A List of Books to Read

I’ve been meaning to do book reviews, but I’ve been reading faster than I’ve been posting. So I’m a double failure, but still, here’s a list of great books I’ve read recently, and why you should go get them right now.

“Dog On It” and “Thereby Hangs a Tail”, Spencer Quinn: This new series is absolutely hilarious. It’s a new mystery series (Dog On It in paperback, Thereby still only in hardcover) narrated by… a dog. And it’s a riot. Unlike many authors who assign human qualities to animal narrators, Quinn does a wonderful job of capturing the true character of Chet, our canine narrator. Chet gets distracted by his tail (come on, any dog owner knows that happens!), and although he can’t piece together the clues he sees, the reader can. Which makes this series the ultimate whodunit. Not only do you get Chet’s detective/person (and by person I mean owner, but not really. Our dogs love us and we love them, and they’re not truly own-able) talking things out with Chet, but you also get Chet’s solo-view on the matter. Which he often forgets. Chet is a believable narrator because he doesn’t truly comprehend what he’s experiencing. HIGHLY recommend. Seriously, stop reading and go get this book.
“The Sweetness and the Bottom of the Pie”, Alan Bradley: A 70 something man writes in the voice of an 11 year old girl. And pulls it off. It’s incredible. The second book in the series, with a ridiculously long title (The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag, or close to it) was also phenomenal. The series follows 11 year old Flavia de Luce in 1950’s rural England as she solves crimes. She is a chemistry progeny. And a riot. She may be 11 years old, but she’s wicked smart. And her “experiments” on her involuntary subjects (her sisters) are a delightful side plot.
“Her Mother’s Hope”, Francine Rivers: In the 3 years I’ve been working at a bookstore, Francine Rivers has yet to come out with a completely new novel. Now, finally, she’s begun a new series. “Her Mother’s Hope” follows two generations of women in the same family (almost 3, but the title-referenced mother’s mother has a bit of a story involved too). Of course it’s amazing. How could it not be? It begins in Europe, goes through Canada and even ventures into our good ol‘ USA. To make it even more interesting, Rivers based the book on her mother’s and grandmother’s letters, and even ventured to her ancestor’s hometown in Europe to do research. I’d love to research a book in Hawaii, to any publisher who’d like to send me there (all expenses paid, of course! And I can’t forget the hubby 😉 ) It’s a great mother-daughter book club read, as well as just enjoyable. Though parts of it will make you cry. I cried. Despite that, I’m still looking forward to book 2 coming out– supposedly this fall?! It’s an interesting look at mother-daughter relationships as well.
“The Walk”, Richard Paul Evans: I detailed this pretty well in my last post, so think back to that. It’s a wonderful book. Be prepared to cry though.
“Bitter is the New Black”, Jen Lancaster: If you haven’t read her blog, Jennsylvania, you should. It’s hilarious, and it will give you a taste of her writing before you venture into spending money territory. She states her mind and her feelings, which is refreshing. She may have been overconfident at one point, but she seems to have an accurate view of where she’s at now, and isn’t afraid to admit she’s made mistakes (quite refreshing!). She’s says what you want to say, only don’t have the guts to. It’s awesome. I admire her gall. And it’s laugh-yourself-off-the-couch funny. A wonderful combination of wit and hindsight-wisdom.
“The Scent of Rain and Lightning”, Nancy Pickard: Another mystery. Guess what section of the bookstore I’ve poked my nose recently? I’ve been loving the mystery section, clearly evidenced by this post (Quinn, Bradley and Pickard can all be found there). This is the new Barnes and Noble Recommends book, and I picked it up more because of the title than anything else. I love the smell of a thunderstorm. This is highly influenced by growing up in Oklahoma, and the fact that the book takes place in Kansas may increase my level of bias. However, it was phenomenally well written. She’s won about a gazillion awards at this point (all in the mystery realm, I believe) and I often shy away from award winners because they are too prose-y. I love a good book, but a writer who’s too busy trying to sound like a writer than working on a good plot is sadly often the recipient of awards. However, Pickard may encourage me to pick up more award winners. The plot kept me on my toes, trying to figure it all out before she told me. And even though I was a smidgeon close, I was still shocked and surprised at the ending. Yet still satisfied. It’s a beautifully written with a compelling story; what’s not to love? WARNING: For the faint of heart and scaredy-cats like me, don’t read this after dark. I made that mistake once. The book switches time frames, from 1986 to present day. It’s clearly distinguishable, but the scary stuff happens in both time frames, so you’re not even safe reading one part at night. However, if you’re used to murder mysteries, you should have no problem.
So that’s what I’ve been reading (and liking). Now pick at least one and read it so I have someone to talk about it with!

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