It turns out I read a little more over the break than I thought, but I hadn’t quite finished the books. In celebration of the Bookfest today- my reading list for the last week or two.
Powers of Detection by Dana Stabenow is a collection of mystery and fantasy stories, including ones by Charlaine Harris and Anne Perry. Entertaining, and no really awful stories in there. Nothing that absolutely amazed me either though. A lot of the stories seemed to be extensions of the authors’ other works, which can be good for fans, but less so for me. Oh, and the editors name…
Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris is the second in a new series by this author ( also the author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels). The series focuses on Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver. As a side effect of being struck by lightning as a teenager, Harper can sense dead bodies. She makes a living at this, traveling around assisting in searches for dead/missing people. In this book she has been hired by a college class investigating the paranormal to do a graveyard read, identifying the causes of death for the people buried there. Only there is a nasty surprise, a fresh body in one of the graves- one that she was hired to look for the previous year. Basically a mystery with some paranormal bits added. Entertaining, and definitely makes you want to continue with Harper’s story. Some fairly typical Charlaine Harris bits (more later!) oh and my copy is autographed.
Earth to Hell by Kylie Chan (an autographed copy!) was one of my Christmas presents. It is the fourth book in what promises to be a longish series, however it is set up as a series of trilogies. The first 3, the Dark Heavens Trilogy were excellent, the story of an ordinary Australian, Emma, teaching English in Hong Kong who becomes the nanny to a not so ordinary little girl. Basically the girl’s father, John Chen, is the Chinese God of the Northern Heavens. At the end of the Dark Heavens trilogy John Chen goes into a kind of exile,he has used up too much of his energy and needs to recharge. Emma, as his fiance, and the guardian of his daughter is left to protect the Northern Heavens and his martial arts academies in Hong Kong from demons. Hard to explain, but very good and the author is from Brisbane. Yay Brisbane. She had a signing in Brisbane the day before the official release of the book, and Greg went and got me a copy ( I was not allowed to go). Now just waiting for the next one.
Alpha Beta by John Man is the story of the alphabet. Now I have of these history of the alphabet books, and it is interesting to see how understanding changes over the years as we are able to find more artifacts or crack symbols. It is a fairly good account of how the alphabet came to be, not the same as some of the books I own, everybody has a different spin and a different archaeological dig to talk to. In this case it is the destruction and later discovery of a small city-kingdom somewhere in Syria that provided some of the “discovery materials for clues to the evolving alphabet. Interesting, but if you are really interested in the subject there are probably better books, or at least other books to read alongside.
Trust Me by Jayne Ann Krentz – This is a contemporary romance- and a reasonably hefty one. Shy caterer agrees to attend functions(in a business arrangement capacity) with wealthy IT CEO with no social skills. They fall in love. There are criminal doings afoot, and amusing dealings with her theatrical family. Good amusement value and not as irritating as many. My biggest gripe with this author is that she finds her metaphor for the book and sticks with it, which can be a little bit oppressive. This time it is the idea of chaos.
Bind, Torture, Kill by Roy Wenzl, Tim Potter, L. Kelly, and Hurst Laviana – This is a true crime book on the BTK serial killer, and an account of his capture. For hose who don’t the BTK guy operated around Wichita in the 70’s and 80’s and was finally caught in the mid 90’s after the investigation was reopened and a public campaign undertaken. The book was written with some of the major reporters from the area’s newspaper, and does a good job of capturing the time and he place and the dedication that went into getting the guy. Not a comforting read though.
On to the PDA Books
The Aurora Teagarden mysteries by Charlaine Harris. There are several books in the series: Real Murders; A Bone to Pick; Three Bedrooms, One Corpse; The Julius House; Dead over Heels; A Fool and his Honey; and Last Scene Alive. I have polished off all except A Fool and his honey. They are set in a small southern town and star a part time librarian, Aurora Teagarden. The premise is fairly simple, in the course of living her life Aurora becomes involved in murders and solves them. She has a love interest or two in most of the books, and gets married around book four, after meeting her husband in book three- I gather he dies in the one I have not finished. They are light, entertaining books and do make you want to continue reading – I have just found that there is one more book to read in the series.
The Lily Bard “Shakespeare”series, by Chalaine Harris. Five books in this series: Shakespeare’s Landlord ; Shakespeare’s Champion; Shakespeare’s Christmas; Shakespeare’s Trollop; and Shakespear’s Counselor. Once again a mystery series set in a small southern town (Shakespeare) starring a single young woman by the name of Lily Bard. After her dramatic kidnapping, rape, and torture and the media circus that followed, Lily Bard has moved to a small town to escape her past. She runs a small cleaning business and attends karate classes at the gym. She too has the knack for running across dead bodies and tracking down their killers. There are a few romances woven through the book, and she does get married in the last one to date, but it is a subtler part of the series.
Okay, the Charlaine Harris thing, I read the first few Sookie novels when they first came out, years ago. They are light an fluffy and fun. But she does very similar things in all of her books. There is always the careful description of what her character’s are wearing. I don’t know why, but fashion choice is always very important. It irks me. I do appreciate the fact that her murderers are not always the usual suspects- there are some surprises and the bad type people aren’t as bad as it seems, and the upstanding citizens, well…. She also has an interesting and dark view on romantic relationships that spiral into murderous partnerships- 2 or 3 in the series above.
So that is me to his point. And on my calculations, I have averaged better than a book a day so far this year- impressive (and unsustainable).