Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart

This book was like a big hot pot of tea and a warm fuzzy blanket by the fire.

It's a mystery about a princess, a palace, and some high society folks. There's a monkey, pigeons, doctors, and magicians. It's got murder and of course a solution. Everything you need in a good book.

This book was full of tenderness, colorful characters, plot twists, and wonderful writing. Happily, I didn't solve the mystery before it was revealed. I did discover some of the twists early but that is always okay. I like being kept on my toes.  As far as mysteries go, it was on the lighter side, more of an Agatha Christie type than a serious, dark one.

It was very well written, like the author was creating a painting with her words. Everything was so well described it was lovely. I don't know how else to explain this book without spoiling any of it before you get a chance to read it, but just know its not quite like a lot of other mysteries, it's more of a really good story, almost close to a fairy tale.

I was really happy with this book. I read it in one sitting, but I didn't want it to end. It was very different in my opinion. Usually there's a bit of a pattern that mysteries follow but this one didn't I found it original and really quite great.

Recommendation: Give this a try. It's on my list of one of the best books I've read this year. It surprised me and I really enjoyed reading it!

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Body Snatchers Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini

This book is relatively new. It came out in January of this year and I found it on a display in the library for new books. I snatched it up (no pun intended) purely based on the cover. I didn't even read the synopsis till I was in the car on the way home. Have to admit, its a pretty sweet cover.

The Body Snatchers Affair is the latest book in a series that follows Private Detectives John Quincannon and Sabina Carpenter through cases in San Francisco in the 1890's. In this book, there is also mention of Sherlock Holmes which of course I adore.

I won't go into too much with the plot because I don't wish to spoil anything but I will say it involved Chinatown and missing bodies. Overall, it sounded like a rather engaging read.

I read this novel in about 2-2.5 hours. It was an easy and short read for me. I have to say though, if it was a lot longer, I'm not sure I would have finished it.

I had problems with the writing. Often,when you read advice from authors they mention word usage. They say that you shouldn't use larger words when smaller ones would do. The authors of this book ignored that entirely. It's one thing to use a style of language that is suitable to the time period and the actual speech patterns the characters would have used had they been alive, and then there's just this book. The authors used constant slang and words that sounded down right pretentious. When the reader has to re-read passages to get their facts straight because of the non-stop slang, there's a problem.

It's one thing to have a high society gentleman use words like "badinage" and "raillery" but to have a character that operates like a bit of a thug who doesn't seem to be able to control his emotions use both of those words, one sentence apart, is just baloney. Put down the thesaurus. You aren't fooling anyone.

As far as mysteries go, this one was seriously simple. I had it 95% solved way before the end. Where it really bugged me was when one of the P.I's was given a lead to investigate, he doesn't bother. Not till the end. Maybe I could have forgot that he didn't follow through on the piece of info he was given, but the author didn't allow me to because they kept bringing it up. Every so often the P.I would wonder what the lead meant, but not once did he bother to look into it until the end. That's just not credible.

There was some talk of Sherlock Holmes in this book. Mostly the talk was the main characters calling Holmes an idiot and thinking he was nuts. Not a good way to insinuate yourself in the hearts of mystery lovers, I'm sorry. Especially when the author's own private detectives weren't doing such a good job themselves. They did throw Sherlock into the story a bit and he helped them out, so it kind of redeemed the hateful things the authors wrote about him, but still. Not cool.

I will say, on a positive note, that the characters were interesting. I enjoyed Sabina Carpenter the most and I was actually interested in her and what was happening. I just wish the story was better developed.

Recommendation: This book could be confusing at times because of the language used, and the story wasn't enough for me, but I won't tell you not to read it. To each his own, right?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Cuckoos Calling by Robert Galbraith

As most of us know (and in case you didn't), this book was actually written by J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym.

The Cuckoo's Calling is a hard boiled private detective novel. It follows all the typical P.I gumshoe type stories and that is in no way upsetting. It's wonderful, actually. I love private detective novels!

This one stars Cormoran Strike the private eye who's down on his luck. The case? The suicide of a supermodel. I won't tell you any more, I don't want to accidentally spoil it because it's worth the read!

It didn't feel like I was reading a book by the same author who wrote Harry Potter, but it was still written beautifully. It was lighter than a lot of other novels of this type that I've read. It's nice because it lets you connect easier with the characters this way.

