What Summer Reading?

Every year for the last maybe 15 years I’ve participated in my library’s summer reading program. When the kids were little it was a great way for them to earn free prizes and keep them occupied when they were out of school. There were even fun prizes for the adults, from free t-shirts to books, candy, and free meals.

This year is the first time I didn’t participate. I signed up all right, but I didn’t finish a single book review. I don’t know what happened. It’s tempting to blame it all on depression, but I’m not aware of being more depressed than say, the year my dad died. It just seems like I haven’t been interested in reading lately.

Things are looking up slightly. I’ve finished a couple of books recently and I’m really enjoying this  month’s book club pick. I don’t know. Let’s hope it was just a fluke and I can enjoy a good book again.

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Reading Goals

How are all of you coming along with your reading goals for this year? I didn’t have a lot of goals, exactly, but I had my GoodReads goal of 250 books this year. So far I’m at 139 finished (and it includes books I DNF). That puts me at 56% of my goal already.

Now of my books I was hoping to get to this year. I’m not doing so great at reading the books off my shelves. I keep getting distracted by new releases, books from the library, even new purchases. I need to do better at that. I have gotten rid of some books, though, and I have a few more I need to find a new home for.

I also made some progress on the book video front! We finished filming the video – I won’t tell you what book it is but it’s a YA western – but we’re still editing it. It’s not perfect, but I’m pretty happy with it so far, as a first try.

As far as writing goes, I have barely started a new book and I am not doing so well at keeping up with my writing goals. I need to carve out more time on the computer to actually work on my book.

What about you? How are your reading goals for 2018 coming along?

 

What Are You Reading?

Hey bookies! I’m back from a little break and I thought I’d check in and let you know what I’m reading.

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First up is a book I got for Christmas called The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions by David Quammen. I’ve read one of his books before and I really liked his writing. It might sound a little dry, but if you like nature programs or travel adventures, you’d love this. I just finished A section on Komodo dragons and it was fascinating stuff.

I’m also reading The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. This one is for book club and I can definitely say it is not one I would have picked up on my own. It seems like it was written for book clubs, where there’s a lot of vaguely unhappy characters (all White, of course) who don’t do much of anything. Not enjoying it at all.

I hope that you are enjoying your books!

Book Haul

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I love new books! 💓💖💕💟💞 Nothing like nice new books to make you to get all the books you are supposed to be reading, right? I am working on a Net Galley book right now, but that didn’t stop me from getting a few new ones for myself.

A Dead Liberty by Catherine Aird. I have mentioned this author before. She writes dry little English police mysteries that I really love. Her older books have been out of print for a while, but they are available now on Kindle so I’m slowly buying the backlist. This one is about a woman who may have poisoned her lover, but the police can’t get her to talk.

The Clever Woman of the Family by Charlotte Yonge. This was described as an early feminist satire on marriage and courtship. I don’t know much more about it, but this edition was free, so I thought it was worth looking at.

Trespassing by Brandi Reeds. This was my Kindle First pick of the month. Some of those have been great, some not so much. This book sounds like a creepy domestic thriller. I’m not totally sold on it, but it appealed to me more than the other choices, so we’ll see.

Beasts and Queens by Suzanne Roundtree. I follow this author on Twitter, so when she shared this collection of fairy tale retellings I was interested. The settings are all different, but they sound really good.

I know these are not the super popular books everyone is reading, but maybe some  of them will appeal to you too! What have you bought recently?

 

Touch – a Review

Touch by Claire North

Kepler had never meant to die this way — viciously beaten to death by a stinking vagrant in a dark back alley. But when reaching out to the murderer for salvation in those last dying moments, a sudden switch takes place.

Now Kepler is looking out through the eyes of the killer himself, staring down at a broken and ruined body lying in the dirt of the alley.

Instead of dying, Kepler has gained the ability to roam from one body to another, to jump into another person’s skin and see through their eyes, live their life — be it for a few minutes, a few months or a lifetime.

Kepler means these host bodies no harm — and even comes to cherish them intimately like lovers. But when one host, Josephine Cebula, is brutally assassinated, Kepler embarks on a mission to seek the truth — and avenge Josephine’s death.

This book is a case of where the idea 💡 was better than the execution. First of all, if I hadn’t read the synopsis, I might have enjoyed the slow reveal a little more. As it was, the description doesn’t really match the spirit of the book, IMO.

As it was, I wish there had been more time in each “skin” before jumping into the plot. I liked the idea a lot, but the ending fell flat for me. I will admit that I found myself thinking about the book for a long time, wondering what I would have done differently

Review: Ollie, Ollie, in come free

Ollie Ollie in Come Free: A Memoir of Swallowed Time

In the 1950’s and 60’s families are expected to deal with death privately and silently. This is no different for the Bernards, a large Catholic family that tries to rebuild after the loss of their three oldest children. Yet the deaths haunt the author’s emotional development into adulthood with a subtle force she can only uncover in psychoanalysis while mothering her own young children.

Ollie Ollie In Come Free is an immersion in the secrets of a young girl’s inner life and unexpressed grief. Brimming with memories of Midwestern childhood during an era of social upheaval, it offers moving insights into Anne Bernard Becker’s personal healing journey as well as universal themes of loss and growth.

