|Oh that feels so good after a stressful morning!|
|Let's play later, Dad, it's time for my nap|
So now, let's move on to my August Reading Update. I'll start off showing you three books I bought yesterday when I dropped off some books at my local used book store, then I'll give you my update.
"After seven years in Bangkok, American travel writer Poke Rafferty finally feels settled: his family is about to grow larger, and his adopted Thai daughter, Miaow, seems to have settled in at junior high school. All that is endangered when Miaow helps her boyfriend buy a stolen iPhone that contains photographs of two disgraced police officers, both of whom have been murdered. As Miaow's carefully constructed personal life falls apart, Rafferty discovers that the murders are part of a conspiracy that reaches the top rungs of Bangkok law enforcement, and beyond. Miaow's discovery threatens the entire family—and if that's not enough, in order to survive, they may ultimately have to depend on someone who has already betrayed them."
2. Blood Alone by James R. Benn (Billy Boyle #3). I have the first three of this series. Now to read that first one.
"Billy Boyle awakens in a field hospital in Sicily with amnesia. In his pocket is a yellow silk handkerchief embroidered with the initial L. Gradually he remembers: he has been sent ashore in advance of the troops with this token from Lucky Luciano to contact the head of the Sicilian Mafia. But he must also thwart a murderous band of counterfeiters of Army scrip led by Vito Genovese."
3. Frozen Out by Quentin Bates (Gunnhilder #1).
"The discovery of a corpse washed up on a beach in an Icelandic backwater sparks a series of events that propels the village of Hvalvik's police sergeant Gunnhildur into deep waters. Although under pressure to deal with the matter quickly, she is suspicious that the man's death was no accident and once she has identified the body, sets about investigating his final hours. The case takes Gunnhildur away from her village and into a cosmopolitan world of shady deals, government corruption and violence. She finds herself alone and less than welcome in this hostile environment as she tries to find out who it was that made sure the young man drowned on a dark night one hundred kilometres from where he should have been - and why."
|Be still our hearts. We can't wait|
August 2019 Reading Update
General Info June Total
Books Read - 13 96
Pages Read - 2,900 28,600
< 250 4 38
250 - 350 5 24
351 - 450 4 23
> 450 11
5 - star 0 5
4 - star 5 49
3 - star 7 40
2 - star 1 2
Female 6 33
Male 7 59
Fiction 3 14
Mystery 6 64
SciFi 4 12
Top 3 Books
No five - star reads this past month. In fact, maybe I've been a bit harder with my reviews as I've only had 5 so far over the course of the year. Does it have anything to do with the fact that I've read so many mysteries? That's a thought.
1. Jan Struthers - Mrs. Miniver 4.5 stars
"I've seen Mrs. Miniver, the movie starring Greer Garson, many times. So when I saw the book by Jan Struther I thought it might be worthwhile comparing the two. Well, there is no comparison because the book is totally different from the movie. However, both are excellent.
The book, as I understand it, was originally a series of columns that she wrote for the Times newspaper about 'an ordinary sort of woman who leads an ordinary sort of life - like yourself'. The movie, for those who might not have seen it, is about an ordinary English family living life during the initial parts of WWII. The book is set before the world, with the last chapter ending "Christmas 1939".
Each chapter presents a vignette as described by Mrs. Miniver, featuring her life and those of her husband, Clem and her three children, Vin, Judy and Toby. It presents her thoughts and observations about trips, events and sundry other items of their lives. It's very matter of fact in many ways but also very thoughtful. There were some chapters that I preferred more than others, some that stood out for me. Even one where she is deciding what new engagement book she wants to buy to record the events of the upcoming year struck a chord with me. Probably a personal one as I know how much my wife loves wandering through proper stationary stores. The last chapter where Mrs. Miniver is making her Christmas shopping list for her family and looks back over the last 17 years' lists and how her family has changed when she made up her lists was especially poignant.
In many ways, each chapter is a simple little story but some will definitely strike a chord with you and when you put them all together, it's a wonderful, rich story. I don't know how William Wyler came up with the idea to transition this book into a movie but he seems to have and made it just as rich and wonderful as this little book. You should try it. (4.5 stars)"
2. Josephine Tey - The Franchise Affair 4 stars
"The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey is listed as the 3rd book in her Inspector Grant mystery series, but in fact, he plays only a very minor inconsequential role in this story. Josephine Tey wrote six books in this series over the course of her life. I've now read four of them. I think, though, that my favorite book of hers so far was her standalone mystery, Brat Farrar, which was an excellent story.
As I mentioned Inspector Grant makes only a couple of brief appearances in this story and is mentioned once or twice besides. The story belongs to small-town English lawyer, Robert Blair, who may be considered somewhat staid and comfortable with his life. However this will be turned upside down when he receives a call from one Marion Sharpe who lives at an estate called The Franchise (understand the title now?) with her mother. They have been accused of kidnapping a fifteen year old girl and keeping her locked up in the attic for a month, basically as a free labor force, until the girl escapes and eventually reports the two to the police.
