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Monthly "Reads" > august 2013 - sandi

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message 1: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1181 comments Seems like I always have a pretty good reading month in August. Must be the steamy weather. Here are my August reads:

Top Reads

Before the Poison by Peter Robinson Before the Poison
Peter Robinson
Just the type of story I love. A Hollywood composer comes back home to the Yorkshire dales after a personal loss and finds himself drawn into trying to find out the details of a notorious crime that was committed in the out of the way country house he purchased. A very well written character driven suspense that had me staying up late to finish.

The Hanging Tree by Bryan Gruley The Hanging Tree
Bryan Gruley
An excellent read. Loved the small town atmosphere, the family dynamics, and thought the plotting was also quite good.

The Chatham School Affair by Thomas H. Cook The Chatham School Affair
Thomas H. Cook
Winner of the 1997 Edgar Award for Best Novel this was a highly suspenseful read of very high quality. The beginning was a bit slow with somewhat too much foreshadowing but once the story really got going and the tension began to build I could not put it down until I finished.

Blind Pursuit by Matthew F. Jones Blind Pursuit
Matthew F. Jones
Even though this book was touted as a "literary thriller" and the plot featured a child abduction, neither of which I usually care for, this turned out to be a really intense and absorbing read. I was very impressed with the overall flow and especially the dialogue which, though it featured many sentence fragments, was particularly realistic seeming.

Good Reads

Summer of '68 The Season That Changed Baseball--and America--Forever by Tim Wendel Summer of '68: The Season That Changed Baseball--and America--Forever
While the entire country was going through many upheavals and tragedies in 1968 the pitchers were absolutely dominating major league baseball. Mixing social history with an account of how the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers made their way to the World Series, this book took me back to a time when baseball was still the most popular sport and the seventh game of the World Series only lasted 2 hrs and 7 minutes.

The Prodigal Spy by Joseph Kanon The Prodigal Spy
Joseph Kanon
I am predisposed to enjoying cold war stories so, even though the plot stayed at a low simmer throughout and the ending was pretty predictable, I thought this was an enjoyable listen. The narration was done by Michael Kramer who did his usual professional job.

Arctic Chill by Arnaldur Indriðason Arctic Chill
Arnaldur Indriðason
While an interesting look at Icelandic society and the struggles immigrants have adapting to both the extreme weather conditions and the rather insular culture, this entry just was not quite up to its predecessors high quality in both plot and writing flow.

The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll The Land of Laughs
Jonathan Carroll
Part of the Neil Gaiman Presents series from Audible. I found this to be well written with a nice mix of realism and fantasy but thought the ending was a bit abrupt. The narration was done by Edoardo Ballerini who did a fine job.

The Quick Red Fox New York Times bestselling author by John D. MacDonald The Quick Red Fox: New York Times bestselling author
John D. MacDonald
Published back in 1964 this book has Travis helping out a movie star who is being blackmailed. I enjoyed Travis and the ever efficient Dana(the movie star's assistant who is sent with Travis to help) but found some parts of the storyline to be a bit dated.

Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
Alexandra Fuller
In this book, the follow-up to Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, the author returns to her family's story with the focus on her mother, Nicola Fuller of Central Africa, whose exuberence for life shines through even as she endures various hardships and tragedies. Listened to the audio version which was performed by Bianca Amato who got to show off her singing voice since Nicola tended to burst into song quite often.

Naked at the Window by Bill James Naked at the Window
Bill James
I read this series for the fantastic characters, the dark humor, the author's masterful use of the language (especially his unique way with dialogue) and not for the plots which never really change from book to book.

Water-Blue Eyes by Domingo Villar Water-Blue Eyes
Domingo Villar
A tightly written (only 167 pgs) debut set in Vigo, Spain. Very plot driven with only a few hints of unhappiness for the lead character, Inspector Leo Caldas, and some nice bits of comic relief provided by Caldas' subordinate, a hulking native of Zaragoza, who has found it difficult to adjust to the Galician way of life.

Blood Lure (Anna Pigeon, #9) by Nevada Barr Blood Lure
Nevada Barr
A quite enjoyable entry in this series. Lots of great descriptions of the Glacier Park and interesting grizzly bear lore.

