What I’m Reading Right Now

What I'm reading right nowOr, rather, what I just finished reading…

While I was on my recent business trip, I decided to purchase a few “real” books because there is that interminable period of time on the plane when you can’t have your electronics turned on and I don’t think you can bring enough magazines to fill that gap of time – or at least I don’t want to – they are heavy (and expensive!)

So, while I was in California, I stopped by the local bookstore and picked up a few books to read. I had forgotten what a heady experience it is to enter a bookstore – the smells,  the sight of all those books – it’s just heaven to me. As I was all alone (another wonderful experience) I spent probably close to an hour or more just browsing the shelves and looking at all sorts of books.

It’s something you don’t even realize you miss, when you move to digital books; the experience of being in a bookstore – perusing the stacks and stumbling across books you didn’t even know existed.

I was in heaven.

And one of the books I stumbled across was this one –The Yard, by Alex Grecian.  I have to say, it was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

If you follow me on Facebook, you may remember that I asked for book recommendations a while back. I had been reading a series and was finished with that series and in a bit of a quandary about what to read  next. I got some great suggestions but none really “grabbed” me as I read them and I was still looking for a new book to suck me in and take me away from the world for a few hours.

The Yard certainly did that.  My flight home just flew by (sorry, I couldn’t resist) and I found myself wishing I could just snuggle up on the sofa and read until I finished the book once I got home.  (the kids were having none of that, though)

The story is an old-fashioned murder mystery, set in Victorian England around the time of the Jack the Ripper murders.  In the story, a fledgling murder squad is formed at Scotland Yard and the detectives have been tasked with solving the murders occurring in London.  They have their hands full, often with close to 100 unsolved cases each. Confidence is low, morale is lower and they are scorned by the citizens who feel they were let down when the Jack the Ripper murders were never solved.

Enter Walter Day, a recently promoted detective who really feels he doesn’t quite belong on the murder squad even though he was hand picked by his predecessor for the job.  Walter is recently married – to a young lady above his station – and is hoping the detective position will afford him the lifestyle his wife had been accustomed to before their marriage.

When a train case is abandoned at the local station and the body of a Murder Squad detective is found inside, Walter is assigned to the case, simply because he was the first on the scene.  He teams up with Dr. Bernard Kingsley, a local physician who has appointed himself to the coroner’s position and who embraces “new” medicine and forensic investigation.

Together, they begin to research the murder and to try to track down the killer.  As the story progresses, other murders are intertwined and cause them to wonder if this is another serial killer or just coincidental similarities linking the cases.  Additionally, the murderer is hot on their tails and tries his best to interfere with the investigation at every turn.

At the same time, Constable Nevil Hammersmith is compelled to investigate the case of a missing young boy who is found dead in a chimney.  Young children were often abducted and pressed into labor as “climbers” for chimney sweeps and this child apparently died in service to one.  Hammersmith is instructed not to investigate but can’t let the death go because it brings back memories of his childhood labors in the mines.

Grecian does an excellent job building the characters and bringing them to life – you are not only following the mystery of the murders but the development of these three men as they find their way in investigating them and in establishing themselves within the Murder Squad at Scotland Yard.

I won’t tell you any more about the plot – I want you to experience it for yourself, but I will say this: I didn’t want to put the book down and I was really sad when it was finished. I’m hoping that there are future stories planned for this crew as I was sad to say goodbye when the story ended.

If you’re looking for a great summer read, definitely consider The Yard.

What I’m Reading Right Now (2011 Recap)

What I'm reading right nowI’m reading a great book right now- it’s a monster (700+ pages!) but it is so good I don’t even mind the fact that it is quite a project to read.  I’ll share some thoughts about it in an upcoming post, but I thought that today I’d share a recap of some of my favorite reads from 2011.

You will recall I do a monthly “What I’m Reading Right Now” post.  You can check those out for more detailed reviews of the books.

Here are my top five favorite books for 2011: (in no particular order)

  • The Cupcake Bakery Mysteries.  These were sooo cute.  I am looking forward to #4 in the series.
  • A Discovery of Witches.  This was an awesome book. I believe there is another one coming out for this series, too. Can’t wait.
  • The Peach Keeper. I love anything by Sarah Addison Allen. She is such a talented writer.
  • Juliet. Romeo & Juliet reinvented. Very engrossing.
  • Prayers for Sale. This one was so, so good. Great characters, great story.

And one more for good measure:

  • Game of Thrones (I’m reading it right now, but started in 2011, so it counts, right?  REALLY good. More on this one soon.

What about you? What were your favorite books in 2011?

Are you planning any good reads for 2012?  I’m hoping to read the next installment of Game of Thrones and I’ve got these books on my to-read wish list on my Nook:

Well, that’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll be adding more books to my wish list…

I’d love to hear from you on any suggestions you may have!

What I’m Reading Right Now ~ November

Life has been so busy lately – haven’t had time, it seems, for much of anything – and yet I seem (somehow) to have managed to finish three books this month.

Granted, they have been short books… short and sweet ones.  They’re part of a cute series of mysteries – the Cupcake Bakery Series by Jenn McKinlay.

I’m not sure how I ended up with the first one – maybe a Friday Freebie?

I read it pretty quickly – it was really cute and “light” (if a murder mystery can be light) and a great escape at the end of the busy days of October.

The story revolves around three best friends who own a cupcake bakery together… and the murder in which one of them becomes the prime suspect.