My Review 
I was given this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinion remains my own.

This is a very personal, and at times difficult, book to read. Anyone who has experienced loss knows how deep the pain can go, how unexpectedly it will resurface. The author lost three of her siblings in childhood only to lose more of her own children as a mother.
The rather fluid approach to storytelling seemed to work well, showing how her grief kept her anchored in the past even while raising her own children. Thanks for the chance to read it.

Must Read!

I just finished the BEST audio book – It’s called Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz.

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Gregg Hurwitz writes these great thriller than always have me on the edge of my seat. They’re one of my secret pleasure from the library, secret because I get one and hide up in my room and read it like crazy until I get to end. Just don’t even talk to me until I’m done, because they’re that good.

Usually his books are stand alone, which I like because I can read them in any order, based on when the library has them, and I don’t have to remember the character names or whatever. I just know the suspense all has to wrap up in one book, which makes it more intense. But then I heard he had a series, and I had to check it out.

Synopsis:

Who is Orphan X?

The Nowhere Man is a legendary figure spoken about only in whispers. It’s said that when he’s reached by the truly desperate and deserving, the Nowhere Man can and will do anything to protect and save them. But he’s not merely a legend.

“Excellent…A smart, stylish, state-of-the-art thriller…might give Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books a run for their money.”—The Washington Post

Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as an Orphan, an off-the-books black box program designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence asset: An assassin. Evan was Orphan X—until he broke with the program and used everything he learned to disappear. But now someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training who will exploit Evan’s secret new identity as the Nowhere Man to eliminate him.

 

My review:

What a great ride! It reminded me a little of Alias, a little of the movie Salt. Evan is the Nowhere Man, and if you’re in real trouble, desperate trouble, he’s the best friend you could have. I love Evan as a character, and I love the way Hurwitz takes the time to develop who he is at the beginning of the book, and then show us how he got there and how he changes. I know you don’t read thriller for character development, but I think that’s what shows a great writer.

I got this one on audio, like I said, and I think that’s totally the way to go. I’m already planning to download the next one. I don’t want to give away too much, but the description of the second book already has me wondering how Evan is going to get out of this mess. If you like edge of your seat books, pick this one soon.

January Recap

It’s been a crazy month for reading 📚! I’ve really been glued to a book all the time and my page count really shows it. Brandon Sanderson is in the lead with the highest page count. Most books by one author would go to Lindsay Buroker with 5. Genre would probably be fantasy or science fiction, although I’ve read some really good thrillers this month.

Cold cases – On The Shelf Too Long

1.A Man of Means by PG Wodehouse*
2. The Raphael Affair by Iain Pears *
3. The Boy on the Bridge by M. R Carey * – Net Galley
4. Quiet Meg by Sherry Lynn Ferguson

Repeat offenders – Rereads

1. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, on audio *
2. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson *
3. The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling *
4. Solstice Day Gifts by Lindsay Buroker *
5. The Thief by Clive Cuddler and Justin Scott

SERIALS – books in a series

1. The Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson*
2. Forged in Blood I by Lindsay Buroker*
3. Forged in Blood II by Lindsay Buroker*
4. Star Nomad by Lindsay Buroker*
5. Honor’s Flight by Lindsay Buroker*
6. Sign Off by Patricia McLinn
7. The Naming by Alison Croggon

ISOLATED OCCURRENCE – stand alone book titles

1. The Shape-Changer’s Wife by Sharon Shinn *
2. Magpie Murders by Antony Horowitz
3. The Accident by Linwood Barclay
4. They’re Watching by Greg Hurwitz

MINOR INFRACTION – YA and Children’s books

1. The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by EL Konigsburg *
2. Missing – Armstrong by Kelley Armstrong
3. Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens
4. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS – non-fiction

1. Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell – audio – Also counting for BingoDog
2. Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar – audio

My least favorite book was probably The Naming. Just too much exposition, too predictable. My favorite would be one of the Brandon Sanderson books, but I can’t decide which one. Altogether a really good month!

Reread: The Eyre Affair

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I have no idea how to describe this book. It’s really weird. It’s definitely not for everyone. There are those who just love it and those who don’t get it at all. I think if you like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you would probably like this one, but not because they are anything alike. They’re just both really weird.

Synopsis:

Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. Baconians are trying to convince the world that Francis Bacon really wrote Shakespeare, there are riots between the Surrealists and Impressionists, and thousands of men are named John Milton, an homage to the real Milton and a very confusing situation for the police. Amidst all this, Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted Man In the World, steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! But that’s just a prelude . . .

Things get much stranger after that. Only LiteraTec SpecOp Thursday Next has the training and the knowledge to track down Acheron Hades and save literature. She’s got some strange hidden skills and a unique family pedigree that can help with this. In the meantime, her return to her home town has caused her to cross paths with her former fiance, her some what half daft brother, a group of John Miltons, and a werewolf-hunting operative who calls himself Spike. This is NOTHING like anything you’ve ever read before.

I love these books. I read the whole series, at one point, then put them up. Now I find that the writer has released new books, so I’m going back to start at the beginning and I can’t wait! I think the next book, Lost in a Good Book, is my favorite in the series.