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Showing posts with label MJennings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MJennings. Show all posts

Monday, 30 September 2019

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Third Quarter 2019

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Third Quarter 2019

This quarter I have read 89 books, and a total of 297 to date this year. I am reading at the pace of about a book and a quarter a day.  Of those a total of 46 books received 5/5 stars and are first time reads and are therefor eligible for this quarters top ten list. That left me to choose from 16 non-fiction and 28 fiction.

Here is my top ten fiction and non-fiction books of the third quarter of 2019.

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:
1. Rediscover the Saints - Matthew Kelly
2. Saint José Boy Cristero Martyr - Fr. Kevin McKenzie
3. CTS Saints of the Isles
4. Take Five: On-The-Job Meditations with St. Ignatius - Mike Aquilina and  Kris D. Stubna
5. CTS Biographies of John Henry Newman
6. Jerzy Popieluszko: Victim of Communism - Grazyna Sikorski - CTS 20th Century Martyrs
7. Eucharistic Miracles - Joan Carroll Cruz
8. Prayer in the Family - John Viatori and Beth Viatori - CTS Family Matters Series
9. Our Lady of Good Help: Prayer Book for Pilgrims - Edward Looney
10. Jean Vanier Logician of the Heart - Michael W. Higgins

Bonus:
In Conversation with God - Francis Fernandez
Volume 4 Part 1 Weeks 13 - 18 in Ordinary Time

Top Ten Fiction Books:
1. Fiorella de Maria's Fiction
2. The Unteachables - Gordon Korman
3. Father Gabriel Mysteries - Fiorella De Maria
4. Gifts: Visible & Invisible - Catholic Teen Books Anthology
5. For Eden's Sake - T.M. Gaouette
6. Breach! Corinna Turner - unSPARKed Book 0
7. Dragon Assassin 6 Royal Blood - Arthur Slade
8. Restart - Gordon Korman
9. Power Engaged - J.S. Criado - Memories of Twilight Book 2
10. Liars - Jack Heath

Bonus:
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis - Chronicles of Narnia
Books by Maureen Jennings
Jack Reacher Books by Lee Child

One of the big differences for a second time this quarter is reading mystery – suspense – crime novels. Especially those by Lee Child and Maureen Jennings. Also this quarter I have read 7 of the 9 books available by Fiorella de Maria. All 7 received 5/5 stars. My reading has been up over each of the last few years. I attribute part of it to Brandon Vogt’s course Read More Books Now, removing all games but 1 brain game from my devices. And I now commute to work on a bus and read on the bus every day. Last quarter was an almost equal balance between fiction and non-fiction, this time it was about 2/3rds fiction.

Note: I do not include books that have been read in previous years and were reread this year in my top ten lists, they are in the bonus section. It was no easy task making this quarter. But if you want more options check out my favorite books year by year list


Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011
 

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
 
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013

Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2015
Top Ten Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2016
Top Ten Non- Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Catholic Books
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2017
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2018
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2019
... 

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year:

143 - January-March 2019
359 - 2018
380 - 2017 
272 - 2016 
177 - 2015 
130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996




Friday, 6 September 2019

A Journeyman to Grief - Maureen Jennings - Detective Murdoch Book 7

A Journeyman to Grief
Detective Murdoch Book 7
Maureen Jennings
McClelland & Stewart
An imprint of Penguin Random House Canada

ISBN 9780771046797
eISBN 9781551991399
ASIN B0035JEPF4


It is with some sadness that I write this review. For this is the last of the Detective Murdoch books, and in fact the last of Jennings’s published novels for me to read. In the last 14 weeks I have read all of Jennings’s novels and the 1 published Murdoch novella or short story. This one was not my favorite, but I loved the story. I had figured out much of it, but there were some surprising twists at the end that I just did not see coming. I loved Jennings’s novels. And I would have no qualms recommend this or any of her other published works. I have been greatly impressed with her attention to details, her mastery of historical fiction. The subtle Catholic elements in most stories. And love that her different series are set in different historical periods. With every book I read I became more impressed with her skill and mastery of the writing arts. And I particularly love that the Murdoch books form one continuous story, with overlapping elements and characters. To do a comparison to science fiction the Murdoch novels are more like Babylon 5 (a single continuous story) than Star Trek where every episode can practice all stand alone. In case you do not get those reference, I will clearly state The Murdoch books are excellent reads as are all the books written by Jennings!

