Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why Blog?

OK…I guess I put the proverbial cart before the horse by blogging about book suggestions before telling my readers why I am taking the time to write this blog.  While you probably already got the idea by reading my first post, which suggests some good mysteries to enjoy while sitting poolside, I am going to give you some more background just to make sure. 

I am a reader, plain and simple.  When asked what hobbies I enjoy, my response is “reading.”  While this is not the most exciting of hobbies, it is one that lets me travel through time, visit a multitude of places and experience things that I would never get to do otherwise.  I get to sit and knit with the ladies of The Friday Night Knitting Club, live life on the Isle of Palms through The Beach House or be transported back to the 1980s to work in a Brooklyn sweatshop alongside a young, Chinese immigrant with Girl in Translation.  I can be swept off my feet by a handsome man (Too Good to Be True) or living in the United States’ last leper colony (In the Sanctuary of Outcasts).  I get to do all of this and more from the comfort of my favorite reading spot.

For the longest time I found myself in a rut, always reading the same type of books. To help push me outside of my comfort zone, I have become a member of two separate book clubs.  One consists of the moms in my neighborhood and the other is a group of teachers I work with.  This was the best thing I could have ever done.  The result is that I have read and enjoyed so many books that I would have otherwise never read.  Now that my eyes have been opened to the all these new books, I am constantly searching for what to read next.  Because I never know what I will be in the mood to read, I spend an exorbitant amount of time searching the Internet and reading book reviews for my next great read.  As a result, I have a “too be read” list that seems to be never-ending.  Now if only I had the time to make a dent in the list, life would be grand!

So, what role does this blog play in my obsession with reading?  Well, I am one of those people who love to pass on a spectacular book to another reader.  I am also one of those people who love to talk about what I am reading.  Thanks to some great reading karma, I have recently enjoyed a lot of wonderful books, books that I can’t tell enough people about.  And that is where the idea for this blog was born.  This is a place where I can share what I am reading and hopefully help other readers discover a treasure they might never have read without a nudge in the right direction. 

Quick reference of books mentioned in this post…
1.       The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
2.       The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe
3.       Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
4.       Too Good to Be True by Kristan Higgins
5.       In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A few mysteries to liven up your summer...

I have always been a fan of a good mystery. Listed below are a few authors who are not as widely known, but are well worth the read. 

If you are a fan of a mystery with a focus on forensics, then Simon Beckett is for you.  His books, Chemistry of Death, Written in Bone and Whispers of the Dead were great reads.  Beckett, a British writer, keeps you wanting to turn the page (meaning I stayed up way too late reading these) to see the next move made by forensic anthropologist David Hunter.  It has been several years since Whispers, and much to my delight, Beckett has finally penned the fourth installment to this series.  The Calling of the Grave is due out September 1st. 

Another great mystery writer that I recently discovered would be Tami Hoag.  While she has been around awhile, nothing of her's caught my interest until recently.  I happened to see a review for Secrets of the Grave and was intrigued by what I read.  As it ends up, Secrets is actually a sequel to Deeper Than the Dead.  While Secrets is still in my "to be read" pile, I really enjoyed Deeper, which flashes back to 1985 and the work of a serial killer stalking unsuspecting women.  It kept me guessing and wanting more. 

One final mystery writer that I feel is worth a mention would be Elly Griffiths.  This is another British writer, who has created a good main character in archaeologist Ruth Galloway.  The Crossing Places is the first in the series, and ends in a manner that leaves you excited to read the next installment, The Janus Stone (it too is sitting in my "to be read" pile).  A third installment The House at the End of the Sea is due out in January.  Crossing draws Ruth into the case when the police ask her to investigate a newly discovered grave thought to be that of a missing girl.

Another book that  I would be negligent not to mention would be Lisa Gardner's Love You More.  While a popular writer who gets plenty of attention, I just finished reading her latest book and have to say it kept me guessing most of the way through.   Gardner is an excellent tease who gives just enough information to make the reader want to find out more.  While this book is part of a series, I can't say that one would have to read the whole series to fully appreciate it.  I have actually read the series, but I didn't do so in order, and it was over such a long span of time I really don't remember any of the details that would have added to my reading of Love You More.  The focus of this story is finding out why state trooper Tessa Leoni supposedly killed her husband and the search for her missing daughter. The Killing Hour is another excellent book by Gardner.  This is part of another series, but I did not read the books that came before it and had no problems being drawn into the story.  The killer in this book always abducts two victims, and by finding the one body in time they are given the clues needed to possibly save the second victim.  This is a good, edge of your seat book.