Cormoran Strike might actually be one of my new favorite book characters. This book was written to draw you in, to feel for the characters, and get you invested in what happens to them. I really enjoyed this book and I am going to be getting Silkworm as well very soon, because I just have to read that one too! I really hope she writes a couple more too because Cormoran is a character I don't want to say goodbye to yet.

If you think you want to read this simply because of the author, then perhaps you should google it a little and read more about it. This book is very much a private detective novel. It is nothing like Harry Potter. Sorry.

Recommendation: Must read for the mystery lover. J.K. Rowling's writing is spectacular of course and you'd be silly to pass this one by!

Monday, August 24, 2015

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

This book was AHMAZING!

It's about a man who on his 100th birthday climbs out his window at the old folks home and disappears. It follows his life after he escapes and also his extremely interesting life up to his escape.

It's an incredibly charming read. It's smart and funny and easily one of the best books I've read this year. There actually came a moment when I realized that I had accepted certain things as commonplace in this book when in any other book I might have thought it was nuts. I guess once you accept the basic premise of this story, nothing else that happens seems too incredulous.

It's just fantastic. You will need a super basic understanding of the history of most of the world for you to accept the sheer gravity of the life he lead, but honestly, its not a complicated book. There is a lot of talk of politics, but again, do not let this deter you. It's well worth the read.

This novel is a work of fiction but it was so crazy, that special kind of crazy, that it could have almost *almost* been real. It is truly a delightful read that made me smile and laugh. It's so much more than I had ever hoped it would be and I am more than pleased to have read it.

I spend quite a long time recounting every single detail to my guy after reading it. I've also noticed it's been made into a movie and I most certainly will be checking it out.

Recommendation: For the lover of a story. Pure and simple. If you love a good story then please, please read this!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

I picked this one up on sale and I was really excited to read it. After reading The Great Gatsby and learning a bit about F. Scott Fitzgerald and his life, I was super interested in reading this book, even if it is a fictional autobiography.

This book is about the life of Fitzgeralds wife Zelda Sayre. When they met, what life was like in the 1920's during the Jazz Age. There was also some insight into the life of Fitzgerald and what it was like to be a writer in those days.

I will start off by saying this book was beautifully written. It was interesting and informative and kept my full attention. I read in all in one sitting. I couldn't put it down. From a literary perspective it was a work of art.

The main subject of this story, the life of Zelda, was heartbreaking. It made me angry, sad, and confused. It was such a tough story to read. If I ever wore rose coloured glasses when it comes to the lives of writers back in the days of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, they are most certainly off.

My heart just broke for her. I wanted things to have turned out differently for her. It was such a different kind of story then what I usually read. I didn't know how things were going to go. I guess I just assumed the story would be a happy one. It's not that its a terrible story, its just its heart felt and intense.

I don't want to ruin it for anyone, because believe me, its worth the read. The thing with it is, its a look at the life of another person who actually lived. Can't always be the perfect dream we all hope for.

Recommendation: Read this. It is so worth it. I am happy to have read it for all the pain it caused me. People aren't meant to be forgotten. They are meant to be celebrated.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton

This novel is the perfect story. It's got romance, fairy tale, destiny, ghosts, mystery, and so much more goodness. It's funny, serious, heart warming, and full of love. Quite like any other story I've read before.

The book is about a girl who finds out that the character in the stories her mother used to tell her is not only real but has passed away. This woman has also left the girl things in her will, and has requested that the girl carry out a task for her. There is so much more to this book, but I do not want to spoil it.

The mystery in this story is more of a simple finding out of facts. Its not gruesome at all. These mysteries are about love, of life, a mysterious photo, ghosts, a strange blue notebook, and a stuffed bunny named Reginald.

This book really is a perfect fairy tale for current time. It has all the elements that make dreams come true, with just a little hint of mystery.

I came across the Aunt Dimity series years ago in the library. I've read a few of the following novels, this one being the first in the series. I'm sure I've read this one too, but honestly it felt like a new story when I read it. In my opinion, this story could be a stand alone because its just a wonderful story. I can say though that many of the following books are also pretty darn awesome.

Recommendation: Perfect book for a lover of a good story, for a lover of fairy tales, for a lover of the purest forms of mystery. No matter how you slice it, its great. A definite must read.