Week 18 – 2017

It’s a hot and muggy day here in Boston. Best to stay indoors and get some stuff done, right? I hope this is a short one because I have book club today. I love my book club. Anyway, Week 18 covers May 1 – 7. Let me know what you think.

Every Tongue Got to Confess by Zora Neale Hurston – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. This is a collection of tales told to the author. It is not a novel. The author does not involve herself in the book. I thought it was pretty disappointing, actually because Their Eyes Were Watching God is so good. I’m giving it 2 stars.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. It’s good and I liked it, but I think I’ve seen too many of the movies or something. This just wasn’t suspenseful for me. I knew exactly how everything was going to go down. And I kept picturing that weird actress from the remake as the main character. I’m still giving it 3 stars.

Spring Cleaning Murders by Dorothy Cannell – I received this from the publisher via NetGalley. It is Ellie Haskell #7. This is a cute cozy mystery. I have read another in this series and they are quite good. They are entertaining and somewhat complicated without being confusing. I really like the main characters. I listened to this as text to speech on my kindle on my way to New Jersey from New Hampshire and was so engaged that I continued to read it once I arrived. I had started it earlier in the week, but I got to that point where you just have to know how it all wraps up. I definitely didn’t predict the ending, which always speaks highly of a good mystery. If you like to be entertained with a fun mystery, I definitely recommend this. I’m giving it 3 stars.

And that is it for Week 18. Let me know what you think or if you have anything to recommend.

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Week 17 – 2017

Greetings from Boston! It’s been raining here, so everything in my apartment is damp. Fun, right? But it’s almost technically summer, so that’s good news. I’m going to pitch into this head first. Week 17 covers April 24 – 30. As always, feedback is encouraged.

Who Killed Zebedee? by Wilkie Collins – I borrowed this as an audiobook from the Boston Public Library. I’ve always meant to read some of this guy’s books. He is supposedly the forefather of the modern crime mystery. This was really short and actually quite good. It is told from the POV of the detective investigating the mystery. The detective tells the story of the murder and the investigation, ultimately leading up to the reason that the murder was never “solved.” Again, this is really short, so definitely worth the time investment. I’m giving it 3 stars.

Heartless by Gail Carriger – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This is Parasol Protectorate #4. I love these. Have I mentioned that a few times. In this one, Alexia is hugely pregnant and she is trying to stop a plot to assassinate the queen. Unfortunately, she is working with second hand information originating from an unreliable witness, a ghost that is about the poltergeist. Anything else I want to say right now is a huge spoiler. I’m giving it 4 stars.

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This book is so incredibly weird. In an Ikea knock-off, weird things are happening and the store is basically trashed every morning when the employees arrive. So one of the managers enlists the help of some of the workers to stay overnight and find out what is happening. And then they all die. Just kidding. But some weird ass shit definitely goes down. I’m giving it 2 stars. I think it’s just not my thing.

Timeless by Gail Carriger – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. It is Parasol Protectorate #5. This is the last one, but there is a spin-off that follows the daughter, so all is not totally lost. In this one, Alexia and her daughter are summoned to Alexandria but the oldest vampire queen. And how do you not answer that summons? So obviously the entire crew trots off to Egypt. Also, the toddler runs completely amok and is only neutralized by her mother. But that’s just the first chapter. You’ll have to read this to find out the whole story and why they were summoned in the first place. I’m giving it 4 stars.

And that is it for Week 17. Let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions as to what I should read next. I’m sad to be done with the Parasol Protectorate series, but I couldn’t help devouring them at the same time. Let me know if you know of any others that are similar or just as engaging.

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Week 16 – 2017

I almost didn’t start another post today, but I have an hour left of enforced productivity and this is one of the tasks on the acceptable list. It’s possible, also, that the other items on the list were somewhat less appealing, like laundry and reading an impossibly long non-fiction book (obviously to be blogged about later, so I won’t give away any spoilers yet). Week 16 covers April 17 – 23. As always, feedback is encouraged.

The Bookseller by Mark Pryor – I actually borrowed this from my mother. She really liked it and wanted to know what I thought. I think she brought it with her at Thanksgiving (but it may have been last April, like 2016). This is Hugo Marston #1. It took me a while to get into this and it doesn’t help that those darn library books are on a timer. Once this gets rolling, it’s really very good. In this first installment in the series, Hugo’s friend Max (the title bookseller) is abducted right in front of him. The police are not investigating because eye witnesses are claiming that Max went willingly, so Hugo (who works for the American embassy) must use his own resources to try to recover his friend and solve the mystery of what is happening to the bouquinistes (I really like this word). I definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoys a mystery. I’m giving it 4 stars.

The Hand of Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. This is Fu Manchu #3. I never would have tried this except one of the characters in Donna Tartt’s The Secret History reads these ironically and I was curious as to what they are like. It reminds me of a poorly made black and white film from the era before television. If you’re still curious, give it a whirl. Otherwise, I recommend a pass. I’m giving it 2 stars.

