Saturday, November 22, 2014

Closer to Home

Title: Closer to Home

Author: Mercedes Lackey [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Daw Books

Series: Herald Spy, Bk 1 ; Valdemar Novel

ISBN: 9780756408992

Length: 361 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I enjoy the Valdemar books.  I've enjoyed Mags story up to this point throughout the Collegium Chronicles, and his story continues in this series.


So this is the first book of Mags's "adult" life.  He's finished his year in the field and is officially stepping into the role of Herald Spy.  I guess as in real life there are many aspects of the story to follow.  Mags is balancing his new job with his personal life.  As a spy he has multiple "lives" to follow up on, and plenty of secrets to keep on the day to day.  So it's a good thing he has a solid core of friends, mentors, etc. to support him.

There was a bit of Romeo and Juliet in the book, with rival families visiting Haven (the capital) at the same time.  Both families are trying to marry off their children.  Both families would be happy to continue their feud if given the chance.  But there's a twist that I just can't share without spoiling too much.

This isn't a new favorite that I'll need to re-read over and over, but it was an enjoyable read.  I look forward to more of Mags's adventures.

The Buried

Title: The Buried

Author: Shelley Coriell [Website][Twitter][Facebook]

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Romantic Suspense (Forever)

Series: Apostles, Bk 2

ISBN: 9781455528516

Length: 364 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I really enjoyed the first book in the series, The Broken.


I positively flew through this book by my current standards.  Read it within one day. 

The romance part was okay.  Nothing extreme, but I did want Grace and hatch to get back together, and I did like them both individually.  There's a troubled child in the picture, and I liked how his part of the story was handled. 

The mystery/thriller part was interesting.  There was a definite sense of urgency.  I suspected bits and pieces about the bad guy, but when it was all put together it was actually a rather bizarre ending.

Anyway, I look forward to reading book 3, The Blind.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I Knead My Mommy: And Other Poems By Kittens

Title: I Knead My Mommy: And Other Poems By Kittens

Author: Francesco Marciuliano [Website]

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Series: Pet Poetry, Bk 3

ISBN: 9781452132914

Length: 111 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

Uh, it looked adorably cute and irresistible?


A couple of the poems were a bit crude.  A couple I just didn't find amusing.  But overall the poems were: cute, funny, and often accurate.  I found myself reading some of them aloud to whatever family members i could catch.  And of course, the pictures are adorable.

Her Fearful Symmetry

Title: Her Fearful Symmetry

Author: Audrey Niffenegger [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Scribner

ISBN: 9781439165393

Length: 401 pages

Obtained: Library book kit copy

Why this book?:

It was for my book discussion group.


I didn't know what to expect from this book.  I knew The Time Traveler's Wife did not sound appealing.  But Audrey Niffenegger is also the author of The Night Bookmobile, which was a strange, but interesting read.

Apparently strange is a common theme of Niffenegger's work, because this one fits that description as well.  Twins live across an ocean - one in the U.S., one in England.  The one in the U.S. is raising twins of her own.  England twin dies and stipulates that young twins live in her flat in London to fulfill the terms of her will.  Sound confusing?  Or complicated?  It does have that feel.  

We have twins, secrets, cemeteries, ghosts, obsession.  Creepy, strange, and weird all have their place.  I don't want to give away to much of the story, so instead...

I tend to be more of an audible reader than a visual one.  I hear my books more than seeing them.  But this one had a definite picture.  Not to the words themselves, but the feel.  Imagine you're on a walk.  It isn't quite night, but it's no longer day.  It's foggy and gray and quiet.  You're approaching winter - no snow, but the trees are bare.  A fallen twig might snap, a flock of birds might startle, but otherwise everything is still.

That's kind of how I felt as I read the book.  Like I was taking that walk through the story.  

Anyway, I didn't like many of the choices made.  Some actions made me downright furious, in fact.  Some of the characters showed such little respect for life.  And so little thought for anyone outside of him/herself.  But the cemetery sounds cool, I'd love to visit.  And I'd love to have enough time in London to wander and get around without maps.  Hard to do when you've only been there little more than a day.  So the book left me with mixed feelings.  I enjoyed the setting and the atmosphere.  Not so much many of the characters.

Whether or not I'll read more by Niffenegger... we'll see how it goes.

Ghost Layer

Title: Ghost Layer

Author: Robin D. Owens [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Berkley Sensational Paranormal Romance

Series: Ghost Seer, Bk 2

ISBN: 9780425268919

Length: 291 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I requested the library purchase it as soon as I saw it was coming.  I enjoyed the first book in the series.  And Robin D. Owens is one of my favorite authors.


I had forgotten quite a bit about the romance aspect of the first book, but I remembered Clare and her ghost dog Enzo, and the major ghost of Ghost Seer, Jack Slade.  It's kind of unfortunate that his ancestor had made more of a lasting impact than the hero, Zach Slade, did.  But I quickly remembered him as I read.  And I do like him (as well as Clare and Enzo).

This time Clare has been hired to take care of a ghost prospector who is leaving less than desirable presents in the bed of a multimillionaire's lady guests.  The multimillionaire in question is a jerk, but Clare needs to help her ghosts - for their sake and hers.  So she pushes on, despite not only the negative attitudes, but also the danger as someone obviously doesn't want her poking into history.  But what could anyone have against solving the murder of a ghost 100+ years dead?

I read this quickly (considering my distastefully slow reading schedule these days), and I look forward to seeing more of Clare, Zach, and Enzo in the 3rd book, Ghost Killer, due out in February.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Murder in the Mystery Suite

Title: Murder in the Mystery Suite

Author: Ellery Adams [Website][Facebook] aka J.B. Stanley aka Jennifer Stanley

Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery

Series: Book Retreat Mystery, Bk 1

ISBN: 9780425265598

Length: 277 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I requested the library purchase it and decided to read it because 1) it's a cozy mystery, 2) it's a book about books, 3) it's about a book retreat (and how awesome does that sound?), 4) it focuses mystery books.


