Monday, September 10, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9/10/2018

Hosted by: Book Date

Today is the last day you can enter my Birthday Giveaway! Stop by to potentially win one or more of 18 autographed books (half romance, half mystery).

I didn't finish reading anything this week.

I'm currently reading:

Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James

Eye of the Shoal by Helen Scales

Up next: 

Any number of books that I've purchased or obtained from the library.  I have a LARGE selection.  And a couple books for discussions.

Monday, September 3, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9/3/2018

Hosted by: Book Date

I'm still doing a Birthday Giveaway, but I've changed it up.  There are a total of 18 possible autographed books (half romance, half mystery) that you can choose from.  Visit Birthday Giveaway! for more information and to enter.

I haven't participated in this in the better part of a month, so I'm backed up.  
In the last few weeks, I've read: 

A Hard Day's Knight (Nightside, Bk 11) by Simon R. Green

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin; Illustrated by Giovanni Rigano; Lettering by Chris Dickey

Hot Mess by Emily Belden

the age of miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Venom in the Veins (Elemental Assassin, Bk 17) by Jennifer Estep

Cat About Town (Cat Café Mystery, Bk 1) by Cate Conte

A Distant Heart (Bollywood, Bk 4) by Sonali Dev

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey; Illustrated by Júlia Sardà

Murder in an Irish Village (Irish Village, Bk 1) by Carlene O'Connor

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Volumes 1-4) by Kyle Higgins; Illustrated by Hendry Prasetya, Jonathan Lam, Thony Silas, Daniel Bayliss; Lettering by Ed Dukeshire - Read on Hoopla.  Started for a new Comic Club Discussion Group.

Walrus in the Bathtub by Deborah Underwood; Illustrated by Matt Hunt
Valensteins by Ethan Long
Frankenstein by Rick Walton and Nathan Hale
Frankenstein's Fright Before Christmas by Rick Walton and Nathan Hale
Robot Zombie Frankenstein! by Annette Simon
The Light of the World: The Life of Jesus for Children by Katherine Paterson; Illustrated by François Roca
Dear Komodo Dragon by Nancy Kelly Allen
Once Upon a Slime by Andy Maxwell
3x4 by Ivan Brunetti
Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty?: And Other Notorious Nursery Tale Mysteries by David Levinthal; Illustrated by John Nickle

I'm currently reading:

In audio (on CD), I've been listening to Moby Dick by Herman Melville (read by Paul Boehmer).  I'm not very much further than I was a month ago.  There was a portion that was script-like in print that I did not follow well in audio.

Eye of the Shoal : a Fish-watcher's Guide to Life, the Ocean and Everything by Helen Scales (library hardcover) - I'm still early in this book.  I'm slow with non-fiction that isn't told in a storylike manner.  However, I've found this to be pretty good reading material when I'm on the stationary bike or elliptical.

I started listening to Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Liesl Shurtliff; Read by Paul Fox in downloadable audio...

Up next:

Probably a giveaway book.

Birthday Giveaway!

I had planned to do a series of giveaways for my birthday.  That didn't work out when no one entered for the first book.  So I'm going to try again with one big giveaway.

All books are autographed.  Some are ARCs (Advance Reader Copies), and this will be noted.  I will link to my posts if I've read the book in question.

I'm not going to do the Rafflecopter thing.  Instead, if you are interested in entering
  1. Comment with your interest in  Package Romance or Package Mystery.
  2. List your top 3 choices.
  3. Include an email or way of contact.
How many winners and how many books each winner will receive depends on the number of entries received.  This is open Internationally and ends on the 10th of September 2018.

Package Romance
  • Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean [My Thoughts]
  • Hot Mess by Emily Belden [My Thoughts]
  • A Distant Heart by Sonali Dev [My Thoughts]
  • Six Impossible Things by Elizabeth Boyle
  • An Affair with a Notorious Heiress by Lorraine Heath
  • A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean
  • Lone Star Nights by Delores Fossen (ARC)
  • Tough Luck Hero by Maisey Yates (ARC)
  • Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis (ARC)
Package Mystery
  • Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O'Connor [My Thoughts]
  • Midsummer Night's Mischief by Jennifer David Hesse
  • Pane and Suffering by Cheryl Hollon
  • Survival of the Fritters by Ginger Bolton
  • Death in Dark Blue by Julia Buckley
  • Die, Die, Birdie by J.R. Ripley
  • Easy Innocence by Libby Fischer Hellmann
  • The Masque of a Murderer by Susanna Calkins
  • City of Dragons by Kelli Stanley

Murder in an Irish Village

Title: Murder in an Irish Village

Author: Carlene O'Connor

Series: Irish Village Mystery, Bk 1

Publisher: Kensington Mystery

ISBN: 9781617738463

Length: 344 pages

Obtained: Purchased autographed paperback at Lit Fest


I found out I could go to a "Cozy Book Club Mini-Con" for my birthday and I was so psyched! As I reviewed the list of authors expected, I realized I had bought this back in June, so I started it the night before.

