I've had a very light reading month this time and have only got through fourteen books. One was the huge 2666, which took me a while. Several of the others were quick reads though. I thought 2666 was very clever and I enjoyed that. A couple of the other books were very good too, but nothing really stood out.
Kansas troubles – Earlene Fowler
I thought I'd ease into the month gently with another of those nice cosy mysteries. In this one Bennie visits family in Kansas and gets involved in – you guessed it – a murder. Great fun. Another reason for picking this was that I needed a quick read, as I had three books waiting at the library, one of which is absolutely massive.
Sins and needles – Monica Ferris
Although a start has been made on the huge library book, it's divided into five parts, so I took a break from it after part two to read another cosy. In this one it's pretty much a variation on the usual theme but I enjoyed it as always. I like the characters in this series as well as the setting and the fact that Betsy runs that needlework shop. I particularly liked the murder weapon in this book. Marvellous!
James Penney's new identity / Guy walks into a bar – Lee Child (Storycuts)
This is part of a series of digital short stories by all different authors. Obviously I had to download the one by Lee Child. The first one was the longer of the two and was really good. It was all about James Penney and how he got very upset after being laid off from his job of 15 years. It became a Jack Reacher story right at the end, which I wasn't expecting and which was an unexpected bonus.
The second story was a Jack Reacher from the beginning and was extremely short. Still good though. I don't think I've read anything by Lee Child that I haven't enjoyed.
Les enfants terribles – Jean Cocteau
I'm still reading smaller books inbetween the parts of the huge library book and this one was handy as it just came through the post as part of a Virtual Book Box on BookCrossing. It was quite odd but also rather endearing. It's about two children and a private game that stays with them as they grow older and has tragic consequences. I quite enjoyed it.
The Calling – Alison Bruce
This was a free download to my Kindle and although it sounded quite good, you don't know what you're going to get with the free ones, so I was a bit wary. It turned out to be as good as it had sounded and I stayed up quite late to finish it. I liked the detective in it and I liked that he wasn't the main focus in the book. There were a lot of things about him that were hinted at and made me curious so I may have to get the previous two books to find out more. The murder/mystery itself was good and I liked the way that was told. An enjoyable read and I'll probably search out more by the author.
2666 – Roberto Bolano
This was quite an amazing book, and very long at 900 pages of rather small print. It's divided into five books. Each book has a town in Mexico as its common factor. As I was reading through it, I wasn't sure if I was reading a book about the Mexican town or about a German author who is the focus of some of the books as there didn't seem to be any connection between the two other than a tenuous one in the first book. In the last book though, all becomes clear and you see just how clever it all is. What I loved is that as you read, the story keeps wandering off so you have stories within stories within stories, so you find yourself getting lost in something quite unrelated, and then pulled back to the main narrative.
Something that amused me was in one of the side stories. One of the characters is an author who writes three books. They're called Twilight, Midday and Dawn. His friend contemplates a companion trilogy entitled True Dawn, True Dusk and Tremble of Twilight. None, as far as I'm aware, are about vampires *grin*
(2666 was published in 2004)
(Country hopping challenge – Chile, 1001 list)
The Twins – Tessa de Loo
This was the story of twin girls who were orphaned and separated at the age of six. One is brought up in Nazi Germany and one with a Dutch family. They have very different childhoods, mainly because of the people that are caring for them but partly because of the country that they're in. They meet briefly twice when they're adults but don't speak much and then go their separate ways. All of this is told in flashbacks as the book starts in a spa in Belgium where both are staying and meet again by chance. By this time the war is long over and they have their whole lives to talk about, although there is a lot of friction due to their opposing sides during the war. I really enjoyed it. It was beautifully written and gave a different viewpoint to the usual war stories.
(Country hopping challenge – Netherlands, 1001 list)
Knitting bones – Monica Ferris
In this one Betsy breaks her leg at the start of the book, hence the title, and has to leave most of the detective work to Godwin. For a change, you know who the bad guy is right from the start but you have to watch as the story unfolds. It was a bit of a twist on what I've come to expect and I liked it. I always enjoy these books but it was enjoyable to have a slight change in format.
The Bone Garden – Tess Gerritsen
The Plum-Crazy theme on BookCrossing this month is body parts so I picked this up to continue the topic of Bones from my last book. It's a fun way to pick my next read. This was allegedly a Maura Isles book, but she only featured on about two pages. The rest of it was an historical fiction/thriller/murder mystery told in flashbacks. The present day part of the story was about a woman who found some bones and then wanted to know more about the house, garden and bones. It was quite different to the other Gerritsens that I've read and I really enjoyed it. I've actually just read it in one sitting and it wasn't a short book at 526 pages. I don't usually go for Historical fiction either, so it must have been good!
Assault with a deadly glue gun – Lois Winston
I got this for the Kindle a few weeks ago when I spotted it was a free download. The title just tickled me so I thought I'd take a look. It was actually quite good as cozy mysteries go. This one was a crafting mystery. I don't think I liked it quite enough to go and get any more in the series. There were a lot of typos and errors in setting out in it that were annoying, and a couple of the characters got on my nerves a bit. It was diverting for the couple of hours that it took to read though so worth the effort.
A confederacy of dunces – John Kennedy Toole
From the reviews that I read, I expected to find this much more amusing than I actually did. I enjoyed it up to a point but it wasn't until the last quarter of the book that I found myself getting really interested in what was happening. It was quite clever, especially how it all came together at the end, but not one of my favourites.
(Genre challenge, 1001 list)
The cat who had 60 whiskers – Lilian Jackson Braun
Ok, this was just disappointing. The last one of these that I read was quite enjoyable but this one seemed really odd. It mostly consisted of Qwill showing people round his barn, Koko staring at the phone or door, and Qwill being generous with the K fund. Oh, and writing stuff. Almost at the end someone gets killed by a bee sting. A bit further on it turns out she was murdered and with very little fuss, Qwill apparently solves the murder. It's all done so quickly and quietly, you barely notice it. Then in the last few pages Qwill has two major life changing events and the book ends. What the? And to make matters worse, I don't even have the choice of whether or not to buy the next book, to find out how those situations resolve as this was the last book. Ah well, personally I just think she got tired of writing about those two things and got rid of them. Good for her. Shame she never got a chance to give Qwill something new in his life. I however, will have to find a new cozy cat mystery series to read.
Goose in the pond – Earlene Fowler
Chief Ortiz and wife Benni squabbled their way through this one again but it was still entertaining and was neatly tied up at the end. Quite literally in Benni's case.
A farewell to arms – Ernest Hemingway
WWI in Hemingway's distinctive style. He enlisted and volunteered for ambulance service in Italy, was wounded, and twice decorated. This book came out of his experiences. It was unlike anything else that I've read about the war and I really enjoyed it.
(Country hopping challenge – Italy, 1001 list)