Thursday, September 8, 2016

Catching Up - With Book Recommendations!

Hi all!

I took five weeks off from Blogland, but I am back and just getting settled in!   I may be a little slow with posts as I get back into the swing of things, although my pup Abby is eager to start back with Dear Abby updates, and I have some scheduled book reviews.  Music Monday and Did You Know Tuesday will be back shortly!

This is my second planned blog break.  I took one last year over the holidays as well.  I missed blogging, but enjoyed some extra free time, and especially extra reading time.

Speaking of -- I have some great reads to share with y'all!   Over the past few weeks I read:

Palisades Park by Alan Brennert.  This lovely historical novel (and family saga) is about a family who works at Palisades Park in New Jersey.  The book spans the 1930's - 1960's, and I loved the glimpse of retro amusement park life found here.   (This will surely be on my Top 10 list this year -- VERY HIGHLY recommended.)

Joyland by Stephen King.  Keeping up the amusement park theme, this is a coming of age novel and mystery set at a small, old fashioned amusement park in coastal North Carolina.  Set in the 1970's, a young man works at the park during a break from college.  He becomes interested in solving an old murder mystery at the park.  This is a Stephen King book for readers who (like me) prefer mysteries to horror.

The Ex by Alafair Burke.  Mystery about a lawyer whose ex-boyfriend is accused of murder.  This book was hyped as a thriller, but really ended up being more of a legal mystery.  (Not my cup of tea - I am not a big fan of legal mysteries.)

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith.  I am an avid mystery reader and I'm pretty obsessed with this new series.  The books were written by J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith.  The detective, Cormoran Strike, is a veteran who lost his leg in Afghanistan.  He lives just over his modest detective agency office, where he works with his assistant (and budding detective) Robin Ellacott.  This is the third book in the series, after The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm.  Cormoran and Robin set out to find a killer who sent a severed leg to their detective agency with a cryptic note.  If you haven't read this series, I recommend it highly.  The books are so smart and well written, the mysteries are well plotted, and I really love the detective pair!  (I have decided they should be played by Tom Hardy and Emma Watson in the inevitable series of movies.)

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ward.  Now this is a suspenseful novel, sure to please fans of The Girl on Train.   I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. to finish this fast paced novel, about a travel writer who goes on a luxury yacht cruise for work ... and witnesses a murder.

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty.  I had high hopes for this children's novel, set in 1899 Asheville, North Carolina at the Biltmore Estate.  It tells the story of Serafina, who lives in the basement of the Biltmore House with her father.  She becomes involved in a mystery/fantasy involving a threatening man in a black cape.  I didn't think the characters were very well developed, and the protagonist kept making very dangerous decisions (to the point that I became frustrated as a reader).

Calico Palace by Gwen Bristow.  Historical novel set during the California Gold Rush, about two young women who move to California.  One marries a gold miner and lives in a mining camp;  the other sets up a gambling tent.  I first read this novel as a teenager and loved it.  I read it and reread it -- it was one of my first historical fiction reads.  I was thrilled to find out that this is now on Kindle.  It was so much fun to revisit these characters and this world again!

So ... what have YOU been reading recently?  I'd love to hear from you in the comment section, below.  And I look forward to chatting regularly here again!