Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life

Title: The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life

Author: Anu Partanen [Website][Facebook][Twitter] ; Read by Abby Craden [Website][Audiofile][IMDb][Facebook]

Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN:  9780062643186

Length: 10 hours, 28 minutes

Obtained:  Library downloadable audio copy

Why this book?:

I saw it - somewhere (maybe a professional journal?), it caught my interest, and I requested it in audio on OverDrive.  (I do non-fiction better in audio.  Print non-fiction tends to come in the house, never get read, and leave with regretful thoughts of "next time, maybe")

Comments:

Overall, I thought this book was interesting and though-provoking.  I was especially interested in the education and parenting aspects, but had no trouble listening to the sections on individual-business-government relationships, employee benefits, health care, taxation, etc.  Several parts of the book were certainly repetitive, but I was able to deal with that.  I was left with the thoughts, "Okay so this, this, and this could be better, but what am I supposed to be able to do about that?"

Narration, by the way, was good.  The various quotes started to sound similar, with one or two men's voices and a couple women's voices, but that was okay, because the bulk of the book - Anu Partanen's words - were easy listening.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dark Carousel

Title: Dark Carousel

Author: Christine Feehan [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Series: Dark or Carpathian, Bk 30

ISBN: 9780698197763

Obtained: Library ebook copy
Why this book?:

When I was clearing out recently, I decided I no longer need to hold onto all my Christine Feehan books in this series.  I kept the few I thought I might re-read or that I thought I might miss.  I re-read some in the process of deciding (though I failed to keep track because there was generally immense chunks I skipped over - then I never feel it really counts as reading the book).  I also made some effort to catch up with the series.  So I've read library copies (in print and/or ebook) of all the books between the last one I blogged about (Dark Slayer) to this one, with the exception of Dark Crime, which I still need to get to.  I skip the sex scenes (even when they are pages long), so I can't comment on that aspect.  But as for the rest...

Comments:

I liked Tariq.  Sometimes I feel like Feehan's heroes are way too domineering and for me to enjoy the story or really believe they care about the heroine.  Since these all fall within the Romance genre, that's a big deal.  Tariq was one that I was good with.  And I loved the children in this book, though of course their background was tragic and abominable.  I kind of zipped though this, and not just because I was skipping parts.  I was eager to see everything resolved and this couple relatively settled.

I did feel like I was missing some story, and I guess that is because Dark Crime (the one book in this series I haven't read) is intricately linked to this one.  I also need publication of the next book, because while there was something of an ending to the story, the overall story arc for several of the side characters - including both good and bad guys - is not complete.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Grimm's Fairy Tales

Title: Grimm's Fairy Tales


Author: Jacob Grimm [Bio.] & Wilhelm Grimm [Bio.]

Read by:
Katherine Kellgren [Audiofile][Facebook][Twitter]
January LaVoy [Website][Audiofile][Twitter]
Simon Vance [Website][Audiofile][Facebook][Twitter]
Grover Gardner [Website][Audiofile]
Kate Rudd [Website][Audiofile][Facebook]
Jim Dale [Website][Audiofile]
Alfred Molina [Audiofile][Twitter]
Janis Ian [Website][Facebook][Twitter]
Graeme Malcolm [Audiofile]
Scott Brick [Website][Audiofile][Facebook][Twitter]
Bahni Turpin [Audiofile][Facebook][Twitter]
Davina Porter [Audiofile]
Dion Graham [Audiofile]
Edoardo Ballerini [Website][Audiofile][Facebook][Twitter]
Jayne Entwistle [Website][Audiofile][Twitter]
Luke Daniels [Website][Facebook][Twitter]
Roy Dotrice [Website]
Julia Whelan [Website][Audiofile][Facebook]
Kirby Heyborne [Website][Audiofile][Facebook][Twitter]
Mark Bramhall [Website][Audiofile][Twitter]
Robin Miles [Website][Audiofile][Facebook][Twitter]
Publisher: Listening Library (Random House)

ISBN: 9780147526380

Length: 3 discs ; 3 hours, 38 minutes

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I already have an interest in fairy tales.  But also this received WONDERFUL reviews and is performed by an award-winning cast.

Comments:

I haven't ever read the actual Grimm Fairy Tales.  I'm more familiar with other variations (particularly Disney, but also others).  I was not familiar with all the tales and especially all the actual details and endings.  I found them fascinating, especially the gruesome bits.  I'd really like to read (or preferably listen to) the rest, as these are a selection from The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales (though unabridged in the telling of the stories chosen).  I was especially interested in some of the variations ("The Twelve Brothers" and "The Six Swans", for instance).

As for the narration - it definitely lived up to the hype, for which I am exceedingly pleased.

