Saturday, March 16, 2019

Washington Black

Washington BlackWashington Black 
by Esi Edugyan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"From the sultry cane fields of the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, Washington Black tells a story of friendship and betrayal, love and redemption, of a world destroyed and made whole again--and asks the question, what is true freedom?" - publisher's blurb
There is a very 19th-century-novel feel to the style of this book which I thought suited the story very well. Washington Black is an interesting narrator as he moves into greater levels of understanding of the world around him as the book progresses. He has a strong character which allows him to face terrible things without falling apart (and thus to carry the reader through these events as well). This is a skillfully crafted and fascinating novel.

Esi Edugyan lives in Victoria, British Columbia so I am counting this toward the Canadian Book Challenge. Another of her books, Half-Blood Blues, has been on my TBR for a while and I am looking forward to reading it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A Collection of Cozies

These are titles that I finished recently which count toward the Cruisin' Through the Cozies Challenge. 

The Second Confession (Nero Wolfe, #15)The Second Confession by Rex Stout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of the rare Nero Wolfe stories where Wolfe leaves the brownstone. It is one of the 10 cozies of my choice.

Y is for Yesterday (Kinsey Millhone, #25)Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the last of the Sue Grafton mysteries (she died) which is sad. I have been reading them since the series began in 1982 and they are all good. Kinsey is a great character. I was very pleased that an ongoing plot line from an earlier book gets resolved by the end of this book. This is also one of the 10 cozies of my choice.

The Murder on the Links (Hercule Poirot, #2)The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Classic Poirot and Captain Hastings is in top form in this mystery--making foolish mistakes, falling for pretty faces, and generally missing everything HP sees immediately.  Another cozy of my choice.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Rising of the Moon

The Rising Of The MoonThe Rising Of The Moon 
by Gladys Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gladys Mitchell (1901-1983) was the author of numerous books, including 66 novels featuring the detective Mrs. Bradley. 
"I'm a consulting psychiatrist to the Home Office, and when things become a little abnormal they often send me along." (p. 111) 
This is the 18th of the Mrs. Bradley novels. The narrator of this tale is a 13-year-old orphan who, along with his 11-year-old brother, spends his school holiday investigating the murders of young women happening in his town. The novel reminded me, in feeling more than content, of Something Wicked This Way Comes. The tale was well crafted and the boys were appealing heros. 
I plan to seek out more of the Mrs. Bradley novels. 

I am counting this toward the Cruisin' Through the Cozies challenge as one of the 10 cozies of my choice. 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Time Machine

The Time MachineThe Time Machine by H.G. Wells
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Originally published in 1898 this short novel (118 pages in this edition) remains a page-turner. The Time Traveller (he isn't given another name) is introduced to us by a friend of his who was there when the machine that allows time travel is explained to a dinner party and then a subsequent party hears the strange tale of his visit to the year 802,701. There was more observation and less adventure than I was expecting in the story and it had a slightly preachy tone in some parts. Overall it was an interesting and entertaining book.
This title is on my Classics Club list and counts toward the Back to the Classics Challenge as a classic novella.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Twisted Threads

Twisted Threads (Mainely Needlepoint, #1)Twisted Threads
(Mainely Needlepoint Mystery #1)
by Lea Wait
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Set in a small town on the coast of Maine I enjoyed this mystery. It was a bit dark for a cozy--there was a lot more harsh reality than is typical--but it was a well put together story. I did think the solution came to our heroine rather suddenly without a clear reason why she suddenly put it all together. I also would have liked a bit more about needlepoint. It is the first in a series so later ones may have more needlepoint stuff in them. There was a lot of interesting info about New England plants. 
I am counting this toward the Cruisin' Through the Cozies challenge as a craft-related cozy.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Lisa's Review: The Nature of the Beast

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the 11th book in the Chief Inspector Gamache series. Armand and Reine Marie Gamache have retired to Three Pines, but that doesn't mean they've retired from being involved in murder investigations (after all, they are in Thee Pines!).

Laurent Lepage is a nine year old in Three Pines who has a huge imagination and tells very tall tales. When he disappears, people begin to wonder if there was truth behind his latest claim of finding a gun as big as a house in the woods.

I always love a Louise Penny book, that is never a question when I pick one up. I was a little wary as I got into this one as the plot seemed to be a little far fetched. However, in addition to tying all the plot together, the notes she has at the end of the book were eye opening.

This is my 7th book read for the 12th Annual Canadian Reading Challenge.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Deadly Dance

The Deadly Dance (Agatha Raisin, #15)The Deadly Dance by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the 15th book in the Agatha Raisin series (I think there are 30 total) and Agatha is between romances and decides to open a detective agency. As usual Agatha only succeeds (in so far as she does) because her friends help her and she is typically oblivious of this fact. In this one she starts to worry a bit that maybe she should be nicer to Charles and Roy. A number of new characters are introduced in this book as well. Some may be coming back in future adventures.
This book counts towards my Cruisin' Through the Cozies challenge as a cozy based outside the US (it is set in England).

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

When Autumn Leaves

When Autumn LeavesWhen Autumn Leaves
by Amy S. Foster
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved the premise of this book and some of the sections lived up to my expectations, but others seemed too sentimental and not connected enough to the through-line of a process of selecting a replacement for Autumn. There is a romance in the middle of the book that seemed particularly out of place to me. I loved the stories about the 2 women who worked at the newspaper, and would have liked to get into the world of the 3rd one, but that wasn't part of the novel.
The author is from Canada so I am counting this toward the Canadian Book Challenge.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Hanging Valley

The Hanging Valley (Inspector Banks, #4)The Hanging Valley by Peter Robinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the 4th installment in the Inspector Banks series by Toronto author Peter Robinson. Chief Inspector Alan Banks works in Yorkshire, England (where the author was raised) and in this novel is investigating the death of a man found in a remote area outside the village of Swainshead.
The mystery in this book was not as well constructed as the previous one I read, but the characters were interesting and Banks takes a trip to Toronto which gave Robinson an opportunity for both description and commentary on "modern" (ca. 1989) Canada.
I am counting this toward the Canadian Book Challenge.
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