Saturday, April 29, 2017

What We're Reading Now By WWK Bloggers

Linda Rodriguez
Right now, I'm reading Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. I'm a fan of Gaiman's work and loved his American Gods, which was the forerunner to Anansi Boys, but had never read this one. In it, as in American Gods, the gods are alive and making lives the best they can here among us humans in the modern world. So far, the sequel is much more comic than the original American Gods. Gaiman's an engaging writer who brings unique characters to life. 
I've just finished Dean James' Posted to Death. This is the first in a series of his books that I'd never read, a series of cozy mysteries about a vampire in Britain. The premise intrigued me, and James carries it off with great good humor. I'm not sure how it could hold up over a whole series, but the first book was an enjoyable read.

E. B. Davis
I just finished reading/skimming KP Authors Cook Their Books, which is a promotional cookbook featuring Kindle Press authors. Each author wrote a promotional blurb about his/her book and then presented an excerpt and recipe(s). Many of the authors I didn’t know, but then I saw the name James Montgomery Jackson—in a cookbook! I was shocked. Jim’s main character Seamus presents his recipe for pizza and applesauce. Jim promotes Ant Farm for this volume.

Polly Iyer and Maggie Toussaint, SinC Guppies members, whose writing I love, also promote via this cookbook. Polly’s featured book is Indiscretion, and she presents “Paul’s Omelet.” Maggie, writing Sci Fi as Rigel Carson, promotes G-1. “Chicken Apple Hash,” “Gingerbread Man Cookies,” and “Baked Chicken Wings” give a home-down twist to Rigel’s Sci Fi genre.   
I hope to pick up a few new authors from this collaboration. Happy reading and eating, everyone!

(BTW—Linda Rodriguez also has a cookbook, which I downloaded. Yes, it’s true—Here’s the proof!) 

Julie Tollefson

At the Mouth of the River of Bees by Kij Johnson

I'm reading outside my comfort zone this week with Kij Johnson's collection of speculative fiction short stories. The stories are beautiful and insightful. Some are deeply personal. Some are difficult to read but rewarding. All are thought-provoking.

Warren Bull

The Right Mistake: The Further Philosophical Investigations of Socrates Fortlow is the third book by Walter Mosley about an ex-convict who has murdered and raped in the past and now has to live with his guilt and survive in South Central Los Angeles. After twenty-seven years in prison, he is the number one suspect by the police for every serious crime, still strong enough to kill with his bare hands and trying with others in his community to understand the unanswered questions of life.

Tina Whittle

I’m reading (studying) Linda Rodriguez's Plotting the Character-Driven Novel. I'm a pantser trying to learn how to add more structure to that process without losing the organic, "surprise me" pleasure of discovery on the page. This book is turning out to be just the thing I need—short chapters with direct, useful techniques I can put into practice right now that makes sure the "who" of my book remains the driving force behind the "what happens."

Jim Jackson
Jonathan and Faye Kelleman were the guests of honor at this year’s Left Coast Crime. Their publisher sponsored a breakfast and provided a copy of Breakdown by Jonathan. This is one of the most recent in his Dr. Alex Delaware series. In this the psychologist tries to determine what happened to a young boy he had worked with five years earlier as part of an evaluation of the child’s mother, who in the last five years went from Hollywood actress to homeless.

Margaret S. Hamilton
Rhys Bowen, In Farleigh Field         
Bowen’s standalone mystery is set in rural Kent in 1941, an excellent companion to the latest season of Home Fires on PBS. With more than a whiff of Downton atmosphere, an aristocratic family with five daughters (a bit like the Mitford sisters) becomes involved in the war effort. The youngest, Phoebe, with her Cockney sidekick, Alfie, plays the Flavia de Luce role of a twelve-year-old amateur sleuth on her pony. Pamela is a codebreaker at Bletchley Park, and Margot is an undercover intelligence agent, her French lover a member of the Resistance.
Add a mysterious soldier who parachutes to his death on the Farleigh estate, a wily RAF pilot from a neighboring estate recuperating from injuries he suffered during his escape from a POW camp, and the vicar’s son Ben Cresswell, an MI5 agent hot on the trail of a plot to assassinate Churchill.
After watching all the Foyle’s War episodes on PBS, I recognize a black marketeer when I come across one. Wealthy Nazi sympathizers play a role in the plot. They’re the only people with unlimited petrol and access to heavily rationed items like meat and sugar.
With the threat of an imminent German invasion, Bowen ably portrays the tremendous will of the local community to survive the war. A very satisfying mystery.

