Monday, January 16, 2017

And Then There Were None

Title: And Then There Were None

Author: Agatha Christie [Websiteaka Mary Westmacott

Publisher: Harper

ISBN: 9780062073471 and 9780061739255

Length: 247 pages

Obtained: Library book kit copy and Library eBook

Why this book?:

I was interested in the story, I enjoy Agatha Christie, I wanted to attend the book discussion that this was being read for.

Comments:

I've never read this before or watched the movie, and while I had a general idea that it had one person die after another, I was not aware of the ending.

The characters were interesting, though being who they were, some of their thought processes were unfathomable to me.  Also, I found the play on levels of guilt and whether the characters are really guilty of accusations or not fascinating.  The setting and poem/rhyme added a fun aspect to the mystery and how it was unfolded to the reader. 

I really enjoyed this story and trying to puzzle it out.  I have read one Hercule Poirot book, and two Miss Marple books, but now I know I need to pay particular attention to some of Agatha's stand alone novels as well.  I also enjoyed the discussion and will have to check out some of the movie variations, as they were frequently mentioned.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Librarians and the Lost Lamp

Title: The Librarians and the Lost Lamp

Author: Greg Cox [Website][Facebook]

Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates

Series: Librarians, Bk 1

ISBN: 9780765384072

Length: 286 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

Love the Librarian movies, and the spin off TV show, and couldn't miss reading the book(s).

Comments:

I don't read media tie-ins often (though I have occasionally).  It is strange to read the words, actions, and characterizations of the characters that I've only seen before, but it is also fun.  The book flashed between 2006 and 2016, with Flynn Carson in the Librarian role in 2006 (plus, briefly, Judson) and the others - Jake Stone, Cassandra Cillian, Ezekiel Jones and Guardian Eve Baird and Library annex caretaker Jenkins - in 2016.  The 2006 scenes reminded me strongly of the movies, complete with Flynn on a dashing and dangerous mission for Aladdin's lamp, a different woman (this time a museum curator), and of course, a gang of bad guys.  The 2016 scenes are more in the line of the current TV show with an emphasis on teamwork, using differences and individuality to the most potential, friendship and support...

The only critique would be the time jumps.  They start off switching between 2006 and 2016 with shorter intervals, then there is a long period of just 2006.  The book finally switches back to 2016 for a heftier portion of the book after the 2006 time is pretty much resolved.  This description may be jumbled and confusing, so I'll summarize with the time jumps were uneven and made the flow of the story seem a bit awkward.

Overall I really enjoyed the book.  I look forward to reading The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase.

(Book was read and post written in 2015) 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Ferryman Institute

Title: The Ferryman Institute

Author: Colin Gigl [Website][Simon & Schuster][Twitter][Facebook]

Publisher: Gallery Books

ISBN: 9781501125324

Length: 422 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?: Sounded interesting so I requested it.

Comments:

Charlie Dawson is a Ferryman - a thankless job making sure the departed move on rather than lingering as ghosts.  But after doing this job with a perfect record for hundreds of years, Charlie is burned out.  Problem is, this isn't the kind of job you can just quit, and every request charlie has made to transfer out has been denied.  So when Charlie is finally offered the option to save a life rather than watching it needlessly die, he takes it.  And that is how he meets Alice.  Complications arise sending Charlie (and Alice) on the run.

This is yet another strange read.  I seem to be selecting more and more of these books that have this foggy mystic feel, but which require analysis and thought through the fog.  For this book, these were thoughts about life, death, and afterlife, stress, priorities, etc.

I read some of this, and then set it down for awhile (a few weeks) before finishing it.  It's one of those books that you need to be in the right frame of mind for.

(Book was read and post written in 2015)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

Author: J. K. Rowling [Websiteaka Joanne Rowling aka Robert Galbraith [Website] ; Illustrated by MinaLima [Website] aka Miraphora Mina [IMDb] and Eduardo Lima [IMDb]

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

Series: Fantastic Beasts, Bk 1 (spinoff of the Harry Potter series)

ISBN: 9781338109061

Length: 284 pages + "Glossary of Film Terms" + Cast & Crew"

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

Of course I had to read this.

