Sunday, December 26, 2004

50bookchallenge: Recommendations

Winter posted his list of books read in 2004. I saw several there that interest me as well as many that I've read before.

Bookie's list contains a lot of books that I'd like to read in 2005.

Mystery and Cooking

Custard's Last Stand This book has been the first one in my "currently reading" list for months and months. Truth be told, I got really sick of it and simply set it aside. Custard's Last Stand is the eleventh book in Tamar Myers' series set in a Pennsylvania Dutch community. Mennonite Madgelena Yoder is the proprietor of a bed and breakfast which caters to the rich and famous. The plots have tons of puns and silly plot twists and in general are fun to just breeze through. For some reason, I got really fed up with the characters and just did not want to continue reading. But, having reached my 50 Book goal, I decided that this book wasn't going to be carried over into 2005. So, I set myself to reading it each time we took out of here in the car. And, again to be honest, I did enjoy reading it — even sharing some of the funnier lines with Steven as he drove.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Audio Books

Two of the books I have "read" this year were books on CD. First was The Sunday Philosophy Club which I bought while on a business trip so I'd have something to listen to during long drives. Next, I checked out Split Second from the Sanger Public Library to listen to on my commutes to and from the office. I'm now listening to The Education of Mary on those lonely drives.

The Sunday Philosophy Club Split Second The Education of Mary

Friday, December 17, 2004

To be read . . .

For months, I've had the following books displayed on the home page as my "to be read" stack. These books were passed on to me by my mother-in-law, and I certainly do intend to read them, but they just don't seem to be moving to the top of my stack.
Haunting Rachel The Touch Invasion of Privacy

Since I just picked up 5 books from the library, I'm updating the home page to show the books I'm more likely to read soon.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Tamora Pierce and the land of Tortall

Lately, I've been reading through Tamora Pierce's various quartets set in and around the mythical land of Tortall. I discovered these books when I picked up two books from Gretchen's bedroom on my last visit to Richmond. After reading (and thoroughly enjoying) them, I placed an order to to get the rest of that series and two more boxed sets. I'll be sending all the books (the ones I borrowed and the ones I bought) to Jan's house for her and the girls.

Protector of the Small

Protector of the Small: First Test Protector of the Small: Page Protector of the Small: Squire Protector of the Small: Lady Knight

The first series I read (but the third written and in chronology) was the Protector of the Small series starring Keladry, the first girl to openly enter training for Knighthood. The stories refer to the previous two series so I felt compelled to read them.

The Song of the Lioness

Alanna: The First Adventure In the Hand of the Goddess The Woman Who Rides Like a Man Lioness Rampant

The Song of the Lioness quartet tells the story of Alanna, the first Lady Knight. Unlike Kel, she had to pretend to be a boy when she went to the training facility for pages.

The Immortals

Wild Magic Wolf-Speaker Emperor Mage The Realms of the Gods

The Immortals tells the story of Veralidaine, nicknamed Daine, who wields a natural and wild magic rather than The Gift as is more common. Her wild magic gives an ability to communicate with animals, heal them, and even to transform herself into an animal when necessary.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

50 Book Challenge Update

I just got through updating the 50 Book Challenge community site with information about my progress so far. I've now read 36 books toward the challenge of 50, which means that I must complete at least 14 books during December. I think I've got a good chance of making it. My monthly totals this year have been:

  • January - 9
  • February - 6
  • March - 13
  • April - 10
  • May - 20
  • June - 16
  • July - 11
  • August - 11
  • September - 11
  • October - 12
  • November - 11

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Found time to read

Having found some time to read in the past week, I now need to log my progress here in the Blog. I have been a little bit better about posting in the 50 Book Challenge LiveJournal site, but even there I've resorted to posting a couple of books at a time. Found time, by the way, was primarily due to a couple of long airplane trips.

The Sinister Pig Tony Hillerman has another hit on his hands with The Sinister Pig. My old friends Jim Chee, Joe Leaphorn, and Bernie Manualito are back in this tale of greed, power, drugs, and murder. Most scary is the possibility which Hillerman poses that pipelines intended to carry gas and oil could be used by terrorists to bring bombs and disease into the USA. One thing that I particularly liked about this book is that the characters are being allowed to develop relationships instead of all being such loners. It was a nice change.

"R" is for Ricochet "R" is for Ricochet is the 18th book in the Alphabet series by Sue Grafton. I think this one is my favorite — for several reasons. Like The Sinister Pig above, the author has given her character a more positive personal life. Kinsey Millhone seems to be forming a healthy relationship with a man. After two failed marriages and a disastrous affair, this is particularly good news. Maybe it was her own improving situation or not, but the whole book was much more positive. I like the way these stories are turning.

