July’s Pages Upon Pages

I have a prediction for July. I will read a crap load of books. Actually, I am cheating. It’s not a prediction because I already know I will. Case in point – yesterday my husband and I spent seven hours on the water. He fished. I read. Yesterday was July 1st so I was already knee-deep in the July Challenge list and thanks to an iPad I had five books with me. I made a decent dent in the “Boat” books:

Fiction:

  • Jackie by Josie by Caroline Preston – in honor of Jacqueline O. Kennedy’s birth month.

Nonfiction:

  • The Coldest Day: America and the Korean War by David Halberstam – in honor of July being the month the Korean War ended.
  • The Book of Mediterranean Cooking by Elizabeth David – in honor of July being picnic month.

Series Continuation:

  • The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason – to continue the series started in June.
  • Midnight in Ruby Bayou by Elizabeth Lowell – to continue the series started in April.

Others on the list:

Fiction:

  • Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken – in honor of July being Kids Month.

Nonfiction:

  • Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart – in honor of July being Job Fair month (odd choice, I know).

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • Into the Storm: Two Ships, a Deadly Hurricane, and an Epic Battle for Survival by Tristam Koten.

If there is time:

  • Gardens of Kyoko by Kate Walbert – in honor of Japan’s Tanabata Festival.
  • Animals by Alice Mattison – in honor of Mattison’s birth month.
  • Miss Lizzie by Walter Satterthwait – in honor of Lizzie Borden’s birth month.
  • Cop Hater by Ed McBain – to honor McBain’s passing in the month of July.

 

 


May is a Month

What about May? May was a month of personal disappointments and private pain. I weathered all without much fanfare. Running was nonexistent but I can’t say the same for books:

Fiction:

  • Landfall: a Channel Story by Nevil Shute (EB)
  • Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (AB, EB & print)
  • Martin Sloane by Michael Redhill (EB & print)
  • Bruised Hibiscus by Elizabeth Nunez (EB & print)
  • Adrian mole: the Cappuccino Years by Sue Townsend (EB & print)

Nonfiction:

  • Into Thin Air: a Personal Account … by Jon Krakauer

Series continuations:

  • Jade Island by Elizabeth Lowell (EB & print)
  • Last Seen in Massilia by Steven Saylor (EB & print)
  • Angel at My Table by Janet Frame (EB & print)

Early Review from LibraryThing:

  • 1968: — edited by — Aronson

Added – Plays:

  • Medea by Euripides ~ in honor of the best time to go to Greece.

 


Jade Island

Lowell, Elizabeth. Jade Island. New York: Avon Books, 1998.

Reason read: to continue the series started in April in honor of Lowell’s birth month.

Jade Island is the second book in the Donovan series but it doesn’t follow Amber Beach’s plot line all that much. When we left the Donovan clan in Amber Beach, Kyle Donovan had been rescued from near death after his amber hungry girlfriend sold him down the river and nearly had him killed. Now, Kyle is chasing jade and an impossibly beautiful Asian-American named Lianne Blakely. Kyle certainly knows how to pick ’em. Lianne is the illegitimate child of Chinese Johnny Tang and all American Anna Blakeley. Lianne wants nothing more than to belong to the Tang clan and is more than happy to appraise and evaluate jade trades for them. But what happens when Tang jade starts to disappear and Lianne is the prime suspect? Kyle must decide between his head and another piece of his anatomy. Is Lianne innocent or is he falling in love with a criminal? What I appreciated with Jade Island was there was none of the coy games played between the two impossibly beautiful protagonists. Lianne enjoyed Kyle’s company and they got along really well despite the sexual tension.

It is not necessary to read Amber Beach to understand Jade Island. Lowell makes references to details from the previous book but the plot is not dependent on it.
Author fact: Lowell writes with her husband. It’s funny I should learn this after reading Jade Island because I had written myself a note that Lowell sometimes writes like a woman (fashion, appearances, emotions) and other times she writes like a man (sexual appetites, violence, lust).

Book trivia: Jade Island is the second book in the Donovan Series. There are two more.

Nancy said: nothing.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Romance Novels: Our Love is Here To Stay” (p ).


May Has Her Reasons

This is the first month since September that I don’t have some kind of race looming. It feels weird to not worry about the run. I guess I can concentrate on the books:

Fiction:

  • Landfall: a Channel Story by Nevil Shute – in honor of the month the movie was released.
  • Main Street by Sinclair Lewis – in honor of Minnesota becoming a state in May (AB).
  • Bruised Hibiscus by Elizabeth Nunez – on honor of the Pan Ramjay festival held in May.
  • Adrian Mole: the Cappuccino Years by Sue Townsend – in honor of Mother’s Day.

Nonfiction:

  • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer – in honor of the failed Mount Everest climb in May 1994.

Series continuations:

  • Jade Island by Elizabeth Lowell – to continue the series started in April in honor of Lowell’s birth month.
  • Warding of Witch World by Andre Norton – to continue the series started in March to honor the month of Norton’s passing.

Something new! I just discovered archive dot org! They are brilliant! I have been able to find a bunch of the books I have on my Challenge list, including two for this month. That means I will be able to leave the print at home and still read on my lunch break!


Amber Beach

Lowell, Elizabeth. Amber Beach. New York: Avon Books, 1998.

Reason read: Lowell was born in April. Read in her honor.

