Monday, October 6, 2014

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

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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...

Comments:

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.

Grimm, Volume One: The Coins of Zakynthos

Title: Grimm, Volume One: The Coins of Zakynthos

Author: Jim Kouf [IMDb][Grimm Wiki] & David Greenwalt [IMDb][Grimm Wiki] (Plot); Marc Gaffen [IMDb][Grimm Wiki] & Kyle McVey [IMDb][Grimm Wiki][Twitter](Script); José Malaga [Glass House Graphics][LinkedIn](Art); Thiago Dal Bello [Glass House Graphics] (Colors); Marshall Dillon [Website][Google+] (Letters)

Publisher: DYNAMITE

Series: Grimm, Volume 1 (Consisting of Issues 0-5)

ISBN: 9781606904503

Length: 112 (Includes Cover Gallery)

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I requested the library purchase it as soon as I saw it was coming out.  I just love Grimm.

Comments:

The Coins of Zakynthos have been rediscovered and gathered by Nick and his mom, Kelly.  Kelly goes to destroy them, but not all goes as planned.  It starts from the TV show, but apparently goes beyond that (though I don't remember all the details from the show...my memory doesn't work that way).  It took me a bit to get used to the constant recaps, since this is actually 6 separate issues put together (and I'm new to this - comic books and bound volumes, etc.).  But once I had I was quickly involved in the story.  Some things I found interesting:

The gore in the comic seemed much more shocking than any of the gore I saw on the show.  I don't know if it was the format or some other factor that created that impression.

Monroe looked like Monroe.  Kelly and Hank mostly looked like Kelly and Hank (with occasional exceptions).  But Nick hardly seemed to resemble Nick from the show at all, IMO.

Anyway, I've already requested the second Grimm, Volume 2: Bloodlines (containing issues 6-12).  I look forward to that.  And in the meantime, the 3rd novel, The Killing Time by Tim Waggoner just came in for me and season 4 of Grimm begins Oct. 24th!!!  So I'm all set.


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.