For those that don't know it, this is the synopsis for The Woman in Black.

"Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor in London, is summoned to Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow, and to sort through her papers before returning to London. It is here that Kipps first sees the woman in black and begins to gain an impression of the mystery surrounding her. From the funeral he travels to Eel Marsh House and sees the woman again; he also hears the terrifying sounds on the marsh.

Despite Kipps’s experiences he resolves to spend the night at the house and fulfil his professional duty. It is this night at Eel Marsh House that contains the greatest horror for Kipps. Kipps later discovers the reasons behind the hauntings at Eel Marsh House. The book ends with the woman in black exacting a final, terrible revenge."

The synopsis for The Mist in the Mirror is as below:

For the last twenty years Sir James Monmouth has journeyed all over the globe in the footsteps of his hero, the great pioneering traveller Conrad Vane. In an effort to learn more about Vane's early life--and his own--Sir James sets off for the remote Kittiscar Hall on a cold and rainy winter night. But he soon begins to feel as though something is warning him away at every turn; there are the intense feelings of being watched and the strange apparitions of a sad little boy.

And as he learns more about his hero's past, he discovers that they are only the beginning, for Kittiscar Hall is hiding terrible secret that will bind their lives together in ways he could never have imagined."

Shirley Jackson, The Lottery, The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Bird's Nest. Over the past couple of years, I've read 4 of Shirley Jackson's works. She has a unique perspective on horror. The Lottery was a short story about what appears to be a perfect village, but when you find out about what the lottery is for, it'll make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. The Haunting of Hill House has been made into at least two very good movies. Jackson does like to delve into the psychology of horror. The stories aren't gruesome but creepy and the characters who people must deal with psychological incidents. Hill House is a living character and affects the minds of the people who visit the house as part of a supernatural experiment. We Have Always Lived in the Castle tells the story of the Blackwood family, in particular Mary Catherine (Merricat), a deeply troubled woman. As the story develops, we find out more and more about incidents in the family's past and about how troubled Merricat actually is. I just recently read The Bird's Nest and it was excellent, being an examination of the multiple personalities of Elizabeth Richmond. I've enjoyed every story from Shirley Jackson. She is well worth attempting.

Ira Levin, Rosemary's Baby. Rosemary's Baby was one of the iconic horror movies, released in 1968. It's a story of demonic possession. I was pleasantly surprised to find this copy of the book. In fact, I really didn't realise that the movie had been based on a book until I found this. I read it this past year and enjoyed immensely. One of my favourites of the year. This is the synopsis of the book.

"Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor-husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them and, despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare.

As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets circle is not what it seems."

I loved Levin's matter-of-fact style of presenting the story, all the while making if eerie and spooky. Many of his books have been made into movies; The Boys from Brazil, The Stepford Wives. I have another of his 'movie' books on my shelf ready to read. That book is Sliver.

H.P. Lovecraft, Necronomicon and other books. I won't delve too much into Lovecraft's work. Suffice it to say, I'd heard so much about Lovecraft and have spent a few years searching for his works. At one of our semi-annual Rotary Club book sale, I found a collection of Lovecraft's works, a mix of short stories and novels. I've read three so far and overall have found them to be creepy and nervous-making. I won't say there is lots of action necessarily, but there is a mood that gets under your skin.

Last year, on a visit to Kingston, I found Necronomicon at one of Kingston's used book stores. It is a collection of Lovecraft's short stories and novels. I read it this past year and enjoyed very much. I think Lovecraft might not be to everyone's taste but he does create excellent moods and atmospheres in his stories and they can leave you feeling creeped out. Not necessarily horrifying but effective nonetheless.

Jonathan Maberry, Ghost Road Blues. Quite a few members of one of my Goodreads reading groups have mentioned the work of Jonathan Maberry. I've searched my local book stores for the past couple of years, trying to find one of his books and this was the first that I managed to locate. It is the first book in the Pine Deep trilogy, a very gruesome, creepy, well-crafted horror story. This is the synopsis.

"The cozy little town of Pine Deep buried the horrors of its past a long time ago. Thirty years have gone by since the darkness descended and the Black Harvest began, a time when a serial killer sheared a bloody swath through the quiet Pennsylvania village. The evil that once coursed through Pine Deep has been replaced by cheerful tourists getting ready to enjoy the country's largest Halloween celebration in what is now called "The Spookiest Town in America."

It Just Grows Stronger

But then--a month before Halloween--it begins. Unspeakably desecrated bodies. Inexplicable insanity. And an ancient evil walking the streets, drawing in those who would fall to their own demons and seeking to shred the very soul of this rapidly fracturing community. Yes, the residents of Pine Deep have drawn together and faced a killer before. But this time, evil has many faces--and the lust and will to rule the earth. This struggle will be epic."

