Week 42 – 2017

I’m going to jump right in because I am behind schedule. Week 42 covers October 16 – 22. As always, feedback is encouraged.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. This author is quickly becoming one of my favorites. In this one, refugees are fleeing the Russian advance through Germany at the end of WWII. The unlikely travel companions band together to help each other in their flight to the relative safety of a German evacuation attempt. They seem to be fleeing one evil only to find salvation from another, but I guess sometimes life is about the least worst option. The narration changes between the refugees and tells their very different stories and experiences during the war and what they have been forced to endure in order to survive this far. I really enjoyed this. I’m giving it 4 stars.

Macbeth by Jo Nesbø – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is the Macbeth retelling from the Hogarth Shakespeare series. I know that’s hard to believe with the title and all. In this one, Macbeth is re-imagined as a 1970s police drama in Norway. Because, well, why not? This is a Shakespeare tragedy, so everyone dies. That is not a spoiler. If you haven’t read Macbeth, you should probably do so immediately. (I think I just figured out where George R.R. Martin got the idea that you can kill all of the main characters and keep going. That should have been obvious.) This is dark and well written and this author is quite amazing, so I definitely recommend it. I’m giving it 4 stars.

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. I love this cover for one thing. This is a travelogue of epic proportions. Not only do they travel via boat, but they travel through time, using maps to navigate into other times and places. It’s really very clever. The Captain is on a quest to find his lost love and Nix is trying to make sure it never happens. You’ll understand when you read it. I’m not always a fan of time travel books because the premise can be pretty flimsy, like the author doesn’t have quite enough imagination to pull it off and pull you into the story, but that is definitely not the case here. I loved it. I’m giving it 4 stars.

 

And that is it for Week 42. Let me know if you have any suggestions as to what my next read should be or if you have any comments about all of these.

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Week 41 – 2017

Sorry for not posting for a while. This is possibly the craziest month ever. This is the only weekend, for example, that I am actually in my apartment on my own for some of the time. I’m going to bounce right in. As always, thank you for your feedback in advance.

Week 41 covers October 9 – 15.

Neuromancer by William Gibson – I borrowed this from the Boston Public Library as an e-book. This is Sprawl #1. I’m not sure how I feel about this one. It was interesting. It’s sort of matrix-y. Considering the fact that this came out in 1984, it is incredibly advanced and impressive. I think it still translates to the current state of technology. A cyber thief is tasked with stealing things from the big bad corporation. I liked it. I thought it was interesting. I’m giving it 3 stars.

 

 

City of Lies by Victoria Thompson – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is Counterfeit Lady #1. I thought this was surprisingly good. I just expected a fun mystery type read, but this was really a well written historical fiction novel. Elizabeth is a grifter, running a con with her partner in crime and the target is a vicious and dangerous man. When they make off with his money, he beats her partner and Elizabeth hides among a suffragist protest and ends up getting herself (and an entire crowd of women) arrested and shipped off to prison. And that’s just where the fun begins. I was really impressed with this. The cover made it seem sort of YA and not that serious. It was actually quite awesome and the author did a great job with the research. I’m giving it 4 stars.

 The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – I borrowed this as an actual book from the BPL. It is Cemetery of Forgotten Books #1. This was a book club pick. I thought this was great. It’s a book about books, which I love. And a translation, which also gets extra props from me. This is hard to explain. A young boy is taken to a book suppository which is the home of forgotten books and told to pick one and take care of it. Once he reads the book, he wants to find others and the author. Except someone is trying to find all of the books and destroy them. There are also people looking to find the author and destroy him as well. The book tells the story of the author and the young boy in a concurrent manner. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m giving it 4 stars.

And that is it for Week 41. Let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions as to what I should read next.

 

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Week 40 – 2017

Hi All! I hope you’re enjoying the weekend. They never seem long enough, but fortunately I really love my job. Week 40 covers October 2 – 8. I feel like I’m really caught up for once, but I had better stay ahead of the game because the next couple of months are going to be really busy.

