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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Armchair Travels

by Julie Tollefson

I’ve been off work for the past two weeks, and it has been glorious. As temperatures dropped below zero (cold is sooo not my thing), I parked myself beside the fireplace and let the words of talented storytellers take me away from the bleak Midwestern winter. Between holiday gatherings and family game nights, I finished four books that have been on my to-read list for months.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was a young adult sensation in 2017, spending many weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. It’s told through the eyes of 16-year-old Starr Carter after she witnesses the police shooting death of a childhood friend. The story is emotional and current and deserving of every award and honor it’s received so far.

Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett is the first in a new series featuring out-of-work actress Dayna Anderson. Day sets out to solve a murder, inspired by a $15,000 reward, and finds trouble and danger along the way. Day and her friends Sienna and Emme are a ton of fun to spend time with.

I’ve had The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day on my to-read bookshelf since March, when I met Lori at the first Murder and Mayhem in Chicago. I’ve read and loved her previous books, and it about killed me that I couldn’t find time to dig into her most recent until the very last week of 2017. Totally worth it, though. The psychological thriller features handwriting analyst Anna Winger, whose life unravels as she consults on a case of a missing child.

Anatomy of Innocence: Testimonies of the Wrongfully Convicted, edited by Laura Caldwell and Leslie S. Klinger, pairs best-selling authors with fifteen individuals who describe every aspect of their ordeals from arrest to imprisonment to eventual release. The stories are heart wrenching and touch on the fear, pain, disbelief, and eventual exoneration of those who were wrongfully convicted of crimes. Honestly, this is the stuff of nightmares.

Where have books taken you recently?


Jim Jackson said...

I gave a granddaughter The Hate U Give for Christmas. I hope she enjoys it as much as you did.

~ Jim

Julie Tollefson said...

I hope so, too, Jim. I had a hard time putting it down.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I'll have to read the Hate U Give. Currently immersed in Donna Leon's books.

Warren Bull said...

I've been reading Prairie Defender by George R. Dekle, Sr. about the murder trials of Abraham Lincoln.

KM Rockwood said...

Just read an ARC (given away on this website) of The Widows of Malabar Hill, by Sujata Massey, which has a release date of Jan. 9. It's rich in details of the lives of women in 1920's India, and I was totally enthralled. I was going to suggest it as a selection for my book club, but I discovered that the Kindle edition will be $14.99, and we have a strict rule about how much we ask members to spend on a book.

Julie Tollefson said...

Margaret - Donna Leon's books are on my to-read list still. Do you have a favorite so far?

Warren - That sounds fascinating. I've been listening to Lincoln in the Bardo on audio book. Always seems to be a lot of interest in Lincoln, both fact and fiction.

Julie Tollefson said...

KM - I do enjoy a book that paints vivid pictures of a time or place I'm not likely to visit.

Peggy Rothschild said...

I haven't yet read the anthology, but read the other books you noted -- and loved them all.

Due to some very sketchy wifi service where we were staying, I wasn't able to download new books to my Kindle for a few weeks so began rereading some of the books stored there. It was like visiting with old friends. I was rereading 'Y is for Yesterday' when I heard the news about Sue Grafton's passing -- and that, as far as her family is concerned, 'the alphabet ends with Y today'. Grafton may have left us, but through her writing Kinsey Millhone lives on.

Kait said...

Just finished Notorious by Allison Brennan. It was the first of the Max Revere series and I really enjoyed it. Something very special about the setting. I had the feeling Brennan was walking familiar streets.

Julie - your reading list looks stellar.

carla said...

Y’all are significantly adding to my “to be read” list. Thanks for these great suggestions!

Julie Tollefson said...

Peggy- There are some books I return to again and again. They're like comfort food - good for the soul. Grafton's books definitely fall in that category.

Kait - Adding Notorious to my list, with a note to pay special attention to how she works with setting. :)

Hi, Carla! One of my favorite things is swapping reading recs!