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Monthly "Reads" > july 2014 - sandi

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message 1: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1215 comments I had a very good month with a mix of old favorites and new to me authors. Here are my July reads:

Top Reads

Whiplash River A Novel by Lou Berney Whiplash River: A Novel
Lou Berney
Just as fun as the previous book in the series. I am big fan of comic capers and this really delivered with a fast and furious plot and quirky characters.

Black Fridays (Jason Stafford, #1) by Michael Sears Black Fridays
Michael Sears
A surprisingly good read. I picked this up because it was nominated for an Edgar and an Anthony for best first in 2013 but was not overly intrigued by the book's jacket description. The financial thriller plot though was fast paced and very readable and I actually found the relationship between the main character and his autistic son non-cringe worthy.

The Dawn Patrol (Boone Daniels, #1) by Don Winslow The Dawn Patrol
Don Winslow
Another winner from this author. Loved the San Diego surf setting, really liked the main character, a former cop turned PI who lives to surf, and was impressed with how the author unraveled the plot which, at first, seemed like it might be a bit lightweight but turned rather dark. Listened to the audio version narrated by Ray Porter who did a great job with all the surfer slang and kept the pace brisk.

Good Reads

Slay Ride by Dick Francis Slay Ride
Dick Francis
As always, a great combination of action, suspense, and horse racing this time in a Norwegian setting.

Cop Town by Karin Slaughter Cop Town
Karin Slaughter
This police thriller set in the 1970s in Atlanta was compelling enough and the whole woman and minority in the police dynamic was eye-opening though hopefully a bit overstated. Listened to the audio version read by Kathleen Early who did a decent job.

The Judgment of Caesar (Roma Sub Rosa, #10) by Steven Saylor The Judgment of Caesar
Steven Saylor
While the actual mystery plot was a bit of an afterthought, I did enjoy the author's take of what happened when Caesar went to Egypt fresh off his victory at Pharsalus and he did a good job of inserting Gordianus the Finder into the action.

A Stranger in the Family by Robert Barnard A Stranger in the Family
Robert Barnard
A good solid read which explores family relationships and how children adapt to being torn from their original families either by war or abduction. The main character was a bit distant though and while the puzzle of his past was interesting it did not seem to matter that much and I also missed the author's usual humor and wit.

Shame by Karin Alvtegen Shame
Karin Alvtegen
This book was disturbing and depressing pretty much in equal measures but though it was not an easy read I did think it was a worthwhile read in the end.

Protocol for a Kidnapping (The Philip St. Ives Mysteries) by Ross Thomas Protocol for a Kidnapping
Oliver Bleeck
When the American Ambassador to Yugoslavia is kidnapped the State department calls on professional go-between Philip St. Ives to handle the exchange. Smoothly written with just the right amount of cynicism and action.

Involuntary Witness (Guido Guerrieri #1) by Gianrico Carofiglio Involuntary Witness
Gianrico Carofiglio
A quite well done court room drama set in Bari, Italy featuring an Italian lawyer who is going through a personal crisis when he is asked to take on the defense for a Senegalese peddler charged with the abduction and murder of a young boy. Listened to the audio version which was narrated by Sean Barrett who I wished sounded a bit more Italian.

The Hermit of Eyton Forest (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #14) by Ellis Peters The Hermit of Eyton Forest
Ellis Peters
Another adventure for Brother Cadfael that sticks to the tried and true formula used in previous books and was, as always, very enjoyable. Listened to the audio version which was read by Roe Kendall who was fine though I tend to prefer male narrators when the lead character is male.

Unfinished Business On and Off the Court With the 1990-91 Boston Celtics by Jack McCallum Unfinished Business: On and Off the Court With the 1990-91 Boston Celtics
Jack McCallum
One of the better journalist follows a team for an entire year books. Though I can only remember bits and pieces of that season it was fun to read about how the Celtics got off to such a promising start with the Big Three and some young additions to the team and how it all played out in the end.

The Woman Who Fell from Grace (Stewart Hoag Mysteries, #4) by David Handler The Woman Who Fell from Grace
David Handler
Another entertaining entry in this series. I enjoy the main character and his loyal basset hound and the plot was pretty well done. Listened to the audio which was narrated by Sean Runnette who was just as good as Tom Stechschulte who had narrated the previous three books.

Highland Fling by Katie Fforde Highland Fling
Katie Fforde
A fun and quick read. While I would not rank this book among the author's best work it was a nice change of pace for me and I enjoyed the quirky characters and the romance.

