Sunday, January 24, 2016

Catching Up (Kinda/Sorta?)

I've been reading like crazy, and I can't keep up with myself.

Re-reading Tessa Dare's Any Duchess Will Do prompted me to re-read the other book I obtained by her at the 2014 ALA Annual Convention (that I had read but not posted about), Romancing the Duke (1st in the Castles Ever After series).

Then I went back to catch up some with the earlier Spindle Cove books that I had never read.  So I got on OverDrive and read A Night to Surrender. But the library didn't already have the rest on ebook yet, so while I was waiting for my request to go through, I read the Stud Club books...
     1. One Dance with a Duke
     2. Twice Tempted by a Rogue
     3. Three Nights with a Scoundrel

     Then I read Once Upon a Winter's Eve, A Week to Be Wicked, and A Lady By Midnight in ebook format.

Mix in some ILL print books by Annie Bellet that I intend to go over in a different post (Pack of Lies and Hunting Season)

And a slew of Seanan McGuire books...

     From the InCryptid series (all in ebook format):
     1. Discount Armageddon 
     2. Midnight Blue-Light Special 
     3. Half-Off Ragnarok 
     4. Pocket Apocalypse

     And a print copy of Indexing that the library already owned.

     (Note: I've read all titles currently available in the October Daye series in 2015.  Apparently I never posted them, because "Seanan McGuire" is a new tag.)

I'm waiting for the library to get in The Twenty-Sided Sorceress:  Justice Calling; Murder of Crows; Pack of Lies; Hunting Season; Heartache; Thicker Than Blood; Magic to the Bone which I guess is supposed to come out in June and to purchase Reflections (next in the Indexing series and released this month) so I went on to read (and just finished) Jennifer Estep's Cold Burn of Magic (ebook).

While I wait for my request for the ebook Dark Heart of Magic to be approved and become available, I'll be catching up with Estep's Mythos books, beginning with where I left off, Crimson Frost.  I don't remember all the story line, but I'm sure I'll recall over the 4 books remaining in the series.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Any Duchess Will Do

Title: Any Duchess Will Do

Author: Tessa Dare

Publisher: AVON Historical Romance

Series: Spindle Cove, Bk 4

ISBN: 9780062240125

Length: 373 pages + Author's Note

Obtained: 2014 ALA Annual Convention

Why this book?:

I was in the mood for romance, and I remembered it had looked interesting.

Comments:

I read this months ago.  Like August 2015?  I think.  I don't remember the story, really.  Just that I liked it.  But even reading the back of the cover makes me want to read it again now.  There is something about certain historical romances that do that to me.  So maybe I'll re-read some and come back with remembered thoughts and comments...

About 3 1/2 hours later (having re-read much of it - I always skip the sex scenes)...

I definitely enjoyed the book.  But even with the story fresh in my mind, I don't have much to say.  Both Griffin and Pauline are likeable characters.  And I like the love story as well, but I especially enjoyed the HEA.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Book of Speculation

Title: The Book of Speculation

Author: Erika Swyler [Website/Blog][Twitter]

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 9871250054807

Length: 339 Pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

This book caught my interest from the first moment I read the synopsis, and I had already started it when I received a recommendation from a coworker about it.

Comments:

I read this in September 2015 or prior (the above was last update 9/17/2015).  It was interesting, though perhaps not quite what I expected.

The protagonist, a librarian (though I've blanked on his name), is rather depressing.  But that seems to go along with his depressing family history.  The portrayal of librarianship was pretty gloomy too.  It left me rather pleased that things are not so desperate where I work, and that my day to day is generally decent.

The circus part of things gave that same surreal yet nostalgic feel that I dimly recall feeling after reading Water for Elephants.   I'm struggling to come up with a good comparison for the mysticism (tarot cards, an origin story, flashy storms at points of change, curses, etc.).  Probably the coolest part was the underwater breathing - scary as all get out, but pretty cool.

I know most of this is feeling and emotional impressions, but I'm actually pretty impressed that I remember that much.  It was one of those books that kind of lingers after you read it, so maybe that accounts for my memory of the story (if not character names).

Anyway, I'm glad I read it, but it isn't the type of book I could read regularly.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Untimely Death

Title: Untimely Death

Author: Elizabeth J. Duncan [Website][Twitter][Facebook]

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Series: Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781629531915

Length: 278 pages

Obtained: NetGalley.  This is the 2nd NetGalley book I've gotten.

Why this book?:

It's a cozy mystery.  I just LOVE the cover.  I liked the Shakespeare production idea.

Additional context:

Before I comment on the book itself, I have to give some context.  Usually the "Why this book?" field fills that function, but this needs more.

I was approved for the advance review copy of this title with the request that it be reviewed in the month it was published...November (though my memory is saying October).  So I was delaying to time it right, then at the beginning of October, I went to start it and... my Kindle Keyboard that a lovely former-blogger friend sent me was ruined! The screen had been placed under too much pressure and now I couldn't read anything in the display.  So I was left reading the book on a PC screen or my iPhone.  Which I did, but slowed things down, because I love the eInk Kindle so much more and I needed time to mope.

