Thursday, May 24, 2018

Monsterrific!

Monsters in the Clouds by Russell James

She pulled a tablet from her purse and laid it on the table. With a few taps, an aerial photograph of a rainforest appeared. She pointed to a lush plateau towering over the landscape. "My organization just discovered this place, deep in a closed indigenous area in the Amazon rain forest. It's been isolated for who knows how long--the locals say since the world was created. (And) though the valley floods every year, no one climbs this plateau to escape the rising water. They say monsters rule in the clouds."



5 more reasons to read this book:

  • An expedition to the Amazonian rain forest
  • A plane crash
  • Pterosaurs
  • Giant ants
  • And paleontologist Grant Coleman and Brazilian activist Janaina Silva fighting for their lives.




They Rise by Hunter Shea

"They're not the prettiest fish in the sea. People call them ghost sharks, though they're not sharks at all, despite a distant relation. What you're seeing here is a chimaera fish, one of the oldest fish in the ocean. They've been around for over 400 million years, longer even than sharks."

5 more reasons to read this one:
  • The Bermuda Triangle
  • Mysterious fissures opening on the Ocean floor
  • A swarm of very ancient and lethal predators
  • Dead fisherman (because "deckhands on a fishing boat are always expendable".)
  • And one unforgettable and very bloody sea battle

Happy Reading!


Monday, May 21, 2018

A bookish update...

Series I'm still reading (and loving):

The second mystery with Magnus "Steps" Craig
and the FBI's Special Tracking Unit
Alex Verus Series #4 by Benedict Jacka


Bookish confession #1:  When someone tells me that they don't remember the last time they read a book, or that they don't like to read novels, deep in my heart I know that we can never really truly be friends. 

Recently arrived in the mail:





Looks like it's going to be  
a ghostly summer for me.









Bookish confession #2:  Buying a bunch of new books is awesome, but it never seems to still the craving in me to buy even more. No matter how many books I own, I don't think it'll ever be enough. I want them ALL.  😀

Books I recently checked out of the library (because apparently 
I don't have enough books at home waiting to be read):

The Kitchen Witch by Annette Blair
The Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
The Sorrows by Jonathan Janz
Kill Creek by Scott Thomas


Bookish confession #3:  If I'm not sure I want to finish reading a book, I skip ahead to see how it ends. And if the ending is stupid or disappointing, I quickly move on to another book. Because life is too short. You know?


What's up next:



Happy Reading!


Friday, May 18, 2018

From the H Shelf...

Author:  Jody Hedlund
Title:  With You Always


It's 1857. With both her parents dead, 19-year-old Elise Neumann is now the sole provider for herself and her younger siblings. But work for a woman in New York City is hard to find. She finds a position as a seamstress, but when New York's economy falters she loses that job and can't find another. Desperate, she heads West to the growing town of Quincy, Illinois, with only the promise of a job and the hope of building a new life for her family. And even though life in Quincy is not everything that was promised, Elise is not one to give up. 

Then there's Thornton Quincy. He and his twin brother have been issued a challenge by their dying (and very rich) father:  "First, each son must build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad. And second, each son must get married to a woman he loves. Whoever succeeds in doing both by the end of six months wins the challenge and becomes owner of Quincy Enterprises." Thornton is determined to win and prove to his father that he's as good as his brother. But then he meets Elise, and all his plans start to change.

This book has both humor and heart. Hedlund's prose is very readable and I loved the historical setting. And the two main characters have depth and personality that make them both easy to root for, and to like. Yes, this story is completely predictable. But it's also an entertaining and fun read with a satisfying happily ever after ending. I ended up liking it a lot.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Prepper fun

Only the strong will survive.
But what does it mean to be strong?


When an economic collapse leads to both gas and food shortages, power outtages, lawlessness and chaos, two men, D.J. Frost and Gabe Horne, will each have to figure out how they will face the challenges ahead in order to survive. One is prepared; one is not. But it's the choices they make that will ultimately put them on a collision course.