Disappointing Read

Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal Mr. Churchill's Secretary
Susan Elia MacNeal
This debut, which was nominated for the Best First Edgar, had a lot of potential but I felt the storyline had far too much going on and that the characterizations were weak. I did like the setting, London during the Blitz, but did not think it was utilized very well and audio just kept going on and on. One of my usual favorite narrators, Donada Peters, performed the book but she was a bit miscast for lead character who was a young British woman who had grown up in America.


message 2: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 3588 comments I love Bryan Gruley's Starvation Lake books. I hope he writes another one. 3 just isn't enough! Steve Hamilton gives a nod to him in LET IT BURN. There's MI highway patrolman in it named Bryan Gruley!


message 3: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14205 comments Good Month, Sandi! I always look forward to your lists, especially the audio books! Before the Poison looks especially tempting. Sorry to hear that the Indridason Arnaldur wasn't as strong as the first two, I loved them.
Sandi wrote: "Seems like I always have a pretty good reading month in August. Must be the steamy weather. Here are my August reads:Top Reads Before The Poison "


message 4: by LizH (new)

LizH (liz_h) | 955 comments Wow, you have some interesting books here! I will be adding a few to my lists!


message 5: by Dan in AZ (new)

Dan in AZ | 2614 comments Nice reviews, Sandi, and a good month.


message 6: by Brakedrum (new)

Brakedrum | 1203 comments Summer of '68: The Season That Changed Baseball--and America--Forever
While the entire country was going through many upheavals and tragedies in 1968 the pitchers were absolutely dominating major league baseball. Mixing social history with an account of how the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers made their way to the World Series, this book took me back to a time when baseball was still the most popular sport and the seventh game of the World Series only lasted 2 hrs and 7 minutes.

Sandi, this looks good. I lived in Detroit during the riots and the World Series. I have a signed 1968 baseball from all the Tigers.


message 7: by Dan in AZ (new)

Dan in AZ | 2614 comments Denny McClain had 30 wins for the Tigers, but was Bob Gibson still the big gun for the Cardinals?


message 8: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1181 comments Daniel wrote: "Denny McClain had 30 wins for the Tigers, but was Bob Gibson still the big gun for the Cardinals?"

Yes that was the year Gibson had the 1.12 ERA and the author stated he probably could have won 30 games too if he had even just a little bit more run support. The Cardinals were a pretty weak hitting team that year.

Brakedrum wrote: "Summer of '68: The Season That Changed Baseball--and America--Forever

Sandi, this looks good. I lived in Detroit during the riots and the World Series. I have a signed 1968 baseball from all the Tigers.
"


Very cool about having a signed baseball. It seemed like the Tigers really wanted to do well in 1968 to help Detroit heal after the riots.


message 9: by Brakedrum (last edited Sep 03, 2013 08:51AM) (new)

Brakedrum | 1203 comments sandi: Yes, those were bad & good times. I remember the riots. I lived about 4 miles north from the Detroit border. I remember going out to pick up the paper on the lawn and seeing the National Guard driving down my street in a jeep with rifles. Went with my father to the grocery store and found National Guard using the parking lot as a staging area. My cousins from Canada had been visiting me and couldn't go home because they closed the border.
Fred was living in Detroit, went out with a buddy to see what was going on and had to take refuge under a car until it was safe to go home. The next year his parents moved to the suburbs.
The signed baseball was my mother's. She was a severe Tiger fan. I will never part with it.
I ordered the e-book yesterday for $9.99. Looking forward to reading it.


message 10: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14205 comments Lorraine: what a special keepsake.
Brakedrum wrote: "The signed baseball was my mother's. She was a severe Tiger fan. I will never part with it."


message 11: by Carol/Bonadie (last edited Sep 03, 2013 09:57PM) (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7784 comments Lots of great books this month, Sandi.

Was the Peter Robinson an Alan Banks, or a standalone?

I loved the Chatham School Affair, but then I love all things Thomas H Cook. It was such a treat to see him at last year's Bouchercon.

Appropriate to read about your review of Summer of '68 after I just finished watching the Red Sox and the Tigers in a pitching duel between Jon Lester and this year's probable Cy Young winner Max Scherzer.


message 12: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1181 comments Carol/Bonadie wrote: "Lots of great books this month, Sandi.

Was the Peter Robinson an Alan Banks, or a standalone?"


It was a standalone. He also has another one that I know of that I know of, Caedmon's Song, that I want to read sometime soon too.


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