Southern Sisters Mysteries

Ann George:    Murder Gets a Life and  Murder Boogies with Elvis
As indicated, these are two in a continuing series called the Southern Sisters Mysteries.  They are an absolute delight – written in a very down home fashion that makes you feel a part of the family.  And what a family it is!  There is always something going on with the kids; babies, marriages, and life in general.  But the two main characters are sisters in Alabama, so different that they are like day and night.

Patricia Anne is the “normal” happily married sensible one; Mary Alice the outrageous many married part of the duo.  They keep happening on dead bodies.  Along the way we get slice of life in the south.  The resulting comedy of errors and eventual solutions are totally fun to read.

Escape at it’s very best.

Thanks for your review Nancy

Lost Symbol

Trivia question answered at the end of the post.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown is filled with historical detail, symbolism, and fun tidbits.  This is a follow up thriller novel to The Da Vinci Code featuring Robert Langdon and all of his symbologist wisdom.  Robert is frantically chasing clues around Washington D. C. in order to find his missing mentor.  My co-work absolutely loved all of the information that Brown includes in his novel.  She was especially please with his  wonderful descriptions and details about the Library of Congress and the plethora of books contained within; the book retrieval system is fascinating to learn about.  Brown also includes great symbolism and history in regards to the Washington Monument as well as other monuments located around the city.  Needless to say, the realism and detail that is found in the novel was my co-workers favorite part of the book.  However, there is still plenty of action to keep you turning the page throughout the novel.

Answer:  Henry David Thoreau

Bestsellers For The End of February

Here are our bestsellers for the middle of February.

Fatal Error by J. A. Jance

Autobiography of Mark Twain by Mark Twain and edited by Harriet Elinor Smith

Queen of the Night by J. A.  Jance

The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have by Mark Nepo

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

7   Little Bee by Chris Cleave

True Grit by Charles Portis

The Investment Answer: Learn to manage Your Money & Protect Your Financial Future by Daniel C. Goldie and Gordon S. Murry

10  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Here is a trivia question on non-bestsellers.

This New England writer had 706 copies of one of his unsold books returned to him by a book dealer.  In a journal entry he wrote, “I now have a library of nearly 900 volumes, over 700 of which I wrote myself.”  Name the author.  Post your answer in the comment section.   (Answer will be given in the next blog post).

Book Discussion Reminder

Don’t forget, we will be discussing Diana Gabaldon’s book Outlander this Saturday (February 19th) at 1 PM.  This is a story about an incredible journey that one women unintentionally begins when she is swept back from Scotland 1945 to 1743.  Now she must learn to live in a dangerous time and in an unfamiliar culture.  This novel is filled with historical detail and constant action.  The characters are wonderful, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself quickly grabbing book two in the series.  Everyone is welcome to join our discussion.

Daughter Of The Sun

Daughter of the Sun by Barbara Woods is an incredibly enjoyable historical read.  The tale takes place in the Chaco Canyon with the mysterious Anasazi people.  Hoshi’tiwa has a simple plan; live in her village and marry a storyteller apprentice when the time is right.  However, Hoshi’tiwa soon finds herself on another path when she is taken from her home by the Toltec and forced into a new and dangerous world.  Now, she must find her strength and become a member of the Center Place.  Wood’s does a great job of showing all sides of humanity, including the darker more violent side.  Her story is well written and she has fully developed characters.  If you are looking for a new historical author, Barbara Wood would be an excellent choice.

Fracture

Susan Cummins Miller’s newest novel Fracture is sure to have you glued to the pages.  This is her latest book featuring geologist Frankie MacFarlane.  Frankie and Philo have planned a nice, quiet vacation where they can just  escape everything.  That is until Philo’s aunt is murdered and all eyes turn to the husband Derek Dain as the prime suspect.  Soon the duo find out that Dain’s highly valuable coin collection is missing, and the quest begins.  Frankie and Philo travel all over Tucson and soon end up in San Francisco, California with even more of Philo’s family secrets being discovered.  This is another great read by Miller.  The characters are fun to read and the suspense is sure to have you staying up late into the night.  Don’t forget, Miller will be signing at our booth March 12 at 10 AM at the Tucson Festival of Books.  If you are looking for a TFOB author to read, or just craving a new mystery writer,  consider a Susan Cummins Miller’s novel.  She is a favorite of ours.