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. I really liked the strange cover, which is how it got my attention. It is also post-apocalyptic, which I typically like. This book is pretty weird. I think you might really have to be into this genre to truly appreciate this one. Rachel is a scavenger in this new world and finds some sort of living thing somehow attached to the fur of the giant bear (forgot his name. sorry.) and brings him (it?) home where she lives with Wick who immediately wants to take it (him?) apart and study him. The story is hard to explain. It’s sort of a journey of self discovery for all of the characters. What does it mean to be a person? What is right and wrong? You’ll see what I mean. I’m giving it 4 stars.

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This one was truly stunning. In this, there are so many mysteries all tied to one abandoned boarding school. The main character’s sister was found murdered on the grounds. A body is found in an old well. And there is a ghost. What really happened to all 3 of these girls? They lived decades apart and their only link is a piece of land in rural Vermont. It is historical fiction and mystery and a little bit of horror (there is a ghost, after all) all wrapped into one incredibly engaging story. I definitely recommend it. I’m giving it 5 stars.

 

Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is Aurora Teagarden #10. I’m really glad that the author circled back to this series. I find these characters amusing and they are almost better now that they have been updated (technology changes a lot). Obviously the characters themselves haven’t aged. Which is totally fine, because who wants to age? There is a lot going on in this one. Aurora has just had a baby and is coming down with the flu just as her husband needs to go to a conference and hopefully win an award. They bring in a babysitter who subsequently disappears in the middle of the night and obviously don’t forget the dead body in the backyard. These aren’t supposed to be serious or scary, so the overabundance of plot elements works somehow. It sucked me right in and was certainly entertaining. I definitely recommend it. Read the whole series if you like this kind of thing. I’m giving it 4 stars.

And that’s it for Week 40. As always, feedback is encouraged an appreciated. I love hearing from all of you.

 

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Week 38 and 39 – 2017

Hello my fellow book lovers! I hope you’re enjoying the weekend. I failed in Week 38 and only finished 1 book. Week 38 covers September 18 – 24, mostly because my adorable niece came for a visit (she brought her parents too). According to my nearly 3 year old niece, the best things in Boston are sharks at the aquarium and riding on the bus. She actually started a sing along on the bus (you can imagine the chosen song) and got strangers involved. It was quite adorable. Week 39 covers September 25 – October 1 and was a pit more productive.

Week 38

Time and Again by Jack Finney – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. This is Time #1. This was a book club pick. I knew when we picked it that it was probably a terrible idea. I actually sort of hated this book. It was ok, but it is so out of date that it was hard to get into. It was published in 1970 (before I was born) and I’m not sure it has stayed terribly relevant. The entire premise is that a certain type of suggestible personality can, when hypnotized, think their way into a previous time. The plan is to observe and not change anything. I don’t really know what to say about this. The only redeeming factor is a comparison between how engaged people were in their lives before the invention of television and how unengaged and boring they had become by 1970. I would love to know what the author would think of us now with all of the smartphones. I wonder if he’s even still alive…. Nope. Died in 1995. He missed the smartphone experience entirely. I’m giving it 2 stars.

Week 39

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This was definitely more my thing. In this, an infant is found dead on a college campus and one of the main narrators is called in by her boss to write a story about it, since her coworkers are unavailable, but the problem is that she is still dealing with the stillborn birth of her second child. The other narrator is a teen that is struggling to find her mother who disappeared with all of the rent money as well as her savings. There was also a murder that happened on the same spot where the baby was found, almost 2 decades previously, so in the land of fiction, it is high time to sort out what happened with that unsolved crime as well. This is actually really well written and the plot is well thought out. I liked another of this author’s books and this was definitely not a disappointment. I’m giving it 4 stars.

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This is one of my favorite authors. I have been to one of his book signings. I think he’s a star. This book is sort of all over the place, but in a good way. Rachel has been fired from her job as a journalist after an on-air breakdown in which she acted like a crazy person. Her marriage is over. Then she runs into an acquaintance from her past on the day her divorce is finalized, and quickly ends up married again, but this time to her protector. She has a bit of agoraphobia and is starting to make a turn around when she sees her new husband in the Back Bay when he is actually supposed to be in London on a business trip. She starts following him around and tries to get information from his business partner. Is he really up to something? Perhaps leading a double life? Did she even really see him at all? It’s all very engaging. This sucked me right in. I’m giving it 4 stars.

