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Rick Kitchen

What Are We Currently Reading?

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1 hour ago, Jeanne222 said:

Does anybody read Harlan Cobin books?  I see one 'Caught' I might be interested in.

I used to read all his books then he got a bit strange writing under a different name.  So I stopped.

But this one caught my eye.

I loved Caught which was actually the first Harlan Coben book I ever read, then I proceeded to read all his books.  I'm a huge fan of his stand alone books but don't like his Myron Bolitar series and hated the book about Win.

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1 hour ago, JustHereForFood said:

I like his Myron Bolitar novels, but with his standalone novels I stopped caring after a few of them. He basically uses two types of twist over and over again, so it got a bit uninteresting for me. With Myron Bolitar series I keep reading just for those characters that I like, not for the plot.

But if you haven't read many of his books, you might like Caught, it wasn't bad, it just wasn't particularly surprising or clever. JMO of course. 

Also, I was not aware he also writes under a different name. Can you specify?

I'm sorry. It's been a while but I was referring to the Myron Bolitat series.

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9 hours ago, Ohiopirate02 said:

It really depends on what county you are near in NC.  My county grants a full library card to every NC resident.  The nearby county charges a fee for ebook access to non-residents.  We are all funded differently and the local governments we are beholden to all have different rules.  

I had no idea this was a thing and just found out NYPL has digital accounts available to all state residents! So grateful for this thread! But seriously skimming a TV message board at 2am providing info that should be more widely available is  something.

And I'm currently reading The Five Wounds and The Bombay Prince. I just finished When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain the second book/story in the Empress of Salt and Fortune/Singing Hills Cycle and absolutely loved it as much as the first.

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6 hours ago, MeloraH said:

I had no idea this was a thing and just found out NYPL has digital accounts available to all state residents! So grateful for this thread! But seriously skimming a TV message board at 2am providing info that should be more widely available is  something.

And I'm currently reading The Five Wounds and The Bombay Prince. I just finished When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain the second book/story in the Empress of Salt and Fortune/Singing Hills Cycle and absolutely loved it as much as the first.

Most libraries do not advertise that they extend borrowing privileges with or without a fee to non-residents.  It doesn't play well to their established base.  They want their library to devote the library's budget to the materials that matter to them and do not want long waits for ebooks.  Advertising that you extend borrowing to people from all over the state or even country is a surefire way to get your budgets slashed next year.  Libraries are funded in America by tax dollars and taxpayers get funny about how "their" tax dollars are spent.  It doesn't matter how well-reasoned your argument for extending borrowing to non-residents is, all they hear is they may have to wait an extra week to read the latest James Patterson.  So libraries do not advertise all of their services, but we do list them all on our websites.  It's not hidden. 

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I remember reading The Firm when it first came out and thinking it was just... one of the most exciting, tense reads  I loved it.  I quickly went back and read A Time to Kill.  I think I read everything he wrote up until The Runaway Jury,  And then I just stopped.  I am not sure why But i simply lost interest in his plotting.  I did read the first book in the Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer series to vet it for my son who was interested in reading it at the time.  I thought that was nicely written.

I have to admit, I learned quite a lot from The King Of Torts. Mainly, the only ones who make money from class action law suits are the attorney's.

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1 minute ago, peacheslatour said:

Mainly, the only ones who make money from class action law suits are the attorney's.

LOL. I think this is true for just about any action involving lawyers. I don't mean this as an insult. They provide a needed service, but they also get paid no matter what.

I'm diving back into Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon after a long hiatus. I have more background on everything he's writing about now, which makes this return a lot easier. I was having a lot of trouble following things at first.

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20 minutes ago, peacheslatour said:

I have to admit, I learned quite a lot from The King Of Torts. Mainly, the only ones who make money from class action law suits are the attorney's.

That's actually my favorite John Grisham book. Most people think it's an odd choice, but it's a really accurate tale about the dangers of greed.

 

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I have pretty divergent interests when it comes to books, so I'm currently reading "Old Venus," which is a collection of modern short stories written in the style of the classic age of science fiction, when we still believed Venus and Mars could be habitable. 

I'm coupling that with a biography of Hattie McDaniel, Mammy from "Gone With the Wind." She had an interesting life and was a trailblazer for Black entertainers during the early age of Hollywood. 

And I'm reading, on and off, a historical novel about Jane Seymour called "Jane the Quene."

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2 hours ago, SmithW6079 said:

I have pretty divergent interests when it comes to books, so I'm currently reading "Old Venus," which is a collection of modern short stories written in the style of the classic age of science fiction, when we still believed Venus and Mars could be habitable. 

I'm coupling that with a biography of Hattie McDaniel, Mammy from "Gone With the Wind." She had an interesting life and was a trailblazer for Black entertainers during the early age of Hollywood. 

And I'm reading, on and off, a historical novel about Jane Seymour called "Jane the Quene."

That's quite a variety.

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On 6/27/2021 at 12:00 AM, stewedsquash said:

Any insight into Ruth Rendell and her alter Barbara Vine? I am debating downloading Asta's Book by Barbara Vine from the library. I was led to it via a BookBub deal for Ruth Rendell, The Best Man To Die, which is a series (there is a waiting list for this one). The Barbara Vine book above is comparing her to Turow/P D James/Ian Larkin. 

eta I deleted the question of what this author writes about because it came across as things I was interested in and that was not my intent. I am not interested in books that are gory or creepy.