Reefsong Reefsong by Carol Severance was a serendipitous find. My niece picked it up at a library sale and I saw it sitting on her bedside table when I visited in late October. I brought it and a couple of others home to read. This was a terrific book and I'm sorely disappointed that there are only a couple more titles from this author. I searched on and the Internet at large, and have not been able to find out much about Ms. Severance and whether she is still writing. I sure hope so.

The Stone Prince The Stone Prince by Gena Showalter was a riot. Take one sexy young warrior under a magic spell that turned him into a stone statue. Add a shy and insecure young woman who kisses the statue, releasing him from the spell. So far, so good, right? Wrong. Now consider that not only is magic involved, but that the ensorceled young man is actually an alien from another planet. Stir in all the typical bodice ripping steamy sexual situations and you've got a hysterically funny romance novel. If you like those, then this is definitely one to pick up.

Lake News In mid-October, I read An Accidental Woman by Barbara Delinsky and when I posted a review, I noted that I had every intention of reading the preceding book in the series. So, I put Lake News on reserve at the public library and eagerly started reading it when it became available. Even though the sequel had given me a hint as to the relationships which would develop, the story was as delightful as I had desired. I'm enjoying Barbara Delinsky's books. While they do fall into the "romance" category, they aren't the overly rehashed and formulaic romance novels which Harlequin and the like seem to churn out.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Errr... I got busy & forgot to post

It's been a busy couple of weeks and I simply got so busy that I forgot to update this blog with the information on the books I've been reading. Here are the most recent books I've finished.

An Accidental Woman I'm still confused about why Barbara Delinsky chose An Accidental Woman for the title of this novel. There are two accidents which figure into the book. One is the snowmobiling accident which left Poppy Blake in a wheelchair and the other is a fatal hit-and-run that Poppy's friend Heather is accused of. I enjoyed the novel, particularly how the murder mystery is developed and solved. Liking these characters, I called up the reviews at and found that this book is a sequel to Lake News. Guess what book is now on my wish list?

One for the Money Over Homecoming Weekend, Beth convinced me to check out the Stephanie Plum mystery novels by Janet Evanovich. I borrowed One for the Money from the Sanger Library and proceeded to start reading it on the airplane trip to Virginia last Wednesday. Between sleeping most of the way from Texas to Virginia and just getting busy visiting, I didn't finish this book until Sunday morning, the 24th. But, even though it took me a long time to read this book, I knew that I wanted to read the entire series and had already purchased the next book. (See below.)

Two for the Dough As its title proclaims, this is the second book in Janet Evanovich's series starring Stephanie Plum. Two for the Dough starts just a couple of months after One for the Money, and Stephanie is still trying to learn the ropes in her new job as a bounty hunter. One thing I particularly like is that the stories have just enough threat and thrill to be exciting without crossing over to gory and explicit. And the balance between serious and comic is extremely well done. I definitely recommend this series to those who enjoy murder mysteries, particularly those with a female protagonist.

The CompanionsI picked up this book solely based on the author. I have never been disappointed by any of Sherri Tepper's science fiction novels, and when I stumbled across The Companions in the bookstore this past weekend, I knew it was one I just had to read. Of course, I had to wrest it from Jan's hands with a promise to mail it to her as soon as I finished it.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Reading through the Library

The last 7 books that I have read came from the Sanger Public Library. I paid a short visit to the library yesterday, checked out four more books, and put a reserve request on two others. As I explained to someone, I'm busy reading my way through the library.

Broken Dishes On Saturday, 16 October, I finished reading Broken Dishes by Earlene Fowler. This was the eleventh book 'starring' Benni Harper, an amateur sleuth and avid quilter. I reviewed the book in LiveJournal's 50 Book Challenge Community. Like others in this series, I enjoyed the book and recommend it to others who like murder mysteries with believable characters.

Killjoy Killjoy by Julie Garwood was a very fast read — as evidenced by the fact that less than 24 hours passed between the time I started reading this book yesterday and completed it this morning. This book is somewhat of a sequel to Garwood's earlier novels Heartbreaker and Mercy Lead characters from the earlier novels have bit parts in Killjoy, giving a mild sense of continuity to this "series" — much like Catherine Coulter's FBI Series. I definitely enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to the next one in the series, which I shall request through InterLibrary Loan.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Two by Sue Grafton

In the last week, I read two of Sue Grafton's mystery novels. One turned out to be a re-read, but that's OK, I still enjoyed it. Now I"m ready to pick up her newest novel in the "Alphabet Series" as soon as I can locate it at my local public library.

