31 March 2011

What I am reading: March 2011

It's amazing how few books I have read this month. A lot of that is due to how busy I have been and also because I have focused on reading through and recycling my magazines, but I think I need to refocus for next month and get some more books read: in May I'll be heading to NY for BEA and I need to be certain that I have finished reading all the books that mom has loaned me so that I can return them and pack up another set to ship over to read:-).
  1. Bad to the Bone (2000)by Katy Munger: I am glad to be reading through my piles of mysteries in time to realize what series I will need to be stocking up on when I visit NYC for Book Expo in May. The hero of this mystery, Casey Jones, is a complex character and coming into the series in the middle as I am, I see that Munger has written very well to leave me not confused, but desirous of purchasing the series backward and forward. I'd like to find out how Casey met her boyfriend Burley, a paraplegic biker, and I want to see her reconnect with her family after avoiding them through the shame of serving time as a result of serving time for a crime of which she was not guilty. In this novel, Casey finds herself acting to protect an abused woman, only to find that she has been used as a dupe to implicate an innocent man and she won't let that stand. I really enjoyed it.(DTM)
  2. The Night Counter(2009) by Alia Yunis: The author's debut novel. She teaches film at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, which I find very amusing: I hadn't notice that info in her blurb and yet while discussing this novel in book club, I had remarked at how, while reading, I had been able to see how easily translatable the story would be to film. A Greek Wedding-ish story with an Arab-American 4-generation family. Lots of uplift with a soupcon of sadness. Much fluffier than our usual reads— I enjoyed it but felt that I was skimming over the surface of what could have been a far deeper story, too tied up with narrative to do real character analysis. Perhaps just too many characters for a 365 page book? I did like the conceit of Scheherazade tying the different threads of the story together and the homage to The Arabian Nights.(DT)
  3. Uncatalogued (2002) by Julie Kaewert: The 6th in her Booklover's Series, featuring publisher Alex Plumtree and his irresistible attraction for intrigue dealing with books. I'd forgotten about this series— for a very long time we were left hanging on a relationship and it annoyed me, although I enjoyed the view into the rarefied world of a British family printing house. Finally, the relationship was resolved last book and the series continues here and I am pleased. This book brings Alex back to his alma mater, Dartmouth, for his 15 year reunion, where strange connection from the Pepys Library, where he is an officer and his family's long connection to Pepys connect to what appears to be a lost section of the famous Diary and which it seems certain individuals will stop at nothing to prevent dissemination of. I'm charmed that Alex was the same class at I, although my school was southwest from his. But why have there been no more? Maybe, like Harris with her Teagarden series, she has decided that her protagonist is where she wants him to be? (DTM)
  4. A Drink of Deadly Wine (1991) by Kate Charles (Carol Chase):I've tried to read and enjoy this at least 4 times, but I just can't enjoy it. Since she's one that my mom likes a lot, I've tried over and over. This is her debut novel, so perhaps I would enjoy some of the later ones better, but I really don't have a lot of interest in the overall plot: the (Anglican) priest of a London church is being blackmailed and the investigator of the poison-pen letters is and old friend, David Middleton-Brown. But their erstwhile and continuing relationship was too fraught for me and the conclusion didn't make me happy: I wouldn't pick up another by her myself, although I might read another lent to me. edit:I wandered through the reviews of her other novels and I think that I would enjoy them more and perhaps especially her new series, with a woman protagonist. But all her stories have a Church focus and with all the interesting things in the world to gain some ancillary knowledge of, I am afraid that Anglican Church politics sits rather low on my list.(DTM)
  5. The Lost Gardens (2005) by Anthony Eglin: Why am I dissatisfied with this book? I usually love mysteries that have a garden theme. Ditto those with an English garden theme. Jamie Gibson inherits an English estate, although she doesn't know why. The garden is terribly dilapidated and she hires a retire Botany professor to plan its renovation, when a body is discovered on premises. Sounds great so far, but the writing just didn't pull me in: I just didn't enjoy the interaction between the two leads. When I took a look at some reviews of his other books, I see that the reviewers were also disappointed with what they consider a lack of personality.(DTM)

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