Love both sets of her mysteries. The Vine ones are more psychological rather then a regular "who done it". I've read all the authors you mentioned above and Rendall is my number one. I think I've read everything she's written (she's passed away so no more books) and her very last few books did disappoint me, but otherwise she's wonderful.

Asta's Book (also called Anna's Book) is great. Her books are not gory or creepy but they usually involve a murder,  but then most mysteries do, yes? 

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5 hours ago, SmithW6079 said:

I have pretty divergent interests when it comes to books, so I'm currently reading "Old Venus," which is a collection of modern short stories written in the style of the classic age of science fiction, when we still believed Venus and Mars could be habitable. 

I'm coupling that with a biography of Hattie McDaniel, Mammy from "Gone With the Wind." She had an interesting life and was a trailblazer for Black entertainers during the early age of Hollywood. 

And I'm reading, on and off, a historical novel about Jane Seymour called "Jane the Quene."

I read Old Venus a few years ago. From memory, I really liked the Garth Nix story. The rest, not so much. When you finish, please let me know if you think there are any worth revisiting.

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21 minutes ago, Anduin said:

I read Old Venus a few years ago. From memory, I really liked the Garth Nix story. The rest, not so much. When you finish, please let me know if you think there are any worth revisiting.

I just finished the Nix one. It was intriguing. So far, I really liked the David Brin story. In fact, I read an excerpt on his website, which is what prompted me to pick up the book to read the rest of the stories. I'll let you know what I think of the rest of them when I've finished it. I also have the companion book, "Old Mars" to read next.

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Colleen McCullough The Song of Troy, which is a re-telling of Homer's Illiad. Started on Saturday, I think, and already more than a hundred pages in. Pretty smooth read. Although, was thrown back a bit since (can't remember whether in the poem it was the same or not) Helen is depicted in the book to be promiscuous from the very get go (fourteen years of age, if IIRC that one chapter).

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On 6/28/2021 at 5:27 PM, DearEvette said:

Are you a big fan of the Fox and O'Hare series?  If so, I am curious about how you are finding it after Lee Goldberg stopped co-writing. 

I ADORED the first five books and got really nervous when book six showed up in pre-publication with someone named Raymond Benson as the co-author and no sign of Lee Goldberg.  And then got even more nervous when suddenly Raymond Benson was gone and her son Peter was named as co-author.  My fears seamed validated when some of my reading group buddies and Goodreads friends  said the tone was completely different and there were glaring continuity issues.  This books sounds like it is along the same lines especially as it sounds like it is saying that Jake and Kate never got along (a flat out LIE!!  He helped Kate parachute into a monastery illegally in the first book, he sent her a rocket launcher in a care package to help her get away from pirates. Jake is Dad goals !!)  So I am holding out hope that Lee Goldberg will re-appear because given what I know of Janet Evanovich, the elegant long con plotting feels like it was all due to Goldberg. So for me the series ended at book 5 but I would love for Goldberg to return.

 

I remember reading The Firm when it first came out and thinking it was just... one of the most exciting, tense reads  I loved it.  I quickly went back and read A Time to Kill.  I think I read everything he wrote up until The Runaway Jury,  And then I just stopped.  I am not sure why But i simply lost interest in his plotting.  I did read the first book in the Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer series to vet it for my son who was interested in reading it at the time.  I thought that was nicely written.

Your experience with Grisham is like mine.

I started the first book back last summer of the Fox and O'Hare series, got a few chapters in and had some other books on hold become available so I returned it. The book I mentioned in the series showed up on Bookbub so I looked at the library and it has such a long wait period that I am trying to start the series again from the beginning. Your review is good information for me to know and I will keep it in mind as I go from book to book. 

On 6/28/2021 at 3:42 PM, Darian said:

I'm lucky and I know it. The first two I got because I was regularly using libraries in two different systems. I live in MA, and it's a small state, with little counties, so there are a lot of different systems close by and one was the Boston Public Library system, which is excellent. I had those two when I got an e-reader. I was a very, very early adopter, because between vision and motor issues, I was starting to read less but the e-reader gave me back reading, basically.

Back then, libraries had a limited catalog of ebooks, so I got two more cards in neighboring counties. You just have to live in the state. Then all those systems and several more, eight in total, extended ebook borrowing privileges to each other, so I signed up for e-accounts only with the systems I didn't have physical cards with. I hope where you live they've started or start doing something similar. I know in most of our state's you can now sign up just for e-accounts and never go near the physical library to sign up. 

We have Overdrive, which I use because I use a dedicated ereader, but they made it easy to use, and Libby for androids, etc. My husband uses that to read library ezines on his tablet. 

