What are you reading?

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I had a yucky cold! Which means I got lots of reading and gaming done, but not much else. I did go to Winger’s for burgers with my husband, and that was fun. But otherwise it was a slow weekend.

Now for what I’m reading!

The old opened book is christian Psalter

I guess I got on the Net Galley’s good list at last, because I got everything I asked for! I’m happy and stressed, because now I have even more to catch up on. Plus I got an ARC from Library Thing too. Add all my indy review requests, and I really don’t need to go to the library for a month.

Currently reading:

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This is one of the ones I got from Net Galley. I was SUPER excited at that, because I loved The Martian, book and movie. I’ve already finished it and a review is coming soon. My son, who discovered this author before I did, is really jealous. Let me just describe it briefly as a space version of Ocean’s 11.

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This one is my audio book from Overdrive I’ve been listening to while I sew. It’s about the scientists who discovered aspects of evolution before Charles Darwin. It’s interesting, but not so much that it’s keeping my attention. I find my mind wandering and realize that I missed everything for several minutes.

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This book is a different story. The plot and the characters are so well done that I keep wanting to drive somewhere just so I can listen. This one is on audio book in my car on CD and it’s so good. It’s got magic and wizards and hints of evil plots to steal the throne. I think something bad is about to happen and I can’t wait!

I’m also reading a CERTAIN BOOK that I can’t name because it’s SECRET! It’s about to be revealed on Friday and then you’ll have plenty of time to tell your friends to follow my blog and have a chance to win a SIGNED COPY. But it’s really exciting, with an orphan MC, an oppressive government, and a fairy tale twist.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? What are you reading? Comment below and let me know.

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Thursday Throwback

This review appeared last year.

electric-sheep

Title: The Android’s Dream

Author: John Scalzi

Format: Audiobook

How did I hear about this book? I liked the author, so I went looking for more

Review:

Let me start by saying that I’ve never read the sci-fi classic Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? which inspired the title and the content of this book, as well as the classic film Blade Runner. This one I picked not because of any fondness for the original, but because I love John Scalzi’s unpredictable plots and dense worldbuilding and because it had Wil Wheaton as the narrator. After a couple of Audible duds, this one seemed like a sure bet.

I was so right. It is really hilarious and twisted. It starts with a prolonged bit about flatulence that was very funny but also sophomoric. That was kind of why it was funny. But it’s not your typical fart joke book, so don’t let that discourage you. See, it’s all about aliens and politics and cloning and religion. I don’t really even know how to explain it all, but I really liked it. This book got me through the 2016 election results, and that’s surprisingly appropriate. Completely recommended. 4.6 rating

Hidden Inside

A friend of mine asked, “Everyone out there has a story. Can we love them before we know it? And will we take the time to find out?” That’s the burning question in the book, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

Ove is not an old man, not in years, but he has become the grumpy old neighbor. He complains about everything and everyone. Some days he only talks to complain. Other days he doesn’t talk at all.

He wasn’t always like this. He used to be less grumpy. Not warm and friendly, but not so prickly and angry. That was before Sonia died. Now Ove is ready to give up on life. But life, in the form of new neighbors, a homeless cat, and a couple of teenagers, is not ready to give up on him.

I wasn’t sure I would like this one, as it sounds like a “message” book, and I hate those. It was a book club pick, and those are always unpredictable. But with this one I was laughing out loud in the first chapter. The writer uses humor and pathos masterfully to have your emotions swinging back and forth. And yes, it did make me cry, but I didn’t feel like I was being manipulated into it.

Ove reminds me of some people I know and love. He has a big heart, he just has very little tolerance for stupid people. And there are a LOT of stupid people about. I’m giving this one 5 stars out of 5! And if you want to read it, you should try the audiobook. The narrator captured all the voices so well plus the dry humor comes through.

