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Tag Archives: mysteries

Recommended Reading List from Just Desserts members – January 2015

Just Desserts Logo 225Hey, mystery fans! Looking for something good to read? At the Just Desserts meeting on January 29th, after discussing our monthly “assigned” book (Jeffery Deaver’s The Skin Collector), we did a round robin at the table, asking attendees to share what mysteries they’d been reading lately that they felt they could recommend. Here’s a list of the novels that were hot last month with this mystery-savvy crowd:

MYSTERIES

  • Promise Me by Harlan Coben
  • Blood Ties by Kay Hooper
  • Set Sail for Murder by Carolyn Hart
  • The Perfect Fake by Barbara Parker
  • Wait for Signs: 12 Longmire Stories by Craig Johnson
  • Suspect by Robert Crais (Book-on-CD)
  • The Burning Room by Michael Connelly (Book-on-CD)
  • Gray Mountain by John Grisham
  • To Dwell in Darkness by Deborah Crombie
  • The Mangle Street Murders by M.R. Kasasian
  • Dead Water by Barbara Hambly
  • Deepest Water by Kate Wilhelm
  • Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm both by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling)
  • Wake to Darkness by Maggie Shayne
  • The Assassin by Daniel Silva
  • The Target by David Baldacci
  • The Whole Enchilada by Diane Mott Davidson
  • Black Hills by Nora Roberts
  • French Pastry Murder by Leslie Meier
  • The Golem of Hollywood by Jesse and Jonathan Kellerman
  • The Cinderella Murder by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke
  • Hope to Die by James Patterson
  • Murder 101 by Faye Kellerman
  • Knot Guilty by Betty Hechtman
  • The Skin Collector by Jeffery Deaver
  • Good Man Friday by Barbara Hambly
  • The Sound and the Furry by Spencer Quinn
  • The Hard Way by Lee Child (Book-on-CD)
  • Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
  • Paw and Order by Spencer Quinn (Book-on-CD)

NON-MYSTERIES

  • Neil Armstrong: A Life in Flight by Jay Barbree
  • Heart-Land: Growing Up in the Middle of Everything by Douglas Keister
  • Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley
  • Just Shy of Harmony by Philip Gulley
  • Signs and Wonders by Philip Gulley
  • Christmas in Harmony by Philip Gulley
  • The Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth
  • The Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett
  • Foucault: A Very Short Introduction by Gary Gutting
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  • We Are Not Ourselves by Thomas Matthew
  • A Quilt for Christmas by Sandra Dallas
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  • The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

So, what mysteries have you been reading lately that you’d recommend?

Jeffery Deaver’s “The Skin Collector”

skincollectorJust Desserts Logo 225When the Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group met on January 29th, 2015, 13 of us enjoyed discussing the latest volume in Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhymes series, The Skin Collector.

Whether or not you attended the actual meeting, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions about this book in a reply comment to this blog post, below.

For additional reminders about upcoming Just Desserts meetings and/or other announcements of interest to mystery  fans, don’t forget to sign up for the Just Desserts e-mail list. Or, if you’re logged into your account on Facebook, you can visit the Events page for the Lincoln City Libraries, and mark whether or not you plan to attend upcoming sessions of Just Desserts – this is a great way for you to help us promote this engaging discussion group! Our selections for future meetings are usually posted there months in advance.

What do you think of The Skin Collector or the Lincoln Rhymes series by Jeffery Deaver?

Join us for our next meeting on February 26, 2015, 6:30 p.m. at the South Branch Library. We’ll be discussing the ninth volume in the popular Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, 9th Judgment!

We hope to see you then!

Just Desserts reading recommendations from Oct 2014

Hey, mystery fans! Looking for something good to read? At the final Just Desserts meeting for 2014, on October 30th, after discussing our monthly “assigned” book, we did a round robin at the table, asking attendees to share what mysteries they’d been reading lately that they felt they could recommend.

Here’s a list of the novels that were hot last month with this mystery-savvy crowd:

 

MYSTERIES

  • Night of the White Buffalo by Margaret Coel
  • Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs (several JD readers)
  • Personal by Lee Child (several JD readers)
  • Designated Daughters by Margaret Maron
  • Wendigo Island by William Kent Krueger
  • Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling)
  • Harry Lipkin, Private Eye by Barry Fantoni
  • The Silence of the Library by Miranda James
  • Money Shot by Christa Faust
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • The Citadel by Karen Mosse
  • Murder 101 by Faye Kellerman
  • Her Last Whisper by Karen Robards
  • Innocent Prey by Maggie Shayne
  • A Silent Man by Alex Berenson
  • Buried Secrets by Joseph Finder
  • The Golem of Hollywood by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman
  • Haunted by Kay Hooper
  • The Book Stops Here by Kate Carlisle
  • Private Down Under by James Patterson and Michael White
  • Killer Physique by G.A. McKevett
  • Proof Positive by Archer Mayor (reviewed for library’s Customer Reviews on BookGuide)
  • The Outsmarting of Criminals by Steven Rigolosi
  • The Dog Who Knew Too Much, A Fistful of Collars and The Sound and the Furry all by Spencer Quinn — all as audiobooks
  • The Virgil Flowers series of John Sandford
  • The Hamish Macbeth series of M.C. Beaton
  • The Rebus series of Ian Rankin
  • The works of Tony Hillerman
  • The works of Craig Johnson
  • The works of John LeCarre

NON-MYSTERIES

  • Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin
  • The Dinner by Herman Koch
  • Discover Zen by David Fontana
  • Siddhartha and Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
  • Great Books of the Western World series
  • Crossfire by Louis L’Amour
  • Killing Patton by Bill O’Reilly
  • It Worked For Me by Colin Powell

So, what mysteries have you been reading lately that you’d recommend?

