Friday, November 18, 2016

Hammers on Bone

Title: Hammers on Bone

Author: Cassandra Khaw [Website][Twitter]

Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates

ISBN: 9780765392718

Length: 103 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I saw something of a blurb, and the private eye who is something extra appealed to me.  I enjoy other fantasy-type books like this, so I placed a request for it.

Comments:

This is a short and therefor brief read.  It was the only reading I managed while sick and cloudy.  It's a strange story.

The PI, John Persons, is some sort of monster - we discover this quickly - and I gather he's actually some sort of parasite - and alien that is wearing a human body - through less like The Host by Stephanie Meyer or the slug things in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, and more like the alien in Men In Black.  I guess?  Or this is what I'm picturing.

He's been hired by a child to stop (potentially kill) another monster/human doing something similar.  But it turns out there is a much larger - and worse - issue/infection/invasion going on.

And I got all of that, but then the strange part really begins.  First there is an interlude, and by the end I had to back up and see if I missed something.  From there the strangeness continues through the end, which I also had to back up and re-read to try and understand.

Perhaps some of my confusion and the overall strangeness was due to my cloudiness.  I suspect, though, that the bulk is due to this being - as I read in a quip on the back after having finished - a "Lovecraftian PI mystery".  I've encountered other "Lovecraftian" books before (such as The Ballad of Black Tom) that also threw me for a loop.  What is it about these that apparently draw me in when they are so difficult for me to wrap my head around?

But there is another message that I most definitely did understand, and that is one of abuse.  Domestic violence, child abuse, and hints of sexual abuse.  And I can understand that as I "watched" in horror, John Persons doesn't grasp the humans of the story sticking around for this abuse and misuse.  He's asking how is it that this woman stays for this treatment, especially at the risk of her own children?  And I'm left asking how can anyone?  Even this fictional PI who has been asked to help by the children.

Anyway... this slim book packs a bit of a wallop.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Darkest Dark

Title: The Darkest Dark

Author: Astronaut Chris Hadfield [Website][Facebook][Twitter] and Kate Fillion [LinkedIn] ; Illustrated by the Fan Brothers aka Eric Fan [Facebook][Twitter] and Terry Fan [Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

ISBN: 9780316394727

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

A clerk in the children's department of the library where I work recommended it.

Comments:

Lovely children's book about a young boy with a great imagination, an enthusiasm for space and science and exploration, and, it turns out, the determination to follow his dreams and achieve his goals.  Plus, it exposes the dark and the beauty we can find when we get past our fears.

I wasn't paying attention to the author when I started, so I didn't realize this story is based on a true person and his childhood dreams.  I was simply enjoying the story and the beautiful illustrations.  I found them to be peaceful and soothing.

Lately, when I read children's books, I enjoy them and move on without really blogging them.  However, this is by Canadian authors (astronaut, ghostwriter, and illustrators) which triggered my enthusiasm for books by Canadian authors.  So here I blog.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Vanishing Games

Title: Vanishing Games

Author: Roger Hobbs [Website][Facebook][Twitter] ; Read by Jake Weber [IMDb]

Publisher: Books on Tape (Random House)

Series: Ghostman, Bk 2

ISBN: 9781101888360

Length: 9 discs ; approximately 11 hours

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

This book needed the circs and seemed up my alley, so I listened to the first book, Ghostman.  Then I could listen to this one.

Comments:

Like the first book, this one has some very graphic violence.  Such as beheading with wire contraptions (that they also had on the TV show Quantico, so I was able to test how my imagination held up to a visual demonstration.)

Jack's mentor Angela has finally contacted him after a 6 year stretch of silence.  After 6 years of not knowing whether someone is dead or alive, do you trust them?  Especially when you trust no one?  And how do you get out of a mess when you have multiple enemies after you, you don't know who any of them are, and they seem to know much more about you?

Why you do what you've trained to do, you be a ghostman, becoming someone new and different in seconds.  Different name, posture and bearing, voice and background...  For me, these transformations are one of the most interesting parts of these stories.

Book three, City of Sirens, is due out in 2018.  A bit of a wait, and with my track record, this gap makes continuing the series iffy.  I'm just now listening to an audiobook that, when I read it's predecessor, I said I couldn't wait for... in 2013.  However, story-wise, I'm definitely interested to hear more of Jack and his adventures.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Adulthood Is a Myth: A "Sarah's Scribbles" Collection

Title: Adulthood Is a Myth: A "Sarah's Scribbles" Collection

Author: Sarah Anderson [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Series: Sarah's Scribbles, Collection 1

ISBN: 9781449474195

Length: 109 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I saw Big Mush Happy Lump: A "Sarah's Scribbles" Collection on my library's Wowbrary (new arrivals page).  When I went to Sarah Anderson's website to see if I'd be interested, I found she already had a book out.  After checking out some of her comics on the website, I quickly put a hold on both titles.

Comments:

Fun. Relate-able.  I zipped right through it. Maybe a bit too short?  Because it was over way too soon.  And now I have to wait for the next one...


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Touch of Stardust

Title: A Touch of Stardust

Author: Kate Alcott [Website][Facebook]

Publisher: Anchor Books

ISBN: 9780804171984

Length: 290 + "Epilogue"

Obtained: Library book club copy

Why this book?:

This was my month-long book discussion pick.

Comments:

I chose this book initially thinking it sounded interesting, but when it came time to read it I was dragging my feet.  I was 2/3 of the way into the month with only one chapter read.  I finally actually dedicated myself to reading it and finished it in one swoop.