D.J. Frost has been preparing for this 'Smash' for years. He's stockpiled guns and ammo, has a secret cache of supplies buried outside the city, and a carefully mapped out 'bug-out' route. But things don't go according to his plan. And the way he handles each setback quickly shows his true character. D. J. Frost is NOT a lovable character.  He's not even likeable; he's selfish and manipulative and cruel. (All traits he feels he needs in order to survive.)
"Life had thrown obstacles his way, but he had overcome them. Others would not have been able to make the difficult choices he had made. They would pay for their weakness, maybe even with their lives. It was a new world and it would make hard men, men like him, to survive ... no, to thrive in it..."
 Gabe Horne, on the other hand, is completely unprepared. Still mourning the loss of his wife and son, he's so drunk when the collapse comes he doesn't even realize at first how bad everything is. But when his neighbor and her teen-age son need help, Gabe steps up. And in helping them, he ends up saving himself.
"He wondered how things could be going so well. He wasn't drinking any more, he was in love, his neighbors respected him and looked up to him. It had taken the world falling apart to put his world back together."
In Collision Course, David Crawford has written a compelling novel of survival, and of the good and bad that lies in every human being. It's action-packed and character-driven at the same time. And I really loved the preparedness aspects. There were some other things that happen along the way that I didn't love as much. But overall, this is a good read; I'm just not sure how I feel about the ending. Still...

Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

May's Bookish Art...

Edward Robert Hughes -- Idle Tears

"There's a book for everyone ... 
a book that reaches in and grabs your soul."
--Veronica Henry

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Pym-isms

I love Barbara Pym's novels. She writes about ordinary people living ordinary lives in a way that makes you smile, laugh, and sometimes even cry. She had a real gift for creating memorable characters and also for writing witty observations about life. I recently finished reading No Fond Return of Love, a novel about a thirtyish single woman named Dulcie Manwaring and her tangle of relationships, which I quite enjoyed. Here are a few of my favorite Pym-isms from it:

"There are various ways of mending a broken heart, but perhaps going to a Learned conference is one of the more unusual."

"It was sad, she thought, how women longed to be needed and useful and how seldom most of them really were."

"Viola had turned out to be a disappointment. In a sense, Dulcie felt as if she had created her and that she had not come up to expectations, like a character in a book who had failed to come alive, and how many people in life, if one transferred them to fiction just as they were, would fail to do that!"



Barbara Pym
(1913-1980)
"Life's problems are often eased by hot milky drinks."

"One never met anybody interesting travelling second class."

"Some men seem to make a habit of choosing the wrong women," said Dulcie thoughtfully.

"Perhaps love for somebody totally unsuitable dies more completely, when it does dies, than any other kind of love."



Happy Reading!


Other Pym novels I've read and enjoyed:
Quartet in Autumn
Less Than Angels
Jane and Prudence
A Few Green Leaves
Some Tame Gazelle
Excellent Women (which oddly enough I never reviewed, even though it's my favorite.)


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Call Me Princess

When an online flirtation leads to a brutal rape, Detective Inspector Louise Rick gets put on the case.  The victim, Susanne Hansson, doesn't know her attacker's real name, and can't even give the police a good description of him. And Louise starts to think they might never catch this guy. Then another rape victim is found.  Only this time she didn't survive the attack. But it appears that she, too, met her attacker online. Now Louise must put herself at risk and enter the online dating world in order to catch this faceless predator before he rapes again.

Sara Blaedel writes a solid police procedural. It's set in Copenhagen.  And her main character, Louise Rick, is a good cop who's better at her job than she is with her personal relationships. I didn't like her best friend, Camilla, a journalist who also puts her job first, quite as much. The victim, Susanne, drove me crazy. And while the mystery itself is interesting, it isn't as suspenseful or as gripping as I hoped it would be. I also felt things wrapped up a little too neatly and a little too fast at the end.  Call Me Princess isn't a bad read, but it's not exactly an unputdownable page-turner either. Still, I liked it enough to give this author another try. (I think her novel The Forgotten Girls looks intriguing.) Be warned about this one:  there are two fairly graphic rape scenes in it. They are easy to skip over though, and the rest of the book isn't really dark or violent at all. In fact, as Nordic crime fiction goes, this one is fairly tame.

Happy Reading!



Thursday, May 3, 2018

Bookish thoughts...

