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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

Title: Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

Author: Mary Roach [Website][Twitter] ; Read by Abby Elvidge [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

ISBN: 9781511367912

Length: 7 discs ; 8 hours, 57 minutes

Obtained: Library audiobook copy

Why this book?:

I enjoyed Stiff and it sounded interesting.  But I knew I wanted to listen rather than read the print.  Then a coworker did a book talk in an adult services meeting and I was glad I already had it on hold.


Mary has a great sense of humor and a quirky outlook that makes delving into details you'd likely never consider on your own fascinating.  Every once and awhile I would realize I had drifted (usually related to things being crazy IRL), but I found the majority of the book intriguing. I could definitely tell the narrator was different from the first book I listened to by Mary, Stiff. This is something that generally throws me, but I quickly moved on and felt the voice suited the book.

Oh, the subjects discussed.  Clothing, sleep deprivation, reconstructive surgery, diarrhea, entomology & medical maggots, hearing loss, sharks & submarines survival, odor (stink bombs), field medicine ... the list goes on.  It's hard to imagine this collection in one book, but it all falls under Mary's research on "the curious science of war."

I'll definitely listen to more of Mary's work.  And I think I may be gravitating toward more popular science in the future as well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Illusion Town

Title: Illusion Town

Author: Author: Jayne Castle aka Jayne Ann Krentz [Website][Facebook] aka Amanda Quick

Publisher: Jove Novel

Series: Harmony, Bk 13

ISBN: 9780515155754

Length: 340 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

Fan of this series/author.


Illusion Town is the "Las Vegas" of Harmony, which had me trying to layer the real Vegas (what I've seen of it) with the description.

I liked Hannah and Elias, although I think there was more action and less characterization in this one.  Hannah is adopted and while she knows who her mother was, is very interested in her ancestry and genealogy.  It was very interesting to me to see that subject applied to a futuristic fantasy world.

As usual there was a doctor doing unethical studies with shady motives.  This is common in this world as well as JC's St. Helen's short-lived world.

And last but not least - Virgil the dust bunny was as adorable as all dust bunnies are.  I look forward to more books set in this world and further exploration of Harmony and it's alien past.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Once Broken Faith

Title: Once Broken Faith

Author: Seanan McGuire [Website Bio 1][Website Bio 2][Website Bio 3][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: DAW Books

Series: October Daye, Bk 10

ISBN: 9780756408107

Length: 350 pages + "Dreams and Slumbers" short story (67 pages)

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

It's part of a series I'm caught up in.


Toby is required to be at a gathering of all the North American reigning figures of the Faerie beings as they debate whether an antidote to a poison that send fairies to sleep for 100 years and kills humans and those of mixed blood should be used.  She's not fond of politics, but it's necessary.  Along the way, though, some powerful people have been killed or poisoned, and Toby is left trying to figure out who is going around killing people - all while staying alive herself and keeping all-out war among the Fey kind from breaking out.

Toby has grown throughout this series, and while it hasn't been without hardship and loss, she is getting better and better and maneuvering and coming out on top.  The only problem is, she's also getting in pretty deep with a powerful figure and you can't help but feel that it's all going to catch up with her rather soon.  I look forward to more in this series...

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Dead Souls

Title: Dead Souls

Author: J. Lincoln Fenn [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Gallery Books

ISBN: 9781501110931

Length: 341 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I requested the library purchase this after I saw it in some newsletter.  NetGalley? Criminal Elements? A publisher's newsletter?  I can't remember.  I actually picked it up and started on it because I was on my dinner break and couldn't find the book I had intended to start.


Well, it's horrible...  In a fascinating I'd-like-to-cover-my-eyes-but-then-I-can't-read sort of way.  I don't really know what I expected from this book.  I knew that it's a "deal with the devil" theme, but beyond that? I did not think of it at the time, but now that I'm trying to describe it, Scratch is portrayed with a similar evil be seemingly harmless persona that the 2002 movie Ghost Ship showed, though the story is entirely different.

Fiona has sold her soul (on a drunken whim) for the power to be in a room while invisible - capable of being both ghost-like (through walls) and corporeal (moving items).  A pretty cool trick, but not worth a soul.  Nevertheless, she's now trying to manage her new life, complete with a support group.  But then things just kind of spin out of control as the members in her group wait to have their favors called in, one by one.  And now she's trying to maintain - some how, some way.  Let's be blunt about this.  From the start there are no HEAs to be found here.  Whether Fiona - or the reader - can admit it or not.

Friday, September 30, 2016

The School for Good and Evil

Title: The School for Good and Evil

Author: Soman Chainani [Website][Twitter][Facebook]; Illustrations by Iacopo Bruno [Website][theWORLDofDOT]

Publisher: Harper

Series: School for Good and Evil, Bk 1

ISBN: 9780062104892

Length: 488 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

It looked intriguing.


Um, I wasn't sure if I liked or disliked this book.  In some ways, despite being a MG book, it reminded me of Seanan McGuire's Indexing books [1][2] which I really enjoyed.  Fairy Tales have power, things aren't always as they seem, and people may be chosen to fill roles that they would not choose for themselves.  I just had mixed feelings.  And they were literally that - feelings - so I can't seem to explain them.  Logically, I should definitely have loved this story.  It is very much the type of book I've been into lately.  Maybe it was timing?  I think I'll read the next book to sort myself out.  And because the more I think about it, the more I'm curious about what comes next.