Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear and Joe Pickett by C.J. Box, Two Phenomenal Mystery Series

At one point in my life, the mystery genre was my book of choice. Most were good, some were great. Winspear and Box, in my opinion, have taken their mysteries up another notch. Two totally different mysteries in every way but one: excellent writing and story telling. And I almost passed them by.

Diane, my best friend and voracious reader, had told me numerous times about Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series, set in London around The Great War. Finally, one day I had no other books in mind when I somehow remembered her recommendation. Maybe my eye caught a title on the library's shelf or something else, but I finally picked up the first one, titled Maisie Dobbs.

Maisie is thirteen when her mother dies, so she and her father are on their own. He continues to sell vegetables from his horse-drawn carriage daily. Maisie can tell he can hardly look at her because she reminds him so much of her mother. But he's kind and wants a better life for her, so he sets her up as a maid with a wealthy family on his delivery route. Maisie is a hard worker, but she is caught reading in the library at night instead of sleeping. She thinks she will be sacked for sure but instead the matriarch introduces her to a man who becomes her teacher and mentor. Eventually, after his tutoring, she is about to go to University, when she lies about her age and goes to France to be a nurse in the war. After the war she becomes a psychologist and detective. Scattered in her books, Winspear’s love of vintage clothing and cars is apparent. I Google every piece of clothing and old car she mentions so I can see what they look look like. Each book in the series has a theme, like the men who had to go into war zones to make maps for the military. So far, I have read all fourteen books and look forward in anticipation for the next.

C. J. Box's Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett had been buzzing around me for quite some time. The author had an appearance at a local indie bookstore and one could hardly ignore his ranking on the best sellers list. But really, a game warden in Wyoming? Mine was a polite "no thanks". Then an appointment with one of my favorite doctors changed my mind. She is a hoot and a half and a delightful woman who is opposite of the usual "no-social-skills" of doctors. When you meet her, it's as if you've known her forever. A fly fisherwoman herself, she told of her trip to Wales to be in a fly fishing competition. She and another lady from America were the only two contestants to snag fish! But her favorite thing was getting everyone in the group hooked on Box's Joe Pickett books. Hubby and I are officially addicted.

These two authors not only do extensive research, but they've lived their lives in the setting they write about. In each series I have learned so many things and am grateful. I also love how they grow their main and minor characters in each and every book. Whenever I finish their books, I feel as if it was serendipity...needing to read them and not knowing until I did! What could be better than that?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Beartown by Fredrik Backman (Titled The Scandal in Sweden) 5/5 Stars

Best selling author Fredrick Backman's best book yet. His debut book in 2015, A Man Called Ove, met with rave reviews and quickly became a best seller all over the world. Beartown is his fifth, with a sequel marked for June of 2018. It is his extraordinary writing that captures me, heart and soul. I feel like I am there living among his characters and their imperfect lives, but knowing each one's flaws, desires, and secrets. At its core is obsession, family, love, and scandal. Don't miss his books, each and every one is remarkable! 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Life by Cynthia Rylant and Illustrations by Brendan Wenzel

Five GIANT stars for this AMAZING picture book. Incredible, lovely story with fun AND beautiful illustrations! I LOVE the way he draws animals, especially their expressive eyes!! This is a keeper and I will be buying it for the grandloves!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Library Bag Faves 10-8-2017

OH! MY! GOSH! New books and a new author! Why am I always surprised when I don't know an author? Because I want to know them ALL! Ben Clanton's picture books are so fun. Email him at clantoonsben.gmail.com and Ben Clanton fort his website. Geo and I LOVE his Narwhal books. So funny, cute illustrations, and informative as well! He has also illustrated other authors' books. ENJOY!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Audio Book Love

A recent minor eye surgery waylaid my reading for a while. Thank goodness for my audio book addiction. Here are just a few of my favorite audio books and narrators. AF-adult fic AF*-adult fic suitable for teens YA-Young Adult MG-middle grade  

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters read by Barbara Rosenblat *AF Mys

Award winning Barbara Rosenblat IS the voice of Amelia Peabody, the young headstrong archaeologist and feminist who is off to Egypt in the early nineteen hundreds. Barbara Mertz had a Phd in Egyptology and used the names of her children as her pen name. Not only are her books accurate and well written, they are hilarious mysteries. Rosenblat is just delightful! 

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith *AF Mys

Lisette Lecat's lovely lilting voice mesmerized me with her Botswana accent describing the beauty and gentle way of life in South Africa in McCall Smith's wonderful mystery series.

Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen Classic

I loved every movie based on Austen's books, but reading them was daunting. Just in the ten minute drive to work, my brain was connecting with the audio book. I could finally HEAR the cadence and the rhythm, and it MADE SENSE! If you have any reluctant, dyslexic, or struggling readers, get them audio books! 

Paperboy by Vince Vawter: 2014 Newbery Honor Book read by Lincoln Hoppe MG Realistic Fic

I wondered how in the world the narrator, Lincoln Hoppe, was going to handle the fact that the main character has a horrible stutter. But he is perfect, in every way. It's a hot July in 1959 Memphis. A friend asks Victor to take over his paper route for the summer. Being the best eleven year old pitcher in town, he gladly accepts, and is as much of a ringer with his deliveries as he is on the ball field. But it's the weekly collection from his customers that makes him sweat. Because he stutters so badly that he can't even say his own name. 

