Friday, July 31, 2015

The Little Paris Bookshop

Title: The Little Paris Bookshop

Author: Nina George

Publisher: Crown Publishers

ISBN: 9780553418774

Length: 370 pages + "Recipes" + "Jean Perdu's Emergency Literary Pharmacy: From Adams to Von Arnim"

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

The book aspect appealed to me.

Comments:

In some ways this book really bothered me.  Morally, for instance.  (We are going to ignore the fact that I apparently have no problem reading books with assassins and thieves for protagonists.)  Or the fact that Jean Perdu has become so withdrawn and depressed and gloomy like.  (How is it that he can bring comfort and company to others?  Maybe because he doesn't go on about the gloom and doom thoughts, but keeps them to himself.)

In other ways (primarily the book related ways) I found it enchanting.  A book store on the water, a cat in residence, prices adjusted to the need of the person... sounds lovely.  I am not as sure about the title choices, but oh well.  The ability to just pick up and go.  To have an adventure and just let whatever is going to happen, happen.

Perhaps my mixed feelings come from this being one of those general fiction/literature type deals.  But I suppose it is good to venture out on occasion.  And it brought me to consider books in a different light.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Privy to the Dead

Title: Privy to the Dead

Author: Sheila Connolly [Website][Facebook] aka Sarah Atwell [Berkley Prime Crime]

Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery

Series: Museum Mystery, Bk 6

ISBN: 9780425273463

Length: 293 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I enjoy this author's books and this series.

Comments:

Dragged a bit, not like usual with lots of repetition of the facts they knew as well as the suppositions.  And now that they are living together Nell and James ended every chapter with closed doors.  Which is fine, except the repetition of that too.  It didn't need to be mentioned every time.

But otherwise I enjoyed the story.  And I appreciated that there was a murder/mystery without either another museum or having to kill off a staff member at the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society.

From a High Tower

Title: From a High Tower

Author: Mercedes Lackey [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: DAW Books

Series: Elemental Masters, Bk 11 (officially Bk 10)

ISBN: 9780756408985

Length: 328 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I'm a fan of the author and series.

Comments:

I especially liked the twist on the Rapunzel fairy tale for this one.  From the depth in the background story as to how Giselle came to be in the tower, to a different look at the various figures (the father, the witch who owned the garden, etc.) and their motivations. 

But the story really picks up and becomes it's own after Giselle leaves the tower and is left to find a way through her new life. 

And it was great to see Rosa from Blood Red again.

The Final Reveille

Title: The Final Reveille

Author: Amanda Flower [Website][Facebook][Twitter] aka Isabella Alan [Website][Facebook]

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Series: Living History Museum Mystery, Bk 1

ISBN: 9780738744735

Length: 326 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I've read and enjoyed books by Amanda Flower before, I enjoy museums and history, and I enjoy cozy mysteries.

Comments:

I liked the writing, characters, setting, and the theme.  I did guess who the killer was much earlier than the protagonist figures things out, though.  It you enjoy cozy mysteries, particularly contemporary cozies that do a little historical digging or remembering (and don't mind figuring out the killer in advance), this is a good one for you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Half a Kind and Half the World

Title: Half a King
Author: Joe Abercrombie [Website][Twitter][Facebook]
Publisher: Del Rey
Series: The Shattered Sea, Bk 1
ISBN: 9780804178419
Length: 333 pages
Obtained: Free at C2E2

Why this book?:

Not only was it free, but I was hooked from the description.

Comments:

I started the very evening that I received it, and finished the next day.  The protagonist is someone I immediately wanted to succeed, but is he really a good guy?  Who cares?  Because I was rooting for him anyway.  It's the underdog thing, I guess.

I have since read the 2nd book, Half the World as well.

Title: Half the World
Author: Joe Abercrombie [Website][Twitter][Facebook]
Publisher: Del Rey
Series: The Shattered Sea, Bk 2
ISBN: 9780804178426
Length: 363 pages
Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I read and enjoyed the copy I received (free!) of Half a King (Bk 1) at C2E2, so I had to continue with the series.