I gave myself an extra week or two before finally starting the book.  And my thoughts (what I remember of them) can be found in the "Comments" below.  But even once I finished the book (before the deadline), I was being a horrible blogger and didn't post.  So I've had a 2 month gap since reading this, and some memories are foggy.  Keeping that in mind...

Comments:

What made the most impact on me as I read this story was the protagonist.

Because Charlotte Fairfax is a tad off-putting with her condescension.  She's British (despite an extended period residing in the States) and middle aged.  Therefore, she has a much better grasp of etiquette and her experience has made her much more knowledgeable than the silly young Americans she works with.  And apparently she feels as if not being technologically proficient is somehow the better position?

It's great that she overcame troubled times and is content with her role as costume mistress for a Shakespearean theater in a small town.  She certainly has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with her new intern.  She generally seems like a nice enough person, and I like that she is an animal lover (or at least a dog lover).

As far as the mystery was concerned, I did notice some of Charlotte's investigation methods seemed off (such as the incredibly stupid stunt she pulls - breaking the law and jeopardizing the trust of a friend - partway into the story), but those can easily be fixed as she becomes more experienced at investigating.

Overall, the story was nice, and I'd continue with the series.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Tower of Thorns

The following was typed prior to 12/16/2015.  I've added the cover image, but otherwise, I'm just going to post it as is...

Oh, did Blackthorn ever annoy me in this one, while Grim was able to step up even more.  They remain a partnership, but sometimes Blackthorn seemed to forget that.

Traveling as far as they could without breaking Blackthorn's agreement, they went to help with the curse and/or being associated with the Tower of Thorns.  But there is manipulation and secrets afoot from multiple directions.  I am never a fan of manipulation and secrets.  And selfishness too.  But alas, there it is.

But Blackthorn is still clever and wise.  That is the nature of being a wise woman after all.  And Grim remains solid, except when he isn't.  And during those times he is still faithful and true.  Qualities I really admire.

But while Prince Oran (the third perspective in Dreamer's Pool), was generally a good guy, Lady Geiléis (the third perspective in Tower of Thorns) failed to gain my respect (or sympathy) from start to finish.

Tower of Thorns
Juliet Marillier [Website][Facebook]
ROC
9780451467010
Blackthorn & Grim, Bk 2
415 pages

Saturday, December 5, 2015

My Apologies and The Curse of Jacob Tracy

Well I've been a poor blogger again.  I have some posts that have been sitting at various stages of completion and a stack of books waiting to be added before they can be put back on my shelves.  I just don't know when that will actually happen.

I suppose my blogging days may  be at an end; that would be a shame.  My blog served a purpose, but it can't fulfill that purpose if I forget what the books I read are even about in the time it takes me to post about them.  And some of my more recent reads get lost in the long line of books to be posted on.

So I'll try to post as I read, and not worry about the backlog.  Maybe I can do better.

And that being said, I am currently reading The Curse of Jacob Tracy by Holly Messinger (published by Thomas Dunne books).  I'm enjoying it.  Set in parts that feel like a serial (suiting its historical nature), it makes a historical/western/paranormal fantasy/mystery blend.

I like the primary characters, Trace (Jacob Tracy), Boz (John Bosley), and Miss Sabine Fairweather, though I do not always agree with their actions.  Trace tends to shy away where I feel he should step up.  Boz doesn't fully support the way I'd like him to, letting occasional bitterness (perhaps valid considering he's black American in the 1880) get in the way.  And Miss Fairweather (as Trace points out) is too secretive and holds back too much (though Boz has the same issue with Trace).

Because of the serial aspect, Trace (and fellows) face multiple evils connected by an overall evil master.  This along with the action and scenes had me thinking this would make for an excellent graphic novel.  Seems to me, the images presented, the dialogue, the flow of the story... even the good versus evil with some occasional blurring gray areas would all do well in that format.

Anyway, I haven't reached the end (I'm on page 272 of 308), but so far I'm very glad I requested it after reading a review in a professional journal (can't remember which one).  And I'm very glad I didn't wait to pick it up and start reading.   Which I should be getting back to now.  The tension is building...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Lockdown

Title: Lockdown

Author: Alexander Gordon Smith [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

Series: Escape from Furnace, Bk 1

ISBN: 9780374324919

Length: 273 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

A coworker brought it to my attention and it sounded interesting.

Comments:

I don't know what I was thinking when I picked this up, despite the comment from my coworker.  It dark and gritty and horrifying.  Highly intense and emotional.  I wanted nothing more than to rush through the end (as in, I read it all in one morning before going to work that afternoon) and see if there was a successful escape from this place - only to find that there isn't a proper ending!  I'm sorry for the spoiler but this is a major cliffhanger.  I came into work in a tizzy, this book and all the possible outcomes swirling in my mind, and scolded the coworker who had suggested it for not warning me! For suggesting a book without an end!  It appears she hadn't fully read it herself yet, and she says calmly, "Well it's part of a 5 book series."  That would have been good to know in advance, and even then I don't expect cliffhangers!