I've since ordered a copy of the first book in the Joe Ledger series, Patient Zero, which seems to be his most popular series. As I understand it, it is about a Special Ops team that is sent to combat a species of super zombies created by a pathogen. Sounds interesting.

Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This is one of the classics of the horror genre. I found a 1930 Bodley hard cover edition back in 2010 and it was a pleasure to read it. It had that old book smell and had some wonderful illustrations within. It's one of those books you should read if you want to explore the horror genre and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the story.

Bram Stoker, The Jewel of the Seven Stars. I've always thought, for some reason, that Bram Stoker had only ever written Dracula. Of course, Stoker was actually quite prolific. One of my Goodreads acquaintances read The Jewel of the Seven Stars and quite liked it. So rather than start with the original classic, I thought I might try and get a copy of this instead. It's probably the first 'mummy' book and very interesting. Not terrifying necessarily but an enjoyable read anyway. This is the synopsis.

"Someone has seized the fabled Jewel of Seven Stars from the mummy's grip, and the ancient Egyptian queen Tera has risen from her tomb to take it back - at any cost! This thrilling tale of adventure and ritual magic recounts a supernatural struggle in which archaeologists, grave robbers, and anyone else who attempts to possess the Jewel meet a mysterious, violent fate.
Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, wrote this enthralling novel of possession, reincarnation, and an ancient curse at the peak of the Victorian fascination with Egyptology. His spellbinding blend of Eastern lore and classic horror fiction formed the template for the plots of dozens of mummy movies. This edition features the original ending as it appeared in the 1903 publication, a gripping conclusion that was censored in subsequent printings and long unavailable."

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, The Strain and The Fall. One of the latest books about the vampire mythology. It consist of three books, of which I've read the first two. It's also been made into a successful TV series on FX TV. I've enjoyed the first two books so far. They are easy reads and present a different look at what makes a vampire. Well worth taking a look at.

and finally....

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. This is another of the classics of the genre, the story of a man who stops himself from ageing by painting his soul into a painting that he hides in a dark room. The portrait ages while his body always stays young. Boredom makes him delve deeper and deeper into the dark arts and activities. It wasn't what I expected but I enjoyed anyway and was glad to have checked out this story.

So there you have it. If you're looking at exploring horror for Halloween month, maybe one of these might pique your interest.

Next entry I think I might start picking a book a day/ week / month to recommend, from my list of some of my favourite books. Probably a bit self-indulgent, but hey, what can I say. :)

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Book Purchases - September 2016

It's another rainy day in the Valley. We had some real heavy downpours last night. Just as I took the pups out for the nightly walk, it decided to soak us. Timing is everything. My subject today is my monthly book purchase update. For the most part I searched out mysteries but I also found a few interesting SciFi/ Fantasy books. Most were purchased locally, a mix of used and new. I also received one online book order, which is always fun. So here we go, in no particular order or genre, my September 2016 book purchases.

1. Jack of Spies by David Downing (Spy). I have enjoyed my other David Downing series, featuring US newspaperman John Russell, as he spies on the Nazis during WWII. This is the first book in Downing's Jack McColl series.

"It is 1913 and the world is teetering on the bring of war. Jack McColl, a Scottish car salesman with an uncanny ear for languages, moonlights collecting intelligence for the British Secret Service wherever his sales calls take him: Tsingtao, San Francisco, New York. But espionage is in its infancy, and jack has nothing but a shoestring budget and the tenuous protection of a boss in far-away London. He knows, though, that now is both the moment to prove himself and the moment his country needs him most. Meanwhile, a sharp, vivacious Irish-American suffragette journalist his wiled her way into his affections, and it is not long before he realizes that her family might be embroiled in the Irish independence movement. How can he choose between his country and the woman he loves? And will he even be able to make such a choice without losing both?"

2. Sliver by Ira Levin (Horror). This book was made into a not-so-good movie starring Sharon Stone and one of the Baldwin brothers. I have enjoyed the other Levin books I've read, especially Rosemary's Baby, so I'm looking forward to giving this a try.

"Thirteen hundred Madison Avenue, an elegant 'sliver' building, soars high and narrow over Manhattan's smart Upper East Side. Kay Norris, a successful single woman, moves on to the twentieth floor of the building, high on hopes of a fresh start and the glorious Indian summer outside. But she doesn't know that someone is listening to her. Someone is watching her."

3. The Blunderer by Patricia Highsmith (Fiction). Highsmith is one of the more unique writers I've read. I don't always like her books but she has interesting ideas and creates different situations.