Comments:

Generally, I'm not incredibly fond of primary characters switching within a series.  Half a King focused on Yarvi.  Half the World focuses on Thorn.   But this turned out to be more of an introduction to new characters, rather than a leave-taking of old.  I liked Thorn, despite her snarly self.  And Yarvi, who drew me into the series in book 1 (along with other characters), was still in this book.  So while he was no longer the central character, he was still an important part of the story.  I am both eager and nervous to read the third book, Half a War, due out this July 2015.

Moving on...

None of the characters in the two books I've read so far are entirely good, and most are not entirely bad.  Like real life (though more fantastically), everyone has their strengths and weakness.  This can make likeability somewhat ambiguous.  I was left deciding I did like so and so, but oh, how I wish he/she wouldn't make this choice, act in this way, or say that thing. 


Oh, and by the way, aren't the covers for both of these books striking?

Children's Books Spotlight

Since my blogging slump began I've become Downright Horrible, Terrible, and Rotten about posting anything in regards to the picture books I've been reading.  But I have been reading them!

So here are some recent highlights:

Title: Dad's First Day

Author/Illustrator: Mike Wohnoutka [Website][Facebook]

Publisher: Bloomsbury

ISBN: 9781619634732

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?

I saw it on Wowbrary.  The title caught my attention first, and the blurb further intrigued.

Comments:

Very cute.  It was great reading aloud and has wonderful humor.  I haven't read it to the kiddos (yet), but I'm sure they'll enjoy it as much as I did.  Perfect for when school is fast approaching.

Title: Peanut Butter and Cupcake!

Author: Terry Border [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Philomel Books

ISBN: 9780399167737

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?

One of the co-workers with a desk next to mine showed it to me, and I checked it out once she was done with it.

Comments:

The pictures were intriguing.  I read this one to my niece (6 yrs) and younger nephew (4 years).  Both enjoyed it.  They found finishing the sentence each time I read, "And we'll go together like Peanut Butter and... [fill in the blank]!" very especially entertaining.

Title: The Princess and the Pony

Author: Kate Beaton [Website][Twitter]

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

ISBN: 9780545637084

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?

One of the co-workers with a desk next to mine showed it to me, and I checked it out once she was done with it.

Comments:

I did read this one to my niece (6 yrs).  We both really enjoyed it.  The princess is a strong character, and yet the story showed strength comes in all shapes and sizes.  Plus parts of it were outright funny.  I'll be frank; farts are mentioned.

Title: Dinotrux Dig the Beach

Author: Chris Gall [Website][Twitter]

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

ISBN: 9780316375535

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?

I saw this when I was helping fill in at the Children's desk/department.  The new books are directly across from that desk.  I knew as soon as I saw it that my younger nephew would love it.

Comments:

I told the younger nephew (4 yrs) to pick a book and of course he chose this.  He's very into robots, Transformers, et cetera with vehicles coming in on the list of favorites after that.  This book holds obvious appeal.

Each of the Dinotrux has it's own name - a mix between the dinosaur it resembles and the function/vehicle it represents.  A's favorites were the Tyrannosaurus Trux - the "boss one" - and the "rolypoly one" - Garbageadon - seen in an early page dive-bombing into the water.

Catch-up, Pt 4


Title: Horse of a Different Killer
Author: Laura Morrigan [Website][Facebook][Twitter]
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
ISBN: 9780425257210
Obtained: Library copy

I enjoy this series, though once again I found myself scraping my brain to remember what happened in the first two stories leading up to it.  This time around Grace's sister is suspected of murder, Grace's usual sources are unavailable to her for one reason or another, and she must scramble to find the truth... and a missing possibly mistreated horse along the way.

I look forward to reading more of this series in the future.


Title: Texts From Mittens: A Cat Who Has an Unlimited Data Plan and Isn't Afraid to Use It
Author: Angie Bailey [Website][Website/Book Facebook][Website/Book Twitter]
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 9780373893225
Obtained: Library copy

Very cute.  Parts were funny and needed to be shared.  Parts were silently amusing.  And parts were okay, moving on...


