Monday, September 29, 2014

Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

Title: Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

Author: Jennifer Worth

Publisher: Penguin Books

Series: Call the Midwife, Bk 1

ISBN: 9780143123255

Length: 319 pages + Appendix "On the difficulties of writing the Cockney dialect" + Glossary

Obtained: Library book club kit copy

Why this book?:

This was this month's book for the discussion I've begun leading.

Comments:

I was worried this might drag for me the way August's memoir was.  To my great relief, not only did this not drag, but if flowed.  I quickly found myself caught up in the descriptions (not something I usually say) and characters Jennifer met during her time midwifing in the 50s in the docklands of London.

Jennifer discusses the good, bad, and ugly.  Some stories brought a smile, stories of warmth found even during strained situations.  Others were sad or sickening in turn and showed the dark side of humanity.

The book certainly brought interesting discussion (for which I was relieved as well).  I don't have much to say about it now, but I am most definitely glad I read it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Nightshifted

Title: Nightshifted

Author: Cassie Alexander [Website][Twitter][Facebook] aka Erin Cashier [Website][Author Page]

Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks

Series: Edie Spence, Bk 1

ISBN: 9780312553395

Length: 331 pages

Obtained: Library ILL copy (apparently my local library's copy is boxed up somewhere)

Why this book?:

The author was listed on fantasticfiction.co.uk's "Visitors to this page also looked at these authors" list for ... someone.  I can't remember who but someone in the Fantasy/Paranormal realm of things.

Comments:

For the most part I enjoyed this book.  Not so much the sex stuff, but the rest was fine.  I love the concept.  There was a bit much going on, but I was rooting for Edie anyway.

Edie's a nurse.  But she's not just any nurse.  She's a nurse on the secret floor for those in the paranormal world needing medical attention.  Vampires, werewolves, zombies, oh my!  She accidentally causes the death of a "daytimer" (blood donor for a vampire(s)).  Before that he asks her to help him with his quest.  So off she goes to do what he could not, only to get herself into a load of trouble.  How can she get out of it and make things right?

I plan on continuing with the series.  I want to see where it goes (although I'm angry at myself for reading a blurb of a future book and spoiling things for myself already!).

The Silkworm

Title: The Silkworm

Author: Robert Galbraith [Website] aka J. K. Rowling [Website] aka Joanne Rowling ; Read by Robert Glenister [IMDb]

Publisher: Hachette Audio / Mulholland Books

Series: Cormoran Strike, Bk 2

ISBN: 9781478980902

Length: 14 discs ; 17.5 hours

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I read and enjoyed the first.  I wanted more of Cormoran and Robin.

Comments:

So I switched to audio format for this one.  It's not something I usually do, but the downloadable audio was the first available. Then it expired before I finished.  I tried to read the print book (which came next), but now that I had started it in audio, I needed to finish it that way.  By the time the Audio CD version came to me I didn't remember where I had left off.  I skimmed (listened here and there) my way through discs 4 - 11 before I found where I had actually left off.  In other words, my reading experience was a bit different.

Anyway, in this book Strike is still getting semi-regular business from the commotion the Lula Landry case created (see The Cuckoo's Calling).  But he's not really interested in it until Leonora Quine comes in wanting him to find her husband.  This brings him into the publishing world.  And what a crazy view of the publishing world it is... I hope it's as fictional as the murder mystery.

Robin is still tweaking her role in Strike's firm.  Which is fine as long as it goes the way I want it to.  Which is her being an irreplaceable part of his business.  Though I have to say, both Strike and Robin need to work on their communication skills.  I feel a little silly for speaking of them as if they are real, but that's the sign of good characters, right?

Great characters, fine mystery... I look forward to book 3, and am so excited to know more are expected.  Now I just have to figure out if I'm going back to print or sticking with audio.  Speaking of which, the narrator did a great job with the many characters.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Gates of Thread and Stone

Title: Gates of Thread and Stone

Author: Lori M. Lee [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Skyscape

Series: Gates of Thread and Stone, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781477847206

Length: 333 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I saw it in one of the professional magazines and it caught my interest.  So I put in a request at my local library.

Comments:

Kai's Situation: She's not from a good area (though she isn't from the worst either).  She's an orphan.  She and her "brother" Reev are just scraping by.  And she has a secret magic that isn't "supposed" to be around anymore - now that the Rebirth (a great war with devastating consequences, from what I can tell) has happened.

Secret magic power: The power to make everything and everyone around her move in slow-mo, while she remains at regular speed.

The Problem: Reev has been kidnapped and could be killed or mind-wiped or something else as horrible.

The Mission: Go in to the Outlands (with the help of friend, Avan), and wherever else necessary to get Reev back.  Face gargoyles and whatever mysterious bad dudes come her way.

And oh, I'm having to backtrack non-stop to avoid spoilers, so I'll leave it at that.  Suffice it to say Much Dramatic Stuff happens.  The mystery of "What happened to Reev?" is resolved, but it brings Many Dramatic Revelations (some of which you must have guessed by the end), and a not super-happy but maybe-not-all-is-doomed ending... one most definitely intended for a second as-yet untitled book.

