Books Read In January

I’m going to keep much better track of my reading this year. One way to do that is to keep and post a list of what I read each month. I have a super secret goal of reading five books a month, which seems so simple, but there are times when I don’t. This isn’t for lack of things to read. My TBR pile is always generous:

January has been a largely science fictional month. There should be more mysteries in February, starting with my current books being read: City of Endless Night by Preston and Child and The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.

Ancillary Justice Ann Leckie

The first novel in the “Imperial Radch” series read so much like a suspense thriller with the heroine bent on revenge. I was so surprised at the combination of futuristic society, world building and thriller novel. I’m looking forward to reading more.

Persepolis Rising James S. A. Corey

The seventh novel of nine (oh no…don’t end!!!!!) in the Expanse series, Persepolis Rising follows the takeover of the Ring Gates by former Martian insurgent Duarte. He’s created an Empire on Laconia, one of the gate worlds. Using alien technologies and military strategies he works to extend his empire to every world and system.

The Boxcar Children Gertrude Chandler Warner

I’ve been curious about this children’s mystery series for a long time. I have the first 12 novels on Kindle, but just read the first. It isn’t what I expected at all. More a tale of children surviving on their own in the 1920s than a mystery story, it follows four orphaned children who want to stay together rather than be put in an orphans home.

They find an abandoned boxcar which they furnish from a local dump. They manage to forage for some food, but the oldest gets small jobs in town to buy them what they need otherwise. Spoiler alert, they have a rich grandfather they’re afraid to be found by, who ends up not only taking them in, but has their boxcar moved onto his property so they can have further adventures based in it.

The Chessmen of Mars Edgar Rice Burroughs
I must track down all the novels in the series. This was the fifth adventure of Barsoom. It features John Carter’s daughter Tara. She’s tough, strong, and independent. Flying in a terrible storm she lands in a tree near the city of Manator. It is inhabited by awful creatures who are spiderlike “heads” and who pop on and off of host bodies which are mindless (not surprising) slaves of the Kaldanes. She manages to survive by wit and bravery.

The Gods of Mars Edgar Rice Burroughs

When Martians reach the end of their thousand year life cycles, or wish to die, they take a pilgrimage to the southern pole of Barsoom along a holy river and are received by the goddess Issus. So they think! Instead they are attacked by vicious plantmen or white apes, enslaved by a race called Therns, or by the goddess herself. Returning to Barsoom after an unwanted visit to Earth, John Carter falls in among these terrible enemies and eventually exposes the truth of the place to all Barsoom.

The Warlord of Mars Edgar Rice Burroughs

John Carter pursues the remnants of Thern society to a city in the far north of Barsoom. With help from a local lord, he enters the city of Kadabra disguised as a yellow Martian to find the kidnapped Deja Thoris.

Thuvia, Maid of Mars Edgar Rice Burroughs

Thuvia, a brave woman who aided John Carter with her beast taming abilities in Warlord of Mars, is taken prisoner and John’s son Carthoris is blamed. Seeking to find Dejah, Carthoris follows her to Lothar, a city where men can control thought to such an extent that they can create an army of warriors who don’t exist but who are deadly to enemies.


Answer to Merlyn’s January 30 2018 First Line Rebus

From: His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

The deck of the French ship was slippery with blood, heaving in the choppy sea; a stroke might as easily bring down the man making it as the intended target.

His Majesty’s Dragon is the first novel in an eight book series:

His Majesty’s Dragon
Throne of Jade
Black Powder War
Empire of Ivory
Victory of Eagles
Tongues of Serpents
Crucible of Gold
Blood of Tyrants

Visit Novik’s Temeraire page:

The Agatha Award Nominees For 2018

Nominees for best mysteries in the kinder gentler tradition of Agatha Christie are now up for consideration

The nominees are:

Best Contemporary Novel

Death Overdue: A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook (Crooked Lane Books)
A Cajun Christmas Killing: A Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
No Way Home: A Zoe Chambers Mystery by Annette Dashofy (Henery Press)
Take Out by Margaret Maron (Grand Central Publishing)
Glass Houses: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)

