Murder on the Orient Express

Book 29 in 2017.

“Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie.

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I am not much of a “classics” reader.  “Gasp”. I know.  I just can’t get into a lot of it.  With all of the mystery books I have read through the years, of course the name Agatha Christie has come up more than a few times.  I saw this book was coming out as a movie in November, and I thought I would give it a try.

Detective Hercule Poirot is traveling by train through Europe heading to London for an assignment.  On the second night, a man is murdered in his sleeper compartment.  Everyone becomes a suspect and it is up to Poirot to solve the mystery.

I hate to not love one of the most “widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare”.  I just did not.  It was a quick read, and I could not figure out who done it, but I felt a little disappointed.  It does not necessarily mean I will not try another Agatha Christie down the line, or that I won’t check out the movie when it makes it to Netflix.  Overall afterthought, eh just OK.

Inconceivable and Misconception

Book 27 and 28 in 2017.

“Inconceivable” By Carolyn and Sean Savage.

“Misconception” By Paul and Shannon Morell.

I read both of these books in two days.  I wanted them to be put together because they really go hand in hand.  They tell two different sides of the same story.  Carolyn and Sean Savage through a human error during IVF were given the wrong embryo, and decided to carry the baby to term.  It was Paul and Shannon Morell’s embryo that was implanted.  Both books walk through the couples infertility journeys and heart wrenching dilemma  involving life and family.

Ugh.  I read “Inconceivable” first, sob fest.  I was a hot mess.  When I finished I had to cyber stalk the poor couple to see if they were OK! Whew.  What an insane and horrible place to be.  They are so honest and raw in their book.  I have nothing but the utmost respect for this couple.  Absolutely amazing.

When I read “Misconception”, I felt like I was already kind of “team Savage”.  Maybe that was a disadvantage to my feelings toward their side of the story. Both books were amazing and thought provoking.  Overall afterthought,  wow.

The Strangler Vine

Book 26 in 2017. “The Strangler Vine”, by M.J. Carter.

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This was a new type of historical mystery for me.  It is the first book I have read that took place during early 19th century in India.  If I am honest, I wasn’t quite sure I would make it through the book.  I almost gave up around page 80.  Ha.  There was enough of a story unfolding that I really did want to know what was going to happen.  It…was…slow… setting up.

William Avery is in the British military and given an assignment with a mysterious rogue  company man, Jeremiah Blake.  They are searching for a missing British civilian, famous author Xavier Mountstuart.  Their mission takes them on a journey through the jungles, villages, temples, and palaces across India.

It was a fairly clean book (meaning, not a lot of language and no sex), but had a little bit of a dark story line.  There was murder and bloodshed, fighting and some historical accounts of what it was like in India during British occupation.  I did skip over a lot of jungle detail.   It did keep me up to 1:30 am one night, which I am not a late night girl!  Overall afterthought, interesting.

Swapping Lives

Book 25 in 2017. “Swapping Lives” by Jane Green

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Total chick lit.  Vicky Townsley: single , 35, Londoner, lives in a small stylish flat, features director at fashion magazine, feels like she is being left out of life because she is not married with children.  Amber Winslow: married to a handsome fellow, 35, suburbia Connecticut, lives in a mansion, has 2 children, a nanny, a cleaning crew, a member of a snooty women’s league, feels like she is not doing it right and there has to be a better way out there.  Through Vicky’s magazine they get the opportunity to swap lives, and see if the grass really is greener on the other side.

There was a lot of f-bombs in this book.  Ugh.  Just come on.  It was a bit much.  If you can get past that, the story was good.  Sometimes I wanted to enter the story, get all up in there and shake the characters.  What if you could really do that? “Pull yourself together woman!” shake. shake.  It might alter the story…  I guess it’s good you can’t.

I don’t want to give the ending away, but I loved what Jane Green had to say in the last two paragraph’s of the book.  I rarely find some truth in the fiction books I read, I just like the  entertainment and fluff.  Overall afterthought, like not love.

 

” She realizes that just because the grass looks greener doesn’t necessarily mean that it is, and although her garden may be small, her flowers not yet blooming, her lawn just getting ready to renew itself after a drought, her grass isn’t so bad.” p.410

Duty to the Dead

Book 24 in 2017.  “Duty to the Dead” by Charles Todd

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This is the first book of the Bess Crawford Mystery series.  There are nine books thus far.  I saw number eight “The Shattered Tree, by Charles Todd, on the suggested reading shelf at the library.  There is no way I could ever start a series at book eight!  They are in order for a reason right? It hits a couple of my subconscious acceptable series check list: early 1900-1940’s, takes place in England, strong woman character who solves mysteries.  It was more on the serious side.  I compared Bess Crawford a lot to author Jacqueline Winspear’s , Maisie Dobbs. ( the Maisie Dobbs Novels are another great series I absolutely love).  Bess Crawford is not as defined and haunted by her past as Maisie Dobbs, but there were several similarities in their characters.

I have a feeling that this series will not be lighthearted if the rest of the books follow this one.  Bess Crawford is a nurse for England during World War I.  Naturally during war, there are not many good things that come out of it.  Bess found herself in the middle of a family estrangement, after delivering a message for a soldier who had passed under her care, and decided to investigate  wrongs that she strongly felt had been made.

I will definitely read through this series! I usually like something a little lighter, and with at least a little humor in it, and of course, a small love interest with a happy ever after ending.  Ha.  This had no humor , but I enjoyed Bess Crawford, and the mystery had me going.  Overall afterthought, good stuff.

 

Eight Hundred Grapes

Book 23 in 2017. “Eight Hundred Grapes”   By Laura Dave


We have been on the lake this week and there is no better way to pass time by reading a good book.  I tried to pick up a couple chick lit, easy reads. This was a perfect beach book.  It did have some language in it, but was very clean. Major bonus. I will say it was not super fluffy. There was definitely some drama.

Georgia Ford comes home to the family vineyard , trying to escape her troubles but finds her whole family working through their own .   There are not too many light hearted moments. I did like the characters and how the book flowed. Overall afterthought, drama (but you have to say it like “dram…-ah”)

Murder at the Brightwell

Book 22 in 2017. “Murder at the Brightwell ” , by Ashley Weaver

                              

I love series so much! I love meeting characters and following them on adventures. I then sit and think,”I wonder what they are doing now?” I might have a small problem. There are several series that tickle my fancy, and I never want to wait for the next book to come out. I keep meaning to list them some time. They all seem, for the most part, to be from the same time era, early 1900’s to WWII. Also almost every series takes place is England. I love dry, witty, British humor, the aristocracy with its fine ladies and gentlemen, a total different world from my reality.  I will admit there seems to be a serious pattern that I am completely ok with. They are also all strong women characters who find themselves in some sort of detective roll, where murder and mystery follows wherever they go.   I really did want to grow up and be a spy, I will settle for fiction. 

With that said I am always on the hunt for a new series. I like them relatively clean, not too cheesy with just enough to make me chuckle, a little love interest, nothing gruesome, and enough mystery to keep me guessing! This new to me series by Ashely Weaver hits all my check marks. I am super excited to keep reading the Amory Ames Mystery series. There are four books so far. I have number two waiting for me, but I must pace myself, I always get impatient for the next book.  Overall afterthought, can’t wait to see what happens next.