Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Middle Sis' April Reads

April was a mish-mash of short stories and full-length novels (and a complete ignoring of my book club's selection--bad me! I  promise to read our May/June selection, Mill on the Floss), but overall, I'd say it was a good month for reading.

  1. Mindful Knitting by Tara Jon Manning Manning blends Buddhist mindfulness practices with knitting projects to help the knitter create a more mindful crafting experience. The knitting projects are simple, as would be expected, but Manning's writing is easy and introduces mindfulness practices that can be extended to other parts of the reader's life.
  2. Angel on a Leash by David Frei Must read for therapy dog volunteers, this book eloquently states why we do what we do with our dogs. Beware--a tearjerker in certain parts.Recommend highly.
  3. Death of a Cosy Writer by G. M Malliet Nice homage to the classic English countryside whodunnit. Well written, fast-paced, and a detective protagonist I'm interested in meeting again. Pour a cup of tea and enjoy. Recommend.
  4. The End of the Tour by Diana L. Driver Well written short story with a little twist on the whodunnit (although I did guess correctly). Driver was able to paint accurate and interesting portraits of the various characters better than some who write much thicker and uninteresting mysteries. Recommend.
  5. A Shot in the Bark by Carol Ann Newsome Newsome creates a spot-on depiction of the people and dogs that frequent dog parks, who would be a great candidates for a sociological study. (Yes, I am one of those early-morning dog park regulars of whom she writes.) Good story with a unique setting, but I was distracted by the highly unprofessional behavior of the homicide detective and the framed suspect. I'm not sure I like the hook she used and the lack of ending to a crucial part of the story.
  6. Julius Katz Mysteries by Dave Zeltserman Two mystery short stories whose narrator is a super computer disguised as a tie clip. Donna Andrews' Turing computer mysteries read better because she doesn't interject the emotional side to the computer, as Zeltserman does. His writing style is readable and crisp, although I fail to see why the women all swoon for Julius.
  7. The Curse of Scattershale Gulch by Camille LeGuire Another Mick and Casey short story mystery, this with a slight paranormal overtone. Enjoyable historical western mystery with recognizable twenty-first century heroes. This is second Mick and Casey short story I've read, and I've enjoyed both. Recommend.
  8. Heather Farm by Dorte Hummelshoj Jakobsen A mystery short story with dashes of paranormal and romance. Easy to read, very enjoyable, and l loved the setting on the Danish coast. Recommend.
  9. Under the Bed/Funny Cats by Joshua Scribner Advertised as funny horror stories, they weren't either of these. But you could waste your time in a worse way in a line waiting at the post office than by reading these, I guess.
  10. Christmas Roses by Lizzie Lawson and Robert Ellice Mack Children's verse from 1886. I like both children's prose and poetry and historic-period writing, and this left me cold. Avoid.
  11. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe Such promise--a gloomy house in 1991, echoes of the 1692 Salem witch trials, a history grad student from Harvard who stumbles across a spell book. Ruined by two things: the lack of 'suspects' for the modern crimes (other than the modern day heroine and her new boyfriend, there really is only one possible villain) and the paranormal element. This book read as if the editor said "Great book, but let's jazz it up to attract the now grown-up first gen Harry Potter kids--throw some magic in there, they love magic." The villain had a perfectly good reason to go after the spell book to save his/her own reputation; the villain could even have had been consumed by his/her research without anyone in academia blinking an eye. Concocting potions in your office at Harvard? Hmm, not convincing. A magical colander than imbeds itself in the floor during a spell, crackling blue light that flows out of our heroine's fingertips when she starts accessing her own magical powers (that strangely she never noticed she possessed before), the exploding flowers--not convincing. But I admit to finding paranormal mysteries most uninteresting and would not have read this had I known that's the road this story would take. Too bad, too. Howe has a way with words and a nice writing style, evocative and transcending.


  1. OMG how on earth do you have time to read so much? Takes me weeks!!!

  2. Just stumbled on your blog, and what a nice surprise to see my little story as no 8.

    Have a nice weekend; Dorte Hummelshoj.