Top 10 Tuesday – Sherlock Holmes

I’m kind of struggling with my blog this month. I’m so focused on NaNoWriMo and writing my book that I don’t have much brain left for anything else! But lists are always fun, so I decided to come up with some list today, and since I’m reading a Sherlock Holmes book right now I thought I would create a list of my 10 favorite stories about Sherlock Holmes.

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  1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. Always start with the original. There are problems here, that’s for sure. Doyle didn’t do rewrites so there were plenty of errors that didn’t get fixed. When it comes to creating an iconic character, though, Doyle got it exactly right.
  2. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King. The only retelling that created an original character who can stand up to Holmes and Watson. Mary Russell makes the perfect transition from the Victorian world into the modern. I love the whole series, but start from the beginning.
  3. The House of Silk by Antony Horowitz. He sticks close to the original but comes up with a new story. Great job.
  4. The Seven Percent Solution by Nicholas Meyer. Amazing twist on the whole Moriarty thing. Confronts one of the most troubling aspects of Holmes’s story.
  5. The West End Horror by Nicholas Meyer and —
  6. Dust and Shadow by Lyndsay Faye. Both of these take advantage of the fact that Holmes worked during the time when Jack the Ripper was operating.
  7. The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer. This kid’s book is not so much about Sherlock Holmes as about his younger sister, invented cleverly here by the author. Very fun series.
  8. Sherlock Holmes through Time and Space, edited by Isaac Asimov. There are so many short stories that revolve around Holmes that it’s hard to pick one. But I *loved* the idea behind this one. Why limit such a great character to Victorian England? Even to Earth. Holmes as a robot, Holmes in space – why not!
  9. Moriarty by Antony Horowitz – I already reviewed this one here. Amazing. Amazing! You have to read this one. Listen to this one instead of reading it.
  10. A Three Pipe Problem by Julian Symons. This one takes on an actor who plays Holmes. He starts having a few problems with telling reality from the role.

Hope this list has given you Sherlock Holmes fans some ideas for further reading. If you’re not a fan already, I’d say start with the short stories. They are lots of fun.

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Currently reading

I’ve been so focused on my writing that I haven’t been reading much this month. But I do have my current books I want to tell you about!

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This one is a true crime story called Goat Castle. It’s about the murder of an heiress in Mississippi. I got it from Net Galley and it sounds really good; however, I haven’t gotten far enough into it to tell for sure. Here’s the description though:

In 1932, the city of Natchez, Mississippi, reckoned with an unexpected influx of journalists and tourists as the lurid story of a local murder was splashed across headlines nationwide. Two eccentrics, Richard Dana and Octavia Dockery–known in the press as the -Wild Man- and the -Goat Woman—enlisted an African American man named George Pearls to rob their reclusive neighbor, Jennie Merrill, at her estate. During the attempted robbery, Merrill was shot and killed. The crime drew national coverage when it came to light that Dana and Dockery, the alleged murderers, shared their huge, decaying antebellum mansion with their goats and other livestock, which prompted journalists to call the estate – Goat Castle.

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The second book I’m reading is by an author I first found through book club. If you follow my blog you know I’m not always a fan of our book club picks, but we read The All Girl’s Filling Stations Reunion by Fannie Flagg and it was so much fun. This one is called Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven and it is set in the fictional town of Elmwood Springs, Missouri and I’m loving it. I’m about 1/3 of the way in. It was one of my thrift store finds this month and I’m glad I picked it up. These are great books for when you’re in the mood for a light, funny read. They’d be a lot of fun on audio too.

Combining southern warmth with unabashed emotion and side-splitting hilarity, Fannie Flagg takes readers back to Elmwood Springs, Missouri, where the most unlikely and surprising experiences of a high-spirited octogenarian inspire a town to ponder the age-old question: Why are we here?