Harry Potter books by JK Rowling and read by Jim Dale Fantasy

If you haven't read them by now, or even if you have, Jim Dale is one of the best narrators EVER! 

Hard Magic - The Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia read by Bronson Pinchot (Balki from Perfect Strangers 80's sitcom) Fantasy-Altered History 

Altered history, 1930's, fantasy, noir. The people with magic are asked by the government to help them defeat the ultimate evil. Pinchot is an award winning narrator and this is one of his best! 

Steelheart-First in the Rekoners trilogy by Brandon Sanderson and read by MacLeod Andrews YA Fantasy

Epics used to be good...not anymore, and Steelheart is the worst. Epics want to take over the world. They have scary super powers. The Rekoners do not. David wants to join the Rekoners because Steelheart killed his father.  

Bossy Pants written and narrated byTina Fey Bio

Hilarious! I used to listen to this book while on my walks and I laughed frequently and loudly. After a particularly funny part I noticed a couple on their porch smiling at me. I pointed to my earbuds and said, "Funny audio book," and just kept on walkin'. 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline read by Wil Wheaton YA Fantasy

2044 and the world has gone to crap. People are crazy for anything from the 1980's.  A billionaire video game maker has died leaving his fortune to the person who beats the last game he made. This is the winner's story.  

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor read by Ray Porter Sci-fi/Fantasy AF* Available on Amazon

Bob was cryogenically frozen after his untimely death. One hundred years later, unfortunately for Bob, corpsicles have no rights. He's now working for the government looking for viable planets for humans to live on since most of Earth is toast. Unique, futuristic hilarity. Ray Porter makes this a must read...he will win awards for this if he hasn't already.  

More great titles from my Audible books

The Martian- Andy Weir read by R.C. Bray Realistic Sci-Fi

Beartown by Fredrik Backman read by Marin Ireland Realistic Fic

Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear read by Orlagh Cassidy Realistic Fic Mys

Winger by Andrew Smith read by Mark Boyett sequel Stand-Off by Andrew Smith read by Kirby Heyborne Realistic Fic

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman read by Mandy Williams & Justine Eyre Fantasy

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green read by MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl Realistic Fic

The Stoneheart Trilogy by Charlie Fletcher narrated by Jim Dale Fantasy

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Books I've Recently Loved

I feel guilty...I've probably told you about these already. I've been on the iPad too much, not enough reading! =( I DO make myself listen to a book if I'm doing brain-dead stuff on the iPad. Sigh... Hope you find something you like. =)

Even if you don't subscribe to Audible, you can go to their site, plug in these books and listen to a sample. And look at other book recs! Also, I found out that the audio books I get from the library needs an auxiliary cord if I want to listen in the car. 

Books I've loved recently:

-We Are Legion by Dennis E. Taylor-SCIFI romp, hilarious...get the audio from the library if you can. Narrator Ray Porter is AMAZING, actor & award winning audio narrator. 

-CJ Box- Joe Pickett mystery series...if someone would have told me I'd give a hoot about a game warden in Wyoming...but WOW. Eating this mystery series up like candy. Incredible writing, LOVE the Wyoming scenery descriptions. 

-Maisie Dobbs mystery series by Jacqueline Winspear, just discovered this series, first one written in 2004, just means I have all of them to look forward to. Post WWI, England, young woman becomes a detective and psychologist. Haven't guessed any of the outcomes yet! Superior! 

-Fredrick Backman...have you read him yet? Young Swedish author, best selling already!! MAN CALLED OVE. MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE'S SORRY. Have his next one on hold BRIT-MARIE WAS HERE, read this one last, she's a character from the 2nd one. 

-Everyone..I mean EVERYONE should read Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. Movie was great, book is INCREDIBLE. Made me rethink everything I thought I knew about prejudice and race. WOW!!! 

-Julie Murphy YA author, DUMPLIN'. SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY...have her newest on hold, RAMONA BLUE.

-READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline...great sci-fi/dystopian/fantasy. Spielberg is directing movie. Will Wheaton audio narrator is superb. 

-Did you read the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer? LOVED her graphic novel WIRES AND NERVES.

-SCRAPPY LITTLE NOBODY by Anna Kendrick, autobio, HILARIOUS...she doesn't take shite from ANYONE!!! Amazingly honest, tells ALL! 

-I told you about Nicola Yoon's books already, right? EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING. THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR. Teenage romance at its best! Diverse characters, realistic! 

-Do you like Charlaine Harris's books...we love these series, Sookie Stackhouse, Harper Connely, and Midnight Texas. Fun fantasy at its best! 

-Andrew Smith's YA books...great realistic fiction. WINGER. Sequel is STAND-OFF. 

-INVISIBILITY by David Levithan and Andrea Creamer-YA about a teen who is invisible until a girl moves in next door...she can see him.