Monday, November 2, 2015

A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley

Hello All,

A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley begins with the title; Detective Kubu’s father is murdered. The book takes us through all the sadness and work that everyone goes through when death occurs. The funeral, the grieving, the horrible sense that nothing is right. All of this is made worse by the fact that Wilmon Bengu was murder. Why?

And then the house is robbed, and Mr. Bengu’s will is missing. What now?

Next, a riot ensues when a chief and elders of a community decide against allowing mining on tribal lands; the younger men of the tribe need and want the jobs. The chief and at least 2 elders are killed. What now?

Detective Kubu, who is now an Assistant Superintendent, is heartbroken when his father is murdered. Of course he is told to stay away from the case, but he still hovers at the edges, making several mistakes that earns him the ire of his boss. He is even sent to New York, to give a speech at a conference for his boss, and he still does a little detecting there.

The reader gets more than one point of view in this story; among others, we get the viewpoint of Kubu’s superior, an excellent detective in his own right as well as several others within the police force. I enjoyed the Director of the Criminal Investigation Department, Jacob Mabaku’s view, and how hard he also worked on the cases.

Upon Kubu’s return, things really heat up, both towards solving who instigated the riot, and who murdered a second man. Unfortunately, Kubu makes a grievous error when interrogating a suspect, and is forced to take a leave of absence. Despite this mistake, the case(s) draw to a close, but not without one final twist at the end.

Happy Reading,

A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley, Minotaur Books, October 27, 2015; ISBN 9781250070890

This book was sent to me for review by the publisher; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Kill by Jane Casey

Hello All!

Thanks to an advance reading copy from Minotaur Books and one or more reviews in Aunt Agatha’s Mystery Bookshop’s newsletter, I have spent the last few months reading Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan mystery series, catching up this week with The Kill.

Maeve is an interesting, smart, yet somewhat insecure Metropolitan Detective. For most of the series she is partnered with DI Josh Derwent, who is very obnoxious mostly (including sexist) but does have a softer side, buried way, way, way deep. There are other parts of organizational structure of the police department that Maeve has to deal with.

Over the course of the series, Maeve also learns to let a great guy into her life, Rob. He even moves to a different department so that they can continue their relationship. She is a bit shy of commitment, but Rob is the guy for her.

I think The Kill is the best of the series. The homicide victims in this book are police—different levels of officers, no connections to each other—how and why are they being murdered. This case for Maeve affects her coworkers, her partner Derwent, and her relationship with Rob. The story is excellent.

Highly recommended!

Happy Reading!

The Kill by Jane Casey, Minotaur Books, June 2, 2015; ISBN 9781250048844

This book was sent to me for review by the publisher; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.

The Maeve Kerrigan series by Jane Casey
The Burning (2010)
The Reckoning (2011)
The Last Girl (2012)
The Stranger You Know (2013) 2015 Mary Higgins Clark Award

The Kill (2014 British publication date; 2015 U.S. pub date)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

And the Books Just Keep on Coming!

Hello All,

I continue to be one of the luckiest librarians I know! I have received some awesome advance readers' copies that I want to share with you. I have not read these yet, but hope to in the next few months.

The list is in reverse publication (by month, approximately) order--meaning I'll start at the bottom and work my way up.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin 
The Man in the Washing Machine by Susan Cox
Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver (I really liked the first in this series)
Buster: the Military Dog Who Saved a Thousand Lives by Will Barrow (nonfiction)
City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship by Marilyn Yalom (nonfiction)
Food Whore by Jessica Tom
In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward
Spare Parts by Joshua Davis
Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart
Sisters in Law  by Linda Hirshman (nonfiction)
Art in the Blood by Bonnie Macbird
Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Trombly
Zeroes by Chuck Wendig
Fishbowl by Bradley Somer
Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters
Rome in Love by Anita Hughes
The Drowning Ground by James Morrison
Lamp Black, Wolf Grey by Paula Brackston
Vanishing Games by Roger Hobb (still need to read Ghostman)
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
Days of Awe by Lauren Fox
A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd (I actually would like to read the whole Bess Crawford series)
Armada by Ernest Cline (I'm so excited about this one--Ready Player One was excellent!)
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
Circling the Sun by Paula McClain
Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen
Bell Weather by Dennis Mahoney
Ways of the World by Robert Goddard
Thin Air by Ann Cleeves
The Kill by Jane Casey
The Tide Watchers by Lisa Chaplin
Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson (I loved Shadow Divers by the same author) (nonfiction)
Ruined Abbey by Anne Emery

I'm currently reading Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy, and Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews. I finished In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume last week and really enjoyed it.