There were a few sub-plots involving the main characters, which continue throughout the three stories, developing as they go.

I liked this continuity of story, combined with the different murders in each book – the characters are just off-beat enough to be fun and while it is hard to believe these folks have this many murders surround them (you’d start to wonder – in real life – what was up if you had this many murders around you!) the ongoing stories and goofball characters they encounter keep you engaged and curious enough to see what is coming next.

There’s the hateful owner of the bakery who is their chief competition, the eccentric fashion designers, the couples who take the Valentine’s-themed baking class and can’t stop arguing, the geriatric gentleman who tries to win the raffle for a Valentine’s dream dinner so that he can “get a life” – the books are full of colorful characters.

I’m reading #3 in the series now, which is focused on a cooking contest in which one of the judges is killed. Of course, he was a mentor and close friend of one of the main characters and she feels compelled to investigate his murder at the same time she is competing against her nemesis (the hateful bakery owner) in this competition.  Add to that the fact that her uncle is the investigating detective and her boyfriend is the DA (and her best friend and co-owner’s big brother) and you have some kookiness to come.

If you’re looking for something light and fun – a great escape from everyday life – this is a great series of books to read.

What I’m Reading Right Now ~ October 2011

What I'm reading right nowI haven’t had a lot of time to read this month, but I have been reading. And I’ve been reading a really good book, too.  Well, it’s good if you like action/adventure/spy/thriller type books, that is.

The Jefferson Allegiance,
by Bob Mayer

The story is similar to Clive Cussler’s books, or even some of Robert Ludlum’s Bourne books (Bourne Ultimatum, Bourne Identity, etc.)

The Jefferson Allegiance by Bob Mayer: NOOK Book Cover

The premise of the book is based around a top-secret agreement that was created by Thomas Jefferson and his political arch-enemy Alexander Hamilton.  The Jefferson Allegiance is a document designed to keep the powers of the president, “big business,” and Congress, in check.  Should any of these become out of balance, the Allegiance can be called into play which has the power to completely change the face of the American democratic system – ousting presidents who have extended their reach beyond their office, for example.

As the story begins, two “Philosophers,” members of the American Philosophical Society (and keepers of the secret of the Allegiance) are brutally murdered.  Their heirs are unknowingly targeted as well and the story follows the cat-and-mouse chase as these heirs seek to unravel the mystery of what they  have been thrown into and the killer seeks to kill them and destroy the Allegiance.

The book has quite a few twists and turns and keeps you entertained. There have been many nights I’ve been reading and had the words swimming in front of my on my Nook, and yet been unwilling to put the book down because I just had to see what was going to happen.

There is quite a bit of the usual macho-posturing familiar in this type of book – the hero struggling with his “inner beast,” the techno-speak and military lingo that I have no clue whether it is accurate or not (nor do I really care).  However, the interesting pieces, the ties back into American History, are what really kept me reading.

I liked how he tied real historical facts into the story, weaving a plausible scenario that has you wondering as you read if something like the Allegiance really exists.

Well worth the $3 price tag for the Nook Book.

Read it if you have a hankering for a little history and action all in one.

What I’m Reading Right Now

I haven’t had as much time to read since school started a few weeks ago. I’ve been busy with after school activities, homework, and the like – wait, I’m not the one who went back to school! What’s wrong with this picture? Winking smile

What I'm reading right nowI have been getting up before the sun comes up, though, which means that I’ve been going to bed a whole lot earlier – as early as 8:30 or 9:00 most nights – and which translates to less time to read.

In spite of all that, I have managed to pick up a few books. I am currently in the middle of two books – neither of which have really “grabbed” me.  They are good, but not spectacular.  I think my fatigue and busy-ness also have contributed to the fact that I have not been as engrossed in the stories.

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier: Book Cover

Remarkable Creatures

by Tracy Chevalier

I picked this up in a buy one-get one special at a bookstore near my mom’s house this summer. I’ve been saving it for a day when I didn’t have anything handy to read – and that day came just a few weeks ago.

The story is based on a young girl who finds “curies” – curiosities – which are fossilized creatures found on the beaches of southern England.  Also a part of the story is a young spinster who moves to the area and becomes focused on finding curiosities as well.  The story touches on the differences in their social classes and the similarities of their love of finding fossils.

It’s a little slow – which is why I can’t tell you much more about the story – and I haven’t gotten too deep in the story yet.  It looks like a good story, I just need to sit down and read it!

The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes: Book CoverThe Last Letter from Your Lover

by Jojo Moyes

The Last Letter from Your Lover opens with a young woman in the hospital suffering from amnesia and recovering from a terrible car accident.  As the story unfolds, you discover her unhappy marriage, a happenstance meeting with a journalist that turns into something more, and her rediscovery of her life.

The book is broken into two parts – the first is focused on Jennifer as she recovers from her accident and deals with the amnesia.  The second focuses on a young journalist who stumbles across letters from Jennifer and the journalist and tries to discover what happened to them.

I  have gotten through the first part – just started on the second part.  I got so aggravated with Jennifer in the first part that I had to put the book away for a few days to get some distance from the story. (guess that means it is a good book!) I’m ready to pick it up again, though, and see how things transpire in the second half and find out what happened to Jennifer and Anthony.

I’ll let you know what my final verdict is…

What about you? Reading anything good these days?  Share with us in the comments!