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. I’m going to start this one by saying that this author’s first book, Behind Closed Doors was so good that it would have taken quite a feat to have outdone that one. This book, while quite good, couldn’t help but be a little bit of a let down. In this, a teacher is on her way home after celebrating the end of the school year and takes a short cut through the woods in the dark and the rain. When she passes another car that is stopped, she pauses, but sees no sign that the other driver needs assistance and continues on her way. The next day, it’s all over the news that a woman was found murdered in her car. Then it turns out that she actually knows the victim. The guilt starts to eat her alive and she begins to forget things. She thinks that the dementia that plagued her mother has started in on her. You’ll probably guess what happens, ultimately, but I won’t spoil it for you. I liked the book, but I had it all figured out way too early. I’m giving it 3 stars.

Lost Boy by Christina Henry – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL (shocking, right?). This is the story of Captain Hook. It tells the story of what Peter Pan did to his first, most favored Lost Boy and what ultimately made him become the villain in Peter Pan’s story. You’ll have to decide who the villain really is in this retelling of Peter Pan. I really like this author’s very dark retellings of fairy tales. Her Alice and Red Queen were really quite good as well. I’m looking forward to seeing where she will go next. I hope she picks something that hasn’t been done a million times, but whatever it is, I will read them because they are brilliant and edgy and very different from most of the others. In a field that gets a lot of play, she stands out from the crowd. I’m giving this one 4 stars.

And that’s it for Weeks 38 and 39. As always, any feedback you may provide is encouraged. I also like when you tell me you have a different opinion, so if you do, please share. I look forward to hearing from all of you.

 

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Week 37 – 2017

It’s another rainy day here in Boston, but an excellent opportunity to get caught up on a bunch of indoor projects. Week 37 covers September 11 – 17. As always, feedback is encouraged.

Still Life by Louise Penny – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. It is Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #1. This is one of those series you see everywhere and I was intrigued enough to want to try the first one. There were some really funny moments. Obviously not a comedy, though. This tells the story of a small town in Quebec and the murder of an older woman who was quite eccentric. She may have seen something or she may have caused anger when she stuck up for her friends or the estranged niece may have reason to think she has inherited the property or it could have just been a hunting accident. You will have to read the book to find out. I’m giving it 3 stars.

Made for Love by Alissa Nutting – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. I believe it was one of my recommendations. This author is quickly becoming one of my favorites. This one reminded me of reading Christopher Moore. The main character has fled her crazy husband who wanted to put a chip in her head so that he could see everything that she experienced during the day. She moves into an elderly trailer park community with her dad who has recently purchased a life sized sex doll. There is another character that seduces women in order to take all of their money and then falls in love with a dolphin. It’s very funny. And weird. And I loved it. I’m giving it 4 stars.

 

Only One Life by Sara Blaedel – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This is Louise Rick #3. (Though the first doesn’t seem to have been translated to English yet. This was a book club pick because another club member and I really liked The Forgotten Girls. I’m actually going back to Denmark later this year, so it’s fun to read some of the local literature before I go. It helps that this author is quite an amazing story teller. This definitely follows the translation rule. Why would they bother to translate it if it wasn’t quite good? In this one, a young girl is found in the water, anchored by concrete. It seems like the family may be involved in an honor killing. I did sort of figure this out, but not until close to the end. My suspect list was long at the beginning, but some were easily eliminated. I’m giving it 3 stars.

That’s it for Week 37. Week 38 is only one book, so it’ll get combined with Week 39. As always, let me know what you think or if you have any recommendations. I love hearing from all of you.

 

 

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Week 36 – 2017

Hi All! It’s another rainy day here in Boston. i hope the sun is shining wherever you may be. I am a little behind schedule because I had visitors last week. I also only finished 1 book, so there will be a combined list here in the near future. Week 36 covers September 4 – 10. As always, your feedback is treasured and do not be afraid to have a differing opinion. I like those too.