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Which brings me to my last book, The Execution of Sherlock Holmes. It’s a collection of five Holmes-inspired short stories. The first one has Holmes kidnapped and awaiting his execution on “crimes” against a criminal gang. Basically it was a locked room escape story, and I really liked it. I didn’t like the second story about cracking some code – boring to listen to – but the rest have been good. I’m listening to this one in the car and it’s been very interesting.

 

 

That’s what I’m reading. I have a few I need to get to soon, including looking through MY book club pick, Daughter of a Pirate King. What are you reading? Are you liking it? Let me know!

Birthday books!

I just had my birthday! And you know why I’m excited? It’s *definitely NOT* the getting older part. It’s the books part! I got an Amazon gift card and I’ve had  a great time shopping. Here’s what I got:

21eySwcHftL._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_The Disappearing Dowry by Libi Astaire – my pick for book club next year, YA historical mystery
In the Balance by Patricia Wentworth  apa as Danger Point
A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
Too Late the Phalarope by Alan Paton
Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
Song of the Dodo by David Quanmen

Also new by way of a thrift shop:

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier – also for book club

The Wretched of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler

The Scourge of Muirwood

The Blight of Muirwood

0345494881.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg

The Martian by Andy Weir – for book club

 

What do you think? Did I get some good ones? Which book would you read first?

Contest Winner!

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Today’s the day to announce the winner of the drawing for the *Signed Copy* of Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster. And the winner is ….

 

—————–BOYWHOCRIEDBOOKS—————–

 

Congratulations! Send me a message with your address and I’ll get this book off to you.

 

For those of you who didn’t win, I have another giveaway coming in January for several winners. This one is a diverse read with an LGBT main character and a  historical setting.

4 Days Till Giveaway!

Don’t forget, you have 3 days left to enter for the chance to win a *SIGNED COPY* of Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster! I’m also going to include a LSB bookmark and a postcard from me, Speedy Reader, of a Utah landmark. The entries are pretty low at this point. To remind you, you need to like this post, comment about a page you read, and follow my blog. This giveaway IS international, so it’s open to everyone this time around.

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Win Me!

Here’s what other folks are saying about this book!

“Sevvy’s story is thrilling to get lost in. By the end, readers will be clamoring for more. Incredibly immersive and tightly plotted.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Fast paced and fun. I couldn’t stop turning the pages.” -Dan Wells, New York Times bestselling author of the Partials Sequence

I tried to get an author interview in time for the giveaway, but Caitlin is really busy so I don’t think that will happen. But keep posted! You never know!

The deadline is

——————-November 4———————–

And the giveaway is

—————————————November 5————————————-

 

Good luck to you!

SR

Two DNFs

Don’t you hate it when you pick up a dud book? I had two misfires in a row. Both were books I was asked to review, but for different reasons, I just couldn’t finish either one.

The first was The Muse by Arjay Lewis. It was described to me as a horror/mystery book. I love mystery, and sometimes I like horror, so I wanted to give it a chance. Here’s the book description:

Famed novelist Jack Court has a secret: the wealthy writer is a serial killer. He has another hidden treasure, a small antediluvian creature that dwells within his body and gives him youth, strength and a superhuman ability to avoid capture. On his trail is Sheriff Neil Trajan, who is certain Court murdered his wife three years earlier. 
When the author is hit by a careless driver, the creature leaves him and through a series of events, ends up with lowly writer, Harold Godwine. Godwine begins to write faster and better, but is troubled by dreams of blood. 
However, Jack is healing and devolving into something not quite human. As Court seeks the young author, he leaves a trail of destruction, pursued by Trajan and his FBI associate, Bill Morris.
Will Jack Court do anything to retrieve the companion that inspires his dark desires? 

It sounds pretty good, but I was put off by the amount of gore in the very first chapter. This book may be perfect for another reader, but it just wasn’t right for me.

The second book was also a mystery, but with a science fiction twist. Again, I like both of those genres, so my hopes were high. Here’s the synopsis on this one:

At a modern Institute for particle physics and cosmology, where deciphering secrets of the Universe adds tension to a cunningly subtle race for privileges, the scientific community is shocked to learn that a freak accident takes the life of their talented colleague, the author of a mysterious research project aimed at challenging laws of nature and making chance docile to bring good fortune on request. 