Your first sentence:  I didn't mean to imply in my question that you had to justify having so many cards, I was curious on how it could be done. I hope I didn't put you on the spot in that way. Thanks for the information. When I get some time and can get to some adjoining county library systems I am going to see if I am eligible. I recall back in 1986-ish or after that I had my own county and the adjoining county for a regular library card so I think I can probably get three, at least. I also use a dedicated Kindle just for reading only. I don't even access the Goodreads or Google that is available on it. I have a Kindle Paperwhite with the lighted screen. I usually get the deals around Thanksgiving that are offered and have never paid more than $60 for any of them. Glad about that also because it seems like every couple of years they become "outdated" (deliberately on Amazon's part) so they don't work anymore. I haven't tried Nook but have thought about it. I don't know anything about them, if they are  easy to use or the selection of books available.

I usually use my library because there are so many self published books that are just dreck and usually if it is at the library, it is from a professional publisher that has an editor. 

 

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On 6/29/2021 at 9:12 AM, Ohiopirate02 said:

Most libraries do not advertise that they extend borrowing privileges with or without a fee to non-residents.  It doesn't play well to their established base.  They want their library to devote the library's budget to the materials that matter to them and do not want long waits for ebooks.  Advertising that you extend borrowing to people from all over the state or even country is a surefire way to get your budgets slashed next year.  Libraries are funded in America by tax dollars and taxpayers get funny about how "their" tax dollars are spent.  It doesn't matter how well-reasoned your argument for extending borrowing to non-residents is, all they hear is they may have to wait an extra week to read the latest James Patterson.  So libraries do not advertise all of their services, but we do list them all on our websites.  It's not hidden. 

I can't remember exactly how it is worded but when I put in a hold and it gives the wait time, there is a question mark that says What does this mean?, click it and it says that the you will move up the list at varying times depending on if the item is available because of being from another systems library, and people in that system will have first choice, even if they put in a hold after you. I am wording that badly but if you are a librarian, you probably know what I am trying to say.

On 6/29/2021 at 5:19 PM, SusieQ said:

Love both sets of her mysteries. The Vine ones are more psychological rather then a regular "who done it". I've read all the authors you mentioned above and Rendall is my number one. I think I've read everything she's written (she's passed away so no more books) and her very last few books did disappoint me, but otherwise she's wonderful.

Asta's Book (also called Anna's Book) is great. Her books are not gory or creepy but they usually involve a murder,  but then most mysteries do, yes? 

Thanks you so much for this review. It really helped me decide to give this author (both names) a try. I think I am going to be like you, lean towards the Vine. And I am excited to start Asta's Book because I have gotten reviews that I think I would have written, if I liked the book.

On 6/29/2021 at 11:55 AM, SmithW6079 said:

I have pretty divergent interests when it comes to books [snip]

Back in the 1980's when I was a teenager we had a tiny library that was only a room attached to the tiny town hall of our tiny, little town. The librarian was about 200 years old and knew everything there was to know about books. She always let everyone know what was available and tried to cater to their likes. I clearly remember her telling me that she could not for the life of her figure out what my category of reading was, so she just picked a bit of everything and hoped I would like it.  

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9 hours ago, stewedsquash said:

Back in the 1980's when I was a teenager we had a tiny library that was only a room attached to the tiny town hall of our tiny, little town. The librarian was about 200 years old and knew everything there was to know about books. She always let everyone know what was available and tried to cater to their likes. I clearly remember her telling me that she could not for the life of her figure out what my category of reading was, so she just picked a bit of everything and hoped I would like it.  

Librarians are the best.  My librarian suggested the Elizabeth Peters series about Amelia Peabody. After I read them all, she suggested I now go to Egypt to see the sights that the novels were set in.

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11 hours ago, stewedsquash said:

I can't remember exactly how it is worded but when I put in a hold and it gives the wait time, there is a question mark that says What does this mean?, click it and it says that the you will move up the list at varying times depending on if the item is available because of being from another systems library, and people in that system will have first choice, even if they put in a hold after you. I am wording that badly but if you are a librarian, you probably know what I am trying to say.

Thanks you so much for this review. It really helped me decide to give this author (both names) a try. I think I am going to be like you, lean towards the Vine. And I am excited to start Asta's Book because I have gotten reviews that I think I would have written, if I liked the book.

Back in the 1980's when I was a teenager we had a tiny library that was only a room attached to the tiny town hall of our tiny, little town. The librarian was about 200 years old and knew everything there was to know about books. She always let everyone know what was available and tried to cater to their likes. I clearly remember her telling me that she could not for the life of her figure out what my category of reading was, so she just picked a bit of everything and hoped I would like it.  

Aww, I love people like her.

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11 hours ago, stewedsquash said:

I can't remember exactly how it is worded but when I put in a hold and it gives the wait time, there is a question mark that says What does this mean?, click it and it says that the you will move up the list at varying times depending on if the item is available because of being from another systems library, and people in that system will have first choice, even if they put in a hold after you. I am wording that badly but if you are a librarian, you probably know what I am trying to say.

Thanks you so much for this review. It really helped me decide to give this author (both names) a try. I think I am going to be like you, lean towards the Vine. And I am excited to start Asta's Book because I have gotten reviews that I think I would have written, if I liked the book.

Back in the 1980's when I was a teenager we had a tiny library that was only a room attached to the tiny town hall of our tiny, little town. The librarian was about 200 years old and knew everything there was to know about books. She always let everyone know what was available and tried to cater to their likes. I clearly remember her telling me that she could not for the life of her figure out what my category of reading was, so she just picked a bit of everything and hoped I would like it.  