Comments:

I really enjoyed the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie.  At the time of watching it, I had a hold on the screen play but was still waiting for my place in the queue.

When I finally started reading, I was astounded.  I've always read books then watched movies, and there were always differences.  But as the screenplay this is the exact dialogue in the exact order and with all the descriptions.  I had vivid images of what had been portrayed on screen popping up as I read.  My imagination just isn't that good.  And I was able to see names I had missed while watching or understand a couple parts that I may have missed the significance of while watching.  I was also able to catch the parts I had missed with restroom breaks for myself and the kiddos.

The only drawback is, I REALLY wish I could see it again now.  I don't know.  Maybe I will.

Anyway, I gather the movie is part of a series, so I'm hoping for the same in regards to published screenplays.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Fuzzy

Title: Fuzzy

Author: Tom Angleberger [Website][Twitter] and Paul Dellinger [Facebook]

Publisher: Amulet Books

ISBN: 9781419721229

Length: 254 pages

Obtained: ARC received at BEA

Why this book?:

I selected it at the time because my nephew, while still younger than the targeted 8-12 range (he's 5 and a preschooler) was obsessed with robots for years.  So robots automatically draw my attention.  Too bad I didn't know his new obsession would be flytraps because I could have picked up an ARC for Inspector Flytrap by Tom Angleberger and his wife Cece Bell.  Oh, well.  Now I'll be checking that out from the library.  Anyway...

Comments:

I found it very easy to quickly become engaged by this book.  I started it when I should have been getting some sleep at around midnight and finished it a couple hours later that same night (or should I say morning?).

Max and Fuzzy are both very likable.  I was also intrigued by the futuristic setting, horrified by the robot nightmare come true Vice Principle Barbara, and incredibly annoyed at Max's parents.  Why wouldn't they actually listen to her instead of assuming the reports they received from the school were always in the right?  The injustice of them never even questioning the reports (nor waiting for an actual answer on those occasions that they did question) bothered me greatly that.

When I went to write this post up and realized this is a sci-fi book, I was surprised.  I don't have anything against scifi books, really, but I tend to gravitate toward fantasy and magic over futuristic science.

I look forward to reading more by these authors.  I know I have some catching up to do.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Heart and Brain: Gut Instricts

Title: Heart and Brain: Gut Instincts

Author: Nick Seluk [persona-magazine.comaka the Awkward Yeti [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Series: Heart and Brain, Bk 2

ISBN: 9781449479787

Length: 142 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I enjoyed Heart and Brain and wanted to try this one.

Comments:

Like the first book I enjoyed this book, finding it humorous and relate-able.  My father's been in the hospital with complications from a surgery.  I was able to read and/or show parts of it to him (especially the parts that reminded me of him - he has a LOT in common with heart), making for interesting conversation and a bit of pick-me-up for my dad.  It even has a fun bit about the end of a good book/story.  There was (as I read it) an indication that there would be more, and I hope that is an accurate interpretation.

Friday, December 9, 2016

When All the Girls Have Gone

Title: When All the Girls Have Gone

Author: Jayne Ann Krentz [Websiteaka Amanda Quick aka Jayne Castle

Publisher: Berkley

ISBN: 9780399174490

Length: 331 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I read all new JAK/AQ/JC books.

Comments:

I enjoyed Charlotte and Max's story.  They had the characteristics I look for in JAK books from personality to family.  It's hard to write this post right now because I'm in something of a funk, but at the time I was caught up and read straight through this story.  Reading it took a decent chunk of my day off, and I don't regret it.

That being said (and some of this may be that funk I mentioned), I've decided JAK books do not have that spark that they use to have.  There are some past titles that I can still re-read today -- I still remember the story, but I enjoyed the characters so much, I want to revisit.  When I re-read a newer JAK, however, it is generally because while I know I'll be satisfied, I don't remember the story and it is fresh.  I wonder what that means?  Anyway, I'm not being fair because of this funk of mine, so I'm going to leave it at that.