I didn't get a chance to listen to this with the kiddos, and it has holds.  But perhaps I'll check it out again to share with the kiddos.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ghostman

Title: Ghostman

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

Publisher: Books on Tape (Random House)

Series: Ghostman, Bk 1

ISBN: 9780385361767

Length: 10 discs ; 11 hours, 52 minutes

Why this book?:

The second audiobook, Vanishing Games, hadn't circulated yet.  And has a thief in it.  But I couldn't listen to that one without listening to this one.  Plus, it filled the "Title with one word" box on my Summer Reading Bingo Sheet.

Comments:

First on the narration... My very first thought was, ugh.  I don't like this.  It's too gritty and reminds me of my vague memories of the David Baldacci book I listened too (True Blue, narrated by Ron McLarty and listened to in 2012).  So I looked at the back of the case, saw that the narrator, Jake Weber, is the same guy who played the husband in Medium, and decided to be more tolerant.  And that changed everything, because I quickly became involved in the story, and the voice turns out to be perfect for the character Jack.

Now, this story is certainly gritty.  It's extremely graphic with every description of blood and gore.  Some of the violence, described in detail, was horrifying. (In particular, there was a description of the murder of a child that still makes my stomach churn remembering it.  I want to use words like cruel and merciless.  I understand any murder of a child could be described using these words, but this one included torture and ... ugh).  And the descriptions of the guns, etc. made me feel like I was listening to another sniper book.  

But I was caught up in how Jack was going to come out of this mess alive and on top (because surely he would).  I was not so enthralled with the background story (set 5 years ago and interspersed with the current story), but it certainly served a purpose explaining what strings held Jack and kept him from being the free agent and ghostman he intended to be.

Anyway, I ended up listening to it straight through, finishing it pretty quickly as far as audiobooks go (though I mostly kept to just actual driving time and didn't sit in the car for hours at a time just to listen).  I intend to listen to the next book, Vanishing Games, but I have a bit of a pile with audiobooks right now, so it may not be as soon as hoped.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)

Title: Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)

Author: Jenny Lawson [Website][Twitter][Facebook]

Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books

ISBN: 9780399159015

Length: 313 pages + "True Facts"

Why this book?:

It was for a book discussion group.

Comments:

There is a lot of poor language (curse words and such) and, as someone in the discussion said, "crude topics".  I'm not a fan of either.  But if you looked past that (and I can see where it would be difficult to overlook, because it is frequent), then the book is SO FUNNY.  I snickered out loud as quite a few of the scenarios presented.  And despite a lot of real and pretty depressing topics discussed, I found myself really enjoying it.  It was a great pick-me-upper.  Which is interesting, because one of those pretty depressing topics discussed is mental illness, which usually hits too close to home, but wasn't an issue with this book.  I think that may have been at least partially due to how well Jenny conveyed what would have been horrible moments with humor and spunk.

I don't read memoirs often, but some of them are more enjoyable or interesting to read than other.  This was one of those.  So much so that I intend to read Jenny's second book, Furiously Happy.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Study in Sable

Title: A Study in Sable

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

Publisher: DAW Books

Series: Elemental Masters, Bk 12 (officially Bk 11)

ISBN: 9780756408725

Length: 313 pages

Why this book?:

I generally enjoy this series and author books.

Comments:

I felt like I should know the characters, but I couldn't quite place them.  I should have know them! They were in both The Wizard of London and Home From the Seas

But whereas I read those too close back to back (I just re-read my thoughts on them here and here), I apparently had too much of a gap with this one.  They were all vaguely familiar.  Like when you see someone you should know, but you can't think of their name.  And meanwhile they are greeting you like a long lost friend, so you feel super guilty and uncomfortable.  Yea; not the most pleasant reading situation.

I did take a bit of a break mid-way through.  Once I came back to it, I zipped through the remainder of the story.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Lady Friday AND Superior Saturday AND Lord Sunday

Title: Lady Friday

Author: Garth Nix [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Series: The Keys of the Kingdom, Bk 5

ISBN: 9780439700887

Length: 304 pages

Obtained:  Personal hardcover copy ; unsure when I obtained, but despite excellent shape, book was used.

Why this book?:

I'm reading the series.

Comments:

It is more urgent than ever for Arthur and friends to move quickly.  Despite that, this story seemed more mellow than some of the previous books.


Title: Superior Saturday

Author: Garth Nix [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Series: The Keys of the Kingdom, Bk 6

ISBN: 9780439700894

Length: 278 pages

Obtained:  Personal hardcover copy ; unsure when I obtained, but despite excellent shape, book was used.

Why this book?:

I'm reading the series.

Comments:

Oh, boy.  Arthur is struggling to remain true to himself - and not be so quick to temper.  I had trouble relating to the hauteur and anger, but I definitely understood Arthur's need to stay himself.


Title: Lord Sunday

Author: Garth Nix [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Series: The Keys of the Kingdom, Bk 7

ISBN: 9780439700900

Length: 317 pages

Obtained:  Library Copy

Why this book?:

I was finishing the series.

