Friday, May 5, 2017

Elementary, She Read

Title: Elementary, She Read

Author: Vicki Delaney [Website][Facebook][Twitteraka Eva Gates [Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Series: Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781683310969

Obtained: NetGalley

Why this book?:

I loved the cover, the Shelock Holmes Bookstore idea was appealing, and I've read and enjoyed Vicki Delany's books before.

Comments:

I enjoyed this book.  I liked Gemma, despite that manner that likens her to Sherlock.  The setting was fun (I've always liked the idea of owning a bookstore, and the Sherlock bit was particularly interesting to contemplate).  And while I did not have good feelings about the bad guy, I also didn't guess that he/she was the bad guy; I thought he/she was just not a likable character.

I look forward to reading more in this series.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Rocket Boys

Title: Rockets Boys aka October Sky

Author: Homer H. Hickam, Jr. [Website][Twitter][Facebookaka Sonny

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Series: Coalwood, Bk 1

ISBN: 038533320X

Length: 368 pages

Obtained: Library book club copy

Why this book?:

For a book club.

Comments:

I found this very interesting.  It reminded me why I enjoy memoirs.  The rocket part was interesting, and I was rooting for the boys to succeed (I do like that kind of story), but I was especially interested in the coal mining town and family aspect.  I have some of that in my ancestry, and I found myself mentally picturing my relatives in this town (though it seemed like it may not exactly be the usual).

I checked out the next book, The Coalwood Way, though to be honest I don't know if I'll get to it soon.  Nevertheless, I definitely want to continue reading Homer Hickam's books.  I'm not sure if I want to see the movie or not... That can always be a scary prospect.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

I've Got Your Number

Title: I've Got Your Number

Author: Sophie Kinsella [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Dial Press

ISBN: 9780385342070

Length: 433 pages

Obtained: Library book club copy

Why this book?:

For a book club.  I selected it for the book club because it sounded light and fun - a perfect pick-me-up for gloomy weather - and because the romance aspect would fit February.

Comments:

I read this early February, so my comments may be sparse.  This was fun and light-hearted, though I really wouldn't have reacted like either of the main characters to the situations they found themselves in.  I zipped through this, and found it difficult to get into another book after, hesitating to lose that feeling.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Wonder

Title: Wonder

Author: R. J. Palacio [Website][Twitter] aka Raquel J. Palacio

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

ISBN: 9780375869020

Length: 313 pages

Obtained: Library book club copy

Why this book?:

Picked as a book club book for one of the many book clubs I'm in.

Comments:

Auggie was born with severe facial differences and has gone through a series of corrective surgeries, but still looks very different from the typical 10-year-old boy.  His parents have decided it is time for him to go to school (rather than being homeschooled) for middle school.  This means learning how to navigate in the world where kids can be mean without the protection his family has always afforded him.

I found Wonder to be an interesting book.  Auggie was a very likable boy, occasionally being mopey and having "woe-is-me" moments, but he is only 10 (not to mention everything he had been through) so that made him more realistic.  The book offers great insight into how the phrase "it's the inside that counts" might be very true, so there is a moral to it all, along with issues of bullying, etc.

Auggie's family's dog, Daisy reminded me greatly of a dog we had... in all ways from the name to rolling over for belly rubs, to certain events in the book.  So much so that I don't remember how she was physically described, I just pictured my family's Daisy.

Anyway, at least one part had me sobbing, but I can't say what or why without spoilers.

I missed the book club, so I don't know what the others thought, but while writing this I was trying to remember who from Star Wars Auggie was compared to.  When I was looking in the book (I like Star Wars but I'm horrible with names) to see who it was and find a picture, I decided I want to re-read the book.  I figure that says something.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Last Detective

Title: The Last Detective

Author: Peter Lovesey [Website]; Introduction by Louise Penny [Website][Facebook]

Publisher: SOHO Crime

Series: Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781616955304

Length: 382 pages

Obtained: SOHO sent copies for my book club to discuss

Why this book?: See above.  But also, it sounded interesting and was the first in a series (always a perk).

Comments:

I enjoyed reading this story in a distant reflective way, I guess.  Peter Diamond doesn't feel like someone the reader gets close to any more than the men he works with (though I did like him).  I spent much of the story hoping he'd get past his pride and still make the break that solves the case.

As for the mystery itself, I wondered about the culprit, but had dismissed it.  I guess this is a procedural, which I read less of and have not adjusted to as much.  But the story was interesting when they had the various people of interest in for questioning.  I wonder how this became an extended series with how this one ended, so I would be interested in reading more.

Ready Player One

Title: Ready Player One

Author: Ernest Cline [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: B/D/W/Y

ISBN: 9780307887443

Length: 372 pages

Obtained: Library book kit copy

Why this book?:

Chosen for one of the book clubs I'm participating in.

Comments:

Well.  It's another future that I would like to avoid... very depressing and sad.  To an extent, though, I can see something like this happening with the current environmental concerns and overpopulation.  The technology is a bit more difficult for me to imagine despite some aspects of virtual reality already being out there.  I guess I'd like to think that people wouldn't all go the way of burying their heads in the sand and immersing themselves in a nonexistent world, though I know some do already.  The people of this future live their lives in virtual reality constantly, whether by gaming, movies, TV, ebooks, school, work, etc., while their physical worlds crumble and remain in drudgery.

As for the game, or contest, or quest - whatever you choose to call it - it was obsessive and another reason to avoid reality, and yet I could see some positives in at least having some sort of goal forthe future and persistence.

