Friday, June 25, 2010

bookfinds @ Kittling: Books and a Bit of Rambling

I just can't seem to get back into gear after spending a week down in Bisbee. All I want to do is loll around reading all the marvelous books I've managed to gather together. Who cares about running a dust mop around, doing the laundry. cooking or running errands? I certainly don't. I'm certain that the only "thing" that's keeping me anywhere close to the straight and narrow is my husband. I may be willing to subsist on sun tea and saltines, but I'm not willing to have him do the same or show up at his job looking less than his best.

Blast. Seems I'm a bookaholic with scruples.

I've pulled eleven books out of the mailbox so far this week, and there's still two delivery days to go. Tuesday I decided to take a look at my "reading maps" and do something about filling the gaps in my USA map.

How did I do that? I love to read mysteries, so I went to Stop, You're Killing Me's Location Index to see which books were listed for the states I was missing. When I found something that piqued my interest, I went looking for it at Paperback Swap. I requested eight books from Paperback Swap on Tuesday and wish listed the rest.

So what am I doing adding even more books to my wish list here??

Hello. My name is Cathy, and I am a bookaholic.

Here are the books that caught my eye before my Stop, You're Killing Me/ Paperback Swap binge. Click on the book covers if you'd like more detailed information about any of the titles.

A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer.
"Penicillin operates as the source of romance, murder, and melodrama in Belfer's evocative WWII–era novel. When Life magazine sends strikingly beautiful photographer Claire Shipley to report on a promising new medication made from green mold, Claire, 36, the single mother of a young son, who lost her daughter to blood poisoning eight years before, is moved by the drug's potential to save lives. She also becomes smitten with resident doctor James Stanton, a man with two interests: penicillin and bedding Claire. But as the war casualties pile up, penicillin becomes an issue of national security and the politics of the drug's production threaten to disrupt the pair's romance, especially when James is sent abroad to oversee human trials of the drug. The pharmaceutical companies—including one owned by Claire's father—realize the financial potential in penicillin. Belfer handily exploits Claire's photo shoots to add historical texture to the book, and the well-researched scenes bring war-time New York City to life, capturing the anxiety-ridden period."

Lady Hester: Queen of the East by Lorna Gibb.
"Born into the age of revolution, Lady Hester Stanhope had a radical spirit. Following the death of her uncle the Prime Minister William Pitt in 1806, she chose the excitement of travel and adventure over the life of a spinster in polite London society. And she never looked back. Surviving a terrible shipwreck and the scorn of Lord Byron ('that dangerous thing - a female wit'), Lady Hester adopted male Arabic dress, became the Queen of the Bedouin and was the first European woman ever to enter Palmyra. Recovering from the heartbreak of a passionate love affair, she became a political force in Lebanon. In defiance of despotic war lords she offered sanctuary to an oppressed minority, creating a fortress which became a focus of both gossip and awe. Told with all the verve of its subject's life, based on much new source material and extensive travel in Hester's footsteps, Lady Hester traces this extraordinary life from Downing Street to an isolated monastery in the hills of Lebanon - a stunning evocation of a unique and pioneering figure."

The Rosary Bride: A Cloistered Death by Luisa Buehler.
"During the 1940's the women attending Regina College insisted a beautiful young woman wearing a 'fancy dress' haunted the halls near the chapel. Many claimed to see the apparition often entering, sitting, and softly crooning a mournful melody. Stories of the 'Rosary Bride' continue from generation to generation. Fifty years later, during the renovation of the college library, workers expose a skeleton. Grace Marsden, present at the discovery is drawn into the search for the victim's identity, fearing the remains will lead to skeletons in her own family closet. Against her husband, her best friend, and her own common sense Grace determines to find the truth. Her involvement grows beyond her control when the dead woman reaches out to her. Complications arise when the investigating police inspector dredges up more old secrets and betrayal. Ignoring her husband's theory that the Inspector's motives are less than honorable, Grace continues her quest to solve the decades old homicide. Desperate to know the truth, Grace enlists the help of Sister Andrew, a nun who lived at Rosary during the 40's and has chronicled the college's history. But all too soon the treachery of the past meets the future and once again lives are lost. Can Grace name the 'Rosary Bride' before her killer strikes again?"

Murder Stalks a Mansion: A Newport Mystery by Anne Marie Sutton.
"When her husband dies in a car crash Caroline Kent faces selling the family's Newport, Rhode Island, estate. Instead she makes the decision to turn the house into an inn catering to wealthy visitors to the famous city. The bucolic atmosphere of the Inn at Kenwood Court is quickly threatened when the Hargreaves arrive from Boston to spend the weekend. Uncle Maurice enjoys taunting his family for their shortcomings, their avarice and their dependence on him. Tensions ignite, and murder is the result of this deadly game. Lt. Hank Nightingale of the Newport Police Department takes charge of the case, and Caroline is determined to help the handsome police detective solve the mystery before the killer can strike again."

Pray and Die by Stella Whitelaw.
"Jordan Lacey, a former policewoman in Latching, West Sussex, decides to become a private investigator. But how, exactly, does a young woman with no private-eye experience find cases in a small British town with very little crime? As it turns out, it's easier than Jordan expected it to be, easier and weirder, as her first clients--a woman who suspects her husband of cheating on her and a nice lady looking for her lost turtle--soon take the back seat to Jordan's big discovery: a murdered nun. This is an immensely satisfying novel, charmingly written and deceptively plotted (things are more complicated than we think). Whitelaw, the author of more than 30 novels, pays close attention to detail, and it's a great deal of fun to watch Lacey find a place to hang her private-eye shingle, advertise for clients, and adjust to the realization that her former police contacts won't help her now that she's gone solo. The story itself is clever and well constructed, but it's Lacey herself who makes the novel so special; she is truly a delightful creation."

I have to admit that the last book is the one I'm really looking for. It sounds like something a character-driven reader just has to have.

How about you? Have you read any of these titles? Would you recommend them? Did any of them tickle your taste buds enough to include them on your own wish lists? Which ones? Do tell!


  1. I haven't read any of these. I have A FIERCE RADIANCE on my wishlist. I found that I could get THE ROSARY BRIDE for my Kindle for $2.99 and so I did. The others are appealing, but I'll wait on them for a while.

  2. I haven't read any of them, but I do have A Fierce Radiance in my TBR pile.

  3. Kay-- I wonder which one of us will read The Rosary Bride first? :)

    Kathy-- I really enjoyed Belfer's other book, City of Light, so I'm looking forward to this one.

  4. Murder Stalks a Mansion sounds tempting. But I will be a good girl and await your review as usual - even though I haven´t spent my book budget for May or June yet! (Don´t worry about me, I just haven´t had time).

  5. "a bookaholic with scruples" LOL!

    J and I just visited Newport and I was looking for fiction set there. I'll keep MURDER STALKS A MANSION in mind, in case we revisit.

  6. Dorte-- You've been very busy, but think of all that money you'll be able to spend!

    Dawn-- Newport has always fascinated me... the rich with all their summer "cottages"!


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