Grace Topping
I am also reading Rhys Bowen's In Farleigh Field. I love the way she transports the reader to England during WWII. The story reminds me of the five Mitford sisters, who lived during this time period. I just completed and highly recommend K.M. Weiland's book, "Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success." It is full of practice advice on how to outline your work before you begin writing.    

Paula Gail Benson
I was so impressed with Sheila Turnage’s Three Times Lucky (a mystery for middle grade readers, Newbery honor winner, New York Times bestseller, and Edgar Award Finalist) that I signed up for a course taught by Ms. Turnage. Three Times Lucky is the story of rising sixth grader Mo LoBeau, of Tupelo Landing, NC, who tells about her experiences with the authority of a young Scout Finch. She arrived in Tupelo Landing, NC, in a flood, and has been raised by the Colonel and Miss Lana, taking an active part in helping them to run their café, all the while seeking out her unknown “upstream mother.” When one of the café’s customers ends up dead and Mo’s best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, is the main suspect for the murderer, the two become the Desperado Detective Agency in order to find the true killer.                                                                                         


  1. The books presented here are of interest to me. Linda is reading two authors I haven't yet read. Every once in a while I read books outside of my comfort zone, I'm glad Julie does as well. I haven't kept up with Walter Mosley lately so Warren's reading is a reminder. Jim is reading Kelleman, both are now considered classic mystery writers I've read but not recently. Margaret and Grace are reading Rhy's new standalone. I interviewed her about the book here on WWK not long ago. I enjoyed the read, but then I always enjoy Rhy's books. And Paula is reading YA--why does that not surprise me? I, too, enjoy a good YA on occasion. This one seems fun! Thanks for everyone revealing their latest read!

  2. Always fun to see what others are reading. Who knew EB read cookbooks -- or that Linda had written one?

  3. I ran out of time this week to get my comments in for posting. But I want to add - I'm reading our own Gloria Alden's The Blue Rose. I wish I could post the cover, it is gorgeous. The Blue Rose is Gloria's first Catherine Jewell mystery. It is wonderful. The story starts gently and weaves itself around you until you can't put it down. The characters, setting, and plot are all finely drawn and Gloria's knowledge of gardens, gardening, and her much loved Ohio all come through and give the book that special edge of veracity that makes the difference between a good book and a great one. I can't wait to read the rest of this series!

  4. Great ideas for some books I haven't read, as well as a few old friends. I definitely have to read The Right Mistake--my main protagonist, Jesse Damon, is also someone who spent years in prison on a murder conviction. I'm sure the treatments are much different (I've read some of Walter Mosley's work.) I look forward to reading this and some of the others.

  5. I love to see what others are reading. A couple of these are already on my TBR list, and a couple more soon will be!

  6. Always fun to learn what others are reading. I'm intrigued by the YA book Paula recommends.

  7. I always enjoy seeing what everyone's reading. (And thanks for the lovely shout-outs, Elaine and Tina!) I'm glad Warren wrote about Mosley's new series. I've read all the Easy Rawlins books, but this series definitely sounds like one I must have. I love Rhys's books and haven't read this newest one yet (though I have it), so I'm delighted to hear it's as good as I'd expect since she's a friend. I'm glad to hear of Julie's read because I enjoy speculative fiction, so I'll add it to my TBR list. And it definitely sounds as if I need to get a copy of KP Authors Cook the Books.