Comments:

Hmm. I don't want to give anything away, because this was the finale.  And yet, this was the finale, so it was a big deal.  And it had a different feel from the other books in the way it was set up.  Arthur did less exploring and adventures in the world of the House, and more inner exploring and philosophical thinking (not that philosophy wasn't an underlying note in all the books) about who he is, what he's capable of, how the world should work, how things should be, etc.

The ending was sudden.  I can't say I liked it, although things were certainly tied up.  Just, whoa.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sir Thursday (while briefly addressing Drowned Wednesday)

Title: Drowned Wednesday

Author: Garth Nix [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Series: The Keys of the Kingdom, Bk 3

ISBN: 0439700868

Length: 389 pages

Obtained: Personal hardcover copy ; unsure when I obtained, but despite excellent shape, book was used.

Why this book?:

I've been reading the series.

Note:

I read Drowned Wednesday awhile back, but I can't recall enough detail to do any proper commentary on it.  Mainly that Drowned Wednesday's demesne was the Border Seas and that she couldn't stop eating everything.  Oh, and that it had a creepy cliffhanger.  Suffice it to say I enjoyed it enough to want to continue with the series.  The break is because I wanted to post about it before I started the next one and they blurred together.  Obviously, that idea backfired.

Title: Sir Thursday

Author: Garth Nix [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Series: The Keys of the Kingdom, Bk 4

ISBN: 0439700876

Length: 344 pages

Obtained:  Personal hardcover copy ; unsure when I obtained, but despite excellent shape, book was used.

Why this book?:

I'm reading the series.

Comments:

I mostly flew through this one.

I'm eager for everything to work out for Arthur, but he sure comes up against quite a few extraordinarily difficult issues.  I hate feeling helpless, so I hate when the characters in the books I read are helpless as well.  Arthur continuously finds himself in seemingly helpless situations.  It's lucky he generally pulls out (with the help of friends and luck), or I would never be able to read these.  But that doesn't make them less scary/icky-feeling while the events are unfolding.

I need to start on Lady Friday soon, because this ended on another cliffhanger.

Friday, July 15, 2016

in a dark, dark wood

Title: in a dark, dark wood

Author: Ruth Ware [Twitter][Facebook]; Read by Imogen Church [Website][Twitter][IMDb]

Publisher: Simon &Schuster Audio

ISBN: 9781442390515

Length: 8 discs ; 9 hours

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I selected the audio of this title for the collection because it was well-reviewed in my professional magazine.  My reasons for choosing it to listen to were slightly different.  I was going over audiobook titles recently added to the collection that hadn't circulated yet, and this was on that list.  It especially caught my interest because the co-worker with the desk to the right of mine has had the ARC of the print sitting right where our desks meet for FOREVER, and I've had plenty of time to stare at and mull over the cover and title.  So I'm saying to myself (internally), "This is a well-reviewed book that looks intriguing?  Why isn't anyone checking it out? Well, if they won't, I will!".  I promptly placed a hold on it, and checked it out as soon as it came in (though I couldn't start listening until I finished Career of Evil).

Trailer:

Comments:

This is a very gripping tale.  I listened to the audiobook straight through every time I drove anywhere (unless I had passengers) as well as spending a few hours just sitting parked listening to it.  The suspense builds so I wanted to know what was going on, even when parts seemed strange.

Imogen Church did well with the narration and creating mostly distinct voices, including some that suited different areas of Britain (not that I'd recognize if they were inaccurate.  I just know they were different and sounded good.).  Nora (Leonora) - who is narrating the story - was definitely my preferred voice as it was soft and easy to listen to.  I don't think I could have managed listening to too much of the character Flo, for instance.

While I liked Nora and was rooting for things to work out for her, she did seem to loose her backbone when it came to Clare (the "hen").  Apparently distance and time hadn't done much good in that area.  I can't go too much into the story because I don't want spoilers.  I did pick up on certain events sooner than Nora at the very end, but much of it was just as much a blank to me as it was to Nora until she gradually unraveled it.  She has a secret she keeps for the bulk of the book, from both the other characters and the reader, and such a deal was made of it that I way over-thought it.  By the time it was revealed, I'm all "Duh, Jo.  That was an obvious possibility.  You couldn't think of that?"

Between this book and Career of Evil, the language was rough enough, often enough that by the time I finished the book I had to mentally censor myself when words I wouldn't normally use were within reach of my tongue.

Monday, July 11, 2016

'Til Death Do Us Part

Title: 'Til Death Do Us Part

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

Publisher: Berkley Books

ISBN: 9780399174469

Length: 342 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I'm a JAK/AQ/JC fan.

Comments:

Hmm.  I started this one before reading Dead End Street and finished it after.  I had no problem going with the story while reading it, but if I stopped (had to go back to work, etc.) I didn't feel that extreme motivation to pick it back up again.  I'd guess its because while the characters were likeable enough, I didn't get the connection I've come to expect from an AQ book.  I feel like the heroines, while still going against the grain education and career wise, don't have the same spunk and quirkiness I had come to expect.  They've become more mellow and serious.

I'll keep reading on.  I still look forward to more JAK/AQ/JC.