If you have been keeping up with this blog you know that romance novels are not really my thing. I think by reading Amber Beach I figured out exactly what annoys me so much. I don’t care for the coy I-Hate-Your-Guts attitude the characters put on right up until the angry yet passionate Rip-Your-Clothes-Off-And-Have-Wild-Sex-With-You routine. Amber Beach is exactly that kind of novel. Honor Donovan is a feisty, beautiful, smart, and courageous sister of one missing Kyle Donovan. In other words, she is perfect. Her one flaw is that she has no idea what happened to beloved brother Kyle and will stop at nothing to find him.  Enter two other brothers and family secrets. Honor doesn’t know of the rumors concerning Kyle. One story is he stole a crap load of valuable amber, killing someone in the process. Now it is believed he’s in hiding along with that millions of dollars worth of amber. But that’s not how the rest of the Donovan clan see it. Their story is they think Kyle was killed by his business partner, Jake “Jay” Mallory. Sexy, brooding, strong as an ox, smart as a whip, perfect specimen of a man, Jake only wants to clear his name. Okay, and find the precious amber. His side of the story is simple, he thinks he’s been framed by his friend and business partner, Kyle Donovan. Jake cleverly answers Honor’s ad for a fishing guide (lie). In reality she wants to learn how to run Kyle’s boat so she can search for him. Jake pretends to be a fishing guide but really wants to teach Honor how to run Kyle’s boat so he can get to Kyle first. Naturally, they fall into bed together before they can learn of each other’s mutual betrayal. Will their mutual attraction survive the lies? Will they find Kyle? Who is the guilty one, Kyle or Jake?

No quotes to quote.

Author fact: Lowell also writes under the name A.E. Maxwell.

Book trivia: Amber Beach is the first book in the Donovan Series. Lowell cleverly makes reference to the next book in the series, Jade Island by calling one character a “Jade” man. Well played, Lowell!

Nancy said: Pearl put Amber Beach in the category of  “Action Suspense” (p 204).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Romance Novels: Our Love is Here to Stay” (p 203).


Milk in My Coffee

Dickey, Eric Jerome. Milk in My Coffee. New York: New American Library, 1998.

Reason read: Cow Appreciation Day is tomorrow – 7/14/16. I kid you not.

The premise is Jordan and Kimberly are supposed to each take turns telling their side of their seemingly doomed romance. While I tagged this “chick lit” it isn’t. Not really. It’s the story of two people trying to overcome the color of their skin and their deep rooted opinions. I appreciated Jordan’s ingrained racism that spoke to a long standing tradition of passing prejudice through history. He continually referred to the South unapologetically, as if that’s just the way it will always be, like it or not. His perceptions of Kimberley as a white woman are generations old. There was more drama in this story expected but that didn’t take away from the story.

Milk in My Coffee is broken into four parts. The first eleven chapters are from Jordan Green’s point of view. Every chapter is titled “Jordan Greene” before it switches to Kimberley Chambers (for one chapter). Wouldn’t it have been simpler (and I would have preferred this) to have one giant section of Jordan Greene narrative?
This isn’t a huge deal, but Milk in My Coffee contains references that date the plot. I didn’t know Erica Kane or Nurse Rachid so I didn’t get the jokes referencing them. Luckily, I know Barney, Vanna White, and Eartha Kitt so they were not a great mystery.

Everyone knows I am nit picky when it comes to dialogue. I want the characters to talk to one another as if they really know each other and are authentic with one another. It bothers me when conversations don’t make sense. To be honest, that only happened once in Milk. Jordan asked what Kimberly was doing for the holidays. She explains about how holidays and her birthday bring her down. They then go off on a mini tangent about birthdays. After that, without missing a beat Jordan asks again about the holidays as if he never asked and she answers in a completely different way.

Dickey is full of cheesy analogies:

  • “More purple than Barney”
  • “More tracks than a Hot Wheels set”
  • “Like microwave popcorn”

Quote I liked (yes, there was only one), “I didn’t know her well enough to earn any heartbreak, but I felt it anyway” (p 14).

Author fact: Dickey’s bio reads like Superman: engineer, stand up comic, able to develop software, best selling author…

Book trivia: Milk in My Coffee is a best seller. Did I mention that?

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “African American: He Say” (p 12).


July on Deck

July. Summertime. Lots of music (starting with you guessed it, Phish). Lots of running (hopefully all outdoors). Lots of travel, lots of play. Plenty of reading:

  • Milk in My Coffee by Eric Jerome Dickey (in honor of National Cow Appreciation Day on the 14th. I kid you not.)
  • Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill (#3 – to continue the series started in May in honor of Rocket Day)
  • The Last Battle by Cornelius Ryan (#3 – to continue the series started in June for D-Day)
  • Cranford (AB) by Elizabeth Gaskell (in honor of Swan Upping. If you don’t know about this day, check it out. It’s fascinating. Or you can wait for my review when I’ll explain the practice.)
  • Black Faces, White Faces by Jane Gardam (in honor of Gardam’s birth month)

As an aside, I have read the last two Cotterills in a day each, so I know I need to add at least one or two more books to the list. I’m off to the great unknown for vacation so when I get back I’ll probably have to revisit this list.

Also, I should note that I won another Early Review book from LibraryThing, but since its not here yet I won’t promise to read it. 😉