Title: Through the Woods
Author: Emily Carroll [Website (scroll down for "About" section)][Publisher Page][Twitter]
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
ISBN: 9781442465954
Obtained: Library copy 

This is a series of stories all featuring a "through the woods" element.

The thing about this book is that you need to pay attention to the recommended ages.  Because my 7yo nephew came to look at it with me, and I was reading aloud (just because I enjoy it).  He didn't understand the first story (and I didn't explain), and the second story creeped him out so bad he had nightmares.  When he saw the cover nearly a month later he called it the "bad book".  So FYI, it is intended for "Ages 14 and up".

But back to reading aloud, it works wonderfully with a low slow tone.  I loved the atmosphere and flow of the stories.  The one story I didn't care for was "The Nesting Place".  Ugh.  But otherwise the stories shared a kind of cool and creepy feel, with corresponding images.

Title: Day Shift
Author: Charlaine Harris [Website][Facebook][IMDb]
Publisher: ACE Books
Series: Midnight, Texas, Bk 2
ISBN: 9780425263198
Length: 307 Pages
Obtained: Library copy

I enjoyed this book, and Midnight Texas.  This is a multi-perspective story, but it works.

Once again, though I am left knowing I really need to read and/or re-read some of Charlaine Harris's other series.  I especially need a refresher on the Sookie Stackhouse series, because a couple more came out in this story and some of the story line actually reflected things that had happened in the Sookie series.  But I also need to read the Aurora Teagarden books (which I never did) and finish the Lily Bard books.

Title: Garden of Lies

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

Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons

ISBN: 9780399165153

Length: 359 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?: I read everything new by AQ/JAK/JC

Comments:

The heroine's name is Ursula.  That is what first struck me about the book.  When I hear Ursula, I don't think historical English woman (though I suppose that suits).  I think Disney villain - one that creeps me out more than most other Disney villains.  Once I pushed past that I was able to continue with and enjoy the story.  It has many of the same characteristics that make AQ/JAK/JC books comfort reads, so it was a feel good story.  Nothing else especially stood out as being something I should mention though.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Lost Prince (Seaborne, Bk 1)


Title: The Lost Prince (Seaborne, Bk 1)

Author: Matt Myklusch

Publisher: Egmont USA

ISBN: 9781606845264 (Advance Reader Copy)

Obtained: NetGalley

This is the first book I've ever received through NetGalley.

I enjoyed it, especially Dean Seaborne (though the name Dean just doesn't strike me as very pirate ... or spy).  He was resourceful and didn't give up on life when he very easily could have.  Also, he was relatively honorable and loyal, considering his "profession".

I look forward to seeing more of his adventures.  But while I wait for the bk 2 in the Seaborne series to come out, I think I may try Matt Myklusch's Jack Blank series.  It sounds interesting, with a common orphan theme.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Catch-up, Pt 3

Title: O Pioneers!

Author: Willa Cather [Willa Cather Foundation][Willa Cather Archive][PBS American Masters]

Read for a book discussion.  At first it very much felt like required school reading, but eventually I became more interested.  The last quarter was strange, IMO.

Title: Paradise (Second Opportunities, Bk 1) (re-read)

Author: Judith McNaught [Website][Facebook]

Re-read just because.  I admittedly skimmed some at the beginning.

Title: Remember When (Foster Saga, 2) (re-read)

Author: Judith McNaught [Website][Facebook]

After reading Paradise, I had a need to re-read this one.

Title: Tell Me No Lies (re-read)

Author: Elizabeth Lowell [Website][Facebook][Twitter] aka Ann Maxwell

This was in the same box as the Judith McNaught books and appealed.  I couldn't remember much of the story, just that I had liked it when I initially read it and the one time I re-read it before.

Title: Heroes Are My Weakness

Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

The title caught my interest.  But it turns out I enjoyed it.  I liked the ventriloquist thing.  And quite frankly I liked Annie.  Though the big bad secret from the past was weird (kinda horrible, really).  And I guessed parts of the history in question before it was revealed.  I wasn't especially happy about the other stuff going on, either.