Now, just a little more time to read...

Happy Reading to all of you!!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Blessings Brought To You By Beverly Jenkins

Hello All,

I was lucky enough to have met Beverly Jenkins during a library program I hosted when I lived and worked in Michigan. At the time, she was writing African American historical and contemporary romance; since then she has also given readers a wonderful new series, the Blessings series.

In Bring On the Blessings, Bernadine Brown catches her husband in bed with another woman. She takes him to court and along with her divorce, she is awarded 275 million dollars. She then opens her heart and asks for guidance to do something positive and meaningful with her wealth. Within a short period of time, she finds a town who has put itself up for sale on Ebay, and she buys it.

The town of Henry Adams, KS is rich with African American history, but low on funds to maintain the town, let alone invite growth. Once Bernadine arrives, things start happening. She uses her finances to start rebuilding the town, and to build new structures for more people to move to Henry Adams. Bernadine had also read about foster children, and matching them with parents who are interested in the long haul; really committed to one child and giving them love and family to grow up with. She matches five children with five sets of parents, herself included. Much of the remainder of the book is about how these new families negotiate life with each other, and how Bernadine helps Henry Adams grow into a special town.

Here is the series:

1. Bring on the Blessings
2. A Second Helping
3. Something Old, Something New
4. A Wish and a Prayer
5. Heart of Gold
6. For Your Love (published April 28, 2015)

Each of the books in the series shows the growth of the adults and the children, and especially of the love that is shared in this small, special place. They are best read in order.

I received the most recent title in the series, For Your Love, as an advance reader copy, and I read it a week or so ago. As I have with all the others, I loved it. Ms. Jenkins has added a few new characters, and each family experiences growth and change.

I love these books and these characters--and some of them are real characters (in the humorous sense)! The town really comes together to raise these foster children. One of my favorite things is that when the kids get in trouble, either together or on their own, one of their punishments is to paint a white picket fence! This has been a punishment for a generation or two. Also I really, really love how the town works together to solve problems, and they create ways to really be together as a community.

I wonder if Henry Adams needs a librarian...

Happy Reading!!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

More Book Blessings

Hello All!

As I have stated before, I am blessed with books. The list below are books I have been fortunate enough to receive from the publisher as an advance readers' copy (arc). Among them are favorite authors, favorite series, new-to-me authors, and debut authors. I read mostly fiction, though I am excited to read the new nonfiction title by Robert Kurson, The Pirate Hunters, as I loved Shadow Divers (also nonfiction).

I like to read arcs as close to the publication date as possible. I feel if I read too far ahead, I'll forget to post to Goodreads and/or write a review when the book is actually published.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Fatal Flame by Lyndsay Faye
The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley
Ruined Abbey by Anne Emery
The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan
Thin Air by Ann Cleeves (reading this may be delayed as I'm trying to catch up in the series)

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume(!!!)
Second Street Station by Lawrence H Levy
The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
Clockwork Crown by Beth Cato
The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
The Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson (nonfiction)
Run You Down by Julia Dahl
The Kill by Jane Casey (playing series catch-up, and the author was also recommended to me by Robin Agnew)
Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg
The Ways of the World by Robert Goddard
Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen (an "update" to Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim)
Madeleine's War by Peter Watson

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

The Race for Paris Clayton
Trouble is a Friend of Mine Stephanie Trombly (young adult)
Fishbowl Bradley Somer
Rome in Love by Anita Hughes
The Drowning Ground by James Marrison
Lamp Black, Wolf Grey by Paula Brackston
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J Ryan Stradal

After typing all of the above, I've returned at least 4 books I had checked out of the library. So far.

Now, you may ask, where do I find the time to read? As many of you know--I don't have a house (just an apartment), I don't have kids, and I don't have pets. I do have a boyfriend, Mike, who reads (extremely helpful!), and I ride the bus most days (20 minutes of reading at least one way, if not both ways). I also read during some breakfasts and most lunches. I read during commercials when I'm watching TV, and I'll just read instead of watching TV if Mike is watching something I'm not particularly interested in. And of course I read in bed before turning out the light.

I do seem to like to complicate things for myself though. I have recently started reading comic books, so I've got squeeze those in too. And, I read other books besides the ones listed above; for example, Mary Robinette Kowal has a new book coming out at the end of April, Of Noble Family, which I have pre-ordered. And Ace Atkins has a new Spenser book coming out in May, Robert B. Parker's Kickback, for which I'm on the reserve list at the library. Additionally, I read about books constantly, both for my collection development work at the library and for personal interest, and I find myself bringing books home from work to add to the list above.