Happy to help. The first Vine book I read was Brimstone Wedding. And was I hooked! There are 15 Vine books and all but the last two were great (not that those two were terrible, but just not that great). Ruth Rendall books are also good and there are a lot more of them. I'm so happy to turn someone on to her.

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13 hours ago, stewedsquash said:

Your first sentence:  I didn't mean to imply in my question that you had to justify having so many cards, I was curious on how it could be done. I hope I didn't put you on the spot in that way.

Oh, my gosh, no, and I apologize if I gave the impression that I thought that. I just know how lucky I am so I felt almost embarrassed at how good I have it. I'm always happy to share anything about how I swung this, because it makes life a lot easier. I've been in the hospital for 4-5 weeks a few times, and having trouble getting into books because of my medical stuff and the general routine of being inpatient, so it was a luxury to be able to just keep checking out books on my phone or laptop and read, then drop books until I found what I wanted, plus I had preloaded a bunch of books. I hope you can find a way to have more options!       

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I finished reading the book, Nomadland, by Jessica Bruder, which made me interested after watching the movie. The book goes into a lot more detail about how/why so many people turned to becoming "houseless."

The vast majority were due to 2 factors: divorce and the 2008 market/housing crash. At least half the people interviewed were divorced, 1/4 always single and 1/4 were married. divorce, which totally saps a household's income, was significant because either the man had to give up the house to the wife and couldn't afford to buy/rent another place, or the couple had to sell the house and one or the other couldn't afford housing.

The 2008 market/housing crash was a huge factor. so many people lost their house in the crash due to becoming underwater/foreclosure, or losing all their savings in the stock market. due to stagnant wages, these people could not keep up their mortgage payments, especially those that lost jobs or were forced to take reduced wages.

And especially with these mid-boomers, their prior wages were not always a lot, especially for the women, so their social security checks were minimal. there were several interviewed that had actually been fairly well off, but a combination of divorce and stock market crash, losing all other equity, devastated their income.

While some could have lived with family, possibly, most of the ones interviewed could not do that, again either due to divorce, or because their own families were also in precarious situations, renting houses and apartments that were usually not even big enough for their own family, let alone allowing a mother or father a spot on the couch. No one in the book had a situation similar to the David Straitharn character in the movie, where the son had a huge farm house with guesthouse just waiting for dad to move in.

The book mentioned the difficulties in obtaining a "residential address" these people had to use in order to register their vehicles, get driver's licenses, apply for absentee ballots, etc. South Dakota is apparently very popular due to no income taxes, very lax residential rules, and ease in setting up a forwarding mail service. But there was a brief comment, not really explored much (well, the book was written in 2016), about how the REAL ID requirements were going to cause a lot of problems for these people because they don't have things like rental leases, utility bills and such.   

more details provided about these people struggling in their temporary jobs from here and there, how they are pressured to work extra unpaid hours (being 'camp hosts' for vendors who operate camp sites on BLM lands - requires cleaning restroom facilities and campsites, checking in people, collecting fees, emptying trash in exchange for minimum wage and a campsite), or required to perform very physically demanding work, (sugar beets harvest, amazon - yes they pay more than minimum wage, which is why these people do the work), which for these 60, 70, 80 year old people is extremely hard.

Lack of dental insurance was a big issue. those that can, usually go to Mexico for work that is 1/4-1/2 price of same work in america. those that can't just save up for teethpulls.

The movie showed the main character taking time to see various "americana" sites and national parks. while that may happen, it sure wasn't mentioned in the book. these people spent the majority of their time traveling from job to job, working, or recuperating from the hard work. their "down" time was mostly spent at the Rubber Tramp Rendevous (2 weeks) and other various get togethers during the winter months, where various vandwellers would all pool/share their skills to help others, so still work.

the book was a good expose of how america has such a huge wage/income gap. there was a note that america has the largest gap between rich and poor of any developed country and our gap was on par with Russia, China and Argentina. Really good company we keep there. 

another issue pointed out by the book was that this was almost exclusively a "white people" experience. the author saw very few non-white people at any of the areas she visited. this issue wasn't delved into much, but there was the suggestion that some of these people were racist (anything to push down someone else made them feel better), and the realization that even with this hard life, there was still 'white privilege.' these people are sometimes told to 'move on' by police if parked somewhere, or police will sometimes help people stranded due to becoming broken down or out of gas. however, the author considered how difficult black people already have in so many other instances, that police almost always treat black people far worse, including shooting/killing them, that certainly "traveling while black" is a pretty unattractive proposition.

Given that the book was written in the years before 2017 (when published), obviously a lot of other topics weren't covered, like how Covid-19 affected these people.

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14 hours ago, stewedsquash said:

I started the first book back last summer of the Fox and O'Hare series, got a few chapters in and had some other books on hold become available so I returned it. The book I mentioned in the series showed up on Bookbub so I looked at the library and it has such a long wait period that I am trying to start the series again from the beginning. Your review is good information for me to know and I will keep it in mind as I go from book to book. 