Title: Breathing Room (re-read)

Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Re-read just because.  I admittedly skimmed some at the beginning.

Title: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

Author: Jonas Jonasson [Website]

Read for book club.  This was my pick and I was so pleased to find it was hilarious.  I loved the historical elements.  Allan kinda struck me as a sociopath, but in such a way that I couldn't resist enjoying him and his exploits anyway.  Also, the author is Swedish.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Catch-up, Pt 2

I continue to attempt catching up with the many books read but not posted in months.


Title: Loot: How To Steal a Fortune

Author: Jude Watson [Websiteaka Judy Blundell [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Scholastic Press

ISBN: 9780545468022

Length: 266 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book:

It features thieves, and I love books about thieves.

Comments:

It was okay, but not as good as I had hoped when I read the blurb and requested the library purchase it.

Christine Feehan [Website][Facebook][Twitter]'s GhostWalker Series

A friend asked me to be in her wedding.  while we were discussing old times, she asked if I still read Christine Feehan (an author I introduced her to)'s books.  I said I hadn't in a while.

But afterwards I suddenly felt like catching up on this particular series. So I read all that have been published to date.  I'll indicate if it was a re-read or new to me next to the title.

1. Shadow Game (re-read)
2. Mind Game (re-read)
3. Night Game (re-read)
4. Conspiracy Game (re-read)
5. Deadly Game (re-read)
6. Predatory Game (re-read)
7. Murder Game (re-read)
8. Street Game (re-read ... I think)
9. Ruthless Game (new-to-me)
10. Samurai Game (new-to-me)
11. Viper Game (new-to-me)

Comments:

These seem to be focusing more and more on sex.  I guess I should expect that, but it was annoying because I was skipping chunks of pages looking for the story toward the end of the series.  But I am still interested in reading more, so we'll see how it goes with future books.

Title: An Early Wake

Author: Sheila Connolly [Website][Facebook] aka Sarah Atwell [Berkley Prime Crime]

Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery

Series: County Cork Mystery, Bk 3

ISBN: 9780425252536

Length: 291 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I've been enjoying this series and author.

Comments:

Offered an interesting look into Irish musical history.  I enjoyed the overall story, but there were some inconsistencies that frustrated me beyond belief.  I had to keep setting the book down and distracting myself from whatever inconsistency before I moved on.

Nora Roberts [Website][Website 2][Facebook] re-reading and catch-up and all new...



Title: Brazen Virtue (re-read)

Follows Sacred Sins.  I've re-read this before and know and like the story.  But this time I saw it with fresh eyes.  Oh, technology.  How it does date books so.  I was 4 yo when this book was published.



The Sign of Seven Trilogy (new-to me ; catch-up)

Blood Brothers
The Hollow
The Pagan Stone

I had some trouble with picking these up when they came out years ago (even though I do own all of them).  Once I actually started I found myself caught up.  The books were interesting, and I liked the characters.



The Circle Trilogy (new-to-me ; catch-up)

Morrigan's Cross
Dance of the Gods
Valley of Silence

If I was going to catch-up on some unread trilogies, I may as well go all the way.  I was apparently in the right frame of mind for vampires now (that is, initially, why I never read this series).  I breezed through the series; I especially looked forward to the vampire's story in the 3rd book of the trilogy.



Title: The Liar (new)

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons

ISBN: 9780399170867

Length: 501 pages

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

It's the newest Nora Roberts.

Comments:

It was pretty interesting: 1) the look at verbal abuse and its spiraling effect, 2) how one falls into the web of a master con-man, 3) how someone can pick themselves back up.

Shelby did seem to go from being shamed (courtesy of lies of an abuser) to proud (she had to do all the financial pick-up herself... no bankruptcy etc. for her).  But I still liked her.  And Griffin was pretty good too.  I did figure certain key aspects out way before any of the characters in the book.  Maybe because I've seen it in other books/movies before.  And I'll say no more lest I give something away.