On springcleaning.  Besides washing a winter's worth of dirt off the windows and cleaning out my closet and getting rid of the clothes and shoes I no longer wear, I've been doing a little bookish springcleaning as well. First, I tackled the teetering TBR pile by my bed; I read three, discarded four, and somehow managed to find places for the rest on my already overcrowded shelves. I didn't tackle them, but the floor of my room is now free of books. I also went through my Goodreads "want to read" list, deleting all the books that I didn't remember putting on it, and the ones I don't want to read any more, shrinking it to a slightly more manageable length. Despite these accomplishments, I still have to finish springcleaning my house, and then I have to tackle the mess that is my backyard. Sigh. I think I'd rather curl up on the couch with a good book and read instead.

On summer splurging.  I don't know what it is about this time of year, but whenever summer nears I always get this urge to do some book shopping. I think it might be because I spend the first part of the year trying to be good and making a conscious effort to not buy any new books, or at least not very many--I mean I already have a ton of unread books sitting on my TBR shelf, so I really don't need to add more. But by May or June, my willpower is gone, and my book-buying addiction has kicked into high gear, and I can't resist filling my Amazon cart with books, books, and more books. What will I be splurging on this summer? Right now, my cart is full of ghost stories and post-apocalyptic survival fiction, with a few psychological thrillers and one P.G. Wodehouse for good measure. And you know what? I'm already feeling better. So here's to a little bookish splurging...and an upcoming bookish summer.

Happy Reading!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Two quirky books from my TBR shelf...

In The Undead World of Oz, Ryan C. Thomas takes L. Frank Baum's classic children's story and gives it a fun zombie twist. Because of an evil curse by the Wicked Witch of the West, the undead of Oz have risen and they want brains. Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardl yLion must fight off the undead as they journey down the yellow brick road to see the Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz.

I grew up loving L. Frank Baum's Oz books, which is why I couldn't resist buying this slightly twisted version. It's a little dark, has some humorous moments, and lots of flying body parts, and it made me smile and shake my head at the same time. Zombies and Oz really don't go together, but somehow in this quirky, crazy read Thomas makes it work.


It's a great cover, isn't it? I spotted it at a library discard sale and couldn't resist buying it. In The Doctor and the Dinosaurs, Mike Resnick combines an eclectic cast of historical figures. It begins with Geronimo, who enlists the help of a dying Doc Holliday to stop the two most famous fossil hunters in the world from doing their digging in the sacred burial ground of the Commanche. If he doesn't, the Commanche medicine men are going to raise a real dinosaur or two to take care of the problem themselves. Teddy Roosevelt joins Doc Holliday in his quest, and Thomas Edison provides the firepower.

It's a fun premise, but there was too much talking and not enough action for me. Plus, it took way too long for the dinosaurs to appear; and there should have been a lot more of them. I mean, I was promised dinosaurs! But I felt like they never even showed up. I did really like Doc Holliday, though. And since I only paid 50 cents for this book, I'd still say it was money well spent. Best of all? That's two books on longer sitting on my TBR pile making me feel guilty.

So, there you are, the two quirkiest books from my TBR shelf. Now that I've finally read them, the only question left is what book from my TBR shelf should I read next. What about you? What quirky gems are hiding in your TBR piles?

Happy Reading!

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Broken Girls

Simone St. James is one of my favorite authors. I love the haunting, suspenseful atmosphere she always manages to create and how her novels are that perfect combination of ghost story and mystery. Her latest, The Broken Girls, is no exception. The narrative alternates between 1950 and 2014 and involves the murders of two girls. There's more, of course, but I feel like pretty much everyone has already read and reviewed this one, so I thought I'd just mention a few of the things I liked best about it:

The Setting:  Idlewild Hall, an isolated boarding school in Vermont for girls that no one else wants. (It also happens to be haunted.)

The main character/narrator:  Fiona Sherida, a freelance writer whose sister was murdered 20 years ago. She's stubborn and fiercely independent and determined to uncover the secrets of Idlewild Hall.

The ghost:  the mysterious Mary Hand, who roams the grounds of Idlewild, bringing people's worst nightmares to life. But who was she in real life?

If you couldn't tell, I liked this one a lot! It's fast-faced, deftly written and practically impossible to put down once you start. The boarding school girls and Fiona are all great characters....I was quickly drawn into their stories, and found myself liking each and every one. And the ghost? She's great, too. I just wish she'd had more of a presence. This book felt more weighted on the mystery side of things than the supernatural this time around. But it's still a great read, with a satisfying ending. So...