But back to this novel. The current events in this story take place in the spring of 1896. This story is set some time after the previous book and 19 years before the next. But part of this story goes back to July of 1858 and most of the events of this story are told in and around the consequences of that terrible event. This was a time during slavery in the United States, the underground railroad. The lead up to the US Civil War. There are some very disturbing murders in this story. And Some very disturbing events around treatment of slaves. 

In and around the investigation Murdoch’s life takes many changes. From his co lodgers getting engaged. To Brackenreid being in a tough place and relying on Murdoch’s discretion. To surprises in his own personal life. But all of that is shrouded by the murders and the need to solve the cases which are obviously linked. 

This is a great read in an excellent series. The Murdoch from the books is different from the TV series, but just as an enjoyable a character to follow. The historic setting of Toronto is an interesting backdrop to the book and the series. This specific story has a few excellent twists. A great read that was hard to put down. 

Books by Maureen Jennings:
Detective Murdoch Series:

0.5 Shipwreck
1.0 Except the Dying
2.0 Under the Dragon's Tail
3.0 Poor Tom Is Cold
4.0 Let Loose the Dogs
5.0 Night's Child
6.0 Vices of My Blood
7.0 A Journeyman to Grief
8.0 Let Darkness Bury the Dead
...

Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Series:
1.0 Season of Darkness
2.0 Beware This Boy
3.0 No Known Grave
4.0 Dead Ground in Between
...

Christine Morris Series:
1.0 Does Your Mother Know?
2.0 The K Handshape

...

Paradise Café Series:

1.0 Heat Wave
...

Other books:
The Map of Your Mind: Journeys into Creative Expression
Investigating Murdoch Mysteries: The Official Companion to the Series – with Michelle Ricci and Mir Bahmanyar
...
 










Thursday, 29 August 2019

Vices of My Blood - Maureen Jennings - Detective Murdoch Book 6

Vices of My Blood
Detective Murdoch Book 6
Maureen Jennings
McClelland & Stewart
An imprint of Penguin Random House Canada

ISBN 9780771046780
eISBN 9780771043239
ASIN B003I83EJU


Over the past 13 weeks I have read 14 of Maureen Jennings 15 novels. And as this is my second last of her fictional works. I can state with everything I read I am more impressed by her skill, talent, her a master of the writing arts, and consider her a real wordsmith. This is the eights of 9 Murdoch stories I have read, and I consider it one of the best. It is also one of the best across all four of her series. The Murdoch Mysteries follow a specific chronological order. The books published to date are published following a continuous timeline. With overlapping events, elements, and overlapping characters. For example, we encounter Dr. Julia Ogden again in this volume, and she is the corner at a crime scene and later when several people are found dead from carbon monoxide poising. 

This story follows shortly after events in Night's Child. That story takes place in the winter and this story late winter early spring. This we have the spring of 1895, and the setting of Toronto. The story begins with a brutal murder of a pastor. A man that from all early indications was not only a man of the cloth, but a man of great character. When Later the investigation casts some strange light upon his name and reputation it becomes even more crucial that Murdoch figure out what happened. Because of the high-profile case Brackenreid is out for a quick resolution. And even though there is a viable suspect Brackenreid gives Murdoch a few more days to verify the facts and wrap up the case. 

Will ends up working with a confidence crew to help root out the truth in this case. He goes undercover at both a workhouse, lodging overnight, and splitting wood most of the next day. And also at a soup line. Because of being too vigorous during the manual labour he causes a flare up of lumbago. And everyone seems to have a remedy that is guaranteed to work. But Murdoch continues to push and work through the pain. He is determined to get to the truth. There is an interesting scene where Murdoch as a Catholic muses about being in a non-Catholic Church. 

While reading this novel, I could not help but picture characters from the TV Series. The story is written in such a way that it plays vividly in the minds eye. As we follow Murdoch through his investigation, we get glimpses of life at that time in Toronto. This was one that I figured out well before the end. But was so engrossed I still could not put the book down.

