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Monthly "Reads" > august 2010 - sandi

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message 1: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1201 comments August was so hot here that I just stayed inside with the air cranked and read. My highest book count all year.

Top Reads

The Price of Butcher's Meat by Reginald Hill The Price of Butcher's Meat
Reginald Hill
This series is one of my all time favorites and this entry does not disappoint. The plot is Hill's take on the classic English House Party mystery with inspiration also taken from Jane Austen's unfinished novel Sandition (Two Unfinished Novels by Jane Austen: Sandition & The Watsons). This was a dense, leisurely paced tale with lots of red herrings, false turns, and some of the most interesting characters in crime fiction.

The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard The Scent of Rain and Lightning
Nancy Pickard
Very satisfying suspense tale set in rural Kansas. The plot was my favorite type, the characters were well drawn, and Pickard's writing style made the entire book compulsively readable.

The Republic of Night by Dominic Martell The Republic of Night
Dominic Martell
Pascual Rose, former terrorist turned CIA informant during the eighties, just wants to live a quiet life in Barcelona but when a team of French operatives turn up and want him to identify a former comrade he is drawn back into the dangerous world of international espionage. The author, who also writes superb books under the name of Sam Reaves, keeps the tension high throughout the many twists and turns of the plot. Lots of suspense, lies, treachery, and even some romance.

Moonlight Downs by Adrian Hyland Moonlight Downs
Adrian Hyland
One of my best reads of the year, a very impressive debut that I could not put down. Loved the Australian Outback setting, thought the characters (especially Emily Tempest the half white, half aboriginal lead) were fully fleshed out and believable, and the author did a great job of relating the many different facets of life in the Outback with both humor and respect while still keeping the plot tight and suspenseful.

Life's Work by Jonathan Valin Life's Work
Jonathan Valin
Great entry in this PI series set in Cincinnati. Harry Stoner is hired by the professional football team in Cincy to find one of their players who has gone AWOL from training camp. Excellent plot with well-rounded, realistic characters.

Good Reads

Death of a Perfect Wife by M.C. Beaton Death of a Perfect Wife
M.C. Beaton
Lochdubh's locals are not sure what to make of the English couple who move in and open up a Bed and Breakfast but the wife soon makes a big impression. A fun, light village mystery. Listened to the audio version read by Davina Porter.

This Time Together Laughter and Reflections by Carol Burnett This Time Together: Laughter and Reflections
Carol Burnett
A feel-good memoir (really a collection of reminiscences and stories) of Burnett's life and career from her first jobs in California, to moving to New York City and landing her first job on Broadway, to her television success. I listened to the audio version read by the author and I think this greatly enhanced the experience. Burnett can still really project her voice and the humor and emotion really came through.

Medium Raw A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook
Anthony Bourdain
More of a collection of essays than a true follow-up to Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, this was an entertaining look at how the author's life and the food industry have changed in the ten years since his publishing success. Bourdain does not pull any punches and does not spare himself but does keep it humorous in an over the top way.

Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, #3) by Jim Butcher Grave Peril
Jim Butcher
Something has the ghosts of Chicago stirred up and Harry Dresden, the only wizard in the phone book, must find out what is going on. Lots of action (perhaps a bit too much) and I enjoyed meeting some of the new characters that were introduced in this book. The main reason that I continue on with the series though is the voice of James Marsters who does a great job with the narration on the audio version.

Ash & Bone (Frank Elder, #2) by John Harvey Ash & Bone
John Harvey
Called in to consult on a murder investigation, retired former policeman Frank Elder leaves his self-imposed exile in Cornwall to go to London to work on the case. Perfectly acceptable crime novel that is well written but Frank and this series are just not in the same league as the author's previous works featuring Charlie Resnick and the Nottingham police force.


message 2: by Sandi (last edited Sep 01, 2010 07:46PM) (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1201 comments August Reads Cont.

Good Reads

Kindness Goes Unpunished (Walt Longmire, #3) by Craig Johnson Kindness Goes Unpunished
Craig Johnson
Sheriff Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear travel to Philadelphia to visit Walt's daughter but when violence erupts they decide to bring some frontier justice to the big city. This book was a bit of a hiccup in a normally great series for me. I really missed the Wyoming setting, was not that impressed with Walt's evolution into an action hero, and did not care for how some of the relationships between the characters were handled. On the plus side, I loved listening to George Guidall's narration on the audio version.