Oh, yes, I would definitely start with the first book.  It is such a great intro to the personalities of Nick, Kate and Jake.  If the latest book is retconning Jake and Kate's father/daughter relationship I would hate for that book to be your first intro to them.  It'd poison it.  Jake is a ride or die dad to Kate and would characterize himself as a failed parent if he did not teach her how to kill a man in 16 ways with just a paperclip.  If audiobooks are your jam, then I recommend those. They are fantastically narrated. 

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3 hours ago, SusieQ said:

The first Vine book I read was Brimstone Wedding.

Great place to start!  BW, along with A Dark-Adapted Eye and Asta's Book, are my top 3 of the Vines, and the only three that I've attempted to re-read.  I read them as they were published, in order, on loan from the library.  I dearly miss the release of a new Rendell or Vine.  Back when Tigerlily's Orchids was published, RR went on a promotional tour.  I got to see her in a B&N in Manhattan.  She read the first chapter of the book, adding so much humor in her telling, followed by a Q&A.  She was quite charming, and very tiny!  When I got the chance to get my book signed, I asked if she was working on a new Vine, she looked me square in the eye and said "Of course!"

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2 hours ago, Darian said:

Oh, my gosh, no, and I apologize if I gave the impression that I thought that. 

No apologies needed. It was all on my end. I tend to overthink things, especially if I think I have put someone on the spot. I even have a magnet on my fridge from one of my kids: Hang on while I overthink this. 

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37 minutes ago, sugarbaker design said:

Great place to start!  BW, along with A Dark-Adapted Eye and Asta's Book, are my top 3 of the Vines, and the only three that I've attempted to re-read.  I read them as they were published, in order, on loan from the library.  I dearly miss the release of a new Rendell or Vine.  Back when Tigerlily's Orchids was published, RR went on a promotional tour.  I got to see her in a B&N in Manhattan.  She read the first chapter of the book, adding so much humor in her telling, followed by a Q&A.  She was quite charming, and very tiny!  When I got the chance to get my book signed, I asked if she was working on a new Vine, she looked me square in the eye and said "Of course!"

Yes!!! Dark Adapted Eye! Those are my top three also.

I usually resist buying fiction because I just don't have anymore shelf space (already too full of non fiction and art and architecture books) but for BV I've made an exception and bought many of them. I should do a reread now that I know the endings and see how they piece together.

How lucky to get to meet her. 

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Just finished: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah which, of the two European-set WWII books I've ready this year (the other being Lisa Scottoline's Eternal), this was the better one. Where I think it excelled that Eternal didn't was in letting characters be a little more morally ambiguous. The war was an awful time for pretty much everybody, many of whom had already been scarred by the first Great War 20 years earlier. Everybody was just trying to survive, and sometimes that meant doing things that didn't line up with your ethical code. And hey, there were plenty of people who were more than happy to collaborate with the occupying forces at the expense of everybody else. It's an unpleasant truth that's hard to grapple with, but it makes for a more compelling and authentic read. In Eternal, everybody was always convinced that they were being altruistic all the time, and it was all just too twee and naive.

The one part where this didn't work for me was

Spoiler

with Vianne's feelings for Beck. I get it, the stakes are high, emotions are fraught, but getting readers to have sympathy for a Nazi is an impossible sell and shouldn't be attempted.

In terms of more positive portrayals, I liked the focus on the smaller ways that people were able to help during the war, especially the roles women played as they were less likely to be suspected as resisters.

Next up: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

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Here's a good one: Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir  who also brought you The Martian.  The sun is dying...and so will Earth.  In fact, almost all suns and planets are dying, except for one many light years away.  How's that for apocalyptic?  So Earth's scientists and governments, in a truly unique collaboration, pull together to try to solve the mystery.  This involves a multi-year mission to the lone sun that is not dying. Our (reluctant) hero keeps thinking out loud, then succinctly lets us know what it all means in clear terms. 

I will not reveal any of the cool/worrisome/threatening/rejoicing plot twists, but I believe you will enjoy the story. 

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Right now I’m reading a romance When Stars Collide by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  It’s part of her Chicago Stars series which doesn’t really have to be read in order.   Each book stands alone while occasionally referencing other characters in the series. An opera singer (Olivia) and a football player (Thad) are paired together for an advertising campaign.   Dislike turns to passion.  Phillips books are a reliable enjoyable read.   This one has a bit of a suspense element because someone is sending disturbing messages to the opera diva. Some reveals were uncomfortable like the diva hates the football player because 

Spoiler

Her old roommate lied to her that Thad tried to assault her years ago.   She and Thad were going to hook up consensually but her boyfriend walks in.  So she pretends it was an assault. 

This book is a little heavier than usual for Phillips there's also a reveal that Olivia’s ex 

Spoiler

Committed suicide after she broke off their engagement.  I have a theory that it was murder instead of suicide but so far from where I’ve read he did kill himself.

 I’m sticking to my theory that Olivia’s best friend’s husband committed the  murder, staged it as a suicide, and is harassing her in order to destroy Olivia’s opera career which would help his wife who is also an opera singer get ahead.  There are other suspects but I really think it’s the bff husband even though he’s been nothing but nice. 

So I started the book for light fun read and unexpectedly found  some darker elements.   The humor and romance is still there. I can handle darker things it’s just I didn’t anticipate it in this particular novel. It’s an interesting read so far even though it wasn’t what I was expecting.

