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text 2016-09-02 00:38
Summer Bingo Card - Final Update!




I finished my summer bingo card, just squeaking in under the deadline with Go Fly A Kite, Charlie Brown, which I dug up and read yesterday afternoon!






The 20 books of summer!


Fantasy: Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

YA or Children's Title: The Moon By Night by Madeleine L'Engle

Book by a Dead Author: O Pioneers by Willa Cather

Mystery or Suspense: The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side by Agatha Christie

New to you author: The Crown Game by Evelyn Skye

More than 400 pages long: Can You Forgive Her by Anthony Trollope

Published in June, July or August: The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

Comfort Read: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Space Opera or other sci fi: Black Out by Connie Willis
 Book Bust or Bummer: Passenger to Frankfurt by Agatha Christie
Summer Word in Title: August Folly by Angela Thirkell
Blast from the Past: An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd
The Boy In The Suitcase (Nina Borg #1) by Lene Kaaberbol & Angete Friis
A Favorite Re-Read: The Secret of the Mansion by Julie Campbell 
Adapted for the big screen: The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
Romance: X Marks the Scot by Victoria Roberts
On My Shelves for More than a Year: Over Sea and Under Stone by Susan Cooper
Travel: Trains/Planes/Automobiles (or, in this case a spaceship): Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
A Hard Book: House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
Beach, Sun or Sand on the Cover: An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James
Read in my treehouse: The Arrivals by Melissa Marr
A Book With A Terrible Cover: Greenwitch by Susan Cooper
Read on vacation: The Sunne In Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman
Graphic Novel or Comic Book: Go Fly A Kite, Charlie Brown by Charles Schulz
Free Space: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
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text 2016-09-01 07:56
20 Books of Summer - summer reading wrap-up

Moonlight Murder (a/k/a/ Moonlight Reader) had the idea at the start of summer to read 20 books between June 1 and September 1 and called it the #20 Books of Summer, inviting anyone interested to participate as well.  No challenge, no contest, just to enjoy a summer filled with reading.


Putting aside that I'm seasonally challenged here in the antipodes, this sounded like fun, and generally I read more in the winter anyway (this Florida girl tends to start hibernating when the temperature dips below 20/70).  I was curious how many books I'd actually end up reading in those 90 days.


Turns out, I read a lot.  I had no idea.  


I had a more than average number of stand-out 4.5/5 star reads, so I'm calling it a successful books of summer(winter).  


Fiction (45): 

On the Edge - Ilona Andrews  Old Herbaceous: A Novel of the Garden - Reginald Arkell  Love, Lies and Spies - Cindy Anstey  Murder by Death - Neil Simon,H.R.F. Keating  The Cat Sitter's Nine Lives: A Mystery - Blaize Clement,John Clement  Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall - Hannah Dennison  Aunt Dimity and the Summer King - Nancy Atherton  The Improbability of Love - Hannah Rothschild  Venetia - Georgette Heyer  A Whisker of Trouble - Sofie Ryan  Rock-a-Bye Bones - Carolyn Haines  Persuasion - Jane Austen  A Muddied Murder - Wendy Tyson  The Semester of Our Discontent - Cynthia Kuhn  Marked Masters - Ritter Ames  The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco - Laura DiSilverio  And Then There Were Nuns - Kylie Logan  Grace Sees Red - Julie Hyzy  The Dirt on Ninth Grave - Darynda Jones  The Curse of Tenth Grave - Darynda Jones  Death and Relaxation - Devon Monk  As Death Draws Near - Anna Lee Huber  Give Up the Ghost - Juliet Blackwell  Design for Dying - Renee Patrick  A Bed of Scorpions - Judith Flanders  A Murder of Magpies - Judith Flanders  Gone With the Witch - Heather Blake  Dear Committee Members - Julie Schumacher  Magic Stars - Ilona Andrews  Lowcountry Book Club - Susan M. Boyer  Books of a Feather - Kate Carlisle  Take the Monkey and Run - Laura Morrigan  Staying Dead - Laura Anne Gilman  The Single Undead Moms Club - Molly Harper  Shades of Grey - Jasper Fforde  Fool Me Once - Steve Hockensmith,Lisa Falco  Black Sheep - Georgette Heyer  Where the Wild Things Bite - Molly Harper  A Disguise to Die For - Diane Vallere  Goodwood - Holly Throsby  Arsenic with Austen - Katherine Bolger Hyde  Crowned and Dangerous: A Royal Spyness Mystery - Rhys Bowen  A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall - Hannah Dennison  To The Last Drop - Sandra Balzo  Silk Stalkings - Diane Vallere  


Audiobooks (4):

