Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Last Dickens by: Matthew Pearl

The Last Dickens is a fictionalized account of what might have happened before, during, and after Charles Dickens died suddenly after writing 6 serialized chapters of his last book, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
This book contains some interesting facts concerning the publishing business in the 1800's that I wasn't aware of. We modern people of the 21st century are lucky to have so much access to books of all kinds from all over the world. Back in those days there were people called Bookeneers who hung around the docks waiting for versions of books from their authors to come across from Europe on their way to publishers here.
Of course, I have to say I don't know that much about how publishing works today, but I'm sure there is just as much fierce competition as there was back in those days.
Charles Dickens was wildly popular, just like our movie stars of today. People flocked to see him when he came over for his American tour of readings of books he had already published.
No ending was ever found to The Mystery of Edwin Drood and as you can see by this book, people are still speculating on how it might have ended.
This is the third book in this series, each one a stand alone. The first is The Dante Club. I confess I tried to read it a couple of times, but it was a little dry for me. The second, The Poe Shadow, I have not attempted yet.
The Last Dickens has enough twists and turns to hold your attention and keep you wondering how it will end.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Miss Julia Throws a Wedding by: Ann B. Ross

Miss Julia is a typical, sweet, Southern Lady, who likes to have her finger in all her friends pies. She has a little bit of an unusual living arrangement with the woman who was her late husband's mistress and the mistresses son by the late husband. They have become best friends and of course, she loves the little boy.
For some reason when I started this book I thought it was another cozy mystery. Where I got that idea I don't know, but that's o.k., it's a novel.
Even though there is no murder, there is an escaped prisoner, whom the police can't seem to recover, an unexpected miracle happens, and Miss Julia plans and pulls off a wedding in just under a week.
The wedding is for the chief deputy, who also is a boarder in her home and his girlfriend a local attorney. They met and fell in love at first sight at Miss Julia's house, so who more appropriate to handle their wedding especially since their busy schedules barely allow them time to get married and have a quickie honeymoon.
If you like sweet love stories, filled with nice people with good intentions, you'll like this story, and it has a happy ending.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Friday, January 20, 2012

Chunkster Reading Challenge

I have decided to take part in the Chunkster Reading Challenge this year. I participated in 2010, but somehow forgot to sign up last year. It's probably a good thing I didn't because of my Mom's stroke, hospital stay, and nursing home stay I didn't meet as many of my personal goals last year as I had hoped. However, she is much improved and back home so I'm going to give this challenge a go.
I've decided I'm going to sign up at The Plump Primer level, that will be 6 books with 450 or more pages, and by the way those have to be real books, no Kindle or audio books.When you click over to the Chunkster Reading Challenge blog you can read all the rules in detail. I just love Wendy and Vasilly's blog header this year.
I've become a fan of Diana Gabaldon, so with the release of The Scottish Prisoner, 534 pages I already have the 1st book on my list read. This is the latest in the Lord John Series.
As with the other challenge that I am participating in I will put the clickable blog blinkie on my side bar and create a page at the top of my blog to keep the running list of the Chunksters that I read.
This year at the Chunkster Reading Challenge they have a book club challenge that you can sign up for and they've been very helpful and given us a list of Chunkster suggestions. I took a look at that list and there are some on there that I think I might give a try.
One that caught my attention is The Mill on the Floss  by: George Eliot. I read Silas Marner in high school, so I'm familiar with George Eliot. The time frame for The Mill on the Floss is a favorite of mine.
If you are an avid reader this would be a good challenge for you to try out this year, especially if you haven't tried it out before. It's still early enough in the year that you can accomplish this goal.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Dead as a Scone & The Final Crumpet by: Janet and Ron Benrey

Royal Tunbridge Wells is a real place in Great Britain, but the museum is a work of fiction by this writing team. However, they fitted a charming tea museum into a charming setting.
I recommend that you read these two books one after the other, the story flows.
You know the old adage you shouldn't fall in love at work, well it shouldn't apply here. Felicity Adams a woman with a degree in food chemistry, several tea books published and an extensive knowledge of tea is hired to be the head Curator of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Tea Museum. Nigel Owens is the acting head of the same museum after the last head man retired.
Felicity aka Flick to all her friends and Nigel make a perfect couple. Their strengths and weakness mesh, their combined credentials allow them to be a wonderfully modern amateur detective team.
In each of these books the welfare of the museum is in jeopardy, so of course, there is always a deadline that has to be met which gives the stories pace.  Flick and Nigel step up to the plate to save the museum, the employees, and the pets, they have come to think of as family.
Two good reads, with two interesting mysteries that get solved and two happy endings.
I just love a mystery solved and a happy ending.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Sherlockian by: Graham Moore