Anyway, I read it.  It caught me up for a time, and now it's over.

Death by Chocolate Lab

Title: Death by Chocolate Lab

Author: Bethany Blake [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Kensington Books

Series: Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781496707383

Obtained: NetGalley

Why this book?:

I was drawn first to the title, then to the description, and the cover is cute too.

Comments:

Daphne Templeton has a deep love for animals and a pretty laissez faire attitude about life.  She lives (mostly rent free) with her sister, has a beat down van on its last legs with painted side panels advertising her business (kinda - painting vehicles isn't her friend's forte), and a junky phone that isn't always charged or functioning.  She also has a doctorate in philosophy and a vegetarian lifestyle.  Her vet sister has placed a cap on how many dogs/animals she can have in the house at a time, and she's only allowed to keep one - her basset hound, Socrates.

I find animal cozy mysteries enjoyable to start with, though they can sometimes get a little "preachy" - this one didn't feel preachy at all.  I was also strangely envious of how Daphne could be strapped for cash and yet calm and not stressed.  She's obviously intelligent and yet doesn't feel pressured to "succeed" even when her mother and sister both fuss at her.  And then there was the humor which kept me going strong, reading into the night and not reading my book discussion book when I ought to have been.

With all that, the mystery didn't even matter as much, but fortunately, I found that interesting too.  Daphne's sister's ex has been murdered, and while he was basically not well liked by anyone, her sister is the prime suspect.  So Daphne pokes around, causing trouble and showing that she can be determined when she wants.

Some people don't like romance in their mysteries.  I do, as long as it doesn't overtake the rest of the story, so I found the interaction between Daphne and Detective Jonathan Black interesting and fun.

Anyway, I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Dial Meow for Murder... I've already requested my library purchase both books.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Introducing Garrett, P.I.: Sweet Silver Blues, Bitter Gold Hearts, Cold Copper Tears

Title: Introducing Garrett, P.I.Sweet Silver BluesBitter Gold HeartsCold Copper Tears

Author: Glen Cook [Macmillan][isfdb][Goodreads]

Publisher: ROC

Series: Garrett, P.I., Bks 1-3

ISBN: 9780451463975

Length: 694 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I saw it recommended in comparison with another author (I can't remember where).

Comments:

As a whole these stories fall right within my interests.  Magic, PI or Detective, grim, etc. Individually...

Sweet Silver Blues

This first story in the series introduces Garrett and his world.  A world where war is constant, magical beings like centaurs, unicorns, vampires, elves, trolls, and witches all exist and aren't cute and friendly, mixed peoples called "breeds" are common but looked upon poorly, and life is hard.  Garrett is hired to find and bring back the recipient of his war buddy's estate - or if she isn't interested in coming back, he's to bring back the proper documentation that she has released her claim.  But this isn't an easy task on any level.  She lives in the midst of the war zone, she's Garrett's former flame, and did I mention the not-so-nice magical creatures?

Bitter Gold Hearts

Garrett's been tasked with looking into a kidnapping... sorta.  More like his reputation has been hired to put a little scare into the kidnappers before the son of a local wealthy and very powerful woman returns from her current task in the ongoing war.  But all is not as it seems and Garrett runs into lie, after deceit, after secret as he tries to get to the bottom of it all - whether anyone wants him to or not.

Cold Copper Tears

Garrett once again again encounters plenty of secrets and lies.  Even refusing the jobs that come his way isn't enough to prevent trouble from finding him.  This time we have fanatic cults, even more dangerous, destructive and deadly magical creatures, and enemies.  Now Garrett's in this for the sake of his life and peace.

I definitely intend to read more of the series.  I've requested another three-volume omnibus through ILL.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Unwind

Title: Unwind

Author: Neal Shusterman [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Series: Unwind Dystology, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781416912040

Length: 335 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

It was January's book for a new book club I'm joining.

Comments:

I realized this book is dystopian and immediately thought oh, boy, here we go.  Then I began learning the history of this world and how things are done, and I was shocked.  Shocked and horrified.  I'm going to try to explain with a minimum of spoilers, but I'm not sure that is entirely possible.

The background for this story made no sense to me (still doesn't)... how a group of people (pro-choice and pro-life, both) could agree that "unwinding" a child could be a reasonable solution to the issue of whether abortion (or capital punishment, though that is not a focus) should be permitted.  And the reasons for why a child might be "unwound" in this world are just as abhorrent.

But this isn't the only incredible difference in this world.  Other craziness includes "clappers" and what they represent.  And aging, fanaticism, organ donation, adoption, inequality (social, racial, etc.), and in some way - big or small - any other number of issues that exist today but have transformed to fit this new world.

So I was trying to come to terms with how outrageous this world is while following Connor, Risa, Lev, and others as they cling to survival through a version of an underground railroad... and a literal railroad as the case may be.

I couldn't decide if I liked or disliked the book; I was caught up pretty quickly.  I hadn't heard of this series before being told it was the next book being discussed.  The lady who recommended it was telling us how she told someone they had to read it and then he was telling everyone how they had to read it, and so forth.  I'm not sure I would go that far, but I was certainly telling several people about the background.  And it's certainly a book that lingers in your thoughts for some time after finishing.  Anyway, I'm seriously contemplating reading more in the series.

Shusterman is also the author of Challenger Deep which has received such wonderful reviews in the professional journals.  And I have an ARC copy of Scythe, Shusterman's November 29 release that I plan to read.

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.