Beyond Lies the Wub by Philip K. Dick – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This is a short story, and well worth your time if you can find it. As with all PKD stories, this is a sort of moral commentary on society. Basically, the wub isn’t hurting anyone, so only bad things will happen if you are mean to it. It’s totally weird. It’s really short. Have I mentioned that? I’m giving it 3 stars.

Blameless by Gail Carringer – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This is Parasol Protectorate #3. I told you in the last post that I like this series. This contains spoilers about the other books, but you’d get the same info from the blurbs, so I’m going with it anyway. In this one, Alexia has been banished by her werewolf husband. And everyone knows she is pregnant, though with what sort of child, no one seems to know. So obviously the vampires are trying to kill her. Alexia and her squad travel to France in order to find out more about keeping her child safe and what sort of child she may be expecting. I love these. I’m giving this one 4 stars.

Read the Parasol Protectorate series. That’s what I’m going with for my finishing thought. If you have any books to recommend, let me know. I enjoy hearing from people.

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Week 15 – 2017

I hope you are all enjoying a lovely weekend! I’m having a great day here in Boston. I’ve been catching up on some reading and just generally enjoying myself. Week 15 cover April 10 – 16. As always, your feedback is encouraged. So, let’s get started.

Tampa by Alissa Nutting – I borrowed this as an audiobook from the Boston Public Library. The reader of this was amazing. It is told in the first person by the main character and she did an outstanding job. This novel is not for the faint of heart. It tells the story of a female pedophile with a predilection for prepubescent boys. It is an extremely mature topic and the way it is written, you may even find yourself liking the narrator and hoping that she will not get herself caught. I might not recommend this for the mothers of young boys, but if you can accept the topic for what it is and give it a chance, I highly recommend it. I’m giving it 4 stars.

Changeless by Gail Carringer – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This is Parasol Protectorate #2. These are so much fun. In this one, Alexia’s husband has gone off to Scotland on pack business and upon learning information that he will need, Alexia takes off to Scotland with her pals via dirigible. This is steampunk with supernaturals at its best. I’m not quite sure how it took me so long to find these, but I absolutely love them. This one is getting 4 stars and I definitely recommend the entire series.

The Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This is Quincy and Rainie #1, though only Quincy was in this and I don’t think he played much of a role. The thing I like best about this author is that the victims are the main characters and the detectives are sort of minor, even though they repeat along a series. In this, a woman’s husband has escaped from prison and now she must prepare herself for when he finds her and tries to kill her. Of course, she puts herself up as bait in order to stop him from killing others in his wake. I’m giving this 4 stars.

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. Twice. It is Red Queen #2. I hate when I don’t finish something that I’m really into and then I have to go back on the wait list and wait several months to finish the last few chapters. It is the worst. I really like this series. Mare is a red with special abilities and the silvers fear her. She is on the run and she is trying to find the others that are like her before the silvers find them and either kill them or lock them in a fortress like prison. This was really good. I’m looking forward to reading the next one. This is getting 4 stars.

And that’s all for Week 15. As always, let me know if you have any feedback or suggestions about books I should read next.

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Week 14 – 2017

Greetings! I’m going to jump right in because I think this will be a long one. Week 14 covers April 3 – 9. As always, feedback is encouraged. I love hearing from all of you, even if you just hit the like button. I mean, how easy is that?

Tell Me How This Ends Well by David Samuel Levinson – I received this as an e-book via Penguin First to Read. I really liked this. It is really well written. It’s entertaining. The only criticism I have is that there are no chapter breaks to speak of, only when it changes between narrators, which does not happen as often as you might think. It’s an interesting concept and I felt really engaged. I also enjoyed the characters. I really didn’t use the word really enough. Apparently I need a new adverb. I’m giving this 3 stars.

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. It is Temeraire #1. This is Napoleonic Wars + dragons. Because why not? When his ship captures a French vessel and acquires their cargo, Sea Captain Will Laurence finds himself in possession of a dragon egg, which is about to hatch. The new dragon picks Will as his partner and so he must change careers and become an aerialist. The whole book is exciting. The dragons are pretty cool. It’s well written and highly entertaining. I’m giving it 4 stars.

To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. Actually, this was something I recommended and they decided to buy. This is set in a time and place that I love reading novels and history books about. It takes place in Paris (mostly) while they are building the Eiffel Tour in preparation for the World’s Fair. In this, a widowed chaperone from Scotland meets one of the architects while taking a hot air balloon ride. These are actual, real people and this love affair is a fictionalized version of events that happened. The author really pulls this off well. I definitely recommend it. I’m giving it 4 stars.

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier – I received this as an actual book in a Goodreads giveaway. This is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series. This is a retelling of Othello, set on a 6th grade playground in a white suburb of DC during the 1970s. I think this was a good choice for a discussion about racism, which is the underlying theme to the tale. Obviously, this is a tragedy so it does not end on a happy note. I have not read Othello, but I feel compelled to do so. I am also curious to read other titles in the series which is basically famous authors retelling Shakespeare plays. It is interesting. I definitely recommend it. It is also really short, so definitely worth the time commitment. I’m giving it 3 stars.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This tells the story of a teenage girl and her family who are taken from their home in Lithuania and sent to a work camp in Siberia by the Russians, accused of being political dissidents (or some such excuse). It is the story of survival. It is well written and the characters will grab your heart. I recommend it to anyone. If you prefer a movie, it was renamed Ashes in the Snow to separate it from those other ridiculous movies with titles similar to the novel’s. I have not seen the movie, but it the previews look pretty good. I’m giving the book 4 stars.