Siobhán O'Sullivan and her five siblings are trying to keep up their parent's bistro and each other after the death of their parents a year prior.  But when the brother of the young man who killed them in a drunk driving accident comes into town, making crazy claims, an stirring things up he ends up a murder victim... in the bistro.  Eldest sibling James, is believed to be the killer, and Siobhán is left to solve this mystery and keep the pieces of their family and home together.

I enjoyed the story and the characters.  I particularly enjoyed the O'Sullivan Six.  The mystery puts everyone in the village under suspicion.  Since this is the first book and introduction to the village characters, Siobhán's sleuthing and instincts strongly color who may or may not be responsible.

An interesting note... when Carlene spoke at the con, she mentioned that she had thought keeping foul language out of a book set in Ireland wasn't very authentic.  However, her publishers assured her that Irish curse words don't count.  In fact, the Irish cursing is frequent in the book's dialog, and as Carlene said, they are most definitely swear words.  I can see, however, where words that are not common cursing in the States made them easier to just gloss over while reading.

Also of note, the village this book is set in, Kilbane, County Cork doesn't quite exist, but is based off of a real town, Kilmallock,  that the author fell in love with in County Limerick.  She highly recommended visiting if anyone has the chance.  You can see her love of this town, as place is most definitely a character in this book.

Anyway, I own book 2, Murder at an Irish Wedding, and hope to read it soon.

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein

Title: Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein

Author: Linda Bailey; Illustrated by Júlia Sardà

Publisher: Tundra

ISBN: 9781770495593

Length: Unnumbered + "Author's Note" + "Sources"

Obtained: Library hardcover picture book


I have a series of Frankenstein programs scheduled for work, and I've been reading some Frankenstein related books (just kids books so far). This is one of them, but I realized when I finished it that the author, Linda Bailey, is Canadian, so I'm posting to fulfill the 12th Annual Canadian Book Challenge.

 This is a children's book that looks into Mary Shelley's background from her childhood on. It focuses on what inspired her creation of Frankenstein, from her "dreamer" nature as a child to the challenge that prompted the story. The illustrations are charming, and I couldn't help but like Mary her past and creativity is uncovered.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A Distant Heart

Title: A Distant Heart

Author: Sonali Dev

Series: Bollywood, Bk 4

Publisher: Kensington Fiction

ISBN: 9781496705761

Length: 297 + "A Reading Group Guide"

Obtained: Purchased autographed copy


I read this in one chunk until 3 in the morning.  I had met the author in June, and she assured me that while it is part of a series, and particularly connected to the previous book, A Change of Heart, that I could read it as a standalone or out of order.  I still tend to believe I would have been better off to read A Change of Heart first.  I know details of that storyline that I otherwise would not have.  However, I'll agree that my reading of this story was not detracted from. 

Kimi has had health issues nearly all of her life.  Her parents wealth and determination allowed her to live through a number of new treatments and options until her heart simply would not take it anymore.  Then she was blessed with a transfer.  She would like to find her donor.  Rahul, a man from the slums and now a cop in Mumbai, came into her life as a child and was her only friend and constant for years of fighting for her life.  Now he is determined to have some closure for a case about a gangster/black market that he has been working on for years.  The stakes are high for them both and while they stay in hiding and investigate their respective quests, they must also navigate their pasts and potential futures. 

The story is told in "Present Day" and "A Long Time Ago" from the perspectives of Kimi, Rahul, and Kimi's father - who is a part of both their lives.  I don't mind multiple perspectives, but I'm not a huge fan of time jumping back and forth.  It does work for this story, though, to unfold what has been (without info dumps) and what the characters are currently going through.

I'd be interested in reading more of Sonali's work, particularly A Change of Heart.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Cat About Town

Title: Cat About Town

Author: Cate Conte

Series: Cat Café Mystery, Bk 1

Publisher: St. Martin's

ISBN: 9781250072061

Length: 295 pages

Obtained: Library paperback copy


Maddie is visiting the town she grew up in as her grandmother has passed and she's helping her grandfather adjust.  While there she finds out a local bigshot is bullying her grandfather - former chief of police - into selling his home... ahouse that has been in the family for generations.  Before she can come up with a plan, said bigshot is murdered, and Maddie's grandfather is suspected.  Obviously this means she needs to help find tehtrue culprit, and to help jer is the cat that seems to have adopted her - JJ.

