Sunday, August 31, 2014

BOOK: Road Ends by Mary Lawson

Road Ends by Mary Lawson, 311 pages

review copy from Random House Canada

I loved Crow Lake  and couldn`t wait to read Mary Lawson`s latest book. (Why I haven`t read her other book, The Other Side of the Bridge, is a good question. Must get on that.)

There are as many things to love about Road Ends as there were in Crow Lake. At the end of Road Ends, some of the characters from Crow Lake appear, and it reminded me of how much I enjoyed Crow Lake again. Actually, one of the characters was a minor character at the diner and I didn`t even realize it.

Simple story, complex characters, a family drama.  A family of boys with one girl, and distant unengaged parents struggling to get by, when finally the girl has enough and manages to leave. A tragedy in the town throws the eldest son into a tailspin and he is unable to put his university education to any use. The father struggles with his memories of his childhood while dreaming of travelling instead of being a bank manager. They are as stuck as you can be in a snow drift in Northern Ontario.

The characters are so real, so imperfect but not ridiculously so. Just normal everyday struggles with responsibility and duty and love. There is a good dose of depression running around the town, but Northern Ontario, late 1960s: life was tough for everyone. Mary Lawson lets us look through the curtains at this one family, and they are compelling.

Her writing is so easy, so clear with atmosphere, and pacing. I liked that the three main characters (father, son and daughter) each took turns narrating the story and we got to see their viewpoint. The timeline also flipped back and forth which kept me very engaged. And hopeful.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


This is the ninth year of Carl`s best challenge - Reader's Imbibing Peril, full of creepy, scary reads. It kicks off the fall season, from now until the end of October. Bounce over there to check on more detailed information - he loves visitors!
I've participated almost every year and these are my favorite kinds of books.

Dark Fantasy

Peril the First:  Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be King or Conan Doyle, Penny or Poe, Chandler or Collins, Lovecraft or Leroux…or anyone in between.

There are several other Perils to consider, and the goal is to be able to participate however you like. There are short story, movies, (I`m sure I watched Breaking Bad completely last fall) and even a read-a-long, The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. I`ll listen to the audiobook of this one!

If I am picking just four, these would be them. (Cool, all female mystery authors). 

the new Tana French: The Secret Place
the new Louise Penny: A Long Way Home (5 in line for the audiobook)
The Prime Minister`s Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal (audiobook)
Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear

But there are a ton of other mysteries I've managed to pick up over the years that I`d love to get to. There`s some Harry Bosch to get caught up on, a little Jack Caffrey would be good as they are always super creepy. I haven`t read any Harry Hole in a while, or Deon Meyer. It might also be time for a Stephen King short story collection - Just After Sunset, which scares me just thinking of the title.

List of Books Read: 
1. Death in August - Mario Vichi
2. The Prime Minister's Secret Agent - Susan Elia MacNeal (audiobook)
3. The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson (audiobook)
4. The House of Stairs - Barbara Vine
5. Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn (audiobook)
6. Just After Sunset - Stephen King (short stories)
7. The Secret Place - Tana French
8. The Long Way Home - Louise Penny (audiobook)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books People Have Been Telling You That You MUST Read

The topic this week at The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday:

Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling You That You MUST Read (whether because they think it's a "you" book or it's just been generally recommended so often)

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay  - but this is my book club book this month, so I will actually read it!

Still Alice by Lisa Genova - I know everyone says this is a great book, but I just haven't managed to pick it up yet

Game of Thrones George R Martin - I can't watch the shows until I read these, right?

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards - I missed the train when this book was everywhere.

The Mermaid's Singing by Val McDermid - recommended by a colleague who loves mysteries as well.

Rebus Mysteries by Ian Rankin - My parents read Rebus, and I do like mysteries, but some days, there are already so many mysteries to read, starting a new series is too much.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt - Jennyreads insisted that this was better than The Goldfinch, a book that annoyed me a lot, so I may give it a try, someday.

The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien- in the words of my cousin - Suck it up and read these!

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen - a fun mystery series recc'd by a friend that I do plan to investigate

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I'd Give To Readers Who Have Never Read Mysteries

The topic this week at The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday: 

Top Ten Books I'd Give To Readers Who Have Never Read Mysteries

only each blogger fills in the genre they like to read. Mysteries are my go-to favourite reads.
Nearly all of the books suggested here are from ongoing series, and I tried to pick the first in the series. Series like these always get better, and while individual books are good, it's the ongoing development of characters that really impresses. I tried to divide them into categories, and I left out so many! No Scandi-crime here, no intense thrillers, no cosy mysteries, no American present day; so many other countries and historical time-periods have been omitted. But these are some really good books, that happen to be mysteries.

Classic Mysteries:
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Historical Mysteries:
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (England, after WWI)
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin (12th century England)

African Mysteries
Thirteen Hours by Deon Myers (South Africa)
Wife of the Gods by Kwai Quartey (Ghana)

Police Procedurals
87th Precinct series by Ed McBain (New York City)
Inspector Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri (Sicily, Italy)

Favorite Female Authors
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (England)
The Likeness by Tana French (Ireland)