Friday, July 28, 2017

2017 Backlist Reader Challenge: July Roundup

Here are some mini-reviews for my latest reads for the 2017 Backlist Reader Challenge hosted by The Bookwym's Hoard!

The Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8) by Louise Penny (2012)

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache travels to a remote monastery in the Quebec wilderness when the monastery's prior/choirmaster is found murdered.  Although this was a cool mystery (the suspect list is limited to the other 23 monks living there, the focus on Gregorian chants, and the vow of silence taken by the monks), sometimes it was a little hard to follow the religious terminology, at least for me.  I really had to concentrate on abbot v. prior, etc., because the monastery was split between the two spiritual leaders.

This installment of the series was a really interesting character study of these men who joined this monastery - how they came to be there, their roles in this mini-society.  But as always, I was drawn to Gamache and his second-in-command, Beauvoir.  I feel like we saw a side to Gamache that we hadn't seen before, especially when his superior, the Superintendent, comes to the island supposedly to help with the investigation.  Extra layers were also added to Beavoir's character, as he is now (secretly or not-so-secretly) dating Gamache's daughter, and he is still struggling from the after-effects of the foiled terror plot from a couple stories ago.

Even 8 books into the series, I still find Penny's writing to be magical - it's comforting yet suspenseful, building the mystery while never losing focus on the characters.  I feel like something big is coming in the series, and I look forward to the next installment.  4.5 stars

How The Light Gets In (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #9) by Louise Penny (2013)

Another masterful installment from Louise Penny.  Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is back in Three Pines to investigate the murder of a friend of a Three Pines resident.  That friend turns out to be quite a famous person, although she had kept her true identity hidden for many years.

As interesting as this mystery was, I felt the bulk of the novel was devoted to increasing problems in the police department.  Gamache's team has been dismantled and he begins to suspect that things are more than what they seem.  As he uncovers major corruption, he's not sure who he can trust, but he knows he needs help.

The way Penny builds tension is just amazing - I could not put this book down. I felt like I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to find out what happened to all the characters.  I loved how Penny incorporated the residents of Three Pines into the big scandal at the police department.  She really seamlessly brought together these two elements in a way that felt genuine.  4.5 stars

14 comments:

  1. Cannot wait to start the Louise Penny books - my library has them all for Kindle so I am excited!

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    1. Great! I think you will really like them.

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  2. I love a good mystery series! I've never read anything by Louise Penny but I just might have to go out and get the first book in this series now!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it! I've really been loving this series so far.

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  3. I haven't heard of this author before and I am loving the concept of these books! A new series to add to that old TBR. Thanks for sharing them. :)

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    1. Great! I have really been loving this series, and the Canadian setting is pretty unique.

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  4. I need to start the Gamache books- I've heard several bloggers speak highly of them, it's just a matter of time. Both of these sound pretty good!

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    1. They were really good. The mysteries are unique, but it's really the characters that keep me coming back!

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  5. My mom and sister keep telling me I need to read this series. After reading your reviews, I'm inclined to agree with them because it sounds like a series I would enjoy. I like that you're so far into it and haven't started to get bored yet.

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    1. I honestly didn't think I would make it this far in the series without getting a bit bored. I thought the first couple would be good but it would get monotonous - but it hasn't!

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  6. I've been trying to find some good mystery reads lately so I'll have to check these out! I'm not sure about The Beautiful Mystery one - I feel like I would have some trouble keeping up with the religion terminology as well. Great reviews! :)

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    1. Thanks! The Beautiful Mystery was really good, but as someone who is not religious, I really had to pay attention!

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  7. Congratulations, you're doing well on the challenge! This is a series I've been wanting to read for ages, but I never seem to get around to it. Maybe next year, I'll move them higher up my list. They sound so wonderful, but I want to catch up with Charles Finch's and Deborah Crombie's mysteries first.

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    1. Thank you! I've really been enjoying this series, I would highly recommend it!

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!