DNF x 2

I drive an old truck that used to belong to my dad. I love it, even though it’s a little temperamental and kinda creaky. (Just like him.) It also has a CD player, the only working one I have access to. I mostly use it for audiobooks, and recently finished The Queen of Attolia, which once again blew me away.

Then I ran into 2 duds in a row.

The first was Fairest by Marissa Meyer. I loved The Lunar Chronicles, but a whole book about Levana? I wasn’t sure. Still, I was definitely curious. Well, I didn’t get very far into it before I realized that it wasn’t for me. Levana was such a hateful character, I just didn’t want to spend several hours in her company. She’s so cruel and selfish, I couldn’t put up with it.

The second was Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl. It was described as a cross between I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (which I really liked) and Pride and Prejudice (which I love). It sounded like a can’t miss. It missed. It was meant to be satire, but again I just didn’t like the main character. Althea is on the hunt for a rich husband, but I found her too irritating to care what happened. The humor just missed for me.

So I went back to the library and found one more I’m going to try,  Galileo’s Daughter. It’s been on my TBR list for a while, so here’s hoping it’s a good absorbing story. (Although honestly, nothing’s going to measure up to Euginides.)

Review: Private

7134202Title: Private (Private #1)

Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Format: Audiobook

Source: Audible freebie

Setting: Los Angeles, present day

“Wouldn’t it be neat if there was a private investigation business that was WAY COOLER than the cops? With a super advanced crime lab that had all the latest stuff? And investigators who could carry big guns and didn’t have to follow all the police regulations? And they worked for all the big clients because they were so cool?”

Well, yeah, I guess that would be neat. Not very believable, but neat. And I would read that.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we had a whole bunch of diverse characters that all have sexy secrets and every one has this like, diverse background that we’ll go into in complete detail, like an Irish secretary who is working on her citizenship? And a quirky scientist guy who does his own forensic exams? And a damaged main character who inherits the whole business from  his criminal dad and has to fight with his EVIL TWIN BROTHER???”

Um, I guess so. Evil twins are kind of over done, but…

“And would wouldn’t it be EVEN BETTER if the crime exposed the rotten underbelly of Hollywood with the mob and prostitutes and drugs and serial killers after school girls and a conspiracy to undermine professional football?”

Wait, how does football fit in to this?

“Wouldn’t you totally read that?”

Not on purpose I wouldn’t.

“Oh, so we’ll just throw it all in there a little at a time, so you’re already hooked on the story and you have to read it to see what happens. Wouldn’t that be super cool?”

Nope.

Frogkisser!

Reader Discovers Enchanting New Audio! Details to Come!

Title: Frogkisser!

Author: Garth Nix

I heard a lot about this one when it came out. It seemed like everyone in YA and MG books was talking about it, and honestly, it sounds hilarious. Young princess has to kiss a frog to disenchant him, but he won’t cooperate. Pretty great premise, right?

Princess Anya is not in love with anyone. She’s too young. But her sister’s true love has been turned into a frog by their step-stepfather and her sister is too much of a drip to save him herself, so Anya steps in to save the prince. Along the way, she’ll meet the Association of Responsible Robbers, a Truly Terrifying Giant, a Druid or two, and the Evil Gray Mist. Royal Dog Ardent accompanies Anya on her Quest, which starts as a simple one – get the ingredients for Disenchanting Lip Balm, kiss the frog, go home – and turns into something much more complicated.

I loved the characters in this one. Anya has a nice little character arc, growing from a girl who only wants to stay in the library and study magic while someone else deals with everything to a leader who faces her problems head on. Anya also meets some great friends. Even Ardent the dog has a solid story line.

This was so much fun on audio. I really recommend the format. But it would also be great to read aloud or turn into a little play for kids at school. It is a little young, but sometimes that’s a fun change.

September is here

I 💘 fall. It’s my favorite time of year. The weather is nice, it’s time to get back to routine, and you can start baking. And it’s perfect reading 📚 time.

So what are you reading? Here’s what I’ve been doing.

