[At the Amazon Kindle Community forum there is a monthly thread where participants list and comment on which books they’re reading at the moment on their Kindles. These aren’t usually full reviews, often just relatively brief impressions. I’m copying over some of my comments made there into Book Bits posts here.]
I finished reading In the Heat of the Night by John Ball. To be honest, I didn’t think it was that great. The movie was very different in many key details, and I think it did a much better job at leaving a lasting impression. Ball’s prose is kinda flat and uninteresting, and the character of Virgil Tibbs is so self-contained that he really has no personality to speak of.
The book also has one of those very long and drawn out scenes near the end where Tibbs explains at length what happened and why, rather than a lot of the pieces being revealed as he learns them while investigating, and I’ve never been a fan of that style of resolution to a mystery novel. One thing that I appreciated a lot more about the book was the character of Sam Woods, the police officer. He’s much more interesting and sympathetic in the book. He seems to be the one most impacted by Tibbs, rather than Chief Gillespie, who in the book comes across as a very petty man.
After that I read Erosistible by Gill McKnight. One of the small lesbian presses I buy books from is having an ebook sale so I picked this and three others up for only $5 each. It’s a romance set on an island in the Aegean Sea and the setting is part of what attracted me to it. The writing is decent enough and humorous at times, but my enjoyment of the book was hindered by the fact that I thought one of the two main characters was a spoiled, selfish brat who frequently acted like a temperamental teenager. Actively disliking one of the protagonists pretty much kills a romance novel.
I’m now reading Finding Magic by Stacia Kane, which was just released yesterday. It’s a novella and only 99 cents. This is a prequel to the Downside Ghosts series in which Chess is a student training with the Church. After reading the first four books (the fifth will be released at the end of this month) it’s neat to go back in time and see Chess in a transitional phase in her life and be given a glimpse into how she ended up the way she is at the start of the series.
I finished reading Finding Magic by Stacia Kane. There are currently four books in the series with the fifth due out later this month. I think someone could start with the prequel, and might have an urge to because it takes place several years before the books start chronologically. But I think people would be better off reading it after at least the first couple of novels, in order to get the perspective needed.
It was a good story, nicely paced. It was interesting to see Chess while still in Church training. The novella covers how she chose which church profession to follow and also the early part of her slide into addiction. The one thing I didn’t like is how horribly repetitive it was about her self-loathing. It got really old in the fourth novel also. It’s well established by now she feels that way, so it gets annoying reading those thoughts in detail every few pages. It was important to establish she felt that way back then also, and how it related to the Church taking her in, but after that there’s no need to belabor it that extensively.
I’ve now started V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton. (Thank you again to my anonymous gift giver!) There are about five different plot threads going on, all of which have kept me completely absorbed. But I have to admit to getting slightly antsy that at 20% Kinsey doesn’t have an actual case yet. I’m willing to go along for the ride to see where it takes me though.
I finished V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton. It was quite a bit different from her usual in the series, but that’s not a bad thing. I enjoyed it quite a lot with all the different character threads. Joining Kinsey for an adventure is like visiting with an old friend. We were first introduced in 1989. Back then Kinsey was several years older than me and was an experienced woman of the world by comparison. Now I’m more than a decade older than she is and I admit to envying her relative youth. Strange how that works.
In V Kinsey’s timeline is only up to 1988 and that’s become part of my fascination with the series. It’s odd reading a contemporary series (in terms of it still being written now), but so much of it is old school in terms of the tech Kinsey has to work with and how she goes about investigating. Rather than accessing all sorts of info on a computer she wears out a lot of shoe leather, and she relies on her answering machine in the office rather than having a cell phone at her fingertips. It really changes the pace of things.
I’m not sure what I’m going to read next. There are so many books on my Kindle that are waving at me to read them next that I’m going to have a really, really hard time choosing!
I’ve started reading Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood. It got it for free a couple days ago and it’s still free right now. I’m about 30% in so far.
It’s set at the end of the 1920s in Melbourne Australia and I’m especially liking the time and place aspects of the book. The plot is unfolding rather slowly and I found myself getting a little anxious for things to move on, but not to the point that it’s making me want to put it down. In fact it’s probably getting me to read it faster.
Greenwood’s writing is a bit different. I can’t find a way to explain what I mean. The writing isn’t bad, it’s just the kind that doesn’t quite flow in a way that I’m used to, so it takes a while to mentally adapt to it, if that makes any sense. Again, it’s not ruining the book by any means, but it’s not as smooth of a read as it could be. Even with those comments, I’m still liking the book and it’s definitely worth picking up for anyone interested in giving it a try.
I finished reading Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood. It was very entertaining. I really like the main character, Phryne. She’s feisty and unconventional, but can behave properly in society when she needs to. The other characters are quite colorful as well.
I just looked up the author and see that this is a series that has a lot of books in it, and all or most of them are really reasonably priced. So I’ll very likely be reading more of them in the future. The freebie did its job. :)
Now I’m reading The Sins of the Fathers by Lawrence Block, which is the first book in the Matthew Scudder series. It’s short and I’m already a third of the way through it. I bought it when the price dropped to 99 cents a while back and it’s still available for that price now. This is the fourth Block novel I’ve read. One of his old pulps was a disappointment, but the others, including this one, are all really good. I really like his writing a lot and he deserves his title as a Grand Master.