Thanks and blessings to the authors for writing these wonderful books, and to the publishers for sharing these books early, so I can tell people about them and purchase them for the library.

I don't think I'm completely crazy, just a happy, happy reader (and list-maker) who lives her life surrounded by books!

Happy Reading!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Blessed By Books

Hello All,

Notes about books…

--I just received an advance readers’ copy (arc) of Beth Cato’s CLOCKWORK CROWN—I’m very excited about this book, as I really enjoyed the first book in this duology, THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER.

--CIRCLING THE SUN by Paula McLain (arc)—I’m excited about this one too. The setting is the same as PBS Mystery “Heat of the Sun”, which I loved.

--Received at the library an arc Beverly Jenkins’s FOR YOUR LOVE. This book is part of her Blessings series, and I love both the series and the author!

--I am SO GEEKED (pun intended) about Ernest Cline’s new book ARMADA, being published this summer. It’s a continuation of READY PLAYER ONE.

--THIN AIR (arc) by Ann Cleeves has finally got me moving through her Shetland series—I’m currently reading the second in the series, WHITE NIGHTS.

--Looking forward to checking out Jane Casey, thanks to an arc of THE KILL, and also recommended to me a while ago by Aunt Agatha’s newsletter.

--Other soon-to-be-read arcs include DEAD TO ME by Mary McCoy, SMALL MERCIES by Eddie Joyce, THE BOOKSELLER by Cynthia Swanson, A DANGEROUS PLACE by Jacqueline Winspear, NIGHT LIFE by David C. Taylor, DOWN DON’T BOTHER ME by Jason Miller and UNFORGETTABLE by Scott Simon.

--More books stacked on my living room floor; I’m reading through Cora Harrison’s Burren series and David Handler’s Berger and Mitry series. To catch me up with some of the arcs I've received, I've got THE DEVIL’S WORKSHOP by Alex Grecian, THE BURNING by Jane Casey and MURDER AT HONEYCHURCH HALL by Hannah Dennison ready to go.

With all of the lovely books listed above, I hope I can also keep up with my comic book/graphic novel reading, my beginnings as crafter (mostly coloring and minor journaling at this point), and movie/tv watching with Mike.

Not only am I blessed with all of the above books available to me as arcs or library books, I am also blessed with a boyfriend who is a reader. I am a very, very happy woman.

Happy Reading!

PS I was looking over my books in preparation for Early Word Galley Chat, 
held monthly on Twitter, to talk with fellow librarians about your favorite (and not-so-favorite) recent galleys (aka advance reader copies). It's held the first Tuesday of each month from 4 to 5 p.m, Eastern, the next one is March 3. You’re welcome to join us at 3:30 for a “pre-Chat” —  virtual cocktails will be served. Hash tag, #ewgc."
BTW, my Twitter handle is @bkwmn1992

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Hello All,

I was very excited when this title, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, appeared in a box of advance readers' copies! I've read two previous Erik Larson titles, Isaac's Storm and In the Garden of Beasts, so I knew this would be an interesting read.

No judgment please, but I had forgotten the complete history of the Lusitania; I started reading this without a recollection of the full story. And another thing that a reader gets with an Erik Larson book--an excellent sense of impending doom. I don't always like the feeling, but it definitely keeps the reader reading!

Mr. Larson tells Dead Wake from several sides: the Germans and their U boat directives; the British Admiralty and their decisions about passenger/merchant ships and protection under wartime conditions; the Lusitania's captain, William Thomas Turner, and the passengers. I felt that I received a very full sense of what was going on with WWI at that specific time (May 1915), and with each of these sides as the Lusitania sailed across the Atlantic.

I was surprised (remember, no judgment) and saddened by the Lusitania's torpedoing and sinking, though I did suspect what was going to happen. The sequence of events were suspenseful, very descriptive, but matter-of-fact in tone.

The resulting actions of the Cunard Steamship Company, Ltd  and the Admiralty of the Royal Navy were appalling to me, especially against the captain of the ship. I do understand that it was wartime, but the trials and secrecy and rush to judgment immediately following the loss of the ship vs delayed final resolution was mind-boggling.

I highly recommend Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
and the other mentioned above by Erik Larson. May all your travels be safe ones.

Happy Reading,

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
Crown Publishing, March 10, 2015, 9780307408860

This book was sent to me for review by the publisher; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.