I finished The Sherlockian last night. For fans of Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle, you'll find this a very fun read.
Mr. Moore goes from present to past, present to past with a deft hand. He handles the language of both eras to perfection. There are real places and some real people, but the general gist of the story is fiction, but not very far into the book you feel it's all real.
There is a new fresh take with a good twist on this present and past tale.
I recommend that you pick this one up for a good Sherlockian read.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bryant & May Off The Rails by: Christopher Fowler

A riveting mystery with murder and a twisted game involved . After our detectives get their Peculiar Crimes Unit reinstated for almost sure with funding even, they find that they have one week to find and arrest the mysterious Mr. Fox whom they have already had in the custody, but true to his alias, he manages to break out of the holding room and kill the newest member of their unit.
The game is afoot now--no pun intended--because as some other crimes are committed the team has added another 6 suspects to their list.
Working with a deadline this turns out to be one of their most convoluted cases ever, but have no fear the team continues to work together even though they think Mr. Bryant is pretty kooky sometimes.
The case gets solved in the nick of time with lots of action and reactions in by all parties concerned.
Mr. Bryant and Mr. May bring their years of life experience on and off the job to this intellectual murder mystery series.
You should add this series to your To Be Read Pile is you are a murder mystery fan, but I personally would recommend that you start it from the beginning and read through to get the full impact of everyone's personality involved in these stories.

Happy Reading,
Beverly G ♥

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bryant & May on the Loose by: Christopher Fowler

I started reading The Peculiar Crimes Unit series by Christopher Fowler late in 2010 and with any series that you like you become attached to the characters.
This time we find Bryant & May the main detectives and all their team scattered. The Home Office is trying to shut them down. Everyone is worried about Arthur Bryant because he won't see anyone or take any calls. John May and the team have halfheartedly tried to keep in touch. They just need a good murder with a seemingly unsolvable puzzle attached to get the powers that be to reinstate their unit.
Mr. Fowler comes up with just the situation they need. We love the eccentric Bryant and the down to earth conservative May. They may be getting older, but they still have what it takes to inspire their team of misfits to pull together to solve this latest crime for Queen and Country.
By the end of the story, the run down offices they have chosen for their head quarters will be their new home and Mr. Fowler has left us with the crime solved but the killer on the loose, so of course, we want to immediately read the next book in the series. Fortunately, I have it already downloaded on my Kindle, so I'm off to begin Bryant & May's next adventure.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A New Year--A New List

The Scottish Prisoner---by: Diana Gabaldon

This is the latest book in the continuing saga of the Outlander and Lord John Grey series.
I found the Lord John Grey series on my own, but I came late to the Outlander series through a friend of mine. The fans of the Outlander series are passionate about these novels. They talk about the characters like they are real people and now that I have read them, yes, they do become like real people.
Ms. Gabaldon is a writer who grabs your attention from page one of any book or novella she is writing. I know some of you out there would not like these books, but that goes with all writers and genres, we all have our favorites. Needless to say, I am now a big fan of Ms. Gabaldon's.
Lord John Grey has come into possession of papers left to him by a former friend and lover, but we have to keep that part on the QT. He has taken the papers to his brother Hal, who is high up in the government, to see if they can use the papers to expose an officer who is discrediting the army. As you read these books you will come to know that Lord John and his brother are big on honor.
In reading through the papers they discover a poem written in Gaelic, I'm using the modern term for the language, consequently they feel they need to enlist the help of Jamie Fraser, who is a prisoner on the estate of Helwater.
This is another book filled with adventure, plots, plots to be foiled, and the continuing exploration of the relationship between Lord John and Jamie Fraser.
As usual, if you are a fan, when you finish reading one of Ms. Gabaldon's books you are left with the thought, when is the next one coming out.