Another great read in an excellent series! 

Books by Maureen Jennings:
Detective Murdoch Series:

0.5 Shipwreck
1.0 Except the Dying
2.0 Under the Dragon's Tail
3.0 Poor Tom Is Cold
4.0 Let Loose the Dogs
5.0 Night's Child
6.0 Vices of My Blood
7.0 A Journeyman to Grief
8.0 Let Darkness Bury the Dead
...

Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Series:
1.0 Season of Darkness
2.0 Beware This Boy
3.0 No Known Grave
4.0 Dead Ground in Between
...

Christine Morris Series:
1.0 Does Your Mother Know?
2.0 The K Handshape

...

Paradise Café Series:

1.0 Heat Wave
...

Other books:
The Map of Your Mind: Journeys into Creative Expression
Investigating Murdoch Mysteries: The Official Companion to the Series – with Michelle Ricci and Mir Bahmanyar
...
 










Thursday, 22 August 2019

Dead Ground in Between - Maureen Jennings - Tom Tyler Book 4

Dead Ground in Between
Tom Tyler Book 4
Maureen Jennings
McClelland & Stewart
An imprint of Penguin Random House Canada

ISBN 9780771050558
eISBN 9780771050565
ASIN B016GRO8GC


Hello my name is Steven and I am an addict, I am a book addict and I am addicted to the writings of Maureen Jennings. This is the thirteenth story by Jennings that I have read in 12 weeks. This is the fourth of four Inspector Tom Tyler stories I have read. And it is my favorite. Jennings does an amazing job of transporting us back in time to England during World War II in these novels. And this is by far the best of the four.

This story is set late in 1942. Inspector Tom Tyler is now divorced. And working his placement in Ludlow, Shropshire. Tom is dealing with evacuees who are causing some issues. There are several different plot lines in this story. A POW in love with a Service girl. A body is discovered that soon appears to be murder. Secret hideouts. Young buys in trouble and now missing. And love both new and old. 

In this story Tom receives a letter from his lifelong love. She tells him to move on. It is not something he wants. But, soon something he is considering. But mixed in with all his personal turmoil. Is a confusing case, some ancient coins, a body in a strange location, and his normal work as an officer of the law. 

The plot of this one is more convoluted than any of the other three. The story is so real. It is a great historical fiction story. The treasure piece was interesting, especially after reading the afterward by Jennings. This series got better with every book. I enjoyed this one so much more than the others that I hope that at some point we get another Inspector Tyler story.

Books by Maureen Jennings:
Detective Murdoch Series:

0.5 Shipwreck
1.0 Except the Dying
2.0 Under the Dragon's Tail
3.0 Poor Tom Is Cold
4.0 Let Loose the Dogs
5.0 Night's Child
6.0 Vices of My Blood
7.0 A Journeyman to Grief
8.0 Let Darkness Bury the Dead
...

Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Series:
1.0 Season of Darkness
2.0 Beware This Boy
3.0 No Known Grave
4.0 Dead Ground in Between
...

Christine Morris Series:
1.0 Does Your Mother Know?
2.0 The K Handshape
...

Paradise Café Series:

1.0 Heat Wave
...

Other books:
The Map of Your Mind: Journeys into Creative Expression
Investigating Murdoch Mysteries: The Official Companion to the Series – with Michelle Ricci and Mir Bahmanyar
...
 






Thursday, 15 August 2019

Night’s Child - Maureen Jennings - Detective Murdoch Book 5

Night's Child
Detective Murdoch Book 5
Maureen Jennings
McClelland & Stewart
An imprint of Penguin Random House Canada

ISBN 9780771046773
eISBN 9781551991931
ASIN B0035JEP9U


Maureen Jennings books are excellent reads. I love each of her series, but Murdoch will always have a special place for me, for it was the jump from the TV series to the books that introduced me to Jennings works. This was the 13th work by Jennings that I have read over 12 weeks. And it is the 7th in the Detective Murdoch series I have read. This book was a real page turner and was very hard to put down. In fact, I stayed up way later than I should have since my alarm for work goes off at 5am. I lost track of home many times I thought to myself ‘just 1 more page’. It was also the first time I highlighted in one of the books by Jennings. At one-point Murdoch is musing to himself, and he things: “There was no answer to that of course except self-knowledge and at this moment he felt a stranger to himself, doubting everything.” And that self reflection and scrutiny helps Murdoch not only in understanding himself, but in unraveling both issues he is investigating. 