"Walter Stackhouse's love for his wife is dead: now he wishes she was.  His wish comes true when Clara's body is found lying at the bottom of a cliff. But there are uncanny similarities between her death and that of a woman called Helen Kimmel, who was, in fact, murdered by her husband.
The apparent connection is not lost on Lieutenant Corby of the Newark police. The object of close scrutiny, Walter is forced into a string of blunders that claim his career and his reputation, cost him his friends -  and ultimately threaten his life."

4. The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G.K. Chesterton (Fiction).

"Set in a future of stultifying dullness, the ordinary citizen Auberon Quin is chosen from a list to be King. His whimsical desire to inspire local patriotism in the London boroughs seems an outrageous and hilarious prank as he lectures to an antiquarian society on the significance of style and vast discomfort for the provosts of the boroughs. But Adam Wayne, the provost of Notting Hill who has no sense of humour at all, wears his red robes with pride and his fanaticism soon ha the city plunged into savage street warfare."

5. White Night by Jim Butcher (Fantasy). The Dresden Files series is one of my favourites. I like to try and read one a year for the enjoyment and so it will last longer.

"Someone is targeting Chicago's magic practitioners - the members of the supernatural underclass who don't possess enough power to become full-fledged wizards. Some have vanished. Other appear to be victims of suicide. But now the culprit has left a calling card at one of the crime scenes - a message for Harry Dresden.
Harry sets out to find the killer, but his investigation turns up evidence pointing to the one suspect he cannot possibly  believe guilty: his half brother, Thomas. To clear his brother's name, Harry rushes into a supernatural power struggle that renders him outnumbered, outclassed, and dangerously susceptible to temptation.
And Harry knows that if he screws this one up, people will die - and one of the will be his brother..."

6. Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris (Fantasy) - Cool! A new series from Harris, who also created Sookie Stackhouse and Lily Bard, amongst others.

"Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and the Davy highway. It's a pretty standard dried-up western town.
There's a pawnshop (someone who lives in the basement is seen only at night). There's a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there's new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he's found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own)."

7. Shift by Hugh Howey (Science Fiction). This is the second book in the Silo trilogy. Wool, the first, was fantastic.

"In 2007, the Center for Automation in Nanobiotech outlined the hardware and software platforms that would one day allow robots smaller than human cells to make medical diagnoses, conduct repairs, and even self-propagate. In the same year, a television program aired about the effects of propranolol on sufferers of extreme trauma. A simple pill, it had been discovered, could wipe out the memory of any traumatic event. At almost the same moment in humanity's broad history, mankind discovered the means to bring about its utter downfall - and the ability to forget it ever happened."

8. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Fantasy). This book has always kind of interested me and the fact that it has just been released as a movie tweaked my interest again, so when I saw a copy at one of my local bookstores, I decided to give it a whirl.

"A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of peculiar photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its decaying bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine's children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desert island for good reason. And somehow - impossible though tit seems - they may still be alive."

9. Death of a Cad by M.C. Beaton (Mystery). This is the second book in the Hamish Macbeth mystery series.

"When Priscilla Halburton-Smythe brings her London playwright fiancé home to Lochdubh, everyone in town is delighted... except for love-struck Hamish Macbeth. But affairs of the heart will have to wait. Vile, boorish Captain Bartlett, one of the guests at Priscilla's engagement party, has just been found dead during a grouse shoot - murder most fowl! Now with so many posh party guests as prime suspects, each with their own reason for snuffing out the despicable captain, Hamish must take care to smooth ruffled feathers in his hunt for the killer."

10. Simple Genius by David Baldacci (Thriller). This is the 3rd book in the King and Maxwell series.

"Near Washington, D.C., there are two clandestine institutions: the world's most unusual laboratory and a secret CIA training camp. Drawn to these sites by a murder, ex-Secret Service agent Sean King encounters a dark world of mathematicians, codes and spies. His search for answers soon leads him to more shocking violence - and an autistic girl with an extraordinary genius. Now, only by working with his embattled partner, Michelle Maxwell, can he catch a killer... and solve a stunning mystery that threatens the entire nation."

11. The Judas Pair by Jonathan Gash (Mystery). I do like to start a new series from the beginning. I have already purchased another of the Lovejoy mysteries, but this is the first, so I can finally start it.

"Not so long ago, like any other antiques dealer worth his salt, if you had asked me to find the Judas Pair, I would have laughed till I fell down. Everybody knew that they simply didn't exist.
The antiques business is riddled with myths and this supposedly exquisite, unique pair of 18thcenture duelling pistols was one of the greatest. Even when a thoroughly respectable new client offered me hard cash to track them down, I had to tell him that the pistols were a fantasy.
But he knew different. The Judas Pair, you see, had been used to murder his brother..."