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

April's Bookish Art...

Harold Harvey -- Holiday 
"I have always been a reader; I have read at every stage of my life, and there has never been a time when reading was not my greatest joy.  And yet I cannot pretend that the reading I have done in my adult years matches in its impact on my soul the reading I did as a child.  I still believe in stories.  I still forget myself when I am in the middle of a good book. Yet it is not the same.  Books are, for me...the most important thing; what I cannot forget is that there was a time when they were at once more banal and more essential than that. When I was a child, books were everything.  And so there is in me, always, a nostalgic yearning for the lost pleasure of books."
--Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Bookish fun...

Title & Author:  The Grave's A Fine And Private Place by Alan Bradley

First lines:  I am on my deathbed. Again. Although I have done everything in my power to survive it, it has not been enough. A human being can only bear so much.

Plot:  Still reeling from a recent family tragedy, Flavia and her older sisters are sent on holiday together with Dogger, their loyal family servant. They're boating when Flavia unexpectedly fishes a dead body from the river. Now she and Dogger are determined to investigate this suspicious death, whether the local police want their help or not. Because nothing cheers twelve-year-old Flavia up quite like murder...and the chemistry of poisons.

My thoughts:  I spent last weekend happily ensconced in Alan Bradley's latest Flavia de Luce mystery. It's the ninth book in this series and I thought it was a lot of fun. While still irrepressible and full of spunk, Flavia seemed a little less impetuous, a little wiser, and a little more grown up this time around. And I really liked that Dogger played a bigger role in this story; he's always been a favorite character of mine. I also liked that Flavia and her sister, Daffy, actually got along better in this one; it was fun seeing them work together for a change. All in all, The Grave's A Fine and Private Place is another well-written and entertaining mystery from Alan Bradley. (But if you've never read a Flavia mystery before, start with the first one! Because this series is best read in order.)

Happy Reading!


Other Flavia reviews:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

April = National Poetry Month

Instead of revisiting some of my favorite poets this month (ie. Frost, Stafford, Teasdale, Millay, Noyes, Poe, Parker, Plath and Hughes), I decided to try someone new. Two someones. And I'm glad I did. Because I found new favorite poems in both collections.


the princess saves herself in this one
            by amanda lovelace

ah, life--
the thing
that happens
to us
while we're off
somewhere else
blowing on
dandelions
& wishing
ourselves into
the pages of
our favorite
 fairy tales.

the princess i was born
a little bookmad.

i could be found stroking
the spines of my books

while i sat locked alone                                                 
inside my tower bedroom.

all the while, i hoped my books
would spill their exquisite words

over the lush green carpet
so i could collect them one by one

& savor them like
berries inside my mouth

              --forever a collector of words




The Rose That Grew From Concrete
by Tupac Shakur

If I Fail

If in my quest 2 achieve my goals
I stumble or crumble and lose my soul
Those that knew me would easily co-sign
There was never a life as hard as mine
No father--no money--no chance and no guide
I only follow my voice inside
if it guides me wrong and I do not win
I'll learn from mistakes and try 2 achieve again.




In the Even of My Demise
    (Dedicated 2 those curious)

In the event of my demise
when my heart can beat no more
I Hope I Die For a Principle
or A Belief that I had lived 4
I will die Before my Time
Because I feel the shadow's Depth
So much I wanted 2 accomplish
Before I reached my Death
I have come 2 grips with the possibility
and wiped the last tear from my eyes
I LOVED ALL who were Positive
In the event of my Demise!




So, here's to reading some good poetry this month!
(And if you leave a comment, be sure to tell me your favorite poet.)

Happy Reading!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Highlights from my trip...

The pyramids...cause it's Egypt!


Me at Abu Simbel. (Gotta love the hat!)

'Cause I love those birds...
even the stone ones.

The enigmatic Sphinx.

Panel of hieroglyphs at Philae Temple.


Hot air ballooning over the West Bank of the Nile near Luxor.


Pillars at Kom Ombo
Queen Hatshepsut at Deir al-Bahri

























View of the Nile from our boat.


Meet Egypt:  a crazy mix of ancient and modern!
My favorite street in Old Cairo:
a street lined with books.





