"O" is for Outlaw was published in 1999, though the story is set around 1986. Grafton is taking a very slow pace through time for her character Kinsey Millhone compared to the time which passes for us readers. As I was reading the book, I realized that I had read it a year or so ago, but I continued reading since I was enjoying the story.

Fortunately, "P" is for Peril was not a re-read. For some reason, I found this book just a little confusing since there were three crimes, each with its own pair of villains. I'm still enjoying Kinsey Millhone and her mysteries, and look forward to picking up the "R" book from the library. (Yep, I've already read "Q" is for Quarry.)

Saturday, October 09, 2004

The Girl Next Door and The Dig

The Girl Next Door In The Girl Next Door, the female lead is determined to prove that her father did not murder her mother. The book jacket proclaims that this novel "showcases Patricia MacDonald at the height of her celebrated powers." Well, I'm not impressed. By page 11, I had figured out who the murderer was and therefore I was reading to see how MacDonald developed the plot and finally revealed what had happened 15 years earlier.

The Dig Now this book was more to my liking. The Dig is Alan Dean Foster's novelization of a game released for IBM PCs circa 1995. I found the story engaging, even though the plot had similarities to Arthur C. Clarke's Rama and the movie Armageddon.

Saturday, October 02, 2004


Shortly after 1am, I read the last page of Angel-Seeker by Sharon Shinn, making it the first book to be logged for October.

Although this is the fifth book in Shinn's Samaria series, the story in Angel-Seeker follows immediately after that of Archangel, the first book. Remember that Archangel ended with the catastrophic destruction of the angel hold led by Rafael, resulting in the deaths of many of his followers, both angel and mortal. Gabriel had been elevated to Archangel and had set about rebuilding the hold. Now, a year later, Gabriel sends Obadiah to the new angel hold of Cedar Hills with the responsibility of reestablishing relationships with the Jansai, a people who are rigid in their customs and hostile to the angels.

Following a short, and unproductive visit with the Jansai leadership in their capital city of Breven, Obadiah is seriously injured during his flight back to Cedar Hills. He is found in the desert by Rebekah, a daughter of the Jansai whose customs forbid women from speaking to or even being seen by men not of their own family. Fortunately for Obadiah, Rebekah chooses to ignore the rules of her people and nurses Obadiah for several days until he is out of danger. Unfortunately for Rebekah, she and Obadiah discover a mutual attraction which will eventually put her in grave danger.

The third leading character in this novel is Elizabeth, the Angel-Seeker of the title. Angel-Seekers are young women who flock to the towns surrounding the angel holds in hopes of taking an angel as a lover and bearing an angelic child so that they will be taken into the angel holds and live a life of great luxury. One big problem is that few pregnancies result from these liaisons and the majority of babies are mortal rather than angelic.

This was a delightful book. I was glad that I had already read all the other books in this series so that I understood the political and cultural references in Shinn's story.

BookCrossing: books in transit

On Friday, I mailed off three books to people who had listed them on their Wish List. Two are heading to Canada, with the third going to a BookCrosser in Alabama.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Falling Angels

Falling AngelsHaving read Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier, I have now read all of the books she has written. I certainly hope she is working on another one.

Chevalier has a particular skill in writing novels in historical settings, but with issues as up-to-date as contemporary fiction. This particular novel begins in 1901 with the death of Queen Victoria and ends in 1910 with the death of King Edward. Throughout the novel, action centers on the cemetery where Maude Coleman and Lavinia Waterhouse meet at the adjacent family plots. When Lavinia's family moves to Maude's neighborhood, the two girls become best friends. They return again and again to the cemetery as today's children would go to a local park to play. There, they meet Simon, a young boy who is already working with his father and the other gravediggers. These three young people come of age during the 10 years of the novel, and much of the story is told through their voices.

Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier was an excellent book. The story is told in narrative, with all of the characters getting a chance to present their point of view. This had the potential to be confusing, but Chevalier managed the changes from one character to another very well.

I was intrigued by the role that the women's suffrage movement in England played in this book. Particularly so yesterday when I listened to Anna Greenberg in an interview on the Diane Rehm Show as she discussed the role that women voters will play in this year's presidential elections.

Books read for the 50 Book Challenge: 13
Books read in 2004: 107

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Banned Books Week

I'm particularly fond of Banned Books Week. This year, it is being observed 25 September through 2 October. Sponsored by the American Library Association, American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Society of Journlists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, and the National Association of College Stores. I use the ALA's web pages as my starting point for reading about Banned and Challenged books.