12. Rumpole for the Defence by John Mortimer (Mystery). This is another of those fun series that I like to dust off once in awhile so it was nice to add to my small collection of the cases of Rumpole. The collection of short stories contains 7 stories.

13. Devices and Desires by P.D. James (Mystery). One of my favourite mystery series, featuring Inspector Dalgliesh. This is the sixth book in the series.

"A serial killer of women is on the loose in a remote area of the Norfolk coast. Overshadowing the bleak landscape and the lives of the local community is the Larksoken nuclear power station, run by the charismatic Alex Mair. Commander Adam Dalgliesh, who is staying at his aunt's converted windmill, becomes involved in the hunt for the murderer, a search that implicates him in the concerns and dangerous secrets of the headland community. And then one moonlit night it becomes chillingly apparent that the mass murderer isn't the only killer at work in Larksoken."

14. East of Suez by Howard Engel (Mystery). I've only recently begun reading the Benny Cooperman mysteries again. This is Engel's last book in the series.

"Beloved private eye Benny Cooperman is ready to hang up his gumshoes after an attack leaves him with lingering memory problems. But then an old chum goes missing...
Hot on the trail of Jake Grange, a school friend who ran a scuba-diving business, Benny heads to sunny Miranam, where he encounters a bon-vivant priest, a pretty marine biologist and an Englishman in search of kosher food. Of course, any of these charming locals could be responsible for Jake's disappearance. But when dead bodies start to appear, Benny knows he must be getting somewhere. Despite the head injury that impairs his reading ability, Benny is dogged as he uncovers layer upon layer of deceit."

15. The Archer Files by Ross MacDonald (Mystery). Ross MacDonald was born Kenneth Millar and was married to one of my favourite mystery writers, Margaret Millar. I decided to check out his mysteries; he is known for the mysteries of Private Eye, Lew Archer. When I went to Nearly New Books the other day, I discovered this collection of all his short stories and it was in lovely condition. Fate was telling me I had to try it.

"No matter which case private eye Lew Archer takes on - a burglary, a runaway, or a missing person - the trail always leads to tangled family secrets and murder. Widely considered the heir to Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, Archer dug up secrets and bodies in and around Los Angeles.
Here the Archer Files collects all the Lew Archer short stories ever published, along with thirteen unpublished 'case notes' and a fascinating biographical profile of Archer by Edgar Award finalist Tom Nolan."

16. Stolen Souls by Stuart Neville (Mystery). This is the 3rd book in the Inspector Jack Lennon mysteries set in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

"Galya Petrova travels to Ireland on a promise that she will work for a nice Russian family, teaching their children English. Instead, she is dragged into the world of modern slavery and sold to a Belfast brother. She escapes at a terrible cost - the slaying of one of her captors - and takes refuge with a man who offers his help. As the gangsters she fled scour the city for her, seeking revenge for their fallen comrade, Galya faces an even greater danger: her savior is not what he seems. She is not the first trafficked girl to have crossed his threshold, and she must fight to avoid their fate.
Meanwhile, Detective Inspector Jack Lennon wants a quiet Christmas with his daughter, but when what looks like a Lithuanian mob turf war leaves bodies across the city, he knows he won't get it. As he digs deeper into the case, he realizes he is locked in a deadly race with two very different killers."

17. Bitter River by Julia Keller (Mystery). This is the 2nd book in the Bell Elkins mysteries. I also have the first book on my shelf awaiting my attention. When I saw this book, I thought I should pick it up.

"Phone calls before dawn are never good news. Especially when you're the county's prosecuting attorney. So Bell Elkins already knows she won't like what she's about to hear, but she's still not prepared for this: sixteen-year-old Lucinda Trimble's body has been found at the bottom of Bitter River. And Lucinda didn't drown - she was dead before her body ever hit the water.
With a case like that, Bell knows the coming weeks are going to be tough. But that's not all Bell is coping with these days. Her daughter is living with Bell's ex-husband, hours away. Sheriff Nick Fogelsong, one of Bell's closest friends, is behaving oddly. Furthermore, a face from her past has resurfaced for reasons Bell Can't quite figure. Searching for the truth, both behind Lucinda's murder and behind her own complicated relationships, will lead Bell down a path that might put her very life at risk."

18. The Blackhouse by Peter May (Mystery). This is the first book in a new series for me, the DI Fin Macleod series set in the Outer Hebrides. I saw it at The Laughing Oyster and it seemed interesting.