Your Just Desserts hiatus reading assignment – 2014: The Benjamin January series

freemanofcolorJust Desserts Logo 225November 07, 2014 by sdc

During the Nov/Dec 2014 hiatus between meetings of the Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group, we encourage regular attendees to continue to participate as a group…but in a virtual way. While we may not have an actual meeting scheduled during these two months, this blog is available to keep everyone active with their mystery reading and discussions.

Our “hiatus assignment” for 2014 is the “Benjamin January” series by author Barbara Hambly. Comprised of thirteen volumes, published between 1997’s first volume (A Free Man of Color), and 2014’s latest volume (Crimson Angel). Barbara Hambly was first published in 1982, and has been a prolific writer of genre fiction, including not just mysteries but also science fiction and fantasy. Her “Benjamin January” series is considered to be among the best of all of her works. This series was described as follows on Wikipedia:

“This historical mystery series begins with A Free Man of Color (1997) and features Benjamin January, a brilliant, classically educated, free colored surgeon and musician living in New Orleans during the antebellum years of the 1830s. At the time, New Orleans had a large and prosperous population of free people of color. Born a slave, as his mother was enslaved, January was freed as a young child by his mother’s lover, under the plaçage system. Provided with an excellent education, he gained fluency in several classical and modern languages, and was thoroughly versed in the whole of classical Western learning and arts. He studied medicine in Paris, where he trained as a surgeon. He returned to Louisiana to escape the memory of his late wife, a woman from North Africa. As a free black in Louisiana, he cannot find work as a surgeon. He earns a modest living by his exceptional talent as a musician.

Each title is a murder mystery, with a complex plot and well-developed characters. Each explores many aspects of French Creole and overall Louisiana society. Most tend to emphasize some particular element of antebellum Louisiana life, such as Voodoo religion (Graveyard Dust), opera and music (Die Upon a Kiss), the annual epidemics of yellow fever and malaria (Fever Season), fear of miscegenation (Dead and Buried), or the harsh nature of commercial sugar production by enslaved labor (Sold Down the River).

Important themes of the series are 1) the cultural clash between the rising Protestant English-speaking Anglo-Americans, and the declining Catholic, French-speaking Creoles, 2) skin color discrimination within the society of Creoles of color, with favor given to lighter-skinned persons 3) January’s bitterness at the many forms of racial injustice he observes, 4) the complex, partially race-based sexual politics of colonial French and United States society, and 5) January’s comparison of what he thinks of as the open and frank African outlook of his early childhood with the more restrained and rational European worldview he acquired through education and experience. This last theme occurs most often with respect to music, spirituality, and respect for law and social custom.”

We encourage Just Desserts participants to read any of the 13 books in this series, at some point in November or December 2014, then come back here to this blog post and leave a comment about whatever you read or watched, as a response to this discussion topic.

  • 1. A Free Man of Color (1997)
  • 2. Fever Season (1998)
  • 3. Graveyard Dust (1999)
  • 4. Sold Down the River (2000)
  • 5. Die upon a Kiss (2001)
  • 6. Wet Grave (2002)
  • 7. Days of the Dead (2003)
  • 8. Dead Water (2004)
  • 9. Dead and Buried (2011)
  • 10. The Shirt on His Back (2011)
  • 11. Ran Away (2011)
  • 12. Good Man Friday (2013)
  • 13. Crimson Angel (2014)

As a bit of background, here are some links to Barbara Hambly information:

We look forward to seeing your comments here over the course of the next two months!

So…here’s your question:

Which of the “Benjamin January” novels did you read, and what was your opinion?

Scott C. – Just Desserts coordinator and host

Julie Hyzy’s “White House Chef” mystery series

stateoftheonionJust Desserts Logo 225When the Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group met on October 30th, 2014, 18 of us enjoyed discussing the first 7 volumes in Julie Hyzy’s popular “White House Chef” mystery series featuring Olivia Paras.

Whether or not you attended the actual meeting, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions about this book in a reply comment to this blog post, below.

For additional reminders about upcoming Just Desserts meetings and/or other announcements of interest to mystery  fans, don’t forget to sign up for the Just Desserts e-mail list. Or, if you’re logged into your account on Facebook, you can visit the Events page for the Lincoln City Libraries, and mark whether or not you plan to attend upcoming sessions of Just Desserts – this is a great way for you to help us promote this engaging discussion group! Our selections for future meetings are usually posted there months in advance.

What do you think of the “White House Chef” series by Julie Hyzy?

We’re now on our year-end “hiatus”. Join us for our next physical meeting on January 29, 2015, 6:30 p.m. at the South Branch Library, for our final in-person meeting of 2014. We’ll be discussing the Lincoln Rhymes novel The Skin Collector, by Jeffery Deaver!

We hope to see you then!