Best Historical Novel

In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen (Lake Union Publishing)
Murder in an English Village: A Beryl and Edwina Mystery by Jessica Ellicott (Kensington)
Called to Justice: A Quaker Midwife Mystery by Edith Maxwell (Midnight Ink)
The Paris Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery by Susan Elia MacNeal (Bantam)
Dangerous to Know: A Lillian Frost and Edith Head Novel by Renee Patrick (Forge)

Best First Novel

Adrift: A Mer Cavallo Mystery by Micki Browning (Alibi-Random House)
The Plot is Murder: Mystery Bookshop by V.M. Burns (Kensington)
Hollywood Homicide: A Detective by Day Mystery by Kellye Garrett (Midnight Ink)
Daughters of Bad Men by Laura Oles (Red Adept Publishing)
Protocol: A Maggie O’Malley Mystery by Kathleen Valenti (Henery Press)

Best Nonfiction

From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women who Created an Icon by Mattias Boström (Mysterious Press)
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books by Martin Edwards (Poisoned Pen Press)
American Fire: Love, Arson and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse (Liveright Publishing Corp.)
Rewrite Your Life: Discover Your Truth Through the Healing Power of Fiction by Jess Lourey (Conari Press)
Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne du Maurier by Tatiana de Rosnay (St. Martin’s Press)

Best Short Story

Double Deck the Halls by Gretchen Archer (Henery Press)
“Whose Wine is it Anyway” by Barb Goffman in 50 Shades of Cabernet (Koehler Books)
“The Night They Burned Miss Dixie’s Place” by Debra Goldstein in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine (May/June 2017)
“The Library Ghost of Tanglewood Inn” by Gigi Pandian (Henery Press)
“A Necessary Ingredient” by Art Taylor in Cost to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Seat (Down & Out Books)

Best Children’s/Young Adult

City of Angels by Kristi Belcamino (Polis Books)
Sydney Mackenzie Knocks ‘Em Dead by Cindy Callaghan (Aladdin)
The World’s Greatest Detective by Caroline Carlson (HarperCollins)
Audacity Jones Steals the Show by Kirby Larson (Scholastic Press)
The Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley (Scholastic Press)

Visit the Agatha Awards page at Malice Domestic

As an experiment, I’m trying to add the list as a PDF

Agatha Award Nominees

The 2018 British Books Challenge

I like to look at Book Challenges, because there are some fun ones out there. They’re pretty rampant this time of year. As we know I failed miserably getting my reading recorded in Goodreads last year and thus failed the 50 book challenge I set for myself. I’m going to be cannier this time around. The purpose of reading challenges as far as I’m concerned, is to have fun, and to find enjoyable new books and authors. I keep seeing the phrase “read harder”. No. It isn’t supposed to be hard. It is supposed to be illuminating, thrilling, enthralling.

Via Bookriot, you can try the 2018 British Books Challenge. You need only read 12 books for the year from a British author, new or old. How easy is that? If you read Mysteries, you’ll almost certainly find 12 good books to read.

The actual challenge is hosted by the very cool looking Tales of Yesterday Blog You can sign up for the challenge on her site and she’ll draw monthly winners for those submitting their reads.

The 2018 Edgar Award Nominations

It’s Edgar Time! The best mysteries in many categories are listed for consideration

There are five novels up for Best Mystery Novel, and I’m going to read them before the awards in April. The last time I managed to do it, there were two books I loved that I thought should win. Neither did. I don’t think that is what has kept me from trying again. But, I’m all January fresh, and am in the mood.

The nominees are:

The Dime by Kathleen Kent (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)

Prussian Blue by Philip Kerr (Penguin Random House — Marian Wood Books/Putnam)

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)

A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee (Pegasus Books)

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti (Penguin Random House — The Dial Press)

These are all authors I haven’t read before, what fun.

From Bookriot: 15 Small Tasks to Encourage a Bookish New Year

Happy New Year! I don’t do resolutions, but I always like the fresh start of a new year to make goals. Reading more and keeping track of my reading better (or at all, it seems!) is always a goal.

From Bookriot’s list I like #2, #4, #12, #14 and for number 15, I think I’ll make sure if I do a Goodreads reading goal, I list something super easy to get, like 10 books read! At one point when I logged in Goodreads told me I was 40 Books Behind! Daunting! I don’t think that sort of reminder is helpful or encouraging. Even if it just said ” you’re at 20 of your goal of 50″, it’s more encouraging.