"When a grisly murder occurs on the Isle of Lewis that bears similarities to a brutal killing the mainland, Edinburgh detective and native islander Fin Macleod is dispatched to the Outer Hebrides to investigate, embarking at the same time on a voyage into his own troubled past.
As Fin reconnects with the people and places of his tortured childhood, the desolate but beautiful island and its ancient customs once again begin to assert their grip on his psyche. Every step toward solving the case brings Fin closer to a dangerous confrontation with the dark events of the past that shaped - and nearly destroyed - his life."

There you go. Anything of interest?

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Reading Summary - September 2016

It's been awhile since my last post. I get on these reading tangents and at times resent taking the time to sit down and visit my BLog. It's unfortunate in a way as I do enjoy yakking here. We are now in October. Egads! Today is a typical Fall day, drizzly and cool. I've spent the first part of the morning reading and watching the Premiership, oh, and dozing.. Another of my favourite past times.

This isn't a political BLog but I must admit I've been very distracted by the US election coverage. The missus has taken to dragging me away from the computer as I start another rant on an article about the lowlife (excuse my editorializing) GOP candidate, Trump. He makes all men look bad and I shudder as he starts another attack on someone who has somehow ticked him off. I'll stop there except to say I hope the rational people in the US outnumber those radicals supporting Trump, when voting day arrives. *sigh*

Back to books. With a new month upon us, I do like to sit back and do my monthly review of my previous month's reading. I'm very satisfied with what I accomplished in September, especially that I enjoyed all the books I read. My numbers will seem a bit higher than normal and that's partly because in my UK Book Group, the September genre was graphic novels (or, in other words, comics). I read six, so if you subtract those, I actually read pretty well my normal amount. Having said that, the graphic novels were each between 100 and 200 pages.

Onward to Stats.

September Summary                         Sept                        2016 Total
Books Read                                           18                               116
Pages (Approx.)                                   4,500                          34,500

Page Breakdown
      < 250                                                  9                                   51
250 - 350                                                  5                                   30
351 - 450                                                  4                                   18
       > 450                                                 0                                   17

Author Gender
Female                                                      2                                   33
Male                                                        16                                   83

5 - star                                                       1                                  15
4 - star                                                     13                                  62
3 - star                                                       4                                  39

Fiction                                                       2                                  19
Mystery                                                     6                                  52
SciFi                                                          9                                  28
Non - Fic                                                   0                                    8
Humour                                                     0                                    3
Classics                                                     1                                    6

Top 3 Books
1. The Werewolf Principle by Clifford Simak - 5 stars
2. Memory Book by Howard Engel - 4 stars
3. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - 4 stars

Reading Group Challenges

Reading Group 12 + 0 - Canadian Lit - This was my second attempt at this challenge, continuing with a theme of Canadian Lit. I finished it this past month.

1. Memory Book by Howard Engel - This is one of the later Bennie Cooperman mysteries. My review is below.

"I read some of the early Benny Cooperman mysteries back a few years and I enjoyed Benny and the stories. For the most part they were set in the town of Grantham, Ontario, just down the road from Niagara Falls. Benny is a private investigator; his cases are interesting and he is an interesting character. In 2000, the author, Howard Engel , suffered a mild stroke, which left without the ability to read, without major effort and therapy, even though he could still write. The condition is known as alexia sine agraphia.
In 2005, he wrote this book. It starts with Benny waking up in a hospital in Toronto, after having been discovered in a dumpster. Benny was struck in the head and because of this, he finds that he has the same condition. He has great difficulty reading, remembering names and what happened yesterday. He can write and remembers things that happened earlier in his life. While in the hospital, Benny enlists the aid of his girl-friend, Anna, to continue investigating; the case Benny was actually involved with, and to find and interview many of the people involved. At the same time, Benny works to develop techniques to improve his mental state and to find techniques to assist him; the Memory Book being one of them. As well, he continues his investigation from his hospital bed.
It's a fascinating concept and interesting story, peopled with great characters. The mystery is almost secondary to Benny's experiences in the hospital. All in all, an excellent, well-written, entertaining story. (4 stars)

2. How Like an Angel by Margaret Millar. This book continued my love affair with Millar's writing. She has written some of my favourite mysteries.

