Friday, July 9, 2021

Reading Summary for June 2021

I had a great month of reading in June. I loved all of the books I read, in different ways. The books were from my 20 Books of Summer list. And I read two books that were not mysteries.

I did travel to many different places in my reading this month... an unnamed South American country, Germany, Bosnia, Russia, and the UK of course. In addition, in The Travelers, I visited France, Argentina, Italy, and Iceland.

General Fiction

Bel Canto (2001) by Ann Patchett

This was a beautifully written book about a very interesting subject: the people attending a banquet for a Japanese businessman at an embassy in a South American country are taken hostage by insurgents. My review here.

Science Fiction

All Systems Red (2017) by Martha Wells

This is the first novella in the Murderbot Diaries series.  The protagonist is a SecBot (Security robot) that has both human and robotic parts. I was very impressed with this book, especially since it is a novella. It does end with a cliff hanger of a sort, but that was fine with me. Even before reading the book, I expected that I would want to continue the series.

Crime Fiction

The Birdwatcher (2016) by William Shaw

This book is a character-driven police procedural featuring Sergeant William South. He is working on a murder team with a new Detective Sergeant, Alexandra Cupidi, since she is unfamiliar with the area and the body was discovered in his neighborhood. The victim is his next door neighbor, Bob Rayner. Both men were birdwatchers. My review here.

The Small Boat of Great Sorrows (2003) by Dan Fesperman

This is the second book in a short series about Vlado Petric from Bosnia. In the first book he was a homicide detective in Sarajevo, who escaped during the siege of Sarajevo. In this book, he is living in Berlin with his family, and is given the opportunity to return to Bosnia. Both books are very good, but this can be read as a standalone. My review here.

The Travelers (2016) by Chris Pavone

The Washington Post describes The Travelers as a Hitchcockian thriller, and points to similar elements in two of Hitchcock's films, Notorious and North by Northwest. My review here.

Three Stations (2010) by Martin Cruz Smith 

This is the 7th book in the Arkady Renko series by Martin Cruz Smith. In this book, Arkady is a prosecutor's investigator in Moscow but does not have any current cases because he always causes problems, no matter what he investigates. He decides to help his friend and former partner, Victor Orlov, with his current case, the death of a prostitute by drug overdose. My review here.

She Came Back (1945) by Patricia Wentworth

Lady Anne Jocelyn was thought to have died over three years before, but one day she shows up at the door of her husband's home and announces her return. Sir Phillip Jocelyn, her husband, claims that she is an impostor. This is a book in the Miss Silver series, but she doesn't show up until midway in the book, as usual. My review here.

Booked for a Hanging (1992) by Bill Crider

From the dust jacket: "The versatile mystery novelist Bill Crider has created a pantheon of marvelous characters, but none is more real, warm, and thoroughly delightful than Sheriff Dan Rhodes of Claflin County, Texas. In his sixth adventure, Rhodes is confronted with what seems at first to be a suicide: the body of a man newly arrived in the county is found hanged in the dilapidated building he has taken over for his business. Simon Graham was a rare-book dealer." Another wonderful entry in the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series.


I am currently reading H.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O'Brian and A Killing Spring by Gail Bowen. 

Next I might read On Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian Fleming or Lockdown by  Peter May or The Art of Violence by S. J. Rozan.

This photo shows plants in containers in our back yard. The photo at the top of the post was taken at the plant nursery we use. Photos were taken by my husband.


Bill Selnes said...

Love the photos. Flowers so brighten the summer. We have lilies blooming beside a fence on the one side of our lot. We have most of the rainbow in bloom.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Bill. Lilies blooming sound very lovely.

I was lucky this year that a lot of perennials I planted last year in pots came back, which I did not expect. And we have tried some plants that are new to us too, or did not do so well before.

Rick Robinson said...

What a nice Reading Month you had! Your flowers are gorgeous. Your Perennials should come back, that’s what they do.

I’d heard enough about the Martha Wells that I bought that one in ebook format, but as is true with literally hundreds of other books here, I don’t know when I’ll get to it. Soon, I hope.