Not for me

Points and Lines by Seicho Matsumoto Points and Lines
Seicho Matsumoto
Considered a classic Japanese mystery I found it a bit on the dull side though. None of the characters were particularly memorable and endless descriptions of various train and plane time tables made it hard for me to keep engaged with the plot.


message 2: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 3626 comments You always have an interesting assortment of books! The Japanese one does sound like a snooze fest!


message 3: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments Great month, Sandi, a long list and many high rated is the way to go! I had a thought about your comment about The Dawn Patrol, "which, at first, seemed like it might be a bit lightweight but turned rather dark." In contrast with the deeply dark beginning, middle and end of Cop Town, I think I might prefer a slower build most of the time. Karin Slaughter is so good, I'll stick with a book starting out so bleakly, but not for every author.
.Sandi wrote: "I had a very good month with a mix of old favorites and new to me authors....."


message 4: by Dan in AZ (new)

Dan in AZ | 2678 comments Good month, Sandi. I like all of Winslow's books.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Steven Saylor is on my TBR list!

Great month! :)


message 6: by Donnajo (new)

Donnajo | 3593 comments great month


message 7: by Brakedrum (new)

Brakedrum | 1203 comments Good month!


message 8: by Carol/Bonadie (last edited Aug 06, 2014 09:52AM) (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments As always, an interesting selection of books.

I think we've seen Don Winslow at B-con, yes? Btw, are you and Jeff going to Long Beach this year?

I thought you'd read all of your fave Robert Barnard's works!

{{sigh}} The big three. Those were the days... oh wait, this isn't THAT big three (Pierce, Allen and Garnett) but the previous big three (Bird, McHale and Parrish). They were pretty good too, LOL. Looks like a book I should pick up.

Glad to hear of a treatment of autism that is non-cringeworthy....


message 9: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1215 comments Carol/Bonadie wrote: "As always, an interesting selection of books.

I think we've seen Don Winslow at B-con, yes? Btw, are you and Jeff going to Long Beach this year?

I thought you'd read all of your fave Robert Barnard's works!..."


No unfortunately we are not going to Bouchercon this year. Are you going to attend? I'm thinking maybe next year in North Carolina and then it will be in New Orleans in 2016 which I've always wanted to visit.

I have just few more books by Robert Barnard to read. It was a sad day when I read that he had passed away last year.


message 10: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments No, not going either. Long Beach is too far away in a year where I've already taken two week-long vacations. Plus the timing is wrong, conflicts with my company's quarterly Board meeting. Next year in N. Carolina for sure, and absolutely N.O., which I have also always wanted to visit.

I know you were sad about Barnard's passing.


message 11: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 3626 comments Carol/Bonadie wrote: "No, not going either. Long Beach is too far away in a year where I've already taken two week-long vacations. Plus the timing is wrong, conflicts with my company's quarterly Board meeting. Next y..."

I need to check out NC for next year. Have a good friend who lives there and I could get in a visit with her maybe depending on where it is. NOLA in 2016 sounds like a done deal. Ed's been wanting to go there, too.


message 12: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments Does anyone know why the B'Con dates vary from Sept to Nov in different years?


message 13: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments Ann wrote: "Does anyone know why the B'Con dates vary from Sept to Nov in different years?"

No idea, and have wondered that myself!

Any chance you can attend the NC or NO B'Cons? Tennessee is right around the corner! (thinks this northerner without actually looking at a map....)

I have a friend in Charlotte and was hoping it was there but no, it's in Raleigh.


message 14: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 3626 comments Carol/Bonadie wrote: "Ann wrote: "Does anyone know why the B'Con dates vary from Sept to Nov in different years?"

No idea, and have wondered that myself!

Any chance you can attend the NC or NO B'Cons? Tennessee is ri..."


I was wondering if Ann might be able to make one of those, too. Nice that it's in Raleigh. My friend lives in Durham, so will be able to get in a visit with her, too!


message 15: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments LOL, Carol. Both are tempting, though Sept and Oct are not great times to be off work. Raleigh is 9-10 hours away and New Orleans is similar distance so not exactly next door - but I will see if I can make one of them. I would love to see those of you who are able to go to the conventions!
Carol/Bonadie wrote: "Any chance you can attend the NC or NO B'Cons? Tennessee is right around the corner! (thinks this northerner without actually looking at a map....)"


message 16: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments Melodie: My sister-in-law lives an hour south of Raleigh, so it would be nice to be close enough to see them too. Tempting! I wish it wasn't budget season at work then.
Melodie wrote: "I was wondering if Ann might be able to make one of those, too. Nice that it's in Raleigh. My friend lives in Durham, so will be able to get in a visit with her, too! "


message 17: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments Plenty of time to start planning, Ann! We would love to see you.

Ann wrote: "Melodie: My sister-in-law lives an hour south of Raleigh, so it would be nice to be close enough to see them too. Tempting! I wish it wasn't budget season at work then.
Melodie wrote: "I was won..."



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