"The more I read the books of Margaret Millar, the more I appreciate and enjoy her writing. How Like an Angel was an excellent mystery. It starts off with Joe Quinn, a private investigator, who has lost his money gambling in Vegas, getting a ride to a town in Southern California, to try and get some money from a friend. He is dropped near a religious commune and, from this point, the mystery begins.
Quinn is paid by one of the members, Sister Blessed to try and locate a certain Patrick O'Gorman. He doesn't know why and originally he plans to take the money back Vegas to gamble with. However he finds that he likes Sister Blessed and also that he seems to have a conscience, and, instead he heads off to O'Gorman's last known location to try and find out about the man.
The story involves murder and embezzlement. The mystery deepens as Quinn begins to question more people. This may sound a big convoluted, but actually, Millar writes in such a clear-headed manner, that everything falls into place easily, even with a nice surprising ending.
I love how she lays out the plot and I love how each character sounds realistic and how she draws you into their personalities. Quinn grows and becomes more and more likeable as the story develops and I liked so many of the characters; from Sister Blessed to Margaret O'Gorman and Willie King. No matter the importance of the role they play, they are fleshed out and interesting. Excellent story and a nicely written mystery. (4 stars)"

3. The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper. This was my second Pyper book and I enjoyed much more than the first. Very disturbing story.

"I much preferred The Killing Circle to Andrew Pyper's Lost Girls. It seemed more polished and maybe straight-forward. I liked the tension and the creepiness. Patrick Rush, a single father and frustrated writer, joins a writing group. While the group doesn't actually inspire him, one story, by Angela, draws in all the budding authors.
It tells the story of The Sandman, a killer who stalked a small town killing children. Is Angela telling a story from her past? In either case, killings begin in Toronto, members of the group notice a presence following them. Rush begins to see this stalker as well.
Is the group in danger? The story progresses at a steady pace with Rush wandering between reality and fantasy? Or is it all reality? There are many typical horror elements in the story. Why doesn't Rush tell everything to the police? Why does he feel he should investigate on his own? However, it is a horror, thriller, so these are expected. Pyper has a nice grasp on the way to build and hold tension. Very entertaining and spooky story. Well worth reading. (4 stars)"

Decade's Challenge. This was my second attempt at this challenge as well and I am currently reading the last book to complete it. I finished 3 books in the challenge this past month.

(Editor's Note - I just returned from the doggies' pre-lunch 'abbreviated' walk and I have to say that my earlier comment about it being a drizzly Autumn day was a bit understated. It is actually a very rainy Autumn day and the dogs, who were not best pleased, returned in a drenched, bedraggled state... Now returning to your previously scheduled BLog)

4. 1960 - 69. I Want It Now by Kingsley Amis. I have enjoyed the books I've read by Amis.

"I've enjoyed the Kingsley Amis books I've read. I especially enjoyed The Riverside Villas Murder. I Want it Now was not my favorite of his, but still enjoyable.
Cynical TV presenter, Ronnie Appleyard wanders from relationship to relationship, hoping to find a wealthy woman to marry. When he meets Simona, the daughter of a wealthy American, he thinks he might have finally found her. Instead, he finds that he loves this troubled young woman and thus begins his efforts to break down her issues and also persuade her domineering mother that he is worth becoming her future son-in-law.
The writing is sparse, satirical, at times, but also entertaining and the main characters become quite sympathetic. I've still got a few more Amis books on my shelves. Looking forward to the next. (3 stars)"

5. 1970 - 79. The Blackheath Poisonings by Julian Symons.

"This is the first time I've read anything by Julian Symons and I enjoyed this first exposure. I found that The Blackheath Poisonings: A Victorian Murder Mystery was a bit of a slow developer, but it got more and more interesting as I got into it.
Basically, the story revolves around a wealthy Victorian family who live in Blackheath; sharing two estates. They manage a toy factory and as the story progresses, one of them, Roger Vandervent, the manager of the business, dies. The circumstances are curious but, ultimately, the family doctor writes off the death as due to a gastric problem.
His son, Paul, suspects that his father might have been murdered. The disappearance of letters belonging to his aunt cause further suspicion and the police get involved in the investigation. With the occurrence of a second death, the investigation becomes more involved, with the arrest of a suspect.
The development of this story was excellently done and the characters are all interesting, even if they aren't necessarily all likable (I mention the 'Caterpillar' in this context). As I delved more and more into the story, I found the book difficult to put down and also found the ending a nice surprise and also nicely satisfying. Well worth reading. (4 stars)"

6. 1980 - 89. People Who Knock on the Door by Patricia Highsmith. I've read a few of Highsmith's books. She is one of the more unique writers I've ever read.

