Wednesday, July 6, 2016

June Wrap-up & P.O.M. Award

Just realized that I hadn't done my wrap-up post for June yet.  I seem to run further and further behind on this monthly run-down of my reading progress and statistics for all things bookish on the Block. I also have a contribution for Kerrie's Crime Fiction Pick of the Month. Now, what happened here on the Block in June....

Total Books Read: 14
Total Pages:  3,410
Average Rating: 3.43 stars  
Top Rating: 4.5 stars 
Percentage by Female Authors: 50%

Percentage by US Authors: 64%

Percentage by non-US/non-British Authors:  14%
Percentage Mystery:  100% 

Percentage Fiction: 93%
Percentage written 2000+: 21%
Percentage of Rereads: 7%
Percentage Read for Challenges: 100% {It's eas
y to have every book count for a challenge when you sign up for as many as I do.}    
Number of Challenges fulfilled so far: 16 (50%)

AND, as mentioned above,
Kerrie had us all set up for another year of Crime Fiction Favorites. What she was looking for is our Top Mystery Read for each month. May was another big month for mysteries with 90% coming from that field--for a total of  nine crime novels. Here are the books read:

Murder in Amsterdam by A. J. Baantjer (3.5 stars) 
Midnight in Lonesome Hollow by Kathleen Ernst (3 stars) 
The Cinnamon Murders by Frances Crane (3.5 stars) 
A Is For Arsenic by Kathryn Harkup (4 stars) 
The Mystery Woman by J. U. Giesy & Junius B. Smith (3 stars) 
The Silent Women by Margaret Page Hood (3.5 stars) 
Certain Sleep by Helen Reilly (3 stars) 
The Seven Wonders of Crime by Paul Halter (2 stars) 
The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins (4 stars) 
Murder in Any Language by Kelley Roos (3.75 stars) 
Bodies & Souls edited by Dann Herr & Joel Wells (6/28/16) 
The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Titanic Tragedy by William Seil (3 stars) 
The Norths Meet Murder by Frances & Richard Lockridge (4.5 stars) 
High Rhymes & Misdemeanors by Diana Killian (3 stars)

June brought me one 4.5 star winner and two four-star winners. The overall winner was the Lockridge's first mystery novel. The Norths Meet Murder (1940) is a lovely beginning to the series which features (to varying degrees) Pam and Jerry North as the slightly "screwy," yet classy amateur sleuth husband and wife team and the sharp Lieutenant (later Captain) Bill Weigand and his faithful, often confused sidekick Detective Aloysius Mullins.  But the Lockridges have won P.O.M. honors in the past, so let's see what else we have. Our two four-star efforts are A Is for Arsenic by Kathryn Harkup and The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins. The Harkup book is a nonfiction look at the poisons used in Agatha Christie novels. It is a thoroughly researched book that, for the most part, presents the subject matter in an engaging format. The scientific explanations, while a bit tedious to me, were not so technical that they went over my head and are written in language that the average reader should understand. It is particularly engaging for the Christie enthusiast who is looking for insight on her crimes.

But our June P.O.M. Award goes to The Eagle Has Landed by Higgins.

Higgins presents the reader with the premise that on November 6, 1943 a group of German paratroopers land in Norfolk where the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill is rumored to be headed for a weekend's relaxation at a country house near Studley Constable. The mission? To kidnap Churchill if at all possible and to kill him if it's not. This is an action-packed thriller and it moves fairly quickly to the finish--especially when you consider how much of the book is spent on the build-up. We follow the plan from its inception through the gathering of Devlin and Steiner to the training and preparation of the paratrooper team and their landing in Norfolk. What keeps the story from dragging is the way that Higgins brings his characters to life. Despite the fact that we know we shouldn't be rooting for the Germans and those who are working for them, Higgins makes these men (and woman) very real and complex.

1 comment:

fredamans said...

14 books is awesome for a summer month! At least majority of them were decent reads too. Happy July!