A Private Inquiry by Jessica Mann A Private Inquiry
Jessica Mann
Crisply written tale of psychological suspense set mostly in Cornwall England. Interesting female characters and a clever plot made this well worth reading.

Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell Tomato Red
Daniel Woodrell
Dark, gritty story set in a small Ozark town featuring the kind losers whose lot in life seems preordained no matter what they do. I can see why this book was so highly praised as lyrical, authentic, and the like but for some reason the story and the characters just did not engage me like I thought they would considering that I have really enjoyed the author's previous work.

The Sinner (Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles, #3) by Tess Gerritsen The Sinner
Tess Gerritsen
I listen to this series more for the characters than the plot but in this entry I found the plot very compelling and was pleased that Dr. Isles took center stage. I listened to the audio version read by Anna Fields.

Crossfire by Miyuki Miyabe Crossfire
Miyuki Miyabe
Very readable story of vigilante justice set in Tokyo with a touch of the paranormal. This started off a bit slowly and it took me awhile to really get engaged with the story but by the end I was burning through the pages and thought Miyuki Miyabe did a great job pulling all the plot strands together into a satisfying ending.

Stick by Elmore Leonard Stick
Elmore Leonard
I've usually enjoyed the Leonard books set in Detroit much more than the ones set in Miami but this will rank among my favorites. Part of the reason was the return of Ernest Stickley who first appeared in Swag which is probably my all time favorite book by Elmore Leonard so far. Listened to the audio which was expertly read by the late Frank Muller.

OK Read

Bless Your Heart, Tramp And Other Southern Endearments by Celia Rivenbark Bless Your Heart, Tramp: And Other Southern Endearments
Celia Rivenbark
Collection of humor columns which I found more miss than hit but on the positive side none were longer than three pages. The first section about home life did not really appeal to me at all but I did enjoy the second section about life in "The South" and I now know the difference between "a mess" and a "gracious plenty".


message 3: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 865 comments Wow - great month! I haven't read any of your top reads and they all sound so interesting. What's a few more reserves at the library, right? ;-)


message 4: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 3604 comments Great month, Sandi! I came across a Jonathan Valin book the other day when I was cleaning out a closet. Am thinking of giving it a reread since I liked them all so much! GRAVE PERIL is still one of my favorite Harry Dresden books, and I agree, James Marsters brings them to life!


message 5: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1201 comments >>I came across a Jonathan Valin book the other day when I was cleaning out a closet. Am thinking of giving it a reread since I liked them all so much!<<

It is too bad that he is no longer writing that series. I still have five more books to go but am kind of rationing them out.


message 6: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Sandi:
I can only say Wow, the heat wave agreed with you!
You read (at least) two books that I have been meaning to get to, I am eager to read the books of Nancy Pickard (The Scent of Rain and Lightning ) and Tomato Red which has been on the tbr far too long.

Sandi wrote: "Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell Dark, gritty story set in a small Ozark town featuring the kind losers whose lot in life seems preordained no matter what they do. I can see why this book was so highly praised as lyrical, authentic, and the like but for some reason the story and the characters just did not engage me like I thought they would considering that I have really enjoyed the author's previous work.."


message 7: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 1371 comments I liked Moonlight Downsvery much. Are you aware of the sequelGunshot Road?


message 8: by Susie (new)

Susie Fevella (susieinks) | 1610 comments Lots of good books Sandi! I totally agree about the Nancy Pickard book. I don't think I've ever read a book by her that I didn't thoroughly enjoy :)


message 9: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1201 comments Shomeret wrote: "I liked Moonlight Downsvery much. Are you aware of the sequelGunshot Road?"

Yes, one of the readers I am following here on Goodreads who lives in Australia rated it a five and that spurred me on to read the first book.


message 10: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7907 comments Wow, Sandi, this almost makes me long for another heat wave. Oh wait, we are just ending one> Never mind.....

But good job! I don't know how you come up with such a varied TBR list.

Sandi wrote: "August was so hot here that I just stayed inside with the air cranked and read. My highest book count all year.

Top Reads

The Price of Butcher's Meat by Reginald Hill[book:The Price of Bu..."



Mary/Quite Contrary Phillips | 459 comments Wow Sandi...it must have been really hot in Indy.


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