Inspector Grant (in his main appearance) brings the girl to the estate, accompanied by the local police inspector and also Robert Blair, where the girl describes the house and shows where she was held. The rest of the story involves Robert and some friends investigating the claims and trying to prove the girl is a liar. This is something very new for Roger and he finds himself drawn to Marion and frustrated with his perceived limitations.
It's a very interesting, different mystery. It moves along slowly as Roger tries to determine his courses of action, how to investigate, how to protect the two women from curious onlookers and more dangerous intruders. The whole process is fascinating and while resolution might seem somewhat pat, ultimately, it doesn't really matter as the journey to this solution is readable and enjoyable. The story is peopled with wonderful characters, from Roger's Aunt Lim and his cousin Nevil and the two garage men, Stanley and Bill, who help Roger and the ladies; and of course, Marion and her mother as well, both down to earth and matter of fact in the middle of this awful situation.
Entertaining mystery, great characters and story telling and satisfying resolution. (4 stars)"
3. C.S. Forester - Hornblower in the West Indies 4 stars
"I've read most of C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower books and have enjoyed the adventures. Hornblower in the West Indies is a series of five short stories covering the period 1821 - 1823 when Hornblower is an Admiral and in charge of the Royal Navy's West Indies fleet. The book consists of five separate events and all of them are enjoyable and entertaining.
Hornblower, now an experienced navy man, has more confidence in himself but still possesses those curmudgeonly qualities that endears himself to the reader. His men love him and he has capable staff, especially his Flag Lieutenant, Gerard, his clerk Mr Spendlove and his attendant Mr. Giles.
The five stories consist of -
- St Elizabeth of Hungary - We find Hornblower sailing into New Orleans and discovering a ship of French soldiers planning to help Napoleon escape from imprisonment in St Helen's. Hornblower must risk his honor and career to stop this fast ship from accomplishing their mission.
- The Star of the South - One of Hornblower's missions in the West Indies is to disrupt the flourishing slave trade and he is on the trail of one such ship. Following it into a port in Haiti, he must figure out a way to disable the ship prior to its departure, without offending his hosts and to enable him to catch the ship when it leaves.
- The Bewildered Pirates - Hornblower and his clerk, Spendlove, are kidnapped by a crew of pirates from a party he is attending near Montego Bay. Released so he can try to get the Governor to pardon them, Hornblower heads back to their hideout with his crew to save Spendlove and to deal with them
- The Guns of Carabobo - Hornblower finds himself involved in Bolivar's war to oust the Spanish from South America. A rich British merchant who is part Venezuelan, tricks Hornblower and others so he can deliver arms to Bolivar's rebels. Hornblower must calm the Dutch and Spanish who have been caught up in Ramsbottom's schemes.
- The Hurricane - Hornblower's time as Admiral of the West Indies fleet is over. His lovely wife Barbara has come to bring him back to their home in England. Hornblower must try to deal with a mutinous musician and then survive a hurricane on the trip home.
All of the stories were quite excellent, especially building up to the grand finale The Hurricane. There was tension throughout, crafty plans on Hornblower's part to solve his problems and pure heroism as he fights the devastating hurricane. It was a great way to end the story. As always, I've enjoyed sinking into Hornblower's world and taking part in his nautical adventures. Forester spins a fine, entertaining yarn. I'm almost sad that I've only two more of the Hornblower adventures to enjoy. (4 stars)"
12 + 4 Challenge (completed 16) (Challenge Complete)
1. Josephine Tey - The Franchise Affair 4 stars
2. Ian Fleming - You Only Live Twice 3.5 stars
Papa Bear Challenge (Books I've had the longest on my Goodreads bookshelf)
3. Jan Struthers - Mrs. Miniver 4.5 stars
4. C.S. Forester - Hornblower in the West Indies 4 stars
Mama Bear Challenge (Middle of my Goodreads bookshelf)
5. David Downing - Jack of Spies 3 stars
Baby Bear Challenge (Books most recently added to my Goodreads bookshelf)
6. Kelley Armstrong - Broken 2.5 stars
7. Philip Kerr - Field Gray 3 stars
Goldilocks Challenge (Random Number Generator)
8. Susan Hill - The Vows of Silence 4 stars
9. Val McDermid - A Distant Echo 4 stars
Break from Challenge Challenge (Freebees every time I complete 10 books)
10. Matt Rees - The Collaborator of Bethlehem 3.5 stars
11. Anne Elizabeth - Truth and Consequences: The Hall of Insides Collection 3 stars
12. J.G. Ballard - Concrete Island 3.5 stars
13. Philip K. Dick - Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said 3 stars
Challenges from other Groups
Sep 2019 Books Currently Reading
1. Julie Smith - Jazz Funeral
2. Donna Leon - Friends in High Places
3. Kathy Reichs - Fatal Voyage
4. Ngaio Marsh - Death at the Bar
5. Julia Keller - Bitter River
Next Possibles in Line
1. Ellis Peters - The Rose Rent
2. Charlaine Harris - All Together Dead
3. Laurell K. Hamilton - Blood Noir