Curious to learn more about the enigmatic study, Professor William Brown, who is on sabbatical leave, and his chess mate Steve Andersson, a graduate in computer science, find themselves involved in a perilous search for clues to unravel the mystery of new shocking tragedies following the researcher’s death. 

Are they all a terrible misfortune, or something truly diabolical makes bad things happen? 

This time it wasn’t the death that threw me off. It was a little grisly, but not unduly so. It was the writing that I struggled with. The plot and the action were fine, but there were a lot of long wordy paragraphs and a bad font that I just couldn’t get through. I think a good editor would help a lot with this one.

So that’s my weekend. Kind of a downer Sunday, but Saturday was a good one for reading, and I’ll be back with more reviews later. Happy Monday!

Ugly Covers Day

I’ve seen so many beautiful covers lately. But as we all know, you can’t judge a book by its cover, no matter how pretty. So how about the ugly ones? The really, really ugly ones. Well, sometimes you CAN a judge a book. WARNING: These are ugly. You’ve been warned.

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WTH?

I’m sort of reading this one right now. A friend gave it to me, so I feel like I have to finish it. It’s weird. But I could have guessed that from the cover, amirite? What exactly is that? It’s got to be the ugliest cover I’ve seen this year.

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That goat.

This one is the ugliest cover from last year. I read a different edition, one much more boring. I think it was just black and white. But this – wow, I have to admit I would have thought twice if I saw this. This time, I did kind of like the story.

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Just guessing here

Did the artist even read the book? Or the description? Or anything? I mean, it is about a carnival, so I give them that. But this is just bad. Great book, though.


Here’s a real winner for you – TWO terrible covers FOR THE SAME BOOK! I’ve read the book. I think it’s amazing. (I know not everyone agrees with that.) But someone, please, give the cover a makeover!

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Really, Dad?

Finally, one that’s on my TBR list, mostly because it belonged to my dad and I’m reading his favorites because I miss him so much. This cover, though, wow. So bad.

What about you? What covers made you cringe? Did you hesitate before you picked up a book? Show and tell! I want to know.

Challenge reading

Hey, so I’ve been thinking about my 2018 Reading Challenge and I’m really excited about it. I’ve decided to do a Crime theme. It’s a category challenge, and I have 10 categories. Here’s what I’ve got.

Cold cases – book that have been on the shelf too long
First Timers – new books
Repeat offenders – rereads
Serials – books in a series
Isolated occurrence – stand alone titles
Minor infractions – YA and kids books
Eyewitness accounts – nonfiction books
Advance warning – ARCs
Most Wanted – best books of the year
Petty crime – boring and DNF

I’ve got a few titles in mind, but my biggest goal is clearing out some of my TBR books here and at the library.

But that’s got me wondering – since I’m in a little bit of a reading slump, maybe I need a short challenge for 2017. Something that would be really fun. I need some ideas? Any suggestions? We’ve only got 2 months, just about, left in the year, so I need something little. Hm. I’ll have to think about it.

Coming This Week!

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Stay tuned for another excited author interview! Science fiction author Simon Petrie will be here answering questions about his book, Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body, about his writing, and with a bit of advice for beginners. You may remember that I was pretty excited about this story. You can read my review here, and there’s a link to the story here.

Weekend Reading

Hey folks! What are you reading? I’ve been listening to Even Money by Dick Francis in the car. It’s a story about a bookie who’s long lost father returns in time to be murdered. All his books are thriller that involve horse racing in some way.

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Then I’m reading an indy book for review, Afterdeath by Benoit Chartier. It’s about twin sisters whose grandmother has just died. They decide to take a road trip together when things go completely wrong.

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I’ve got a couple of books I need to review on here, so I’m a little behind. I hope you’re enjoying your weekend! The weather is great here, much too pretty to stay inside all day. Happy Fall!