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2 hours ago, grommit2 said:

Here's a good one: Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir  who also brought you The Martian.  The sun is dying...and so will Earth.  In fact, almost all suns and planets are dying, except for one many light years away.  How's that for apocalyptic?  So Earth's scientists and governments, in a truly unique collaboration, pull together to try to solve the mystery.  This involves a multi-year mission to the lone sun that is not dying. Our (reluctant) hero keeps thinking out loud, then succinctly lets us know what it all means in clear terms. 

 

I signed up for Audible (and then promptly canceled) just to get this audiobook.  I have heard nothing but good things about it!

I just finished Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson on audio.  I knew nothing about it--I just picked it up off a list of YA Award Winners to check off a box of my Adult Summer Reading Bingo (no, I've never outgrown summer reading).  I *loved* this book.  I'm not feeling YA lately, but this was just so beautiful.  And it was a YA rarity as there isn't any romance in it.  Instead it is about relationships, friendships, racism.  I didn't know beforehand it was set in Portland, OR (I live in the suburbs of PDX), so it was great fun to read a local book and Watson really captures the essence of Portland.

I'm going to recommend it to my daughter, who is going into 7th grade but reads way above her grade level.  She has been having trouble with books because middle grade is too "easy" for her, but she doesn't like a lot of the subject matter (mostly young love) in YA novels.  

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47 minutes ago, Luckylyn said:

Right now I’m reading a romance When Stars Collide by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

I was gonna give this a pass because SEP just hasn't been doing it for me awhile  and her last book -- a non Chicago Stars book -- was a hot mess, imo.  But I might give this one a look based your spoilers.

I liked her early Chicago Stars stuff, especially the first one. And I really enjoyed her pre-Chicago Stars stuff, they were more meaty and had .. not exactly darker... themes but were definitely less frothy than her CS era books. 

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3 hours ago, DearEvette said:

I was gonna give this a pass because SEP just hasn't been doing it for me awhile  and her last book -- a non Chicago Stars book -- was a hot mess, imo.  But I might give this one a look based your spoilers.

I liked her early Chicago Stars stuff, especially the first one. And I really enjoyed her pre-Chicago Stars stuff, they were more meaty and had .. not exactly darker... themes but were definitely less frothy than her CS era books. 

The last Chicago Stars book I read was Molly's book so I need to catch up.

I started reading her books when she was a bit unknown and I still like those more than her Chicago Stars books. I even have copies of both her historical romances.

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On 6/27/2021 at 11:15 AM, stewedsquash said:

 

Bounty by Janet Evanovich/Steve Hamilton This is book seven in the Fox and O'Hare series. I haven't started it yet but the wait time for this book is down to 11 weeks from the initial 18 weeks (but the math isn't working on those wait times, I bet shenanigans are going on down at the little town library, ha!). It is a bit of a shuffle when dealing with library hot books so I will start the series soon since the other books in it are usually available. 

Anyone read those holds above? Are they worth my four book library imposed limit if another book with wait time comes along? That is a back and forth with library downloads. It usually works out okay but there have been a few "ugh just hit the delete hold and get it over with" moments when there are too many good choices.

I am interested in this Bounty book. I haven’t read any of these but I love Steve Hamilton’s Alex McKnight series. I’ve been hoping he’d write more books, but he hasn’t lately. Now he’s joined the Evanovich Army?  She seems to have become like a James Patterson, who supervises an army of well known ghost writers. Has anyone read Steve Hamilton and can compare?  

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3 hours ago, GussieK said:

I haven’t read any of these but I love Steve Hamilton’s Alex McKnight series.

Same here!

3 hours ago, GussieK said:

I’ve been hoping he’d write more books, but he hasn’t lately.

He seems to be taking a break with Alex McKnight and focusing on his series with Nick Mason, none of which I've read.

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On 6/24/2021 at 8:35 AM, blackwing said:

Next on my reading list is Shiver by Allie Reynolds.  The synopsis looks to be that a group of former friends who haven't seen each other in years reunite at a remote ski lodge in the French Alps.  They all used to be friends years ago until another of their friends mysteriously disappeared.  They are cut off from the world and the secrets of the past threaten their present.

Ummmm... if it sounds familiar, it sounds like an identical general plot as Ruth Ware's One by One and Lucy Foley's The Hunting Party, both of which I read within the past year.  I do like the Agatha Christie locked room genre and will read almost anything that is remotely like And Then There Were None, but I'm curious to see if this book is going to be any different.  I hope it's at least better than Shari LaPena's An Unexpected Guest.

Without even reading a page, I'm sure there are going to be the usual tropes.  A snowstorm blows in, they have no cell service, people's feelings are hurt, one of them has harboured a secret and unrequited love for another for all these years, etc.

Oh and I would not at all be surprised if the ending is that the girl who went missing in the past is actually now one of the reunited friends.  She looked similar enough to one of them, killed her and has been assuming her life ever since.

I finished Shiver.  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, after reading quite a number of very similar books within the past year or so.  I found it riveting.  The way the author alternated between present and past, with short chapters, most ending with some shock reveal or on a mini-cliffhanger, was very effective.  Kept me enthralled.

