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.

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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.

Book Blitz! The Shadow Girl

shadow girl

OK, I know you don’t *really* need to grow your TBR piles – let’s face it, it grows all my itself when you’re not looking – but a friend told me about this book and it sounds like something I would enjoy. It came out in December and I’m hoping to get my hands on it sometime soon.

Book description:

Shy, thirteen-year-old Zylia has always known she was different. Most teenagers feel unnoticed and unseen, but for Zylia, it’s something much worse. She’s disappearing from this world and doesn’t know how to stop it. At times, she’s not sure she wants to. Until she stumbles across a family mystery surrounding the disappearance of her great-aunt Angelica years earlier. During her quest to unravel the mystery, Zylia discovers she’s able to cross the boundary and enter the “in between” world. Now, it’s up to Zylia to save herself before she’s trapped “in between” forever.

Reaction:

It was a while since I was a teenager, but I remember feeling like I was the one in a crowd that everyone forgot about. So I really identify with that feeling of disappearing. I’m intrigued by the idea that it could actually happen.

Quotes:

“I have always known that I am invisible—I had no idea that eventually I would fade away completely.”

“Blackness. Nothingness. It was in the shape of a giant, hazy shadow, enveloping me, swallowing me, and digesting me into the unknown. It was my biggest fear and my ultimate fate.”

“As the freezing rain hit me, I could feel the stares…smoldering on my skin. I longed for invisibility. At times like this, the very curse that plagued me was also my protection.”

“…in school I felt more undetectable than ever. I walked through the crowded hallways like a human pinball, careening off one person and bouncing into another.”

 

High school – yikes! Sure, there were times I wanted to disappear, like when I knew my face was all broken up or the time I vomited in the hall. That was super fun. But this sounds Next Level.

If it sounds like something you would also enjoy, there’s a link here to a giveaway to win one of 2 copies:
Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f26/?

If you want to just go ahead and check it out, the book can be found here:

Purchase Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078PQ9FPN
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-shadow-girl-misty-mount/1127748175?ean=9780997939569
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/773764

Hosted by Shenannigans at Reads & Reels.

r & r

Tour Organized By:

http://www.rrbooktours.com

How was your weekend?

Hey bookies! Hope your weekend was great. We finally got some snow, so it was perfect weather to snuggle up with a good book and get some reading done. I finished –

The Hidden Oracle (Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan – loved Apollo, but I felt the book dragged a little to predictably

The Boy on the Bridge by M R Carey. Slow, slow, slow start, but the epilogue was so good.

Quiet Meg by Sherry Lynn Ferguson. Regency romance with an untraditional hero and a stalker villain.

They’re Watching by Greg Hurwitz. Somewhat implausible, but gripping supsense.

Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobin. Really solid story of the Chilean mine disaster.

 

So I guess you can tell I did nothing but read! Actually I played cards with my husband and did a few other things around the house, made it to church. But mostly I read. Great weekend.

Mini Reviews!

I’ve been reading a lot lately but I haven’t been able to keep up the reviews on here. I thought I would do some short reviews and bundle a bunch of them together so you can see what I’ve been up to.

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Murder among friends

The Accident by Linwood Barclay centers around a man whose wife dies in a drunk driving accident. He can’t believe that she would have gotten behind the wheel in that state, but her death starts him asking questions that trigger a rash of violence all around him. I really like this writer – what a page turner!

Short stories

I found The Man Who Would Be King at the thrift store for a dollar. I love Rudyard Kipling, so this little collection of 5 of his best stories was just what I needed. If you can find such a collection (and I think some of them are free on Kindle) this is a great place to start. I loved Kim and Jungle Stories too.

Nonfiction Audio

After finishing my book for book club, I was looking for another good book to listen to from my library. I decided on Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell. It’s the first book I’ve read by her and I enjoyed it. This one is about the history of Hawaii, a state with such a rich and interesting heritage that I feel she barely scratched the surface. She has a rather annoying voice though, so I think I’d read it instead of listen.

Other News

We did have to say goodbye to Tina and it was just as heartbreaking as we thought it would be. She was feisty right up to the last, but went right off to sleep in the end. It sort of broke my heart today to come home to all the signs she left around the house, to be cooking dinner and not have her under foot demanding her fair share. We still have Rosie, but to go from 3 cats to one in just eight months is such a shock. We had Tina for 15 years and Spooky for 12. It’s not easy to say goodbye.