I'm proud to say that I have read many of the books on the list of the 100 most frequently challenged book. Some of them, I'd actually be careful about giving to young people to read, but I don't believe that any books should be unavailable to a mature reader.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Mercy by Julie Garwood

Mercy OK, so I saw this book at the library, recognized the author, read the blurb on the jacket, checked it out, and put it on my "to be read" shelf. Then, when I was packing books for our move, I noted that a book named Mercy which I had already read was in the stack. At first, I thought I had already read the library book, but after a closer look, I realized that two of the authors I enjoy reading had written books with the same title. The other one was Mercy by Jodi Picault.

Garwood's novel was a nicely balanced combination of murder mystery and pot-boiling romance. The characters were quite likeable, and the good guys won out in the end. I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre. One comment: I'm beginning to find it frustrating to keep reading about people who have lots of money and can just take off from their day-to-day life to pursue an interest. Can't an author come up with plots about middle-class people?

Books read for the 50 Book Challenge: 12
Books read in 2004: 106

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

105th book read this year

The Diary of Mattie Spenser Last night, I read the final chapter in The Diary of Mattie Spenser by Sandra Dallas. I discovered this author around 7-8 years ago when her novel, The Persian Pickle Club, was recommended by the proprietor of The Mystery Bookstore in Dallas. I had tried to read Alice's Tulips, but just could not get involved in the story.

In this book, Sandra Dallas has written a delightful historical novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it for the plot, the characters, and the wise observations about the role diaries play in the lives of women. Consider these quotes on the value of keeping a diary or journal:

"I think a journal causes one to reexamine the events of one's life and find ways to improve oneself."

"As I have not met a woman who could be my dearest friend ... this book serves as a silent companion, a witness to my joys and sorrows and confessions. It helps to confide to my journal the things I can confide to no one."

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Bishop Goes to The University

The Bishop Goes to The University The Bishop Goes to The University is the fourteen novel *starring* Blackie Ryan, auxiliary Bishop, assistant to Cardinal Cronin, and rector of the Catholic Cathedral of Chicago. In addition to the series where he is the primary character, Greeley has him appear in several other books set in Chicago. Andrew Greeley has created Bishop Blackie with a mix of Irish wit and keen investigative skills and then sends him off to solve problems for his boss - most of which involve a murder. This book was not as good as others in the series, but it was still an enjoyable read.

Books read for the 50 Book Challenge: 10
Books read in 2004: 104

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Angelica and The Time Traveler's Wife

Angelica by Sharon Shinn is the fourth book in her Samaria series. This science fiction series postulates a world where there are two species of humans -- Angels have wings and Mortals don't. The entire population follows the dictates of Jovah, the god who brought them to this world. I am totally entranced by the world she has created and look forward to reading the next book in the series. Although the story itself came to a satisfactory conclusion, I was left wanting to know more about the characters themselves. What happens next?

The title of this book, The Time Traveler's Wife, would lead you to believe that this is a science fiction book. But you really can't classify it in the SF genre. Rather, it's a dynamic contemporary novel and love story which truly fits the description of "a love that transcends time". Audrey Niffenegger has written a engaging debut novel. I hope she chooses to write more.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Everyone Dies and Eleventh Hour

Flying on business trips gives me a lot of time to read, and this one-day trip to Boston allowed me to finish two mystery novels. I read most of the way to Boston yesterday and by the time I went to bed, I had only a couple of chapters left in Everyone Dies by Michael McGarrity. I finished this book around 10:00 this morning, noting that it is the 100th book I have read this year. On the return trip this evening, I read Eleventh Hour by Catherine Coulter, finishing it about 20 minutes after I got home.

Both books were good reads, each part of a series that I have been following for some time. I can heartily recommend these books along with their predecessors. I think that I have one more book in each series to have read everything currently published.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

My Sister's Keeper

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

I've read several books by Jodi Picoult and enjoyed each of them. This book, however, was extremely intense. So much so that I found it difficult to put the book down. I'll be posting this book to the 50 Book Challenge web site shortly, and have logged it in my paper journal.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Shepherds Abiding

Shepherds Abiding by Jan KaronShepherds Abiding by Jan Karon

I have enjoyed the other 6 or 7 books in this series and was pleased to find this one on the shelf at my local library. As you might deduce from the title and the image of the book cover, this is a holiday story featuring Father Tim and Cynthia, along with all the other residents of Mitford. I really enjoyed this book, but I kept anticipating that someone was going to die. I don't know why, other than the fact that so many of the characters are getting to be fairly old. After all, Father Tim is 69 and the bishop is turning 72 in the Spring.