Of all of the books like this in the past year, the psychological thriller / woman-in-jeop type book, I enjoyed Ruth Ware's One by One the most, but I think Shiver surpasses it by far.  And Allie Reynolds is a much much better writer than Lucy Foley.  Foley's The Guest List and her almost identical book The Hunting Party (very similar apart from a change in location) look like amateur works by comparison.

I thought this book was very well plotted and paced.  The alternating between the past and present was effective because of the clues slowly revealed in the past. The plot actually kept me guessing, because there were strong cases to be made for each character being the baddie.  Ultimately I did correctly surmise the solution, but it was still a very enjoyable read.  I'm looking forward to see what Allie Reynolds writes next.

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Just started listening to Greenlights by Matthew McConnaughy. I’m not sure if the book is any good, but he reads well. It’s almost like having a conversation with him. 

Edited by BlackberryJam
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I finished Riley Sager's latest, Survive the Night, yesterday and loved it to pieces. I really enjoy all of his books. Each story has been different so it doesn't seem like he has a formula yet and I like the care he takes to make sure the conclusions make sense. (Which you would think would be a normal thing but I read a lot of thrillers and sometimes I feel like authors feel like they have to come up with big twists in order to get people talking, whether or not said twists actually make sense for the story.) Every one of his books has been an immediate "oh hell yes" for me.

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Shiver is a great suspense novel. I was shocked by how much I loved it. 

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On 6/27/2021 at 10:13 PM, Black Knight said:

The other thing is that he wrote the diary entries of one character after he wrote the rest of the book, and it shows - there's a rather big secret in them revealed early on that should be extremely significant to another of the characters, but there is no reaction to it by that character when the time comes. That's because it's clearly something that he came up with only when he was writing the diary entries, and he forgot to go back and edit the rest of the book accordingly. An alert editor should have caught that too.

Would you refresh my memory on this?  I remember thinking there was a problem with the diary entries, but then part of the twist fixed it.  Or at least that's how I remembered it, so I'm not sure if I missed something!

I do not know how y'all are managing so many library accounts!  I just have one (I'm in NC as well, but I'm lucky to be in Wake County and I live in the neighborhood bordering Village District [recently changed from Cameron Village] so a really good system), but I am constantly juggling when books are going to be ready.  It's probably worse because I do print and E (in addition to audible, lol), but just yesterday I had three print and one Ebook all come in.  The E book I can put back on hold, but I had to go pick the print ones up or start again at the back of the line.  It's like a part time job keeping up with that.

I just finished Shuggie Bain which was the Booker winner.  It was good, but sometimes I feel lost on why a book is award winning.  It was very engaging, the writing was good, but I felt like I was supposed to feel 

Spoiler

like Shuggie had a happy ending because he was free from his mom and made a friend, but it still looked to me like he was going to live a really shitty life, and I didn't really follow why no one took in a 15 year old child.  I didn't need everything tied up with a neat bow, I can live with a sad ending.  But a sad ending that is written like a hopeful and triumphant one?  It didn't work for me.

 

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I have four library accounts.  My one I have had all my life since the age of 5 still attached to my parents address.  The one I have in the town where I work, the one I have now in the town where I live and a NY Public Library account because NYPL allows any person who resides in New York State to have a free account.

I really only use my local (home and work libraries) for physical items.  But mostly I have them so I can take advantage of ebooks and audiobooks and have a wider selection to pick from across the different systems.  The cool thing about those is that I never have to worry about returning them since they return automatically. 

And all the libraries use the same Overdrive system so I have one app that keeps track of them all. And it sends me reminders about upcoming due dates or when an item I have on hold is ready to borrow etc.

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44 minutes ago, lasu said:

I just finished Shuggie Bain which was the Booker winner.  It was good, but sometimes I feel lost on why a book is award winning.  It was very engaging, the writing was good, but I felt like I was supposed to feel 

  Hide contents

like Shuggie had a happy ending because he was free from his mom and made a friend, but it still looked to me like he was going to live a really shitty life, and I didn't really follow why no one took in a 15 year old child.  I didn't need everything tied up with a neat bow, I can live with a sad ending.  But a sad ending that is written like a hopeful and triumphant one?  It didn't work for me.

 

I was not impressed with Shuggie and really don't know why the book won the Booker.  Looking back at past winners (I only recognize Girl, Woman, Other as the 2019 winner) for the last 5 years, the trend for the Booker was to reward novels that pushed the art forward.  Shuggie felt like a retread--the somber novel full of misery written by a white man that defined Literature with a capital L for the last few centuries.  

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I'd like to thank whichever of you lovely people recommended The Swans Of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin. What a perfect summer book! Light and fizzy as a cold glass of Champagne.

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On 6/15/2021 at 8:36 PM, Starleigh said:

This is just one of the reasons why I love Tana French mysteries.

Really?  The one book I read by her shoehorned in a terrible romance/sex storyline for the main characters, which is part of why I ended up finding it very unsatisfactory.  Of course, I haven't bothered with any of her subsequent books, so maybe that was anomaly.

On 6/29/2021 at 5:19 PM, SusieQ said:

Love both sets of her mysteries. The Vine ones are more psychological rather then a regular "who done it". I've read all the authors you mentioned above and Rendall is my number one. I think I've read everything she's written (she's passed away so no more books) and her very last few books did disappoint me, but otherwise she's wonderful.

