Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Godfather, by Mario Puzo

Title: The Godfather
Author: Mario Puzo
Borrowed from Worcester County MD Public Library Kindle Edition
Started: 2/16/2018
Finished: 2/24/2018

I recently rewatched the godfather parts 1& 2, for the millionth time and decided to give the book a try.  I liked it a lot, a fun and easy read.  

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Altered Carbon, by Richard K. Morgan

  • Title:  Altered Carbon
  • Author:  Richard K. Morgan
  • Borrowed from HooplaDigital.com, via Worchester County (MD) Public Library, Audiobook
  • Started:  2/13/2018
  • Finished: 2/20/2018
Trying to break my audiobook habit of Andy Carpenter or Inspector Montalbano books, I opted for a beast of an audiobook (17 hours!) that is now out as a Netflix Series.

I liked Altered Carbon, but didn't love it.  It took me no time at all to accept the premise, but the mystery wasn't great and I never had any doubt about the protagonist surviving.  

I have only read one other Morgan novel, Thirteen, which I liked more than this one.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Smell of the Night, by Andrea Camilleri

  • Title:  The Smell of the Night
  • Author:  Andrea Camilleri
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started: 2/10/2018
  • Finished: 2/12/2018
Another Inspector Montalbano mystery, reasonably enjoyable.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Burglar in the Closet, by Lawrence Block

Title: The Burglar in the Closet
Author: Lawrence Block
Borrowed from Fairfax county VA Public Library Kindle Edition
Started: 2/10/2018
Finished: 2/11/2018

Disappointing follow-up to the first book in this series, Burglars can't be choosers. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Title: Manhattan Beach
Author:. Jennifer Egan
Purchased from Amazon.com kindle edition
Started: 2/3/3018
Finished: 2/10/2018

Book club book, enjoyed it quite a bit. 

New Tricks, by David Rosenfelt

  • Title:  New Tricks 
  • Author:  David Rosenfelt
  • Borrowed from HooplaDigital.com, via Worchester County (MD) Public Library, Audiobook
  • Started: 2/7/2018
  • Finished: 2/10/2018
Another Andy Carpenter book. These are silly and enjoyable, but I need to space then out a lot more...

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Play Dead, by David Rosenfelt

  • Title:  Play Dead
  • Author:  David Rosenfelt
  • Borrowed from HooplaDigital.com, via Worchester County (MD) Public Library, Audiobook
  • Started: 2/5/2018
  • Finished: 2/6/2018
While still a silly fun book & series, this one takes a bizarre turn when our smart-ass, chicken-shit protagonist beats a bad guy to death with a piece of firewood.  I'm not making that up.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Dead Center, by David Rosenfelt

  • Title:Dead Center
  • Author:  David Rosenfelt
  • Borrowed from HooplaDigital.com, via Worchester County (MD) Public Library, Audiobook
  • Started:2/2/2018
  • Finished: 2/4/2018
Another in the Andy Carpenter series, I'm blowing through these now.  They're easy and comfortable, and pretty enjoyable.  This one relied one too many times on the "forgot my cell phone" trick, but I imagine it is tough to write a mystery/thriller in these days of instant communication... Not at laugh out loud funny as the last few, but I was still laughing like an idiot in public walking to/from the office a few times.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Robert B. Parker's Ironhorse, by Robert Knott

Title: Robert B. Parker's Ironhorse
Author: Robert Knott
Borrowed from DC Public Library Audiobook
Started: 1/31/2018
Finished: 2/1/2018

Another Cole/Hitch book but not by the now deceased Parker.  Continued the characters reasonable well, but I didn't love this one. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Excursion to Tindari, by Andrea Camilleri

  • Title:  Excursion to Tindari
  • Author:  Andrea Camilleri
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County, VA Public Library Audiobook
  • Started: 1/26/2018
  • Finished: 1/30/2018
Another Montalbano mystery.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Sudden Death, by David Rosenfelt

