Saturday, October 20, 2007

Books I read in 2005 and 2006

Here's a quick recap of books I've finished since I began keeping a reading list.

Books read in 2005:

  1. The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry
  2. Callandar Square by Anne Perry
  3. Paragon Walk by Anne Perry
  4. A Rare Benedictine by Ellis Peters
  5. The Eagle Catcher by Margaret Coel
  6. The Ghost Walker by Margaret Coel
  7. The Dream Stalker by Margaret Coel
  8. The Story Teller by Margaret Coel
  9. Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer
  10. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
  11. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  12. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket
  13. The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket
  14. The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket


  • The Cater Street Hangman: Anne Perry's psychological thriller set in Victorian England convincingly depicts how families are torn apart by doubt and suspicion after a series of murders occurs in their fashionable neighborhood. The novel offers an intriguing mystery and a believable love story, to boot.
  • A Rare Benedictine: Ellis Peters' chronicles of Brother Cadfael, the 12th-century monk and herbalist, are among the best mysteries I've ever read. This book includes three short stories that showcase Cadfael's humanity, compassion and commitment to justice.
  • Margaret Coel's first four Wind River mysteries: Coel writes expertly crafted murder mysteries set among the Arapaho living on Wyoming's Wind River Reservation. Her characters are wonderfully and believably drawn.

Most disappointing:

  • Dead Until Dark: My first paranormal mystery didn't inspire me to read any more of them. Actually, calling this novel a mystery is stretching it. Lots of people die violently ... ho hum. The characters barely care, so the reader doesn't either. And in the end, the heroine solves the "mystery" because she can read minds, and the murderers visit the bar where she works. I found all the characters in the story boring and unlikable, including the vampire Bill. One thing a vampire should not be is boring.

2005 reading trend: Mysteries, historical or otherwise (8 of 14 books read)

Books read in 2006

  1. The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
  2. Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire
  3. A Stolen Tongue by Sheri Holman
  4. The Dark Queen by Susan Carroll
  5. The Book of the Lion by Michael Cadnum
  6. Daughter of Witches by Patricia C. Wrede
  7. A Treasury of Royal Scandals by Michael Farquhar
  8. Piratica: Being a Daring Tale of a Singular Girl's Adventure Upon the High Seas by Tanith Lee
  9. The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket
  10. The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket
  11. Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
  12. The Curse of the Pharoahs by Elizabeth Peters
  13. Nine Days a Queen: The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey by Ann Rinaldi
  14. Victoria: May Blossom of Britannia (The Royal Diaries) by Anna Kirwan
  15. Face Down in the Marrow-Bone Pie by Kathy Lynn Emerson
  16. Face Down Upon an Herbal by Kathy Lynn Emerson
  17. Face Down Among the Winchester Geese by Kathy Lynn Emerson
  18. Face Down Beneath the Eleanor Cross by Kathy Lynn Emerson
  19. Face Down Under the Wych Elm by Kathy Lynn Emerson
  20. Plain Jane: A Novel of Jane Seymour by Laurien Gardner
  21. The Last Templar by Michael Jecks
  22. The Magic Circle by Donna Jo Napoli
  23. The Safe-Keeper's Secret by Sharon Shinn
  24. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
  25. The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory


  • The Prince and the Pauper: I recommend this book to just about anyone, especially historical-fiction fans. The novel is humorous, witty, adventurous and has a lot to say about the human folly of judging people by outward appearances. Plus, it's a classic that's actually a quick read!
  • The Book of the Lion: This astonishing novel of the Crusades brings to life the stink, sweat and squalor of the Middle Ages. It is the coming-of-age tale of young Edmund as he embarks on a dangerous voyage to the Holy Land and encounters the horrors of war. With brutal, intense language, Michael Cadnum shows what it must have really been like to have fought in the siege of Acre, alongside Richard the Lionheart in the Third Crusade.

Most disappointing:

  • Plain Jane: Poor Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII, was plain. Yes, I get it. For page after page, Plain Jane obsessed about her looks. Sometimes she sewed. Often she blushed. This tedious novel became mildly interesting only towards the end, but then Plain Jane died, poor thing.
  • The Last Templar: Michael Jecks seems to have found a following in America, while novels by many other excellent British historical-mystery writers remain hard to find here. Judging by this first book, I don't understand the accolades Jecks has received. Plodding and dull, with little understanding of the Middle Ages, the book left me unwilling to try any more by this author.

2006 reading trend: Historical fiction and historical mysteries (18 of 25 books read)

As this blog progresses, I will post reviews of the books I've read thus far in 2007.

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