The story was pretty quick, with a mixture of focus on the murder/investigation and Maddie's relationships with family, friends, and other townspeople.  This book is definitely primarily a set-up for the series though.  The series name, for instance, doesn't even really come into play other than brief mentions here and there.  And I didn't always agree with Maddie's approach to some aspects of her sleuthing.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and I look forward to reading book 2, Purrder She Wrote.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Venom in the Veins

Title: Venom in the Veins

Author: Jennifer Estep

Series: Elemental Assassin, Bk 17

Publisher: self-published

ISBN: 9780986188565

Length: 342 pages

Obtained: Library copy


I'm a fan of this series.  I tend to be a fan of Jennifer Estep's work in general (though I had trouble getting into the Bigtime series).  So I did enjoy this book.  Just not as much as some past books in the series.

Gin has been trying to get information on The Circle and her parents.  In the meantime, a friend's life is threatened and she is going to get to the bottom of it.  In the meantime, someone from her past comes out of the woodwork and she finds herself in a sticky situation, with memories that haunt her reappearing in her dreams.  There is a hook at the end, so while the main storyline for this book is wrapped up, the overall arc story is hanging in suspense.

I look forward to the next book and more of Gin and her friends/family.

the age of miracles

Title: the age of miracles

Author: Karen Thompson Walker

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 9780812982947

Length: 269 pages + "A Reader's Guide"

Obtained: Library book discussion copy


This was a book discussion selection.  Unfortunately, I missed the discussion (one of the dogs was being tested for her CGC that night), so I don't know what the rest of the group thought.

Julia's life (as well as the life of everyone around her) is upturned when time begins to slow.  The day lengthens, the magnetic field (and gravity?) is altered.  Animals and plants respond poorly, and humans do not fare much better.  Response is varies, so people try to follow the standard 24 hour day, while others try to follow the daylight.  Sleep cycles, metal stability, physical balance and health are all at risk with these changes.  End of the world measures are taken by some while others try to live as normally as possible.

This is something of a dystopian, but it addresses the time of becoming and immediately after, rather than society after all changes are said and done.  It is also something of a coming-of-age story.  Julia recounts her life as an 11/12-year-old during the slowing - complete with puberty, a crush, changes in friendships and relationships, bullies, family drama, and death.  I mostly felt sad while reading this, and the deaths upset me, but I obviously didn't fully connect, or I would have been sobbing.

I finished it, it was okay, the premise was interesting... I just didn't love it.

Hot Mess

Title: Hot Mess

Author: Emily Beldon

Publisher: Graydon House

ISBN: 9781525811418

Length: 412 pages

Obtained: Purchased autographed copy


I heard Emily speak on a panel about romances (the actual panel name said something about hope, but I don't remember specifics).  I wondered at the time if it was actually a romance, but I bought her book along with books by the other authors who spoke, had it signed, and got my picture with her.  I thought  having a giveaway might be the motivation I needed to read some of these books (rather than only the library books that come flooding in).  No one entered to win this, but I still kept on with reading it.

Within the first 30 or so pages, I wasn't sure if I was even going to finish.  I had a couple obstacles.  First, the language.  While I don't use hard language (curse words and such) myself, I can usually ignore it in books.  But that language was so frequent and blatant, particularly in those first pages, that I was having difficulty overlooking it.

Another factor is that the book is told in first person.  I don't necessarily care for first person in a romance (if that's what this is, and I'm still not certain, even after having finished the book), though it can be acceptable if done well.

But a third issue/obstacle is that I felt too old for this story.  And honestly, that's a bit ridiculous.  I read books intended for all ages - children, MG, teen, adult.  I've never felt this way before.  And the main character, Allie, is 25, so I also have less than a decade on her.  But between the acronyms, social media jargon, brand name descriptions, and other terminology... well, I was lost until Allie becomes more involved in the restaurant business.  Since she doesn't know what the terminology and acronyms are for the restaurant industry, the reader gets definitions, clarifications, and explanations even as Allie does.

I persevered, and I did read last 1/2 - 2/3 in one big chunk.  Once I was past the language, terminology, etc., I was interested in the story and how Allie would straighten out her life (which is accurately described by the title - a hot mess). 

Themes of addiction are strong in this book.  Allie's boyfriend was in the midst of heavy drug use when they first became involved, and it continues to effect their lives throughout teh book.  While addiction is something various members of my family have struggled with, I can't say I've seen it from this perspective.  Emily did mention, in the panel she spoke at, that early readers had commented on how realistic the addiction aspect was to them and their lives.