  • Title:  Sudden Death
  • Author: David Rosenfelt
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County, VA Public Library Audiobook
  • Started: 1/24/2018
  • Finished: 1/25/2018
Another solid, funny, Andy Carpenter novel.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Bury the Lead, by David Rosenfelt

  • Title:  Bury the Lead
  • Author: David Rosenfelt
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County VA Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started: 1/22/2018
  • Finished: 1/24/2018
When I first started these Andy Carpenter books a couple of weeks ago, I said how funny I found them (like the Fletch books) but that the titles/covers of the majority were dog related -- too cutsey for me.

Well, I'm man enough to admit, if not when I'm wrong, when I've lost a battle.  The combination of smart-ass one liners, and the expert narration by Grover Gardner, means I'm going to end up going through the entire series -- probably happily so.  I'll note that the author, David Rosenfelt, also shares my high regards for Gardner's narration.  To quote Rosenfelt from his website "Grover could read the Milwaukee Telephone Directory and make it sound compelling"

This, the third book in the series, wasn't an outstanding mystery.  Nonetheless, on my mile long commute from my condo to the office, I was laughing out loud like a crazy person on more than one occasion.  You can't top that for free entertainment.  

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Voice of the Violin, by Andrea Camilleri

  • Title:  Voice of the Violin
  • Author:  Andrea Camilleri
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County, VA Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started:  1/20/2018
  • Finished: 1/22/2018
Another Inspector Montalbano mystery, not as good as the others, but still reasonably enjoyable.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

First Degree, by David Rosenfelt

Title: First Degree
Author: David Rosenfelt
Borrowed from Fairfax county VA Public Library Audiobook
Started: 1/19/2018
Finished: 1/20/2018

The second Andy Carpenter book, decent though not as entertaining as the first. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Midsummer's Equation, by Keigo Higashino

  • Title:  A Midsummer's Equation
  • Author:  Keigo Higashino
  • Borrowed from HooplaDigital.com, via Worchester County (MD) Public Library, Audiobook
  • Started:  1/15/2018
  • Finished:  1/19/2018
Higashino is probably the best twist ending author alive today.  His books are so entertaining, and I have yet to actually solve/guess the final twist.

This book wasn't as tight as the others I've read, but it was still very entertaining and the twists at the end were perfect.  Really enjoy his work.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith

Title: The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Borrowed from Take one leave one library (paperback)
Started: 1/16/2018
Finished: 1/18/2018

What an enjoyable book. Charming, entering, heartwarming.  Really liked this one. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Stone Cold, by Robert B Parker

Title: Stone Cold
Author: Robert B Parker
Borrowed from Take one Leave One library in DC, paperback
Started: 1/14/2018
Finished: 1/15/2018

A Jesse Stone book, enjoyable. 

The Snack Thief, by Andrea Camilleri

Title: The Snack Their
Author: Andrea Camilleri
Borrowed from Fairfax county VA Public Library Audiobook
Started: 1/12/2018
Finished: 1/15/2018

Another Montalbano mystery. Good stuff. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Hit Man, by Lawrence Block

  • Title: Hit Man
  • Author:  Lawrence Block
  • Purchased (paperback) at Auction to Benefit Homeward Trails Animal Rescue (Bark Ball)
  • Started: 1/10/2018
  • Finished  1/13/2018
Didnt enjoy this one very much. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Open and Shut, by David Rosenfelt

  • Title:  Open and Shut
  • Author:  David Rosenfelt
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started:  1/9/2018
  • Finished:  1/11/2018
This is the first in a series, a series which I've avoided because the book covers look too cutesy (all covered with dogs and most with title relating to dogs).  I love dogs, don't have kids and don't want them (much to the dismay of my parents & inlaws) but I'd have dozens of dogs if I could.  But in my downtown condo, one dog is the max (Bica, now 11, lived with us for 10 years, hound love of my life).