I logged this book on the 50 Book Challenge site where I reported it as the 98th book I've read this year and the 4th read for the challenge.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Reading in 2004, part 2

Books read in 1Q

Hemlock Bay

Hemlock Bay by Catherine Coulter is the sixth in Coulter's "FBI Thriller" series. Having discovered the author and series, I am actively reading through the whole series.

While other books in the series have been quite steamy romances along with the thriller/mystery plot line, this one just hinted at a forming romance. One neat thing about this book were the two parallel plots, but I felt that one plot wasn't as well developed. I'd like to hear more about the paranormal phenomena exhibited by the bad gal, Tammy Tuttle.


97 books read this year

3 books completed for the 50 Book Challenge

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Flirting with Pete

Wow! Flirting with Pete was definitely a great book, and I'm really glad that my mother-in-law passed this book along to me. Based on my past reading of Delinsky's books, I had kind of expected another steamy romance wrapped in a mystery, but this book was much more than that. Of course, there was a romance where the hero and heroine fall in love very quickly. But, there are two stories told in parallel and which eventually intersect; and the two side-by-side story lines were both captivating.

In one story, Casey Ellis is dealing with the grave illness of her mother and the sudden death of a father she had never met. Her father bequeaths his townhouse to her and as she is trying to decide whether to move into it or offer it for sale, she finds a manuscript left by her father. This manuscript tells the story of Jenny Clyde and her struggle to escape from an abusive father, our story number two. When these two stories converge, the characters discover unexpected ties and insights into their respective pasts.

I definitely recommend this book, and I plan to put a BookCrossing label into it and release it somewhere.

Books this year - 96

Books for the 50 Book Challenge - 2

Saturday, August 28, 2004


On the trip home from Mississippi today, I read Riptide by Catherine Coulter. It's the fifth book in the FBI Thriller series.

I really liked Becca Matlock, the heroine of this novel; she had a lot more spunk than the women Coulter has introduced in the other books in this series. I would love to see her return in another book in the series.

Books this year - 95

Books for 50 Book Challenge - 1

Friday, August 27, 2004

Back on Track

I've now finished updating this blog, including the home page. I did have to delete one very old post because the web site that it linked to is no longer. It is now time to provide some information on reading activities.

I had finished all the books I took to NYC, so I picked up The Time Traveller's Wife in an airport bookstore on Monday. I'm 166 pages along in it, but set it aside to read The Cove, first book in the FBI Mystery series by Catherine Coulter. I had picked that one up on Tuesday, along with three others in the series. Yeah, I know that I had requested it via ILL, but I just couldn't wait.

Yesterday, having finished The Cove, I picked up Barbara Delinsky's Flirting with Pete which happened to be in the backseat of the car at the time. That means that I still have two books in progress.

I also checked out three books from the Sanger Public Library on Tuesday morning — just some things that looked interesting on the shelf.

In addition to getting this blog into order, I've been sorting through my BookCrossing bookshelf. I'm releasing some books and have been reading postings about BookCrossing activities. I decided to also join the 50 Book Challenge over at Live Journal. Since I've already read more than 50 books this year, I challenged myself to read 50 between now and the end of the year.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Catherine Coulter

The last three books I have read are part of Catherine Coulter's FBI Series of suspense novels. I discovered this series by accident, picking up Blindside in an airport bookstore. I enjoyed it so much that I decided I would go back and read the rest of the series. So, for this trip to NYC, I checked three books out of the library: The Maze, The Target, and The Edge.

I missed the first book in the series, The Cove, but have asked the Sanger Library to locate a copy for me via InterLibrary Loan. Catherine's own web site is located at Check there as well as Amazon for her bibliography and excerpts from the books.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Reading in 2004

I'm not sure why I stopped blogging about the books I have been reading. I think it may be related to losing the BookPost bookmarklet that made it easy to create a blog entry from the ISBN or while viewing a book on the web site. So, although this blog has been idle for 8 months, I'm changing that right now.

One of my resolutions this year was to keep a record of every book that I read during the year. I had started keeping an art jounal last fall in an attempt to push myself into doing something creative on a regular schedule. But, I found that in addition to the illustration and collage which I stuck into the journal, I was writing bits and pieces, mostly about the books that I've been reading. So, I started a new journal to be primarily a text-only journal with a record of the books I've read, at the very least.


January - 9
February - 6
March - 13
April - 10
May - 20
June - 16
July - 11
August - 8 (so far)

I'll create some additional posts with book titles, authors, and links to either BookCrossing logs or