Audiobooks

Private by James Patterson – too much going on, too many characters, too much profanity. Not recommended, even though it was free.

Frogkisser by Garth Nix – really enjoying this.

Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix – fun so far, sounds good.

Ebooks

The Case of the Fallen Hero by Alison Golden – new series to me, but I liked it.

The Scent of Rain ☔ by Anne Montgomery – very good, review coming.

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday

This review appeared last year.

Hole in One

by Catherine Aird

mystery

audiobook

Story: The local golf club’s beginners tournament comes to a halt when a competitor discovers a head in the sand trap. Detective CD Sloan has to identify the body, find a killer, and get the tournament moving again so his boss can win that trophy.

Pros: Old-fashioned mystery

Cons: Old-fashioned mystery

I love that this series sticks to the standard detection model of crime-solving – no unrealistically accelerated forensics, no conveniently useful social media, no hidden spycams everywhere. Just interviewing suspects, using some logical deduction. But just as the cops are pretty much 20th century, their attitudes are out of date too. Why are the witnesses repeatedly introduced as “lady golfers?” Why not just golfers? I don’t play golf, so maybe that distinction is still typical of country clubs and private courses. But it was irritating. And what’s with the wives who only join the club so they can keep an eye on their husbands?

I listened to this one yesterday and it was short and enjoyable, but it wasn’t really outstanding. 3.0 stars

Criminal Tales

Title: The Devil & Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness and Obsession

Author: David Gann

Described as “a collection of spellbinding narrative journalism,” this book contains an amazing assortment of stories. From the opening story about the Sherlock Holmes fan who died in real life mysterious circumstances, to the final profile of a truly nasty criminal, this was a compelling read (or rather, listen, as I got the audiobook from my library. It’s not quite up to his book, The Lost City of Z, but it’s quite good. I think what I missed was something to tie all these stories together. These were pieces that appeared in print previously, so maybe there wasn’t really a thread that tied them together, but I think he could have grouped them differently or something. As it was, it was sort of odd. My favorite story was the one about the sandhogs, construction workers building a giant series of tunnels under NYC. Recommended, but not so strongly that you should add it to the top of your list.

The Seven Dials Mystery

Title: The Seven Dials Mystery

Author: Agatha Christie

Themes: adventure, secret criminal organizations, exotic foreign adventuresses, stolen government plans, and plenty more
Setting: Chimneys in England

If you’ve only read Agatha Christie for her mysteries featuring the famous Belgian sleuth or the mild old lady with the mind like a steel trap, then you have missed some thrilling adventure stories. This one is the second one set at the Stately Home of Chimneys in England. The first one, The Secret of Chimneys, takes place four years earlier and involves the missing heir to the throne of a fictional European country, a stolen government contract, the Comrades of the Black Hand or something like that, and a very satisfying love story. This one differs only in the details; the feel is just the same.

Lady Eileen Brent, known to all as Bundle, discovers that a young man of her acquaintance has died in her home. They had let it to a wealthy industrialist, and during a house party, the man had died in his sleep. Now Bundle nearly runs over the dead man’s best friend, who dies of a gunshot wound in her arms, whispering the words, “Tell – Seven Dials – Jimmy Thessinger.” Bundle rushes off to find Jimmy and enlist him in her fight against this evil criminal gang.

Really, really fun. I listened to this one, and I do have a few complaints about the audio version. The reader, whose name I can’t locate, did fine with the voices of most of the major characters, but she had a tendency to make the rest of the young girls screechy and shrill. I didn’t like Superintendent Battle’s accent either. She did a good job at making them all sound different, but she was much too screechy now and then, and the American woman at the very end was just dreadful. No one sounds like that. Ever.

If you want an exciting, clean adventure with some romance and not a lot to slow it down, try the stand alone titles by Agatha Christie. I also love The Man in the Brown Suit, Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?, and They Came to Baghdad. 5 stars for book, 4 for audio.