Overall this is an emotionally gripping / riveting book, but I recommend reading it only if you have the next book on hand and time to read it.  I have the second book checked out now, but I'm worried it will end in a similar manner, so I've been delaying reading it.

Trailer:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Siren's Call

Title: Siren's Call

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

Publisher: JOVE

Series: Harmony, Bk 12 ; Rainshadow, Bk 4 or 5 (depending on how you look at it)

ISBN: 9780515155747

Length: 323 pages

Obtained: Personal copy, purchased new

Why this book?:

I really enjoy this series and author.  When I saw it on the shelves I decided I needed to buy it (thankfully it is a paperback and therefore more affordable).  And then when it came out of the bag about a week later (my bad), I had to read it right away (nevermind that I was exhausted and had work the next morning).

Comments:

I liked Ella, Rafe, and, of course, Lorelei the dust bunny.  In fact, I love the Harmony and Rainshadow books overall.  They have managed to maintain their quick read status when I am becoming increasingly distracted and restless with my reading.

I thought the siren bit was cool, and the secret genetically passed down psychic ability is a theme I'm happy to revisit that makes the heroine "unmatchable" (but not really) brought me fond memories of the St. Helen's books (which I'll admit, I miss) as well as other Harmony books.

The alien dinosaur bit was interesting.  I thought the timing amusing considering Jurassic World coming out the same year.

Anyway, I look forward to future Harmony/Rainshadow books, as always.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Grim Tuesday

Title: Grim Tuesday

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

Publisher: Scholastic

Series: The Keys to the Kingdom, Bk 2

ISBN: 0439436559

Length: 321 Pages

Obtained: Personal copy (ex-library)

Why this book?:

A co-worker kept mentioning the author in relation to his Old Kingdom books. I said I had to finish this one first. But then it was in my head, so I grabbed it at the next opportunity.

Comments: 

Quite some time has passed since I've read the first book in this series, Mister Monday.  I didn't remember all the details but this book quickly filled me in.  But early on in the book I felt very much like jumping ahead to the end I knew had to exist.  I resisted and settled in for the story of how Arthur would gain the 2nd key, 2nd piece if the will, and defeat Grim Tuesday.  I enjoyed they story and Look forward to reading Lady Wednesday's story.

Paperboy and Speak and Speechless

Sometimes I find myself reading books that feel as if they are connected. This was one of those cases.  I read these three books in the opposite order I have them listed below: Speechless, Speak, and Paperboy.

 I felt the need to group them together, because they all relate to young people finding their voice in some way or another, as well as powers of words and what words and expression can mean for us as humans.

Title: Paperboy

Author: Vince Vawter [Website][Facebook][Twitteraka Vilas Vincent Vawter III

Publisher: Delacorte Press

ISBN: 9780385742443

Length: 223 pages + "Author's Note"

Obtained: ARC ... Maybe from staff lounge?

Why this book?:

I've been clearing out some of my ARCs both for shelf space reasons and to pass on.

Comments:

Told from the writings of an 11yo boy in 1958 Memphis, this story offers the internal thoughts of someone who can't always express himself so well outwardly (due to a stutter), as he goes through some coming if age events while also learning to see and recognize prejudice and bias for what it is on a number of levels.

I heard good things about this book when it first came out and as far as I'm concerned it lived up to the praise.  I really enjoyed it.

According to the author while being a fiction book, much of it was more memoir.  That made what the boy (we do not learn his name until the very end) went through with his stuttering so much more of a learning experience.

One more note: at one point he recites a poem he wrote - it was lovely. I read it through a couple times.  Poetry can be rather hit and miss with me, this was a hit.



Title: Speak

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Speak (Penguin Putnam)

ISBN: 014131088X

Length: 198 pages + "Laurie Halse Anderson speaks about speak..."

Obtained: Used copy from my BIL's cousins

Why this book?:

I was sorting through my books and couldn't resist after just having read Speechless.

Comments:

After an event at a party - she really doesn't want to think about it - Melinda calls the cops and becomes an outcast.  She turns all her pain, hurt, rage internally; she is falling apart, and doesn't know how to handle it.  As she becomes more withdrawn she is mostly silent, causing attention but not understanding from the adults around her.



Title: Speechless

Author: Hannah Harrington [Website][Twitter][Facebook]

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

ISBN: 9780373210527

Length: 263 pages + "Questions for Discussion"

Obtained: ARC from staff lounge at work

Why this book?:

I requested the library purchase it when it first came out because it sounded interesting.  Then I got the ARC, but never got around to reading it.  I'm now cutting back to make room in my new home library.

Comments:

Chelsea is a gossip, but at a party she sees something - and shares without thinking.  One of the parties involved is seriously hurt, so reports to the police, then takes a vow of silence to sort things out.  She goes through the school year as an outcast, but making surprising new friends while dealing with the consequences of her own actions.