 

Review: The Raphael Affair

Title: The Raphael Affair

Author: Iain Pears

Setting: Mostly Rome, Italy 1990s

Source: Off the shelf

“English art scholar Jonathan Argyll was amazed to find himself arrested for vagrancy-while searching for a long-lost Raphael in a tiny Roman church. Although General Bottando of the Italian National Art Theft Squad has little confidence in Jonathan’s theories, Bottando’s lovely assistant, Flavia di Stefano, is intrigued by the idea of a lost classic, and by Jonathan himself. But in the midst of the painting’s discovery and the resultant worldwide publicity, a new chain of events is set into action. First vandalism, then murder, surround the painting. And as new facts about its true nature emerge, Bottando sends Flavia and Jonathan to investigate–little knowing that the pair will be on the run for the truth… and for their very lives.”

Review

I have read other books 📚 by this author and really enjoyed them (An Instance of the Fingerpost and The Portrait) so I had high hopes for this one. Sadly, it was a little bit of a mess. So many characters to keep straight , 3 POV and no visual way to tell them apart and some sense description that could have been incorporated into the story much better. I didn’t really like it dislike the characters either. I did enjoy the setting though. I don’t know much about art, but I like reading about it. I can’t decide if I’m going to try another book on this series or not. Maybe if I find one I will, but I don’t think I’ll look for them. Darn.

Review: The Shape-Changer’s Wife

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Title: The Shape-Changer’s Wife

Author: Sharon Shinn

Genre: Fantasy

How I got this book: Found it in a thrift store

“From the national bestselling author of The Samaria Trilogy…this is the novel that launched Sharon Shinn’s career and inspired Peter S. Beagle to call her “the most original writer of fantasy since Robin McKinley.”

Aubrey was a student of the fine art of wizardry. But the more knowledge he acquired, the more he wanted to learn. He traveled in search of the greatest master of all, the gifted shape-changer Glyrenden. From him, Aubrey expected to discover the secret of long-lost spells and the mysteries of arcane magic.

But there was one discovery he never expected, a mystery he risked every thing to solve. Her name was Lilith…”

Review:

I’m so glad I found this book! I’ve read some short stories by Sharon Shinn, so when I found this book at the thrift store, I picked it up. The premise really intrigued me.

This is one that I don’t want to spoil, but I found it completely captivating. Our young Aubrey is very talent at magic, but he has much to learn about people. He wants to learn the magic of transformation, and there’s no better wizard at that than Glyrenden. Aubrey is prepared to work hard and study, he’s even prepared for a few personality quirks on the wizard’s behalf. He’s not prepared for the strange household or the way the town people hate them.

This is the author’s first book, but it’s still in print and available on the Kindle. If you like fantasy, especially the work of Peter S. Beagle, I would definitely recommend this one. It’s a stand alone title and it’s not very long, but it’s just charming.

Firethorn Chronicles

I’ve been really lucky with the fairy tale retellings – most of them have been very good, a couple have been great. But luck doesn’t last forever. I just read a couple that were disappointing.

The Firethorn Chronicles by Lea Doue are set in a land with dragons and sorcery. Sounds promising, right? Here’s what the description says:

“The Firethorn Crown, a re-imagining of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” is the first in the Firethorn Chronicles, a series of stand-alone novels inspired by fairy tales and other stories. Follow the sisters on their adventures in a land where sorcery is feared, women can rule, and dragons fly.”

The dragons that I encountered in the two books I read ranged from the size of a bird to large stone dragons. Both cool, but not exactly impressive. That’s kind of where I am with these books. The first is a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses. Princess Lily is the oldest and for some strange reason, her mom is intent on announcing her engagement as soon as the king goes out of town. That’s never really explained either. There’s several suitors, a bunch of sisters, and an evil-ish sorcery type guy who places a curse on Lily.

You can tell how much I liked it it, right? It just didn’t make as much sense as it should have, but I thought that maybe I had just been in the wrong mood and I should give the author another chance. I did like the dragons. So I tried the next book, The Midsummer Captives. This one was based loosely on A Midsummer’s Night Dream and brought back the same evil-ish sorcerer. This time it’s Princess Gwen who gets tangled up in events and is trapped by the stone dragons I mentioned earlier. But the plot is just as confusing and if the antagonist is better characterized, there’s not enough description of anyone else to make them stand out. I won’t be reading more by this author.