Tuesday, March 16, 2021

TOP TEN TUESDAY: My Spring TBR

 

What's on your Spring TBR list? I love making these lists, even if some books are on there for a long time, lol. This is the list today, but who knows what shiny pretty book will tempt me to be read before these ones. For more lists, and for future topics, check out That Artsy Reader Girl .  I have a few categories that help me pick my next book.



Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist:

Piranesi by Susannah Clarke
I'm not sure about this one as fantasy isn't my favourite, but I'll take a chance


Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
Bit of a list at the library as it was also a Booker shortlist, but I should get it 

ebooks I've bought recently:


Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
I'm really looking forward to this one



Network Effect by Martha Wells
Super fun science fiction starring a robot who would rather be watching TV shows but keeps having to help the humans

Library Requests:

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
One of my next audiobook reads as I get out walking 


The Case of the Reincarnated Client by Tarquin Hall
I just picked this one up from the library

Next in a Series

The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths
Book # 10 in the Ruth Galloway series


An Irish Country Love Story by Patrick Taylor
Book 11 in the Irish Country Doctor series

My Own Books:

Chasing Painted Horses by Drew Hayden Taylor
Canadian author of the great Motorcycles & Sweetgrass


Cop Killer by Maj Sjowall
Book 9 of 10 in the famous Swedish police series

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Spring Cleaning Freebie

 

The topic this week is a Spring Cleaning Freebie. I noticed I had read exactly ten + 1 books in February, so I thought I'd write some mini reviews and thoughts on them. A real mixture of lots of audiobooks, a few ebooks, and a few real life books. Check out other takes on the topic at That Artsy Reader Girl, and find future topics.



Deacon King Kong
- James McBride 🎧
This is a book on the Tournament of Books this year, (which started yesterday) and it was also on Obama's list of books to read from last year. It was a little long and while I didn't love it, part of that was because I  was listening, and sometimes I miss things and there were a lot of characters. It's one of those books were I probably would have gotten more out of it in paper. But I can completely see why it got rave reviews. Perfect book to read during Black History Month.


A Visit From the Goon Squad
- Jennifer Egan
Another book that took me forever to read, through not fault of the book. It was a type of book I enjoy - connected short stories, and involved the music industry. Maybe I took so long because I like the cover and enjoyed looking at it so much. 


The Chalk Pit
- Elly Griffiths 🎧
I am moving through a great mystery series, Ruth Galloway, and while most are available in ebook format, this book #9 was an audiobook. All the books are good, and it is the characters' lives that make this series good, the mysteries are okay. Ruth is a forensic archeologist and is called in by the police whenever bones are found - old or new. Book #13 will be the latest in the series, so I am getting close to catching up to new releases.


Your Perfect Year
- Charlotte Lucas (ebook)
I got this book through Amazon's free World book giveaway series. This one is translated from German, and is set in present day Germany. It is kind of a chick lit book, but there are some darker themes (suicide) that propel the plot. Repressed publisher Johnathan finds a journal already filled out for the year, and while trying to find the owner, becomes very interested and realizes how boring his life is. Told in alternating chapters with Hannah, a child care worker who is opening her new business. 



Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise
- Charlotte Gray 🎧
I've read and enjoyed several Charlotte Gray books (The Massey Murder, Nellie McClung) so I I knew this would be good. In the 1940s, Harry Oakes was murdered in the Bahamas after making a fortune in mining in Canada. After spending a bit too much time in the beginning in the mining industry, things picked up. There was little resolution to the murder, but several suspects were identified. And that scoundrel of the 1940s, the Duke of Windsor and Mrs Simpson were in exile in the Bahamas come up in the narrative.


Milk and Honey
- Rupi Kaur (ebook) 
I don't usually read poetry, but Milk and Honey is a book I've seen posted about. And it was a good read. I picked it up here and there, and read a few poems as a time. There are four section-The Hurting, The Loving, The Breaking, The Healing. I preferred the positive poems (loving and healing.)


Transcendent Kingdom
- Yaa Gyasi (ebook)
Another Tournament of Books entry, Gifty tells the story of her family starting when her mother comes out to stay with her in California from Alabama. There is a lot going on - addiction, depression, immigration, scientific research, but I liked Gifty and felt for her little girl self remembering life before the death of her brother, and when her Ghanian family was still together. Well written and engaging. I've wanted to read Gyasi's first book, Homecoming, and will definitely keep an eye out.


The Henna Artist
- Alka Joshi 🎧
Good historical fiction (I seriously always forget how much I enjoy historical fiction. It is never a topic I am drawn to, but I really like it) set in India in the 1950s. The main character is the titled henna artist working for upper class women, as well as dabbling as a herbalist. When her abusive ex-husband (she was forced to marry when very young) shows up with her unknown sister, Lakshima is now responsible for a young teenager which threatens to upset the life she has been building. Lots of blackmail, threats, and secrets get revealed, somewhat neatly, but it was fast-paced, with interesting twists, and characters who are not perfect. 


The Wife Upstairs
- Rachel Hawkins 🎧
Jane Eyre meets Gone Girl? I had a fun time with the terrible characters in this quasi-retelling. No one is likeable, Jane is not our heroine, and Eddie Rochester deserves what ever he gets. But it was still fun to see how Hawkins kept some of the plot elements in her suspense, thriller type book. I had a slight problem with part of the ending (seemed out of (terrible) character) but still was fun. 