But as much as I love dogs, I don't want to read a mystery series centered around them with titles like "Play Dead" and "Dog Tags" and "One Dog Night."

But the first book in the series has no cute dog title, simply "Open & Shut" and it was read by one of my favorite voice actors, Grover Gardner.

With all that said -- I liked this one.  The main character (Andy Carpenter, I think) is wise-cracking, intelligent, and a bit of wimp (although somehow, of course, landing beautiful women).  I thought he seemed very Fletch-like, which I like, though I imagine these books get on the nerves of others.

Anyway, will almost certainly move onto the next one at some point.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Burglars Can't Be Choosers, by Lawrence Block

  • Title:  Burglars Can't Be Choosers
  • Author:  Lawrence Block
  • Purchased (paperback) at Auction to Benefit Homeward Trails Animal Rescue (Bark Ball)
  • Started: 1/6/2018
  • Finished  1/9/2018
Very enjoyable easy read.  My wife read it first and enjoyed it as well.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Title: The Sympathizer
Author: Viet Thank Nguyen
Borrowed from Worcester County MD Public Library (Kindle Edition)
Started: 12/20/2017
Finished: 1/7/2018

Book club book, saving commentary for discussion. 

Faithful Place, by Tana French

Title: Faithful Place
Author: Tana French
Borrowed from Fairfax county VA Public Library Audiobook
Started: 1/1/2018
Finished: 1/7/2018

Another in the series that started with Into the Wood.  So far only enjoyed that first one. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Tales from the Old West, Volume One, by Various Authors

Title:. Tales from the Old West, Volume One
Authors: Zane Gray, Max Brand, Louis L'Amore
Borrowed from Fairfax county va public library Audiobook
Started: 12/28/2017
Finished: 12/31/2017

Squeezed one more into 2017.  Loved the second story by Max Brand (Black Sheep), didn't care for the Zane Gray story.  L'Amore was very short but good.  

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Black Money, by Ross MacDonald

  • Title: Black Money 
  • Author: Ross MacDonald 
  • Borrowed from DC Public Library (audiobook) 
  • Started: 12/22/2017 
  • Finished: 12/28/2017 
Lew Archer story I read back in 2017 on a road trip, but I can't help myself with these books.  So enjoyable.  Maybe the last book I finish reading in 2017 too.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Terra-Cotta Dog, by Andrea Camilleri

Title: The Terra-Cotta Dog
Author: Andrea Camilleri
Borrowed from Hoopla Digital via Worcester County Public Library
Started: 12/16/2017
Finished: 12/21/2017

Book 2 in the inspector Montalbano series. Very enjoyable. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Shape of Water, by Andrea Camilleri

  • Title:  The Shape of Water
  • Author:  Andrea Camilleri
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started:  12/12/2017
  • Finished:  12/15/2017
Found this one the way I have so many new series -- searching for books read by a narrator I liked, in this case, Gover Gardner (who reads the Lew Archer series).

I loved this book, a very quick listen.  Good mystery, great characters.  Dialog witty and smart.  Will definitely continue through a few more in the Montalbano series.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Vanishing, by Wendy Webb

  • Title:  The Vanishing
  • Author:  Wendy Webb
  • Borrowed from Hoopla Digital via Worcester County Public Library Audiobook
  • Started:  12/11/2017
  • Finished: 12/12/2017
My quest for great haunted house books continues, not sure where I got the recommendation for this one.  Liked it ok, but didn't love it.  I had a day off in which to relax on a winter day at home and this book helped pass the time pleasantly enough.