I'll continue reading all JAK/AQ/JC books.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Right to Remain Silent

Title: Right to Remain Silent

Author: Penny Warner [Website][Facebook][Twitteraka Penny Pike

Publisher: Bantam Books

Series: Connor Westphal Mystery, Bk 3

ISBN: 0553579622

Length: 267 pages

Obtained: Library ILL copy

Why this book?:

I'm reading through the series.

Comments:

Just as I enjoyed book 2, Sign of Foul Play, more than book 1, Dead Body Language, I enjoyed this one even more.

I suspect this is for a few reasons.  For one thing, there is a lot going on in this story between a deaf character other than Connor who has a very different background, relationship issues with Dan and his past, and, of course, the murder (a pillar of the community).  Also, there is a librarian featured relatively prominently.

Anyway, I own books 4 and 5 so I should be getting to them shortly.

Sign of Foul Play

Title: Sign of Foul Play

Author: Penny Warner [Website][Facebook][Twitteraka Penny Pike

Publisher: Bantam Books

Series: Connor Westphal Mystery, Bk 2

ISBN: 0553575872

Length: 275 pages

Obtained: Library ILL copy

Why this book?:

I'm reading through the series.

Comments:

I enjoyed Sign of Foul Play more than Dead Body Language (book 1), finding this one easier to get into.  I suspect this is because this book is less of an introduction to Connor and the area.

A man is found dead at a construction site, and there is some question as to whether this may be an accident or murder.  Connor, in the course of researching for her paper, has a feeling there is more, and she isn't the only one.  A reporter from another paper feels like there may be more to the story too, and she's been befriending Connor.  But can a reporter from Connor's competition really be as straightforward as she's portraying herself, or is she using Connor in her attempt to move up and make her mark?

And there's a second deaf person in town (temporarily), so that added an extra element to the story.

Anyway, I enjoyed this one enough that the very next book I read was book 3, Right to Remain Silent.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Hammers on Bone

Title: Hammers on Bone

Author: Cassandra Khaw [Website][Twitter]

Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates

ISBN: 9780765392718

Length: 103 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I saw something of a blurb, and the private eye who is something extra appealed to me.  I enjoy other fantasy-type books like this, so I placed a request for it.

Comments:

This is a short and therefore brief read.  It was the only reading I managed while sick and cloudy-minded.  It's a strange story.

The PI, John Persons, is some sort of monster - we discover this quickly - and I gather he's actually some sort of parasite - and alien that is wearing a human body - through less like The Host by Stephanie Meyer or the slug things in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, and more like the alien in Men In Black.  I guess?  Or this is what I'm picturing.

He's been hired by a child to stop (potentially kill) another monster/human doing something similar.  But it turns out there is a much larger - and worse - issue/infection/invasion going on.

And I got all of that, but then the strange part really begins.  First there is an interlude, and by the end I had to back up and see if I missed something.  From there the strangeness continues through the end, which I also had to back up and re-read to try and understand.

Perhaps some of my confusion and the overall strangeness was due to my cloudiness.  I suspect, though, that the bulk is due to this being - as I read in a quip on the back after having finished - a "Lovecraftian PI mystery".  I've encountered other "Lovecraftian" books before (such as The Ballad of Black Tom) that also threw me for a loop.  What is it about these that apparently draw me in when they are so difficult for me to wrap my head around?

But there is another message that I most definitely did understand, and that is one of abuse.  Domestic violence, child abuse, and hints of sexual abuse.  And I can understand that as I "watched" in horror, John Persons doesn't grasp the humans of the story sticking around for this abuse and misuse.  He's asking how is it that this woman stays for this treatment, especially at the risk of her own children?  And I'm left asking how can anyone?  Even this fictional PI who has been asked to help by the children.

Anyway... this slim book packs a bit of a wallop.