Asta's Book (also called Anna's Book) is great. Her books are not gory or creepy but they usually involve a murder,  but then most mysteries do, yes? 

I second both the recommendation of Barbara Vine's books and Anna's Book (as my copy was called) in particular.  That one was fantastic.  A Dark Adapted Eye was also terrific.  The Blood Doctor is more uneven, but the main "mystery" is quite absorbing.

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57 minutes ago, proserpina65 said:

Really?  The one book I read by her shoehorned in a terrible romance/sex storyline for the main characters, which is part of why I ended up finding it very unsatisfactory.  Of course, I haven't bothered with any of her subsequent books, so maybe that was anomaly.

Spoiler

In the Woods, I assume?

Yes, that part was highly unsatisfactory, but I loved the rest of the book.  The next book was a little more odd.

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29 minutes ago, Katy M said:
  Reveal spoiler

In the Woods, I assume?

Yes, that part was highly unsatisfactory, but I loved the rest of the book.  The next book was a little more odd.

Yep, that was the one.  I was enjoying it up to that point, and of course the ending was very unsatisfactory.

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I really like Tana French, but In The Woods is probably my least favorite of hers (though I wasn't overly fond of The Witch Elm either). 

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12 hours ago, lasu said:

Would you refresh my memory on this?  I remember thinking there was a problem with the diary entries, but then part of the twist fixed it.

Major spoilers for Alex Michaelides's The Silent Patient follow:

Spoiler

 

Alicia reveals pretty early on in her diary entries that her mother's car accident wasn't an accident as is believed by everyone else. Her mother deliberately killed herself, and Alicia also believes that her mother wanted to kill her as well (she was a passenger in the car at the time).

The problem with this is that the central mystery of the book is why Alicia killed Gabriel. Theo is obsessed with figuring this out, and it's hugely significant to him when he learns from Alicia's cousin that Alicia had overheard her father expressing the wish that Alicia had died instead of his wife. Alicia felt her father had "killed" her, and so when her husband chose his life over hers, she reacted murderously due to that past trauma.

But Theo gets Alicia's diary from her well before his chat with the cousin. He would already have read about how her mother actually literally tried to kill her. It's the same trauma times 10. He should have been able to unravel the mystery of why she killed Gabriel right there, but instead, we don't even get the slightest bit of commentary from Theo on this huge secret (which is never mentioned anywhere after that diary entry). It made no sense until I read the author commenting about how he wrote the diary entries last.

 

By the by, I just finished reading Michaelides's follow-up, The Maidens, which was recently released. The mystery is not as immediately absorbing as in the first book, since it isn't unique like the first book's was - there have been plenty of "secret/special society" stories set on college campuses in which somebody ends up dead. But it does get interesting, and once again I didn't figure out the final twist, and this time without cheating on the author's part. Also there is an intriguing crossover from the first book that I was just thrilled by. There was something left hanging at the end of this one, so I'm wondering if that will be addressed in a third book, since Michaelides has now established he's writing standalone mysteries in a shared universe.

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@Black Knight, thank you!  I barely remember that part, and I actually read this book twice, back to back to see if it held water.  I may now read it again, before I read his follow up, now that I know there's a bit of a crossover.  And also because I've recommended this book, and if there is a big hole, I will certainly stop.

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I started Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.   I really liked The Martian so I was excited about o start another book with this author.   The premise of a man waking up with amnesia is a gripping start.  I like how I am slowly learning more as the character remembers more.    It’s a great read so far.  

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2 hours ago, Luckylyn said:

I started Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.   I really liked The Martian so I was excited about o start another book with this author.   The premise of a man waking up with amnesia is a gripping start.  I like how I am slowly learning more as the character remembers more.    It’s a great read so far.  

I'm listening to this on Audio right now.  I had to get an Audible membership (for one month) to get it, but so far I'm enjoying it!

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19 minutes ago, OtterMommy said:

I'm listening to this on Audio right now.  I had to get an Audible membership (for one month) to get it, but so far I'm enjoying it!

The narrator on audible Project Hail Mary is doing a great job.  Sometimes the narration is flat or struggles with different voices in other books.   The narration for Project Hail Mary has been very engaging.

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On 7/8/2021 at 7:31 PM, Luckylyn said:

The narrator on audible Project Hail Mary is doing a great job.

Great narration can make all the difference.  If I'm doing a reread of a book I know well, listening to an audiobook can truly give a fresh perspective, because the narrator may put different inflections on words or what-have-you, than how I have read it in the past.  Also, listening to Huck Finn forced me to HEAR the n-word.  I'd basically edited in my head when I read it, but you can't do that when it's being said outload.

Also, I've seen that a lot of people didn't like Daisy Jones and the Six, and I suspect it benefited as much as any ever had by being listened to.  They did a full cast production, and it comes across VERY much like the documentary it's meant to be.

I read Klara and The Sun over the weekend.  His writing is SO AMAZING and yet, I didn't feel this book was as strong as some of his others.  Certainly worth the time to read, but if you go in expecting Never Let Me Go, I think you'll be let down.

I just started Song of Achilles, and I think it will be fine, but not Circe level.

Edited by lasu
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