I enjoyed this, though it isn't necessarily in a usual genre of choice.  The time period and setting were interesting.  I've only watched Gone With the Wind once (during my grad school years because I felt it was a must-see), and I've never read the book.  I didn't care for the movie then, but now I might need to re-watch.  If I can build myself up to nearly 4 hours of a movie I could potentially still not like.  Maybe if I look at the actors instead of the characters?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

City of Ashes

Title: City of Ashes

Author: Cassandra Clare [Author Website][Shadowhunters Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Series: Mortal Instruments, Bk 2

ISBN: 9781416972242

Length: 453 pages

Obtained: Personal copy. I don't remember where or how.

Why this book?:

I had just finished the first book in the series, City of Bones, and I was curious, plus this was extra shelf space once I've read it.

Comments:

I don't know if it is because City of Bones was a debut book, or if I just wasn't clicking with the world-building, but I felt like this book was an improvement on the first.  I could relate more with the characters and actually ended up reading City of Ashes in one 3-4 hour sitting.

In book 1 Clary is scrambling to figure out what on earth is happening and recover her kidnapped mother.  In this book Clary is focused on stopping some ritual serial killings while figuring out her scrambled emotions.  I do have to be honest, the scrambled emotions part was so much better that bk 1.  There was a line by Jace that I found especially amusing and made all those scrambled emotions a little easier to swallow.
“I don't want to be a man," said Jace. "I want to be an angst-ridden teenager who can't confront his own inner demons and takes it out verbally on other people instead."
Anyway, I'm sure I'll be reading book 3, City of Glass, soon.  I made the mistake of reading the sneak peak for it and I own it.

Monday, October 24, 2016

City of Bones

Title: City of Bones

Author: Cassandra Clare [Author Website][Shadowhunters Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Series: Mortal Instruments, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781416955078

Length: 485 pages

Obtained: Personal copy.  I don't remember how I got it, though I'm sure it was used.

Why this book?:

As usual lately, I was looking to clear shelf space by reading something that has been in my TBR forever.  As the first in a series for which I have 3 (rather hefty) books, this seemed like a reasonable option.

Comments:

I have heard positive feedback from those who love this series.  And I've heard negative feedback from those who disliked it.  So I didn't know what to expect going in.  It wasn't hard to get into, which was a concern prior to starting it.  But I did think quite often throughout, "This book is LONG.  When is it going to end?"

I liked Clary well enough, but didn't really care about pretty much any the other characters.  I suspect this is part of what made it difficult.  She was having all this confusion about these characters that I didn't like or trust and rather thought she'd be better off avoiding.  On the other hand I understood she had a quest that she couldn't really do on her own.

Anyway, it must have hooked me more than I thought, because I went into reading the second book that same evening.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dead Body Language

Title: Dead Body Language

Author: Penny Warner [Website][Facebook][Twitteraka Penny Pike

Publisher: Bantam Mystery

Series: Connor Westphal, Bk 1

ISBN: 0553575864

Length: 275 pages

Obtained: Library ILL copy

Why this book?:

I own book 5, but need to read series in order.  And I've heard good things about this series.

Comments:

Connor is a journalist and Deaf.  She now lives in a former gold town in California, and is simply living her life.  But then some odd occurrences happen followed by murder.

Connor, like any journalist - even of a small weekend only paper, is her share of nosy busybody.  So she starts poking around trying to find the truth.

While I could definitely feel that this was an older book (late 90s), it was still interesting and enjoyable.  I look forward to reading more of the series.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Curse of the Boggin

Title: Curse of the Boggin

Author: D. J. MacHale [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Random House

Series: Library, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781101932544

Length: 242 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I placed a request on this because - duh - it's the first book in a library series.

Comments:

I realized only when I was about to start this book and read "#1 New York Times bestselling author of Pendragon" that this was the same author who wrote The Merchant of Death that I had just finished.  I enjoyed this.

It felt somewhat like a children's version of The Librarians TV show, but rather than protecting powerful artifacts, the "agents" protect people's stories... which really could be just as powerful when you think about it.  It also reminded me somewhat of the library in The Magicians TV show (based on a trilogy of books by Lev Grossman, but I've never read them and probably never will since I stopped watching the TV show as it became too dark for my tastes) which is full of books that tell peoples stories.

Like the Pendragon book I read, Marcus has two friends, one boy one girl.  Also like the Pendragon book I read, both friends play a role, but aren't actively experiencing the main adventure for the bulk of the story.  I believe they will have more of a role going on in the series, though.  They certainly did toward the end of this book.

Anyway, I look forward to more in this series.  And I know I'll be reading more by this author in the near future.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Merchant of Death

Title: The Merchant of Death

Author: D. J. MacHale [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Aladdin Fantasy

Series: Pendragon, Bk 1

ISBN: 0743437314

Length: 375 pages

Obtained:

Personal copy.  I got it used (along with a few others in the series), but I don't remember when or how.

Why this book?:

Reading TBR books I own to make more shelf space.

Comments:

So this book was actually slow going for me.  To the point that I considered not continuing it.  But I ended up settling into it, and I plan to read more of the series.  I'm still can't say it was a favorite.  However, it has an intriguing premise, and I'm curious what happens with some of the characters.  I, by chance, ended up reading another book from a new series by this author shortly after (Curse of the Boggin), and I really enjoyed it, so who knows?