Storm Front

Storm Front by Jim Butcher, which is the first novel in the Dresden Files, is a great P. I. meets wizard tale.  Harry is an unusual private investigator.  He openly advertises as a wizard who specializes in finding lost items and investigating supernatural events.  He also consults for the Chicago police on the side and has a mark (supernatural) hanging over his head due to a past incident.  In this book, Harry is hired to locate a missing husband who has suddenly found magic to be his new hobby and to find the brutal murderer that the police are unable to track down.  Naturally, our wizard finds himself in all kinds of trouble that is sure to have you quickly turning the page.  This was such a fun read and I loved reading a detective  story with an element of fantasy.  Harry is a very likable character who is constantly making jokes while explaining all of the ins-and-outs of being a wizard.   Butcher also set up some great dynamics between his characters that are sure to be fun to follow through the series, especially the give and take between Detective Karrin Murphy and Harry.  If you are looking for a modern day fantasy story, this would be a great choice.  I know I am looking forward to reading the next book.

Random Musings On Books

The staff of Mostly Books definitely prefers to read their books the old fashion way, a physical book.  We all enjoy the feel of the book, being able to see exactly where you are in the story, having the ability to trade with friends for long periods of times, having our favorite authors autograph the book, and in general just being able to see them in the book case.  That being said, we all dabble in other forms of media “reading”.  I am currently listening to an audio book and reading two physical books.  One co-worker of mine is reading a book on her e-reader, listening to an audio book, and reading three physical books.  Now the question is, how many books can we read at once?  Personally, I think my maximum amount is three.  I just don’t know where to find the extra time for one more book.  I am listening to a story as I drive around and reading two at home, taking up all of my free time.  Not to mention, the task of keeping all of the story lines and characters separate for each book.  I do feel that using different medias to “read” a book helps to keep each story straight.  When I get into my car I know exactly what I am listening to because I associate driving with a specific book.  In some sense, I feel that the variety of ways to consume a book is great since I can read twice as much as before, and we all know there are so many books and so little time.

The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right

The Checklist Manifesto:  How To Get Things Right by Atul Gawande is a fascinating non-fiction read.  This book tells you why we need to write checklist in order to be more productive and efficient.  Gawande claims that our world has become too complex and we are unable to deliver the information correctly, thus the need for making checklists.  The key to making a good checklist is to avoid putting the tasks that are routine and will not be forgotten on the list, but instead focusing on the tasks that are often overlooked.  This will then help us to avoid making little errors that can at times prove to be fatal.  It is also important to make the list short.  You want it to be something you can quickly run through.  Gawande uses many professional examples to demonstrate how people are improving by using a simple checklist.  He discusses how doctors have lists of things to double check after a surgery, such as counting to make sure all of the sponges have been removed from the patient.  Gawande also discusses how pilots use checklists as well as stockbrokers.  Overall, this was a great read that my co-work absolutely loved.  You reallywere able to clearly see how a checklist will make you accomplish more.

My-co worker read this as an e-book that was purchased from the mostlybooksaz.com website.  This was the first e-book that she purchased from our site.  I was told that there are a few steps to go through in completing the download, but she is sure it will be a breeze to do the second time around.  If you have any problems downloading a mostlybooksaz.com e-book, stop in the store and we will help you to complete the download.

Snow Falling On Cedars

SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS David Guterson

Yes, I know, many of you have read this but for those that haven’t, this is a rare book.  The author knows the emotions of his characters, fishermen on a Pacific Northwest island, intimately.  The island life is interesting; but the main thrust is what happens when World War II breaks out and the Japanese on the island are collected for the intern camps; and the island relationships before and after.  The snow falls on the cedar trees during a murder trial of one of the Japanese residents over a long ago land dispute.  If you like slow developing character studies this is your book.  You are drawn in very carefully by a master storyteller.  No rockets and flares, just lots of afterthoughts when done.  A book that will leave you with something that adds to your mental life.

Thanks for your review Nancy!