Monday, September 8, 2014

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (9/8/2014) #IMWAYR

  
Hosted by: Sheila @ Book Journey

To participate go here.

Not much new is going on.  Work and sleep (I guess... I think I haven't been getting enough).  I participated in my first 5K (walking) for a charity with my sister.  That was fun.  My dad went back in the hospital to have his medicine adjusted over the weekend, but he's back home now.  Anyway,

I finished listening to The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny; Read by Ralph Cosham.  My post about it can be found here.
I finished The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters.  This is the advance reader's copy for the YA book due out this Oct. 2014.  My post can be found here.  Please stop by.  I'm offering a giveaway for the ARC on the same post...
I had already been listening to the downloadable version of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith; Read by Robert Glenister when it expired.  I had the print version in my hands after that, but I couldn't just read it.  I needed to listen to it by that point.  Now that I've finished The Beautiful Mystery I've started back up on this.  I haven't yet found where I left off last, so I guess I'm refreshing my memory.

I'm currently reading Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee.  Don't you just love the cover?  It sounded interesting when I saw it in one of the professional journals, so I asked the local library to purchase it.  So far, so good.
I've started Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams.  It was overdue and I needed to return it unfinished.  I have it back, so once I've finished Gates of Thread and Stone I'll get back into this one.
I still haven't started it yet, but the September (work) book club choice is Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth.  It sounds interesting, so I hope all goes well.








I had several great books come in from the library.  I hope I have time to read them soon...

Paranormal Romance
Ghost Layer (Ghost Seer, Bk 2) by Robin D. Owens

Cozy Mystery
Tailing a Tabby (Bookmobile Cat Mystery, Bk 2) by Laurie Cass
The Skeleton Takes a Bow (Family Skeleton Mystery, Bk 2) by Leigh Perry
The Wolfe Widow (Book Collector Mystery, Bk 3) by Victoria Abbott
Nightmares Can Be Murder (Dream Club Mystery, Bk 1) by Mary Kennedy

Essays/Literature
Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Cure for Dreaming + Giveaway

Title: The Cure for Dreaming

Author: Cat Winters [Website][Twitter][Facebook]

Publisher: Amulet

ISBN: 9781419712166

Length: officially 368 pages OR my copy 342 p. + "When and Where U.S. Women Gained Full Suffrage" + "Recommended Reading"

Obtained: ARC snagged at ALAAC14

Why this book?:

It looked interesting, and after briefly skimming the back cover, sounded intriguing.

Comments:

If I had really understood what this book was I probably wouldn't have read it.  That would have been a shame...

I am so profoundly relieved and grateful that women before me fought to make life better for the future generations.  As I read I tried to imagine what my life would be like when and where Olivia's story took place (1900 Portland, Oregon).  What I would be like.  It's unfathomable and terrifying.

So even while I'd get so emotionally involved as I read this that my hands would be shaking or I'd be nauseous, I remained enthralled.  I wanted to know how things came out for Olivia, a 17-year-old budding suffragette.

On her birthday (Halloween) she attends a show with her friends.  There is a new, young hypnotist in town (Henri).  In the course of his show he asks for volunteers.  Olivia is the first of them.  This is the first time Henri hypnotizes Olivia, but it won't be the last.  Olivia's father has word that she's been supporting a suffragette movement.  He has the idea that she can be hypnotized into changing her ways.  Thus begins a mesmerizing tale of a young girl's fight to discover her voice.

Interspersed throughout the book are pictures and quotes from the time, reminding the reader that the underlying history was all too real.  It seems Cat Winters has already written another historical YA book, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, that I'd definitely be interested in reading.

Giveaway!

If you'd like to try this book (due to published this October), please enter using the form below. ( I seem to be having technical details, so if you can't get the form to work or don't see it, leave your email address in the comments.)  Open internationally.  The winning entrant 2 days (48 hours) from contact to respond back with a mailing address. Non-response will result in a new winner.

Winner: Kimberly!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Beautiful Mystery

Title: The Beautiful Mystery

Author: Louise Penny ; Read by Ralph Cosham (IMDB) (AudioFile)

Publisher: Macmillian Audio

Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache / Three Pines Mystery, Bk 8

ISBN: 9781427226099

Length: 11 discs; 13.5 hours

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

It's the next in the series, and I'm getting behind.  It qualifies for the 8th annual Canadian Book Challenge.

Comments:

Oh, Beauvoir! ::sigh:: Deep breath in, deep breath out.  Have I mentioned how I hate addiction?

Anyway, Gamache and Beauvoir go to a secluded and hidden monastery in the depths of Quebec where one of the monks has been murdered.  This order, long thought gone, has recently exposed itself by way of a recording of their Gregorian (plain) chant.  Apparently this caused a rift among the brotherhood that leaves Gamache and Beauvoir suspecting every one of those left surviving.  Which, of course, means the reader is also left with suspicions - even if you have formed theories along the way.

Beyond the mystery, the book offers and intriguing look into both the chant (which I find lovely though perhaps not in such a religious light) and what a small group of men cut off from the world need to sustain themselves.  One is a doctor, one is a engineer sort, one is excellent with the animals, another with the plumbing.  They garden, sing and worship together.  It was all a very interesting look at the social structure, which is actually right up my alley considering my education in sociology.