The Survivors
- Jane Harper 🎧
Jane Harper has built a nice little corner of the mystery market and her books are reliable and well done. She builds up the relationships between characters and gradually reveals the back story, while taking full advantage of the Australian setting. This one was set in a tourist community on Tasmania which reminded me of PEI. Those that stay, and work the tourism season, and those who go to the big city but come back to visit. The memories of what everyone did as a kid are long. Kieran comes home with his wife and baby to help his mother prepare to move his dementia father to a LTC facility. Kieran was involved in an incident in the Big Storm where some people died years ago, and everyone knows what happened, and everyone has reasons to lie about some aspect of it. 



Leave the World Behind - Rumaan Alam
Talk about building suspense and not knowing what is going on! A couple from New York City and their two teenage children head to Long Island to an AirBnB for the week. While there, the home owners appear and with a blackout occuring and no internet, it is not clear at all what is going on. That unease continues as they two families try to figure out what they should be doing. This was another Tournament of Books entry and should cause lots of conversation.


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books that Made Me Laugh Out Loud



Humour is a tricky thing. I get nervous when a book is advertised as 'hilarious' or 'laugh out loud funny' because I've been fooled a bit by this. It could just be my humour doesn't match the blurber, and my list may not tickle your funny bone. But these are the books that I remember as funny. I'll be looking for other lists that somewhat match my list to find some new funny books. Check out That Artsy Reader Girl for future topics and other lists.



Beat the Reaper by Josh Brazill
Ridiculous, unbelievable, but also funny


Extreme Vinyl Cafe by Stuart McLean
This only represents all the Stuart McLean stories, and you read this one with the late Stuart's voice in your head. If this is the one with the Waterslide, then that is the one that makes me laugh the most.


Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz (or any of the Spellmans)
This is a meta humourous book, and I've read reviews that found the emails in between chapters not necessary, but that is the whole book! That's the funny part. 


She Got Up Off the Couch and other heroic stories from Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel
The sequel to an also funny A Girl Named Zippy, this memoir has some depth as well


Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding
I went through a spell where I read Bridget Jones every year, because it amused me so much. The movie is also very funny, especially the fight scene between Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. But Bridget is so funny herself!


 

I Want to Go Home or This Can't Be Happening at MacDonald Hall by Gordon Korman
These books go back to my childhood, but I still remember being unable to read because I was laughing so hard. 


Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
Another book where hearing the author's voice is a part of the fun. Even if I don't listen to an audiobook, I hear Sarah Vowell in my head. This book is her going on vacation to investigate the assassination of various presidents of the US. See, funny topic!


Redshirts by John Scalzi
An audacious plot that by the time you get to the end, your head will be spinning. But it is still funny


Paper Towns by John Green (the road trip section)
I remember giggling out loud at 2 in the morning while reading the road trip section and trying not to wake my husband.


The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie
As you might expect from Hugh Laurie, this espionage-spy thriller is also full of laughs.

Not David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs

Running With Scissors was particularly jarring as a 'funny' book. I did not find this book funny at all. At all. And I've read a few Sedaris and I guess I don't get them. 

I left off the funny ladies of Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, and Amy Poehler and I did find their memoirs funny, but maybe not laugh out loud. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Mardis Gras!

 


Here's a little Canadian - American difference: I would call today Shrove Tuesday or maybe Pancake Tuesday, but it is more known as Mardi Gras in the United States. I've only had pancakes on Tuesday but I guess it is more of a celebration in the States. I was certainly aware of New Orleans Mardi Gras but it must be more than just there. The colours of Mardi Gras are purple, green and yellow and that is the theme for this week's Top Ten Tuesday - books cover colours. These are books I own but haven't read yet. For more lists and future Top Ten Tuesday plans, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.
Are you eating pancakes tonight?















































Tuesday, February 9, 2021

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Love Freebie

 


It's a Love Freebie this week, as Valentine's Day approaches. I found ten books with Love in their title. Some are from my favourite ongoing series, some are nonfiction, and some are truly love stories. Check out That Artsy Reader Girl for other lists, and to see some future TTT topics.



To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
I haven't seen the series yet, but the delightful relationship between Lara Jean and Peter makes this a great YA sereis


Eat Pray Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert


The Republic of Love by Carol Shields
This is a quiet story (obvs, by Carol Shields) but no less a love story.



I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
This is a crazy YA story about students at a spy boarding school. Lots of outrageous fun but no real love story.


Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella
I read this Kinsella story last year and remembered how good Kinsella is at the light romance story. It doesn't take long until you are invested in the characters and their outcome.


Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
I brought this YA novel home from our school library about a teenager who goes to live with her unknown father in Italy after her mother dies. There's a neighbour boy who shows her around the neighbourhood. So, not as light as it originally seems, but still, Italy in the summer. 


The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra
I love connected short stories and this one set in Russia over the 20th century is very good. I'm oddly fascinated by Russia - not enough to read War and Peace, but it started with Russka by Edward Rutherford.


An Irish Doctor in Love and at Sea by Patrick Taylor
Lovely gentle series set in 1960s (and back in time during both wars) with love stories in the past and present.


The Case of the Love Commandos: From the Files Vish Puri, India's Most Private Investigator by Tarquin Hall
I haven't read from this series in a while, but I see there is a new addition to the series. It took me a while to get the tone, because it feels light, but really isn't.


Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen
This was the latest in the Her Royal Spyness series as Georgie heads to Africa for a safari. Not the strongest in the series, but still a fun time.


The Mapping of Love and Death (Maisie Dobbs #7) by Jacqueline Winspear
What started as a series of life after WW1 has gone on so long that now Maisie is thrust into WW2, as book #16 is the latest. I'm running out of love for Maisie - they are still well done, but what I liked the most has changed over time and I'm debated whether to keep going.