Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Books of 2014 - March


1. The White Cottage Mystery. Fiction by Margery Allingham. Clever, but dated now. Seasoned mystery readers will see the "twist" coming a mile away. Allingham's hand is deft but the development of this story just isn't there, which is understandable since it was first run as a serial in a newspaper.

Also available for Kindle (which is how I read it):The White Cottage Mystery.

Recommended for: fans of Marsh, Crispin, and the British cozy in general.

2. Talk to the Hand. Nonfiction by Lynne Truss. Not as cohesive as her first, grammar based diatribe. Still, Truss has a way with words and she definitely has a point about society in general.

Available for Kindle:Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt The Door

Recommended for: fans of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation; the curmudgeonly among us. (We know who we are)

3. The Power of a Half Hour. Nonfiction by Tommy Barnett. Read for review.

Available for Kindle: The Power of a Half Hour: Take Back Your Life Thirty Minutes at a Time

Recommended for: those in ministry, fans of time management books.

4. Hunting Shadows. Fiction by Charles Todd. My Goodreads review:
So much better than the previous Rutledge outing. The unevenness of this series (yes, I've read them all) makes me wonder exactly how the mother-son writing team works. Do I actually enjoy the work of one of them more than the other? Hmm...

This is tightly woven, plenty of clues dropped without being heavy handed. You can figure out somethings without figuring out the entire plot, which I enjoy. The research is well done without being "bash the reader over the head with everything we know" and certain aspects, like how vehicles worked and how long it would take to get somewhere in 1920's England are much improved over previous stories.

Hamish, a conceit of which I am entirely weary, is present but I somehow found him (it?) much less annoying this time around. The war is removed is several years gone in this story but still a tangible force on the characters.

Available for Kindle:Hunting Shadows: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery

Recommended for: mystery fans, those who are committed to the series, anyone looking for a post-WW1 series.

5. The Seventh Sinner. Fiction by Elizabeth Peters. My Goodreads review:
Ah, Elizabeth Peters {Barbara Mertz}, how I miss thee. So much so, I've gone back to read some of your earlier work that I've missed until now. I haven't read your Jacqueline Kirby series yet (even though I've read all the Amelia Peabody and most of the Vicky Bliss books), so I'm working on that series now.

It was fun, slightly dated now (published in 1972) and has the delightfully expansive cast of characters you handle with aplomb.

I miss your writing. I miss eagerly ordering your latest work at my local library. But thanks for leaving us so many books to enjoy, so that I can still stumble on one that's new to me.
Available for Kindle: The Seventh Sinner (The Jacqueline Kirby Series)

Recommended for: fans of Elizabeth Peters' other work (Amelia Peabody, Vicky Bliss).

6. The Murders of Richard III. Fiction by Elizabeth Peters. Series mystery. Jacqueline Kirby is at it again, this time in England. I appreciated the references to Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time.

Available for Kindle: The Murders of Richard III (Jacqueline Kirby series)

Recommended for: fans of Elizabeth Peters, fans of Josephine Tey's book about Richard III.

7. A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life. Nonfiction by Mary Randolph Carter. Lovely book with inspiring looks into several very different lives.

Recommended for: fans of Country Living magazine, decorating books, or Mary Randolph Carter's other work.

8. How to Work for Yourself. Nonfiction by Bryan Cohen. Some great ideas here.

Recommended for: bloggers, writers, any other creative types.

Free for Kindle: How to Work for Yourself: 100 Ways to Make the Time, Energy and Priorities to Start a Business, Book or Blog

9. The Man in the Queue. Fiction by Josephine Tey. Speaking of Josephine Tey (see #6 above), reading that book reminded me to pick up another Tey mystery. This is the first book in the Inspector Grant series. It doesn't hold up as well as some of Tey's work. The mystery isn't really solved so much as the guilty person clears it all up right at the end. Still, there's plenty of humor and it's full of well constructed characters (and a few one-dimensional folks too, including, I'm sad to say, the victim).

Available for Kindle: The Man in the Queue
Recommended for: Agatha Christie fans, fans of Josephine Tey's other work.

10. Die For Love. Fiction by Elizabeth Peters. Another Jacqueline Kirby story, this one set in a conference for Romance novel writers. Shenanigans ensue. Probably not my favorite of the series.

Available for Kindle: Die for Love (Jacqueline Kirby series)

Recommended for: fans of the previous books.

11. Grace for the Homeschool Mom. Nonfiction by Tamara Chilver. I picked this one when it was free for Kindle. I'm glad I did: several parts were encouraging to me. The "highlight" feature on my Kindle got used a lot on this one. I hope to share some of those quotes with you in the near future.

Recommended for: homeschool moms, those who are considering homeschooling, those who'd like to know more about homeschooling but are kind of intimidated by the idea.

Available for Kindle (not free any longer, but it's still a great deal): Grace for the Homeschool Mom

Totals for March:
Fiction: 6 (all series mysteries)
Nonfiction: 5

So, what did you read in March? What should I add to my April stack?
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