I have a few other audiobooks to listen to, but once I've finished those I'll be listening to the next book in this series, How the Light Gets In.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

It’s Monday (er... Tuesday)! What Are You Reading? (9/1/2014 - 9/2/2014) #IMWAYR

  
Hosted by: Sheila @ Book Journey

To participate go here.

I didn't do the weekly Monday meme on time, because I was distracted by my birthday (the big 3-0!).  But I still need to do an update.  So this is it...

I am not finishing the book Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson.  I was having trouble with it (primarily due to the writing style) to begin with, but was pushing on since it was for the book discussion I've taken over leading.  Now the month of August is over, and I'm ready to move on.

I finished The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand by Jen Swann Downey.  Click on the title for my thoughts.


I watched The Librarian: Quest for the Spear and The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines staring Noah Wyle.  I really enjoyed them despite being corny, and certain aspects of the second movie annoying me.

I finished The Hot Zone by Jayne Castle.  Loved it.  Click on the title for my thoughts.

I've started Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams.  It was overdue and i needed to return it unfinished.  Hopefully I'll get it again soon.

I'm still working on The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny; Read by Ralph Cosham.  I'm on the last disc (chapter 33 I think?).  I'm anxious to see how things are going to work out for Beauvoir.  I had such high hopes at the beginning of it.  We'll see.

I'm currently reading The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters.  This is the advance reader's copy for the YA book due out this Oct. 2014.  I currently find myself both fascinated and horrified.

I haven't started it yet, but the September (work) book club choice is Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times.  It sounds interesting, so hopefully it goes better than the August selection.

I had already been listening to the downloadable version of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith; Read by Robert Glenister when it expired.  I had the print version in my hands after that, but I couldn't just read it.  I needed to listen to it by that point.  I will be starting it back up once I finish the Louise Penny audio.

I've ordered all three Librarian movies on Amazon, and plan to watch the 3rd one, The Librarian: Curse of the Judice Chalice soon.  Which is great, because I believe the new TNT show "The Librarians" should be starting at the end of this year.  Can. Not. Wait.


The Hot Zone

Title: The Hot Zone

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

Publisher: Jove Novel

Series: Rainshadow Island, Bk 3 (Though technically the 3rd book in the Looking Glass Trilogy is the 1st Rainshadow book, making this book 4) ;  Harmony, Bk 11

ISBN: 9780515154726


Length: 338 pages 

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I'm a fan of the author, series, and world.  I was immediately drawn to it.

Comments:

I picked this up and finished it in one day.  That doesn't happen often with me anymore.  I was immediately engrossed and didn't want to put it down.  

Some of the connection between the heroine and hero may have been rushed, but I didn't care.  I can't wait for more.  Sedona was great in particular.  She's been through a lot, but she's making life work.  As can often be found in JAK/AQ/JC books, family also plays a role.  Despite the fact that it obviously has a place in the story, the family aspect was a bit rushed as well.

Actually, as a whole the book kind of felt like a novella, in that I could have had more all the way around.  But it still didn't disappoint.  Maybe it just felt that way because the pace was so fast?  After the initial introduction into what happened to Sedona, the scene jumps to her life on Rainshadow.  From then on time seems to fly, and everything takes place in a short time span.

Anyway, as always the dust bunnies were awesome.  Lyle's always there when Sedona needs him, and he's also there for the community in Rainshadow - both the human community (namely the children) and the dust bunny one.

The Halloween aspect seemed a bit early (I was surprised the book wasn't released a little later), but that was okay.  It's already out in the stores as well.  And it was interesting to see Halloween portrayed in the world of Harmony.

I am looking forward to the next JAK/AQ/JC book (Trust No One by JAK, due out Jan. 2015) and especially the next Rainshadow/Harmony book.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Accidental Keyhand

Title: The Accidental Keyhand

Author: Jen Swann Downey [Website][Twitter][Facebook]

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Series: Ninja Librarians, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781402287701

Length: 358 pages + "Master Phillipus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus Von Hohenheim's Guide to Petrarch's Library"

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?: Um, ninja librarians? Of course I wanted to read it!

Comments:

I loved the idea of this going in. The very beginning introduction went fine.  But then things spun out of control.  If I'm being honest, I had trouble following the story for a bit (my own fault I'm sure).  

Anyway, about 2/5 of the way through things are explained a little more, and I finally started getting what was going on.  That was when I was able to begin really enjoying the story.

Dorrie and her (Star Wars obsessed) brother have been transported through time and space to a special hub of Lybrarians who protect the written word and spread of ideas from censorship throughout history.  

The Lybrarians decide to let them stay until a major conference while they determine what to do about these unusual circumstances.  But Dorrie and Marcus can't seem to keep out of trouble along the way.

Once I got into the story and setting, I found this to be a fun book. I enjoyed watching Dorrie and her brother during their adventures and look forward to reading more about them in the second book, Sword in the Stacks.

Note:

This is the first post I have done entirely on my phone, so I ask that you forgive any typos or formatting issues.