Another street in Old Cairo.
Although I have tons more pictures from my trip, 
I tried to choose just a few of my favorites, because
there's no way I can post ALL the photos I took.
So last of all (but certainly not least), here's the golden mask 
of Tutankhamun from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo:

'Cause it's just not Egypt without the boy king.
That's All Folks!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

From the J Shelf...

I was actually on my way to the H shelf to try to find my next alphabetical read, but as I passed by the J shelf there was a series of paperbacks with colorful spines and one-word titles right at eye level that caught my attention. And I had to stop and check them out. Needless to say, I never made it to the H shelf; I came home with this novel by Benedict Jacka instead. But then, that's what bookish serendipity is all about.


Title & Author:  Fated by Benedict Jacka
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Setting:  London
First line:  "It was a slow day, so I was reading a book at my desk and seeing into the future."

(My new favorite) main character:  Alex Verus, diviner, mage, and owner of a shop in Camden Town called The Arcana Emporium. He's quick-witted and resourceful, and he can see into the future, or at least several possibilities of it. He also has a talent for staying alive. Which is a good thing considering he's not on great terms with the Council of Mages. (Even though they sometimes need his help.) The dark mages don't like him much either, but he's never let that stop him yet.

My thoughts:  This is an awesome urban fantasy read. It's well-plotted, fast-paced and fun, with cool magic, an intriguing mystery and lots of suspense; there's plenty of great secondary characters, too. In fact, there isn't anything I didn't like about this book.  Jacka has created a world I can't wait to visit again. Which is why I'm off to the library to check out the second books in this series.

Happy Reading!

Monday, April 9, 2018

A bookish update...

I'm back from my trip!

Egypt was amazing! I loved the temples at Abu Simbel and Edfu. And going inside several of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. And seeing the pyramids for myself. I ate yummy koshari, kebab and kofta (some delicious Egyptian food). I even got to take a hot air balloon ride over Luxor and Karnak. It was a great trip, and I took a ton of pictures ... I just haven't had time to go through them all yet. (I spent the weekend unpacking and sleeping instead.) But I promise to post some of my favorites when I'm not feeling quite so jet-lagged.

Birding update:
I saw about 21 different kinds of birds in Egypt, 16 of which I could identify, and 12 that were new birds I could add to my birding list. We had one afternoon when our boat was cruising down the Nile from Edfu to Luxor and I spent most of that time spotting birds along the way (when I wasn't reading Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile). But the very first bird that I saw in Egypt was actually in Cairo in the courtyard of our hotel.  A hoopoe:


Isn't it cute? My other favorite bird of the trip, besides all the carrion crows we saw everywhere and the brown raven I spotted at Kom Ombo, was the pied kingfisher. I saw several of these fast-flying birds darting past our boat in search of food: 


(I actually didn't take these photos, but I did see these birds!)

Book read before my trip:


This latest Lady Darby mystery takes Kiera and her husband to Langstone Manor, the home of Viscount Tavisock, Sebastian Gage's maternal grandfather. Family secrets vie with local superstitions as the two search the moors for Gage's missing cousins. I really love this series, and these two characters. And A Brush With Shadows is no exception. 
Anna Lee Huber has done it again!

Also read:


I didn't have time to post about this one before my trip either, but it was Kathy's recommendation that made me want to read this (interesting, if slightly outdated) May Sarton novel in the first place; so if you want to know more about The Small Room, be sure to check out her excellent review.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Egypt in Fiction


The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips

I read this book years ago and I still smile every time I think about it.  Written through a series of journal entries and letters, this odd and quirky epistolary novel is set in Egypt in the 1920s. It centers around a young archaeologist who is determined to find the lost tomb of Atum-hadu and prove his love for Margaret, the girl he left behind in Boston, even if he has to create the tomb himself. This novel is inventive, unexpected, darkly funny, and utterly unforgettable.



King and Goddess by Judith Tarr

Born the daughter of Tuthmosis I, then married to Tuthmosis II, Hatshepsut lived a truly interesting life. When her husband died, she was declared regent for her young stepson, Tuthmosis III. Instead, she claimed the crown, declared herself king and Pharoah, and ruled the land of Egypt for twenty years. Not only does this book tell the amazing story of an amazing woman, it also gives you the flavor of life in Ancient Egypt. I loved it. Tarr's writing is historical fiction at its best.