Brew or Die by Caroline Fardig – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. It is Java Jive Mystery #4. These are cute mysteries. I’ve become quite attached to the characters in this series. In this one, Juliet is finally an official PI, so her investigations are now a bit more above board. People are now paying her to investigate things on their behalf. Her first client wants to catch her husband cheating and ends with Juliet being accused of stabbing him. And that’s just the first chapter (or maybe the second).This character has a way of finding trouble that is endlessly entertaining. Of course, if this was my friend IRL, I would probably avoid her. People have a way of turning up dead when she’s around. These books are perfectly entertaining and great for when you just need a break. I’m giving it 4 stars.

And that’s it for Week 14. I told you it would be long. Let me know what you think or if you have any books that you would like to recommend.

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Week 13 – 2017

Greetings from a very rainy Boston on Memorial Day! So I’m obviously not going to the beach today, so it’s an excellent opportunity to catch up on some reading and other stuff (aka the blog and laundry). Week 13 covers March 27 – April 2. As always, feedback is encouraged and treasured.

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. This is Lord Peter Wimsey #1. I am always looking for new detective series. This was okay, though I feel like I should read another one in case the author picks up steam with experience. I honestly found this a bit difficult to follow. In this, basically there’s a dead body in the tub at a friend’s house. The body is intended to look like someone else who also seems to be missing. The whole thing is confusion. The ending was petty stellar, though. I’m giving it 3 stars.

Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an excellent story collection. Although I’m not sure collection is the correct term since it is one author. It’s also a translation, which proves that it is probably pretty good. Why would they bother translating it if it were crap? The stories are based in Argentina and show the lives of the people living there. There is something for everyone in this collection (still using that word). Some of the stories are quite creepy, some are political, others show humanity at its best and worst. I thought they were all quite great. I’m giving it 5 stars.

The Siege Winter by Ariana Franklin and Samantha Norman – I borrowed this as en e-book from the BPL. I wish this author had written more books, but I am glad that her daughter finished this one (whatever that actually entailed). Her grasp of this time period is excellent (from what I gather, not having actually lived in the 12th century myself). The characters in this book are incredibly well written. You immediately fall in love with all of them (except the villains, of course). This is the story of Em who is seized by mercenaries and manages to survive, though she has no memory. She is found and protected by an archer named Gwyl, who helps her to hide as a boy and teaches her to shoot. You should read this to see how it all plays out. I highly recommend it. I’m giving it 4 stars.

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. It is Book of Ember #1. It was on the mayor’s list of books the city should read, so obviously it got added to mine. His list is full of works dealing with prejudice and how the world is changing and not in a good way. He would like all of us to be aware of the state of the world but also to be cognizant of the way things may go if we do not affect change in a pretty substantial way. I like the mayor. Have I mentioned that? 200 years after the apocalypse, the city of Ember is beginning to die. They are running out of supplies and the electricity is beginning to fail. Lina and her friend Doon must find a way to save the people of Ember before the lights go out permanently. This is basically a kids’ story. It is well written and engaging. It’s also a pretty quick read, so definitely worth giving it a whirl. I’m giving it 3 stars.

That is it for Week 13. I hope you’re inspired to perhaps try something different or discover a new favorite author. If you have books or authors you would like to recommend, please do not hesitate.

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Week 12 – 2017

I know that I just posted yesterday, but this is really the only way to clear up the backlog. Week 12 covers March 20 – 26. As usual, feedback is encouraged. This will be a short one. Promise.

Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. This is Discworld #19. You all know by now (if you follow me at all) that I love these. Even the ones that aren’t quite as good as the others are quite entertaining. In this one, a golem has run amok and the Guard must find out why and stop it. They also have to stop the townspeople of Ankh Morpork (that I can spell that without looking it up must be some sort of indication as to how man of these I have read) from lynching the city’s golems. If this sounds like a satirical take on prejudice to you, you have it in one. As usual, this was highly entertaining. I recommend the entire series. There are only 41 actual books in the series. That’s doable for you, right? I’m giving this one 4 stars.

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This was a book club pick. I liked this a great deal more than what seems to be the general consensus. A private plane crashes off Long Island and the only survivors are a poor painter and a young boy. It says that in the synopsis, so I’m not giving anything away. The book goes through the passengers and details the events in their lives immediately prior to the crash. There are many reasons this plane may have gone down and the black box has not been recovered so everyone is speculating as to what caused the plane to crash. This brings out the best and worst in people. Regarding the ending, I found it absolutely, stunningly believable. You’ll see what I mean. I’m giving it 5 stars.

And that’s it. I told you this one was going to be short. Let me know what you think. If you have read Before the Fall, I would love to hear your take on the ending.

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