The Chill, by Ross MacDonald

  • Title:  The Chill
  • Author:  Ross MacDonald
  • Borrowed from DC Public Library (AudioBook)
  • Started: 12/7/2017
  • Finished: 12/10/2017
I was in the mood for something comfortable to listen to, so I opted for my favorite book from the Lew Archer series.  I still love it, in fact, I think I'm going to listen to a few of these over the coming weeks.  They're just about perfect.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Shores of Tripoli: Lieutenant Putnam and the Barbary Pirates, by James L. Haley

Finally made it through this work I've been wanting to read for some time.  The narration isn't great, and the book isn't as good as advertised.  A while back a WSJ book review said this was the American equivilent of the Aubrey/Maturin Master & Commander series -- not quite.  The plot is interesting, but the writing is no where near as good, and overall the feeling is just off.

Having said that, I ultimately enjoyed the book, but it is a poor companion to the beloved Aubrey/Maturin books by Patrick O'Brian.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Beekeeper's Apprentice: or, On the Segregation of the Queen, by Laurie R. King


I initially really liked this one, until about the halfway point or so when there was a bizarre switch to a religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  That really took me out of the book, and I never found my way back as interested as at the start.  So first half great, second half terrible, in my opinion.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic, by Daniel Mendelsohn

Book club selection by another member.  Saving commentary for the meeting.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson, by Lyndsay Faye

Title: Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson
Author: Lyndsay Faye 
Borrowed from Hoopla Digital via Worcester County Public Library Audiobook
Started: 11/11/2017
Finished: 11/17/2017

Another Holmes pastiche, good stuff. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

MAMA: The Collected Stories of Alice Bozeman Embry, Edited by Anthony Paul Minerva

Rather than review this one, I'm going to do a bit of self promotion.  This one is mine.  I didn't write the stories, my grandmother (Alice Bozeman Embry) did.  But I did edit and publish them. 

I don't expect anyone other than family to purchase/borrow/enjoy this collection, but it meant a lot to me to publish.  And I did read them (hell, I transcribed them), so it counts as one read for my list...

The Whole Art of Detection, by Lyndsay Faye

  • Title:  The Whole Art of Detection
  • Author:  Lyndsay Faye
  • Borrowed from Hoopla Digital via Worcester County, MD Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started: 11/4/2017
  • Finished: 11/8/2017

I'm a sucker for Sherlock Holmes pastiches, even bad ones.  Luckily for me, this was a great one, read by my favorite, Simon Vance.  

Friday, November 3, 2017

This House is Haunted, by John Boyne

  • Title:  This House is Haunted
  • Author:  John Boyne
  • Borrowed from Hoopla Digital via Worcester County Public Library 
  • Started: 10/31/2017
  • Finished: 11/3/2017
I wanted to like this one, kept hoping for more, but ultimately it was not scary nor was it that interesting.  

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Ghost Writer, by John Harwood

Title: The Ghost Writer
Author: John Harwood
Borrowed from Hoopla Digital via Worcester County Public Library
Started: 10/20/2017
Finished: 10/30/2017

So-so gothic/horror novel. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The House Next Door, by Anne Rivers Siddons

Title: The House Next Door
Author: Anne Rivers Siddons
Purchased from Amazon print edition
Started:10/16/2017
Finished:10/22/2017

Loved this when I read it earlier this year. Cheated a bit and choose it for my book club. Second reading was good, I noticed much more foreshadowing. Still love this book. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

A Stir of Echos, by Richard Matheson

Title: A Stir of Echos
Author: Richard Matheson
Borrowed from HooplaDigital via Worcester MD Public Library Audiobook
Started: 10/16/2017
Finished: 10/19/2017

Only so-so, I usually like Richard Matheson, and often enjoy ghost stories, but this one felt off. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy: Annihilation; Authority; Acceptance, by Jeff VanderMeer


Three books in one big set, more than 20 hours of audio.  As is often the case, the first book was pretty good, the next two only so-so.  