Margot Kinberg said...

That's a beautiful picture, Tracy! Thanks for sharing it! And I'm very happy to hear you might read some Gail Bowen. I'm a fan of her work.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I had a horrible reading June after a good May. Hoping July is better.

TracyK said...

Patti, sorry about June being a bad reading month and I hope July looks up too. Some of my reading has gone much slower lately, hard to concentrate or something like that. But the books have been good.

TracyK said...

Rick, I must not have taken care of my perennials that well in the past, not pruning them at the right time, etc. I am trying harder to learn what different plants need now.
And I think a couple of the winters in the last few years were colder, more frost. Last year was very mild in comparison.

The good thing about the Martha Wells novellas are that they are quick reads. I know what you mean though, I have many books I wonder when I will get to.

TracyK said...

Margot, thanks. We love to take photos of our plants (and at the plant nursery) and have had some really beautiful plants this year.

I finished the Gail Bowen book last night; it was the fifth in the series and I have read books 1-4. I enjoyed reading it.

Sam Sattler said...

Nice recap, had a nice reading month for sur.

I started that Martha Wells series with a whole lot of enthusiasm a while back, and I really enjoyed it for a while. Then, a couple of the back-to-back novellas were so similar that I felt as if I was reading the same book all over again and that only the names had been changed. It cooled me on the series, but your post is a good reminder to give the next book in the series a chance just to see what happens.

TracyK said...

Sam, I did see that you had read and reviewed books in this series but I have tried to read as little about the series as possible, so did not read all of them. It is possible that, if I read the Murderbot series as widely spaced apart as I read other books, I won't even notice that problem. But I do want to read these closer together, especially because they are novellas, so we will see.

Katrina said...

That is a gorgeous plant. I thought for a minute it was another Miss Silver book for me to track down then I realised it was more than familiar to me as The Traveller Returns, I wish publishers wouldn't do that!

TracyK said...

Katrina, I also dislike it when there are two titles. I try to check for that to make sure I haven't already read a book, but don't always remember.

It is a lovely plant and it is doing better than the ones from last year. And the second one I got doesn't look as good.

col2910 said...

Glad you had a good month's reading Tracy. There are a few of yours I'd like to try myself.

Cath said...

Brilliant reading month, Tracy! Lovely photos too. I hope you're enjoying HMS Surprise? Planning to read my next Aubrey/Maturin book this month too, The Mauritius Command. Can't believe it's only book 4. But very pleased I have lots more to read. Must try that Martha Wells series.

Mary R. said...

So glad you enjoyed Bel Canto and your flowers are beautiful.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Mary. Books and gardening go well together. Reading Bel Canto was a great experience. I hated for the book to end.

TracyK said...

Col, it was an unusual month in that I read more newer books than usual.

TracyK said...

Cath, I am enjoying HMS Surprise. It takes me a couple of chapters to get into the Aubrey / Maturin series, but this ones gets exciting fast.

I definitely recommend the first book in the Murderbot series. I would love to read the next one right now but I am determined to stick with my 20 Books of Summer list until I am done with it.

Dorothy Borders said...

I'm reading mysteries this month and making note of the books you mention to possibly add to my reading list. The only one that you mention that I've read was the Martin Cruz Smith book which I liked, but the others also sound very interesting.

I, too, loved Bel Canto and I read and enjoyed the Aubrey/Maturin series several years ago. You've got some good reading ahead of you.

TracyK said...

Dorothy, I am glad you found some mysteries to add to your reading list. If you try them, I hope you enjoy them.

I have been very excited to start reading the Aubrey/Maturin series. It is the first series I have found in a long time where I want to get all the books and read them all as soon as possible. Usually I prefer to space out books in a series.

FictionFan said...

You've had a great month indeed! I really want to try the Martin Cruz Smith books soon, and someday I really must read Bel Canto. Hope July is just as enjoyable for you!

TracyK said...

FictionFan, I hope July is a good reading month also. It is so far.

I do recommend the Martin Cruz Smith books, especially the first two in the series. I loved Bel Canto, but it gets very mixed reviews.