How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back by Diana Rowland – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. This is White Trash Zombie #4. Do you ever read books purely for entertainment? That is why I thoroughly enjoy this series. I often get recommendations for really good books, the kind that make you think or have an important message, but sometimes I just want to be entertained. These are thoroughly entertaining. In this one, the gang is under siege and their leader has been kidnapped and of course they’d like to get him back. I did learn something. A group of zombies is called a krewe, but that may be a Cajun term. I thoroughly enjoyed this installment. I’m giving it 3 stars.

A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. It is Veronica Speedwell #3. I really liked this one. It takes the Victorian era Egyptology craze and creates a mystery and a curse surrounding an archaeological dig and transfers all of it to London. I’m not explaining this well. It’s a bit like the Amelia Peabody mysteries without having to go to Egypt. The dig has already been abandoned and the people that have thus far survived the Curse of Anubis have returned to London. Stoker’s name is likely to come up in the press because of his association with the missing man who has been suspected of stealing the most valuable artifact from the dig. So Veronica and Stoker insert themselves into the investigation, mostly to find the missing man and keep the remains of Stoker’s reputation in tact. This series is endlessly entertaining. I definitely recommend it. I’m giving it 4 stars.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This is an excellent stand alone vampire novel. The main character, Sunshine, is kidnapped by vampires and chained in a room with a hungry vampire. She survives the long night and finds herself trying to save the vampire. There is something quite wonderful about this story. Maybe it’s the “things are not always as they appear” theme. Or it could just be the awesomeness of the heroine. Maybe it’s a whole host of things that pull this together and make a really great story. I’m giving it 4 stars.

 

 

My pace has definitely slowed. I normally get through more than 3 in a week, but that seems to be the new norm. Let me know what you think or if you have any recommendations.

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Week 35 – 2017

Hi, All! I just got back from book club and this seems like a good time to submit last week’s book list. Week 35 covers August 28 – September 3. I didn’t finish quite as many books as I would have liked, but that just means the following week will be even more full, right? As always, feedback is appreciated and encouraged.

Splintered by A.G. Howard – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. This is Splintered #1. It is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. Sort of. It takes the basic premise and basically acts like a sequel. The many times removed descendant of the original Alice has to return to Wonderland in order to break the family curse. She can her bugs and flowers talking and her mother is locked in an asylum after an accident that happened when Alyssa was young. She will either go crazy and share the fate of her mother, who has just been signed up for electro-shock therapy, or save her mother and herself. I quite liked it and I plan to read the next in the series. I’m giving it 4 stars. I love Alice in Wonderland retellings. It’s absolutely one of my favorite stories.

Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This is Temeraire #2. These are set in an alternate past during the time of Napoleon. As in, Napoleon is terrorizing Europe (as he actually did) and there are dragons (obviously not so much). In this, the Chinese royal family wants England to return their prized Celestial, known to the English as Temeraire, to his rightful place among his kind in China. Temeraire refuses to be separated from Laurence. The team sails from England to China, hoping that the time this will take will give them the opportunity to change their minds. Of course, many things happen on the way to China and continues once they arrive. It’s all very exciting. I look forward to the next adventure. I’m giving it 4 stars.

See Jane Die by Erica Spindler – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This is Stacy Killian #1. This one was really good, but I had the murder suspects narrowed down too early on. Although the one I was convinced was the major player, was actually secondary to the one I thought was probably secondary. Does that make sense? I had them backward, but I still knew who it was. Anyway, so Jane was run over by a speedboat as a young teen and it changed her life drastically. Now as an adult, her life is going really well, she’s rich, she loves her husband, and her art is a success. Oh and she is expecting a baby. Then women that are associated with her husband start being murdered and he is arrested. Then she is receiving threatening notes from a mystery person. Her sister (Stacy) had been involved in the initial investigation. After being forced to step away, Stacy’s main concern becomes Jane’s safety. I’m only giving it 3 stars because I figured it out too early. I may read another in this series.

That’s it for Week 35. Week 36 isn’t looking too full yet either. I need to get cracking…. Let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions.

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