Usually mysteries with child victims are too disturbing for me to give them a 5/5 stars. But Jennings handled the subject in such a way that the story was worthy of the 5 star rating. 

In this story there are two main pursuits Murdoch is looking into. One is acquisitions against a fellow office of the number 4 station. And also, a minor who is now missing but appeared in inappropriate photos. While looking into the photo’s of 13 year old Agnew Fisher, we meet her teacher the indominable Miss Amy Slade. Murdoch is furious of the sexual exploitation of the child. But while investigating this it crosses over into his looking into the letters about Sergeant Seymour he discovers that Seymour and Fisher lodge at the same house. And soon the three of them are working together on both issues. 

Ste in Toronto in 1895 this story does an excellent job of capturing the time and place. This story looks ate the exploitation of children. Early typewriter competitions. Politics of the Toronto police. And some bias against Catholics. We also get a deeper understanding of Murdoch, and he of himself. 

This is a great read in an excellent series. Fans of the show will encounter a different Murdoch, but with enough overlap that they will be sure to want to read more. The Murdoch books are strong enough to stand on their own, but I have been enjoying reading them in order. 

Books by Maureen Jennings:
Detective Murdoch Series:

0.5 Shipwreck
1.0 Except the Dying
2.0 Under the Dragon's Tail
3.0 Poor Tom Is Cold
4.0 Let Loose the Dogs
5.0 Night's Child
6.0 Vices of My Blood
7.0 A Journeyman to Grief
8.0 Let Darkness Bury the Dead
...

Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Series:
1.0 Season of Darkness
2.0 Beware This Boy
3.0 No Known Grave
4.0 Dead Ground in Between
...

Christine Morris Series:
1.0 Does Your Mother Know?
2.0 The K Handshape

...

Paradise Café Series:

1.0 Heat Wave
...

Other books:
The Map of Your Mind: Journeys into Creative Expression
Investigating Murdoch Mysteries: The Official Companion to the Series – with Michelle Ricci and Mir Bahmanyar
...
 










Thursday, 8 August 2019

No Known Grave - Maureen Jennings - Tom Tyler Book 3

No Known Grave
Tom Tyler Book 3
Maureen Jennings
McClelland & Stewart
An imprint of Penguin Random House Canada

ISBN 9780771043468
eISBN 9780771043413
ASIN B00JYWVX3I


To state that I had become addicted to the writings of Maureen Jennings would be a bit of an understatement. This is the twelfth story by Jennings that I have read in 11 weeks. This is the third of 4 Inspector Tom Tyler stories I have read. And of the three read it is my favorite. Jennings does an amazing job of transporting us back in time to England during World War II in these novels. 

This story takes place three years after the previous in the series. And a lot has happened in that time. Tom is now separated from his wife. He has taken a new position at a different precinct and is now in Ludlow, Shropshire. But the mysteries keep coming. This story begins with a double homicide and soon there is a third body. The bulk of the story takes place at St. Anne's Convalescent Hospital, staffed by nursing sisters who are Anglican nuns. There is at least 1 cross over character from an earlier story. As soon as DI Tyler begins investigating, he starts receiving disturbing letters, type written at the hospital, but recounting a terrible crime and events far away in Nazi occupied territory. What makes this investigation especially difficult is most of the patients at Sr Anne’s are disabled, disfigured, and many non-ambulatory. So, Tom must figure out not only how the crimes were committed and by whom, but he must determine if one or more of the patients are not as disabled as they are letting on.

As a Catholic, it is interesting to see the subtle Catholicism in Jennings stories. DI Tyler himself is a Catholic, even is somewhat lapsed at the time of this story. It was also interesting to encounter the Anglican nun’s. The story moves along at a good pace. And Tom and many of the other characters are great to engage with. And the work with the patients with physical and mental injuries add some real torque to the story.