"Highsmith writes well but I've enjoyed others of her books more. In some ways I just didn't get her point with this book. Teenager, Arthur Alderman, begins dating Maggie Brewster. They have sex a few times. She becomes pregnant and with the support of her parents, has an abortion. Arthur's father, in the meantime, has found God, as a result of an illness of his other son, Robbie, who is cured, his father thinking it was God's intervention.
Arthur's father disagrees with the concept of abortion and does everything in his power to persuade Arthur, Maggie's parents and Maggie, to change their minds. The incident causes tension in the Alderman family, which builds throughout the story, with Arthur on one side, Richard and son Robbie on the other and Arthur's mom in the middle. The story starts a spiral with a surprising ending, which I won't tell.
As I said at the beginning, I'm not totally sure where the story wants to go. Is it a comparison between Arthur's and his father's values and those of the Brewster's? I found the subject depressing but, also realistic, not that I've personally experienced anything like it. Highsmith writes well and I did find myself wanting to see where the story led. The story is interesting especially, in that it starts down paths you think the story might be following but then leaves that path or turns in other directions. All in all, not my favourite, but interesting (3 stars)"

Science Fiction

7. The Borribles: Across the Dark Metropolis by Michael de Larrabeiti. This is the final book in the Borribles franchise.

"The Borribles: Across the Dark Metropolis|585269] by Michael de Larrabeiti is the third and final book in the Borrible trilogy. I'd read the first two many years ago and, at the time, didn't realize there was a third book. I found it just last year and after rereading the first book, decided to give this one a try.
Borribles are children who never grow up; distinguished by their pointed ears. They live in the shadows, surviving by nicking food and goods for their homes. This third book continues the journey of the Adventurers, 10 Borribles we meet in the first book, who were involved in the Great Rumble Hunt. The group are chased by the London Police, a special group, the SBG, led by the nasty Sussworth and his assistant Hanks.
The Adventurers are trying to avoid them and also to get a horse, who helped them in their adventures, to a place of safety so he can live his final years in peace. Sussworth's plans for Sam, the horse, are to catch him and take him to the slaughterhouse. He also wants to catch the Borribles and have their ears snipped; this makes them forget about Borrible life and also grow up. The story follows the Adventurers all across London; we meet further enemies and also new friends, other groups of Borribles. It's not necessarily a light and fluffy fantasy; you'll find it very gritty at times. A sad and also happy ending to the trilogy. Glad I found it. (3 stars)"

8. The Werewolf Principle by Clifford Simak. This was my favourite book of September.

"Back in my university days, I took a Science Fiction novel course. One of the books we read was City, a story of the future where all that remains on Earth are dogs and robots. A beautiful, engaging, touching story. For some reason, I've never read another Simak book, until this past week. The Werewolf Principle, written in 1968, was a lovely surprise.
In the future, mankind sent ships into space to search the universe for habitable planets. Along with the ships were two unique humans (maybe telling you their uniqueness might take some of the joy of discovering it for yourselves, so I won't elaborate). Suffice it to say, that one of them returns to Earth, discovered in hibernation in a capsule.
Andrew Blake arrives, suffering from amnesia. Slowly he discovers himself and how he has changed over this 200 year journey. He is now more than Andrew Blake. Discovering how he has changed is part of the joy of this book; such an imaginative concept. I found myself saying 'Wow' many times. The book is thoughtfully crafted, intelligently written and the story and characters are all interesting and engaging.
It's so nice exploring Science Fiction again, the imagination and the stories. I do like how Simak views the future, some concepts like the 'living homes' are fascinating, and, yet, people still use coins and public phone boxes. I also liked the Brownies, the beings from another world who have settled on Earth and keep an eye on things. Everything about this story was fascinating. I had originally given it 4-stars, but as I write about it and think about it, it deserves more than that. It intrigued me, brought out emotions, both happy and sad, and just totally grabbed me from beginning to end. It won't take me 40 years to read another Simak story. (5 stars)"

The Classics - Pre 1900. I finished this challenge in September but I may still read another Classic before the end of the year.

9. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

"The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle is a collection of 11 mysteries/ adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It contains the final case of Sherlock, the one Doyle penned when he wanted to finish the Holmes' adventures. I enjoyed this collection very much.
They featured Holmes' unique skill at solving his mysteries. They introduced his brother Mycroft, who Sherlock claims is smarter than he is except that he doesn't like to make the effort to follow through on his deductions. We are also introduced to Moriarty, in the Final Chapter, which surprisingly to me, is quite a short, simple, but touching story.
Watson clearly loves his dealings with Holmes. Even after he marries and moves to his medical practice, he readily drops everything to head off on an adventure with Holmes. Doyle created an excellent detective and displayed a skill at the short story, quickly getting into the mystery and providing an excellent solution. I've enjoyed getting back into the Holmes' mysteries and will continue this journey. Excellent stories! (4 stars)"

Ongoing Series. This is one of my open-ended challenges. I'm just hoping to touch on as many series, new and old, over the course of the year. I've tried over 30 so far.

