Tuesday, February 19, 2019

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I've Loved with Few Ratings at Goodreads

Books I've Loved with Few Ratings at Goodreads is the topic at Top Ten Tuesday for this week. Few ratings means less than 2000 people have rated the book. I don't record a lot at Goodreads, as I'm a Librarything girl, but I have started to keep track a bit there. It didn't take me long to realize that I needed to check out the Canadian books I've loved to find the books for this week's topic. I don't my sharing my love of under rated Canadian books. 
Check out Top Ten Tuesday at ThatArtsyReaderGirl for more lists, and for future topics. 

Field Notes by Sarah Jewell
 is a lovely collection of essays written for a local NS paper by a transplanted from the city girl. 

Canada by Mike Myers 
was a Canada150 book, a real love letter to Canada from funny guy Mike Myers. This was one of my favourite books from 2017. 

Canadianity by Jeremy Taggart and Jonathan Torrens
Same idea as Canada, lots of great lists, and each province gets some love. This is the kind of book to read around another Canadian to compare what you'd put on their list. Funny stuff.

The Lost Salt Gift of Blood by Alistair MacLeod
Almost perfect collection of short stories by a master. Perfectly captures the flavour of the Maritimes

A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty
A non-Canadian entry, but this YA book, last in the trilogy, defies description. There is some world building, parallel worlds, super crazy twists, wonderful characters, science, and princesses. I really enjoyed this little series.

Icarus by Deon Meyer
A police procedural with the most flawed lead, Bennie Griesel, set in South Africa. The character development as been top notch in this series, and the crime and plotting is even better. One of the best mystery writers around.

Harry's Last Stand by Harry Leslie Smith
I was not familiar with Smith, but around the time he died last fall, Twitter was a buzz. I happened on a free download in honor of Harry after he died, and really liked his musings. 

The Golden Boy by Grant Matheson
I guess there are 116 people from PEI on Goodreads? This memoir is subtitled A Doctor's Journey with Addictions, is a scary, well done read about how quickly an opiod addiction can develop, and how hard is is to break. Luckily, this local Charlottetown  doctor came out the other side, but it was not easy. 

Whirl Away by Russell Wangersky
Another strong Canadian writing short stories, Wangersky is a newspaper columnist in the Maritimes, but his fiction writing is also very good. I've read a novel of his, Walt, that was well done and creepy. 

I Want to Go Home by Gordon Korman
I was having trouble finding a tenth book, and this classic children's book came up when I was recommending a funny book. When a smart aleck goes to camp, and spends all his energy trying to escape. Funniest book I remember reading as a child, Korman was the author of my childhood. 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

SERIES: reviews from Martin Beck, Tales from Alcatraz, Chief Inspector Gamache

The Locked Room - Maj Sjowall, Per Wahloo #8 of 10

This classic Swedish crime series is considered the OG for mystery writers and readers. The husband-wife writer team commented on the social structure and changes in Sweden during the 1960s and 70s. This mystery has the police investigating a bank robbery, and some bank robbers who had been recently released from prison. All I could think of while reading was Stockholm Syndrome, and that this would have been around the time this phrase developed. I've been very slowly reading through this series and am getting near the end. The first few I read so reminded me of the 89th precinct books by Ed McBain which I devoured in my late teenage years. I believe McBain credits Sjowall and Wahloo with his inspiration.

Al Capone Shines My Shoes - Gennifer Choldenko 🎧 #2 of 4

Moose is still living on Alcatraz in the 1930s, Al Capone is still in prison. Since the last book where Capone arranged somehow for Moose's sister to attend a special school, Capone may want a favor as repayment. Moose is also dealing with friendships as a teenager and the difficult life in a very insular community, especially with a manipulative daughter of the warden. I am quite enjoying this young adult series which while fast moving, and written for children, displays complicated relationships and situations that make them a little more layered than children's fiction. Bonus marks for the inclusion of Moose's (obviously autistic) sister in 1930s life.

Kingdom of the Blind - Louise Penny  🎧 #14 of 14

Book fourteen finds Gamache suspended, and being named a notary, along with Myrna, for a neighbourhood cleaning lady, known as the Baroness. But they have no idea why they have been named as it even takes them a while to figure out why they have been named. While looking into the will, there is a murder. 
Nicely plotted, interesting characters, and, is that a love interest for cranky Ruth Zardo? As usual, it's the interactions in Three Pines with the regular characters that make these mysteries. I'm still not a fan of Jean-Guy - he admires Armand, but expects Armand to let him down every time? I was glad (spoiler - highlight to see text)  when Clara's husband Peter left the series, and I could do without Jean-Guy as well.