Of Jennings 4 series I have been reading this is my least favorite, but this is the best story in that series. It is a great historical fiction mystery. And problems the depth of mental anguish and debilitating grief. It is well worth the read for fans of the genres. And for any Jennings fan I am sure it will be a hit.

Books by Maureen Jennings:
Detective Murdoch Series:

0.5 Shipwreck
1.0 Except the Dying
2.0 Under the Dragon's Tail
3.0 Poor Tom Is Cold
4.0 Let Loose the Dogs
5.0 Night's Child
6.0 Vices of My Blood
7.0 A Journeyman to Grief
8.0 Let Darkness Bury the Dead
...

Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Series:
1.0 Season of Darkness
2.0 Beware This Boy
3.0 No Known Grave
4.0 Dead Ground in Between
...

Christine Morris Series:
1.0 Does Your Mother Know?
2.0 The K Handshape
...

Paradise Café Series:

1.0 Heat Wave
...

Other books:
The Map of Your Mind: Journeys into Creative Expression
Investigating Murdoch Mysteries: The Official Companion to the Series – with Michelle Ricci and Mir Bahmanyar
...
 






Thursday, 1 August 2019

Let Loose the Dogs - Maureen Jennings - Detective Murdoch Book 4

Let Loose the Dogs
Detective Murdoch Book 4
Maureen Jennings
McClelland & Stewart
An imprint of Penguin Random House Canada

ISBN 9780771043369
eISBN 9780771043215
ASIN B003H3IOWI


This book is half way through the Murdoch Series, it is book 4 of a series that currently has 8 novels and a novella. Over the past 10 weeks I have read and reviewed a book by Maureen Jennings each week. Over those ten weeks I have read 5 non-Murdoch books by Jennings and this is the 6th of the works in the Murdoch universe. This novel is also the basis for episode 6 in season one of the Tv series. As such the story was fairly familiar. Or at least many elements of it. The novels and they TV show have numerous similarities, but also a few differences. Both are great entertainment. Of the Murdoch books I have read most have been rated either 4 or 5 stars. For this one I must admit it was hard, I came close to giving it three stars. It is the first story in the series that I did not devour. In fact, I started it, read a different book, then came back and finished it. The story finishes very well. But I found the beginning really slow. 

In this story we encounter Murdoch’s sister who is a cloistered nun, on her deathbed. We encounter his estranged father, who is charged with murder. We encounter more of Murdoch’s conflicting reactions to his Catholic faith. Both at the convent and in his relations with a non-Catholic woman. And the story has a lot going on. There are plot trails about dog fights, illegal gambling, a case against Harry Murdoch that is not so clean cut as it first appeared. There is both a young man and woman who are considered simpletons. And we have a lot of people all hiding different things. And Murdoch’s own conflicting feelings about his past and his father might get in the way of his really seeking the truth and justice. 

As mentioned, the first third of this story seems to drag. But once It gets going it seems to really race on to the end. One of the things I loved about this story is that everything is not wrapped up nice and clean at the end. There are several story lines left unanswered. It leaves me wondering if we will encounter them in another of the books, or if we will just need to draw our own conclusions and be contented with them. I am very glad I read this book, and to date it is the closest to one of the episodes in the show.  I am thankful that I returned to the book, and the ending has left me hungry for the next Murdoch novel.

Books by Maureen Jennings:
Detective Murdoch Series:

0.5 Shipwreck
1.0 Except the Dying
2.0 Under the Dragon's Tail
3.0 Poor Tom Is Cold
4.0 Let Loose the Dogs
5.0 Night's Child
6.0 Vices of My Blood
7.0 A Journeyman to Grief
8.0 Let Darkness Bury the Dead
...

Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Series:
1.0 Season of Darkness
2.0 Beware This Boy
3.0 No Known Grave
4.0 Dead Ground in Between
...

Christine Morris Series:
1.0 Does Your Mother Know?
2.0 The K Handshape

...

Paradise Café Series:

1.0 Heat Wave
...

Other books:
The Map of Your Mind: Journeys into Creative Expression
Investigating Murdoch Mysteries: The Official Companion to the Series – with Michelle Ricci and Mir Bahmanyar
...