Week 22 – 2017

Did anyone else have a totally crazy week? I am glad that Saturday is here. Working a full week is going to be brutal next week. Possibly. Anyway, I’m back to being behind schedule, so I’m going to jump right in. Week 22 covers May 29 – June 4. As always, feedback is greatly appreciated.

I’ll Eat When I’m Dead by Barbara Bourland – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. This is one that I recommended to the library. Between the cover and the title, it’s obvious why I was interested in this one. I really liked it. It’s a mystery of sorts. A magazine editor is found dead in a locked room and the cause of death is listed as starvation. Her best friends work to find out what actually happened, while also living their own glamorous lives. The ending is a bit weird, but it’s highly entertaining and I definitely recommend it. I’m giving it 4 stars.

Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva – I won this as an audiobook in a Kindles & Wine giveaway. I have an audiobook CD of this book and it took me forever to read. It doesn’t help that I bought a new car that doesn’t have a CD player. This is not one of my most favored genres, the spy novel, but it was well written. Simon Vance is an incredible narrator. If you like spy novels, I definitely recommend this. I’m giving it 3 stars.

Madame Zero by Sarah Hall – I received this as an actual book in a Goodreads Giveaway. I really liked this volume of short stories. Each one is a single serving of entertainment. I had actually already read one of these because it was included in Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane EyreReader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre. If you enjoy short stories, I would definitely recommend this to you. I’m giving it 4 stars.

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. This book is set in Jamaica and that is where the author is from. It shows what life is like for the people that actually live in Jamaica and work in the tourist industry. It also tells the tale of what it’s like to have nothing and have a desire to fit in with the world around you. Two of the main characters are in a lesbian relationship. The youngest is in a private school and desperate to fit in with her rich and lighter skinned classmates. The mother sort of does what she can to get by even if that isn’t necessarily the best way to go about things. I thought it was good. I like learning about different cultures and circumstances. Ultimately, I’m giving this 3 stars.

The Prague Sonata by Bradford Morrow – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. I thought this book was excellent. The story is intriguing. It’s well written. It takes place mostly in Prague, which I love. This is the story of a sonata that was divided into three parts during World War II, the people who had the three parts, and the musicologist that is tasked with bringing them back together. I love novels like this where there is historical fiction and some sort of mystery in the present that needs to be solved. I definitely recommend this. I’m giving it 4 stars.

The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. I actually had to borrow it more than once. This is quite a tome. If you’re interested in Theodore Roosevelt (doesn’t like to be called Teddy, it seems), then definitely read this. It concentrates mostly on the establishment of national parks. It also helped me to understand executive orders and the fact that we as Americans are entrusting one elected official to sometimes make decisions on our behalf without the consensus of any other part of the government involved. It seems like we put an awful lot of trust in one person. I understand why this is important but it is also a bit alarming at the same time. I’m giving this 3 stars.

And that is it. Finally. This is why some of the previous weeks were a bit thin. As always, let me know what you think or if you have any recommendations or books you would be interested in getting my opinion about. While I try not to give away endings, I try to be really honest about my opinions.

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Weeks 20 and 21 – 2017

As noted in the last post, Week 20 only has 1 entry, so I’m doing these together. Week 20 covers one sad little book I read in May 15 – 21 and Week 21 covers May 22 – 28. Let me know what you think.

Week 20

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. One of the reasons I love book club is that sometimes you end up reading books that are outside of the genres you typically flock toward. This is an excellent example of a book I would probably never have chosen on my own, but ended up enjoying immensely. He hooked me in the first chapter, talking about trying new foods on a vacation with his family in France. The vichyssoise was cold and he slurped an oyster straight out of the sea. This is the type of eater I try to be. Don’t stick your nose up at anything until you actually try it. The same goes for this book. I’m giving this 4 stars.

Week 21

Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. It’s a great follow up to The Devil Wears Prada. The characters have the same flow as they did in the original. In this, it is 10 years later and Andy and Emily have become friends and started a successful high end wedding magazine. So of course, Miranda wants to buy it. Which puts Andy in a total spin. There’s romance and babies and all that other normal stuff too. I liked it. It totally sucked me in. I’m giving it 3 stars.

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit – I borrowed this from the BPL. It’s non-fiction about why men often treat women as if they don’t know anything. Even when they are experts in their particular fields. It’s feminist, but it’s also about our culture and how this came to be the norm. I know not every man is like this, but I think we can all relate to this topic, or have had similar experiences. I’m giving it 4 stars.

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova – I received this as an e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. It’s hard to compare this book to others. This author set the bar incredibly high by writing The Historian. I have read that multiple times and it is without a doubt one of my absolute favorites. Does this book live up to that? Not exactly. Does it blow other books in the genre away? It absolutely does. This is a wonderful work of historical fiction set in Bulgaria after the revolution. Not many contemporary authors write about this topic, probably because the information available to the west has been limited. I find literature about that part of the world highly intriguing. I feel compelled to visit the places that were described in the book. I thought this was a wonderful story and it’s beautifully written. If you haven’t read The Historian, read this first and then absolutely read that. I’m giving it 5 stars.

And that’s it. Let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions.

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Week 19 – 2017

Hi All! I’m starting to make a dent in all of the things that I am behind in doing. Aren’t you excited for me? That being said, I’m just going to jump into this post. Week 19 covers May 8 – 14. As always, feedback is encouraged and appreciated.

The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen – I borrowed this as an e-book from the Boston Public Library. This is Queen of the Tearling #2. This series is excellent. In this, the saga continues as the Red Queen prepares to invade. This is sort of a go between novel in that while the story continues and the characters develop further, nothing really earth shattering happens. I’m still giving it 4 stars.

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice) – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. It is Sleeping Beauty #1. People love this and it’s rated pretty highly. This was just not my thing. I’m really not a prude, but it lost me when the prince makes her parade around in the nude in front of other people, including her parents. 1 star. Hated it.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton – I borrowed this as an e-book from the BPL. I’m going to point out that the author of this is female and it was published when she was still a teen. I think this is a stunning accomplishment and the book itself is highly entertaining and I can see why it turned into a YA classic, part of the school standard, and a pretty well known movie. It’s almost like Romeo and Juliet without the love story (without Juliet, actually). I definitely recommend reading this. Somehow it was left out of my high school education (shocking though that is). I’m giving it 3 stars.

And I guess that’s it for Week 19. Week 20 only has 1 book on it, so my next post may be a combo. I don’t really understand how I went 11 days without finishing anything, but I probably just started a lot of really long ones. Or my kindle may be a jerk. That’s always a possibility.

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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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