10. The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith.

"This is the second book in the Leo Demidov mystery series. Demidov is an ex-KGB officer, who, after the last book, was allowed to form a Criminal Investigation division, as he tries to make amends for his work as a KGB officer.
The story starts with an incident from Demidov's past, an incident where he infiltrates a local priest and causes his arrest and that of the priest's wife. As we move to the present, these events come back to haunt him, everything instigated by a secret letter from Khrushchev, that turns the country on its head. Demidov must race to save his adopted daughter and his family from the vengeance of these people from his past.
His journey takes him to the Gulags in the frozen North and to Hungary during their revolution against Soviet rule. My mood changed over time as I read this story. I like Demidov, even with his past. He is a lot like Arcady Renko in the Martin Cruz Smith books. I had difficulty with some of the other characters, especially his adopted daughter. Even considering her hatred for Demidov, who was involved in the deaths of her parents, she was hard to like. I could be sympathetic, but that was the extent of my feelings.
Having said that, as the story progressed, I found myself being drawn more and more into it. It was tense, with lots of action and I couldn't put it down as the story drew to its conclusion. There are broken people, living in a society I can't fathom, but there are people who are trying to make the most of their lives. It was a nice surprise and I enjoyed very much. (4 stars)"

11. The Reckoning by Rennie Airth.

"The Reckoning is the 4th and, at the moment, final book in the John Madden mystery series. Madden is a police inspector with Scotland Yard and in the later books has retired to the country south of London. However he is often called in to assist with investigations, either because of his own involvement with the suspects/ cases, or because the cases occur in his home county. In this book, a man is murdered and it comes to light that he had written a letter asking for contact information for Madden.
Why would he do that? The case becomes linked with another murder in Scotland and the search is on to find out how the cases are related. Billy Sykes, Madden's ex-partner, and newly promoted DC Lily Poole, conduct most of the investigation, with Madden assisting and providing counsel. It's in intriguing case, relating back to events which took place during WWI, and with which Madden had an involvement.
I enjoy Airth's writing style, his characterizations, his development of the plot and the investigation and his story telling. I like the main characters; Madden, Sykes and Poole, but even the minor characters; Helen (Madden's lovely wife), Sinclair (Madden's ex-boss) and the others. All in all in interesting mystery and an enjoyable story. It appears that a new Madden mystery is coming out in 2017. Looking forward to it. (4 stars)"

12. Bones of Betrayal by Jefferson Bass.

"Each book in this series gets better and better. ones of Betrayal by Jefferson Bass, the 4th book in the Body Farm, forensic series, was no exception. This book finds the head of University of Tennessee's Body Farm, Bill Brockton, and his assistant, Miranda Lovelady, heading off to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the site of the nuclear laboratories of WWII fame, to work on a body frozen into an abandoned hotel's swimming pool.
They are in for a shock as it turns out the body died of radiation poisoning and others will be infected. The story involves a search into the history of the Oak Ridge facility as the body belongs to one of the scientists who worked their during WWII. I enjoyed the historical aspects of the story and, as always, I liked the main characters, Brockton and Miranda.
For all its tension, the story has a nice folksy quality to it, that brought about by these characters. The mystery itself was interesting and well-developed. I had an idea of those who would be involved in the murder(s) but the reasons were still a surprise. The books have all been enjoyable and very readable. The Bone Thief is next and is sitting on my bookshelf awaiting my attention. Excellent series. (4 stars)"

Freebies for the Rest of the Year. Since I've finished most of my challenges, most of my selections until the end of 2016 will fall into this category. The six books I read in September that fit here were all for my graphic novel genre challenge. Three were by Alan Moore from his Top Ten series and the others were by J. Michael Straczynski from his Rising Stars series. It was fun reading these again. The stories and the artwork were all excellent. I probably preferred the Top Ten series but I enjoyed them both.

13. Rising Stars Vol 1 Born in Fire (4 stars)
14. Rising Stars Vol 2 Power (4 stars)
15. Rising Stars Vol 3 Fire & Ash (4 stars)

16. Top Ten: The Forty-Niners (3 stars)
17. Top Ten Vol 1 (4 stars)
18. Top Ten Vol 2 (4 stars)

So there you have it, the extent of my September reading enjoyment. October is Halloween month so my Book Addicts group has started a horror challenge. I've got enough horror books on my shelf that I will probably read two or three before end month. At the moment these are the books I've started the month with.

Currently Reading

1. Under the Dome by Stephen King
2. The Bird's Nest by Shirley Jackson
3. China Delaney by Meg Gardiner
4. Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson.

Next entry will feature the books I purchased in September. Take care.
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