The Likeness, by Tana French

  • Title:  The Likeness
  • Author: Tana French
  • Borrowed From: Fairfax County Public Library (Kindle Edition)
  • Started:
  • Finished: 10/15/2017
Book 2 following on In The Woods.  I loved In the Woods, not so much The Likeness.  It was ok, but not great.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Strangers on a Train, by Patricia Highsmith

  • Title: Strangers on a Train
  • Author: Patricia Highsmith
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started: 10/1/2017
  • Finished: 10/3/2017
I enjoyed Highsmith's Ripley series, and I've of course seen the movie version of Strangers on a Train.  So I was expecting to love this one, but I didn't.  I liked it well enough, but thought many of the actions & reactions by Guy really seemed very unrealistic.  I couldn't understand the do-nothing-and-hope-it-goes-away attitude.  Highsmith tries to explain it away near the end, but that didn't work for me.

I will say the twist at the very end was great.  I did not see that coming.  Almost made me change my mind on the book, but I'm going to stand firm.  Decent, but not amazing.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

On Stranger Tides, by Tim Powers

Title: On Stranger Tides
Author: Tim Powers
Borrowed from Worcester MD Public Library Audiobook
Started: 9/26/2017
Finished: 9/30/2017

Enjoyable book, I don't love fantasy but I don't hate it either.  This was overall a good read. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Brown Dog - Novellas, by Jim Harrison

Title; Brown Dog - Novellas
Author: Jim Harrison
Borrowed from DC Public Library Audiobook
Started: 9/16/2017
Finished; 9/25/2017

The first story in this long collection (close to 20 hours of audiobook) was fantastic.   The stories following got progressively worse, but all were entertaining.  

I'd never heard of the Brown Dog character before, very interesting and enjoyable.  

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Stranger from Tonto, by Zane Grey

Title: Stranger from Tonto
Author: Zane Grey
Borrowed from take one leave one Library in Ocean City MD print edition
Started: 8/8/2017
Finished: 9/23/2017

Another Zane Grey Western, not great.  Left it at the beach so I only read from it periodically, which is why it took so long to finish.  

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Couple Next Door, Shari Lapena

Title: The Couple Next Door
Author: Shari Lapena
Borrowed from Little Library in DC, Print Edition
Started: 9/16/2017
Finished: 9/17/2017

Wow, what a terrible book. One of the worst I've ever read.  

A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles

Title: A Gentleman in Moscow
Author: Amor Towles
Purchased from Amazon Kindle Edition
Started: 8/25/2017
Finished: 9/16/2017

Book club book so I'll save the review for the discussion. Overall liked but did not love it.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Other Kingdoms, by Richard Matheson

  • Title:  Other Kingdoms
  • Author:  Richard Matheson
  • Borrowed from Worcester, MD Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started: 9/13/2017
  • Finished: 9/15/2017
This was not the book I expected, but I really enjoyed it.  A sweet (if that's the right word) fantasy novel.  I've always liked Matheson, loved "I am Legend" and "Hell House".

Part of what made this novel for me was the fantastic narration of Bronson Pinchot.  It took me a while to figure out why I knew that name, but as a child of the 80's it then hit me, "Perfect Strangers."  Anyway, he read this book exceptionally.  So much so, that I will seek out books he's narrated simply because he is reading them.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Title:  The Scarlet Letter
  • Author:  Nathaniel Hawthorn
  • Borrowed from HooplaDigital via Worcester MD Public Library, Audiobook
  • Started: 9/62017
  • Finished: 9/13/2017
I continue to play catch up books that should have been required in High School (whom am I kidding, I'd have only read the Cliff Notes version anyway) or college (I did get a degree in literature).  Yet somehow I never read or was assigned The Scarlet Letter.

I liked it, it was different from what I had imagined.  I didn't love it, but probably would have liked it more if I'd read it as part of a discussion group.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Cuba Libre, by Elmore Leonard

Title: Cuba Libre
Author: Elmore Leonard
Borrowed via HooplaDigital via Worcester MD Public Library Audiobook
Started: 8/29/2017
Finished: 9/5/2017

Enjoyed this one, solid Elmore Leonard novel.