Other awesome Egyptian reads:

Chronicle of a Last Summer by Yasmine El Rashidi
The Amelia Peabody Series by Elizabeth Peters



Happy Reading!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Great non-fiction reads on Egypt...


The Nile:  A Journey Downriver Through Egypt's Past and Present by Toby Wilkinson

This is a fascinating and very readable book that starts in Aswan and takes you all the way to Cairo, stopping at all the important sites along the Nile. I loved Wilkinson's writing and all his fun facts and stories. And I learned a lot. If you're interested in Egypt at all, I highly recommend this book.



Down the Nile:  Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff by Rosemary Mahoney

This great read chronicles Mahoney's own trip down the Nile....alone in a small boat that she rows herself. (It sounds crazy, I know.) The people she meets and the sites she sees are so interesting. I like to read this kind of travel memoir, probably because I'm not brave enough to do something this adventurous and mad myself! But I'm glad Mahoney is.



The Seventy Great Mysteries of Ancient Egypt edited by Bill Manley

From the riddles of the sphinx to the lost tomb of
Amenhotep I to the Tutankhamen conspiracy, this tome covers many of the questions and mysteries of Egypt. It has short chapters and lots of beautiful color photographs. Best of all, if you're not interested in the chapters on royal boats or Necho and his fleet, you can just skip them.  I did!




Happy Reading!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Hooray for spring break!

I have next week off from work and I'm headed to Egypt! That's right, I'm off to the land of pyramids, tombs and temples. I'm dreading the long flight, but really looking forward to all the cool sights I'll get to see from the Sphinx at Giza to the temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel to Tutankhamen's tomb. I only wish I had more time to spend there. One week is not nearly long enough to see all of Egypt, but that's all the time I've got. I'm not complaining. After all, it's a trip ... and another stamp in my passport. And I finally get to go to Africa where I've never been -- it'll be the fifth continent I've visited; only Australia and Antarctica to go! I hope all of you have fun spring break plans, too!

Now for the most important question of all:  What book am I taking with me?


(Christie's classic seemed like the obvious choice, 
especially since I'll also be cruising the Nile!)


Have a great week!
And happy reading.


P.S  Even though I won't be around next week, I have two posts already scheduled, each with an Egyptian theme, just so you won't miss me too much.  😉

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Top 10 Books Set in Another Country

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's topic is "Books That Take Place in Another Country." I LOVE reading novels that are set in other countries, the farther away the better. It's my way of traveling when I can't afford an actual trip. So take a bookish journey from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe with my top 10 favorite faraway reads:



AFGHANISTAN:  
The Taliban Cricket Club by Timeri N. Murari

This book is so good it actually made me care about a cricket game!









MOROCCO:  
The Tattooed Map by Barbara Hodgson

What I love most about this story is all of the mixed-media collage-like illustrations on every page. It's like reading someone's personal travel journal!



PAKISTAN:
Kartography by Kamila Shamsie

This novel gives you a taste for what it's like to live and love in Karachi, as does Shamsie's other excellent novels, Broken Verse and Salt & Saffron. 








INDIA:
Partitions by Amit Majmudar

I loved this story that tells about the separation of India and Pakistan through the eyes of the characters caught in the middle.




CYPRUS: 
Death in Cyprus by M.M. Kaye

Kaye writes great romantic suspense novels. But if you're not intrigued by the Cyprus setting, you can always read Death in Kashmir or Death in Zanzibar instead. They're just as good.







RUSSIA:
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

This is still my favorite read of 2018. And it's all because of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, one of the most memorable characters I've ever met!




DENMARK:
The Quiet Girl by Peter Hoeg

This is an impossible story to sum up in one sentence. So check out my previous post on this remarkable book, and then check out this book! It's a 5-star read.







JAPAN:
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

This bookish gem is poignant and sweet and beautifully written. I loved everything about it!



SPAIN:
The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte

This literary mystery has all the right ingredients:  an antiquarian bookdealer, a sinister secret society, a rare and arcane manuscript, intrigue and death. (The Flanders Panel and The Nautical Chart by Perez-Reverte are also favorites.)







ZIMBABWE:
The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu

Interesting and poignant read set in a country I'm not sure I'd want to visit in real life, but that I loved getting to know more about through the pages of this short but powerful novel.




Where should I travel next?
HAPPY READING!