Hammered - Kevin Hearne,Christopher Ragland  Two Ravens and One Crow - Kevin Hearne,Christopher Ragland  Sprig Muslin - Georgette Heyer,Sian Phillips  Tricked - Kevin Hearne,Christopher Ragland  


Non-fiction/reference/memoirs (12):

Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France - Peter Mayle  How Not to Be a Dick: An Everyday Etiquette Guide - Meghan Doherty  The Unadulterated Cat - Terry Pratchett,Gray Jolliffe  Stephen Fry's Incomplete & Utter History of Classical Music - Tim Lihoreau,Stephen Fry  The Book of the Dead: Lives of the Justly Famous and the Undeservedly Obscure - John Lloyd,John Mitchinson  Book - John Agard,Neil Packer  Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology - Leah Remini,Rebecca Paley  A Passion for Books: A Book Lover's Treasury of Stories, Essays, Humor, Love and Lists on Collecting, Reading, Borrowing, Lending, Caring for, and Appreciating Books - Rob Kaplan,Harold Rabinowitz  Going to Hell in a Hen Basket: An Illustrated Dictionary of Modern Malapropisms - Robert Alden Rubin  Happily Ever After - Susannah Fullerton  Women Who Read Are Dangerous - Stefan Bollman,Karen Joy Fowler  Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World - Ella Frances Sanders  


Comic (1):

Superior Iron Man #4 - Yildiray Cinar,Tom Taylor 


I hope everyone had a great summer!


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text 2016-09-01 04:27
20+ Books of Summer

Why stop at twenty?


I'm counting my summer reading as books finished between June 1st and August 31st.


I had two 5-star reads: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (a re-read, of course) and Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky.


Regular books I read (31):

EmmaBaba Yaga's DaughterWritten in RedThe Inspector and Mrs JeffriesA Bloody Field by ShrewsburyThe Unadulterated CatVenetiaGrave WitchThe Graveyard BookLibriomancer2001 A Space OdysseyThe Princess Bride2010 Odyssey TwoSorrows of Young WertherWall-to-Wall DeadThe Anatomist's WifeThe Apothecary RoseChildren of TimeCocaine BluesDead Man's RansomBintiThe VagrantMortal ArtsFortune's PawnA Grave MatterA Darker Shade of MagicThe MartianA Study in DeathMedieval Underpants & Other BlundersThe Hangman's Daughter


Audiobooks (6):

The Tao of PoohSummer LightningWhere'd you go, BernadettePride & PrejudiceThe View from the Cheap SeatsPlantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen


Graphic novels and oddities (6):

Thing ExplainerRivers of LondonSusanna MoodieZen for CatsA Game of YouLucifer Vol 1


DNF (1):

The Bone Clocks

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review 2016-08-31 01:46
Silk Stalkings (Material Witness, #3)
Silk Stalkings - Diane Vallere

This is a good series, with really well done characterisations and a nice cozy small-town setting, but the editors blew it with this one and the story wasn't strong enough to compensate.


The story was interesting enough and the murder well-plotted but the sloppy editing not only had characters talking face-to-face and then suddenly hanging up the phone, only to continue chatting face-to-face, but vague references are never followed up on, hints are left dangling and logic trails left from previous edits are left as shadowy dead-ends.  There were quite a few moments where I felt like I didn't have a handle on what was going on, and ultimately that cost this book 1 star.


I'll still happily order and read the next one in the series; perhaps the editor will find his/her mojo by then.

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review 2016-08-28 03:39
To the Last Drop (Maggy Thorsen mystery, #9)
To The Last Drop - Sandra Balzo

I thought this series ended after the last one, Murder on the Orient Espresso, was published in 2013 and had one of the most delightfully macabre methods of murder I'd read yet in a cozy mystery.  So I was very happy to see this 9th book released this year and I snapped it up.


Maggy Thorsen, a 40-something divorcée running a coffee shop, Uncommon Grounds, in the small fictional town of Brookhills, Wisconsin.


I love Maggy; her inner voice is so wonderfully sarcastic and mirrors my own inner dialogue so much, the pages just fly by.  I hadn't realised how much I missed these characters until I picked up the book last night, and then read it all in one sitting.  Balzo writes one of the most realistic settings and some of the most intelligent characters in cozies, in my opinion.  I have no problem imagining any of these people living next door or down the street.


The mystery was good; looking back I think the clues were there and I missed them and a little twist at the end made it a touch more interesting too.


The only thing that didn't work for me was the weird, forced, drama between Maggy and the Sheriff, Jake.  What was the point of that exercise?  It never felt believable and its resolution lost the oomph it might have had under different circumstances.  The whole thing was a fail, although I'm thankful Balzo didn't string it out over another book or two.


I don't know if she plans to write any more in this series or not, but if she does, I'll happily snap them up.  

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