I had a LOT of trouble finishing this.  It was going along well enough, but once I stopped reading (I had to return my copy for a hold) it was incredibly difficult to get back into it.  Then there was another interruption, and the problem repeated.  This means it was hard to judge if the story was too slow or what.

I do know that some of the characters that I'm sure were intended to be charming (namely Jane's aunt and uncle), rubbed me the wrong way.  And the potential romantic interest felt like he was just stuck in there.  He certainly did not play much of a role in the book.

On the other hand, Storyton Hall and the village of Storyton both sounded wonderful.  I would love to visit.

Anyway, I wish I could give a glowing review, but whatever the reason, this book didn't do it for me.  I'll definitely try the 2nd book.  Hopefully, it was just poor timing this time around.  I know I enjoyed the Collectible Mysteries under the name J.B. Stanley.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Against the Wall

Title: Against the Wall aka Seinää Vasten

Author: Jarkko Sipilä [Website]; Translated by Peter Ylitalo Leppa

Publisher: Ice Cold Crime

Series: Helsinki Homicide

ISBN: 9780982444900

Length: 291 pages

Obtained: Library ILL copy

Why this book?:

Another book read while I've been working on the Scandinavian Crime bookmark.


This is my second Scandinavian Crime book, and like the first it is also written by a Finnish author.  I found the story interesting.  While the repeating character is apparently Takamäkis, I especially appreciated Suhonen.  

Some of the description seemed especially convenient for the non-Finnish reader especially considering Finnish publishers do not (or so I've read) market outside of the Finnish readership.

The next book in the series, Vengeance, has also been translated, so I plan to continue with it.

The Grimm Legacy

Title: The Grimm Legacy

Author: Polly Shulman [Website][Twitter][Facebook]; Read by Julia Whelan [Website][IMDb][Facebook]

Publisher: Dreamscape Media (Penguin)

Series: Depository, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781624068454

Length: 8 discs ; 9 hours, 19 minutes

Obtained: Library audiobook copy

Why this book?:

I've had a thing for all things Grimm lately.


I typed this up once and lost it, so I hope I remember everything I wanted to say...

I liked Elizabeth as well as Aaron and Jaya.  Marc and Anjali annoyed me in their disregard for the rules, but I guess they were okay outside of that.  I don't know if it's because I'm getting older, or if it's like this for anyone reading the book, but I was just about pulling out my hair wanting them to just TELL AN ADULT.  Really, I'm all for the kids solving things, and when the adults are oppressive or don't believe you of course the characters need to act anyway.  But this just didn't feel like one of those situations.

Anyway, beyond those bits of frustration, I really enjoyed this story.  I loved hearing the fairy tales and the idea of artifacts really holding the power told of in said fairy tales.  Several of the fairy tales were unfamiliar to me, and I think I need to read me some Grimm brothers (I never actually have).

The ending was my favorite part, to the point that I actually re-listened to the last disc a few days after finishing the book.  I've since started the second book, The Wells Bequest, and while I'm sorry it does not focus on Elizabeth and Aaron (Jaya is a featured character though), I still expect it to be a fun book.

Monday, October 6, 2014

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (10/6/2014) #IMWAYR

Hosted by: Sheila @ Book Journey

To participate go here.

Life is life.  Not much new.
I finished Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee.  Here are my thoughts about it.
I finished listening to The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith; read by Robert Glenister.  These are my thoughts on it.

I read Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander.  My thoughts on it can be found here.

I finished Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth.  See my thoughts on this here.

I read Grimm, Volume One: The Coins of Zakynthos (thoughts can be found here) by the NBC show authors.

I listened to The Homesman by Glendon Swarthout; read by Candace Thaxton.  Here are my thoughts.
I'm currently reading Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams.  I've been distracted, so it is slower going than it should be.

I'll be starting Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger any day now for my October book discussion (I really should have started already).

What have you been reading?

The Homesman

Title: The Homesman

Author: Glendon Swarthout [Website][Website Part 2][IMDb]; Read by Candace Thaxton [IMDb][acx] aka Candace Thompson [Website][Resume][Twitter]

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio

ISBN: 9781442371613

Length: 8 hours ; 8 discs

Obtained: Library audiobook copy

Why this book?:
This one had caught my interest when I ordered it for the library.  So when I needed to find an audiobook quickly, and this one was available...


I hadn't really read much of the description, so I was pretty shocked and horrified early on during the story.  At the same time, between the description and presentation I was quickly caught up in the story.  Candace Thaxton did a great job with a variety of voices both male and female.  And the descriptions, which normally I find boring or distracting, were interesting and also well presented.

Living in the west in the 1850s is hard, and not everybody can handle it.  When a woman suffers hardship beyond her breaking point, the best solution (there being no asylums) is for someone to take them back east where they can be cared for by family.  The someone responsible for getting them there?  That is the "homesman."  This most recent winter has been very difficult, with 4 women needing to go back.  And no one is ready to step up for the job except Mary Bee Cuddy (and the fellow she convinces to help her).

As the story continues, the dangers also continue, as do the shocking revelations and reactions.  Everything just seems to spiral, with a deep look not only into the realities of the time, but also into the fragility of mental health and the good and bad sides of mankind.  As with reality, the close of the story doesn't necessarily make for a happy ending.

Was this worth reading?  Definitely.  And the audiobook format suited it well.  But if you're looking for a feel good book, this is not it.