Weekend Update – The Bookish Nostalgia September 2016 Edition

Posted by on Sep 25, 2016 in Blogging/Reading, Bookish Nostalgia, Weekend Update | 1 comment

Weekend Update

Bookish Nostalgia September 2016

I totally stole this idea from Kay at Kay’s Reading Life. Every month she looks back in her reading records to see what she was reading this month in past years. I decided that would be fun even though my reading spreadsheet doesn’t go back as far as Kay’s records do.

Bookish Nostalgia

I’ve only been tracking my reading since October 2003 but it’s still fun to take a look back occasionally. Anything before mid-2006 hasn’t been on my blog and some of those old reviews are frankly a little embarrassing at this point. I’ll link to my full reviews when I think are worth reading.

Sometimes my reaction is “I can’t believe I read that” and other times it’s “Oh I remember where I was when I read that one”. and occasionally it’s “I really want to read that again.”

2004:
The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
This was an excellent historical fiction book. I have the sequel but haven’t read it.

2005:
Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
This was the book that inspired the Dexter TV series. It was wonderfully dark and twisted.

2006:
I finished up my alphabetical by author reading project.
Sky Burial by Xinran – this was a surprisingly good story.
Untimely Death by Fred and Jan Yager – this one was a huge disappointment.
Second Hand by Michael Zadoorian – was a real find. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Once I finished my alphabetical by author project I read one of my favorite book of all time
One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash is just an excellent book. If you haven’t read it, you should

2007:
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury – I read this for the RIP challenge. It was a wonderfully spooky coming of age story.

2008:
The War of the Worlds by H.G Wells – I finally read this classic and it was just excellent.

 

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood – Audio Edition

Posted by on Sep 23, 2016 in 2016, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Kerry Greenwood | 1 comment

The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood narrated by Stephanie Daniel
The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood, Narrated by Stephanie Daniel

Genre: Crime Fiction
Series: #5 in the Phryne Fisher series
Publisher: Bolinda Audio
Publication Date: 1993 for the book, 2010 for this audio edition
Length: 6 hours, 19 minutes
Read by: Stephanie Daniel
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Phryne Fisher is doing one of her favorite things -dancing at the Green Mill (Melbourne’s premier dance hall) to the music of Tintagel Stone’s Jazzmakers, the band who taught St Vitus how to dance. And she’s wearing a sparkling lobelia-coloured georgette dress. Nothing can flap the unflappable Phryne – especially on a dance floor with so many delectable partners. Nothing except death, that is. The dance competition is trailing into its last hours when suddenly, in the middle of “Bye Bye Blackbird” a figure slumps to the ground. No shot was heard. Phryne, conscious of how narrowly the missile missed her own bare shoulder, back, and dress, investigates. This leads her into the dark smoky jazz clubs of Fitzroy, into the arms of eloquent strangers, and finally into the sky, as she follows a complicated family tragedy of the great War and the damaged men who came back from ANZAC cove. Phryne flies her Gypsy Moth Rigel into the Australian Alps, where she meets a hermit with a dog called Lucky and a wombat living under his bunk….and risks her life on the love between brothers.

My Thoughts:
Phryne Fisher is quite unconventional for a private investigator in 1920’s Australia and she’s just a whole lot of fun. She’s wealthy enough to not care what people think of her and to be particular about the cases she takes.

This one was fun. It begins with a dance marathon that ends in a murder. Phryne is soon on a double missing persons case. One of the men was her partner at the dance club and the other is his long missing brother.

I was glad to have Phryne need to do some flying again. Her solo flight to the Australian Alps was a great part of the book. The murder mystery is more of a side story because the majority of the book involves her search for a shell shocked former soldier who does not want to be found.

The books are fairly short and they are fun break between longer or heavier books. Australia in the 1920’s is an interesting time and place.

I really enjoy Stephanie Daniel’s narration. She’s easy to listen to and her voice characterizations are distinct and consistent. She’s even called upon to do some singing in this book.

One of these days I’m going to watch the television series.

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the narration

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Chew Vol. 6: Space Cakes by John Layman

Posted by on Sep 20, 2016 in 2016, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Comics, John Layman | 0 comments

Chew Vol. 6: Space Cakes by John LaymanChew Vol. 5: Major League Chew by John Layman with art by Rob Guillory

Genre: Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #6 in the Chew series
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 156
Source: Library

*Note – this is volume 6 so spoilers for previous volumes are inevitable

The Book:
This volume 6 is a compilation of issues 23-30 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

While Tony Chu – the cibopathic federal agent with the ability to get psychic impressions from what he eats – clings to life in a hospital ICU, his twin sister Toni steps up to take center stage. Toni is cibovoyant, able to see the future of anything she eats, and, lately, she’s seeing some pretty terrible things.

My Thoughts:
This series is weird, disturbing, violent and absolutely hilarious. It’s incredibly difficult to talk about without sounding completely off my rocker. But then again, several characters in this series may be completely off their rockers.

The focus in this new storyline shift from Tony to his sister Toni. Her ability to see the future of anything she eats makes for some interesting dates. One way to find out if the relationship has a future is to take a bite out of your date.

See. I told you this was weird. And funny. A little bit gross. But still funny.

The artwork by Rob Guillory is colorful and fun and manages to present some pretty bizarre and violent stuff in a way that isn’t completely gross. There is plenty of funny stuff in the background of the main action.

The final issue is a one shot featuring the cyborg, martial artist . . . chicken, Secret Agent Poyo.

I know it sounds a bit disgusting but I definitely encourage you to give this series a try.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Weekend Update – The Five Books I Want to Read Fall 2016 Edition

Posted by on Sep 18, 2016 in Blogging/Reading, Fun, Weekend Update | 6 comments

Five Books I Want to Read Fall 2016

The Five Books I Want to Read Fall 2016 Edition

I’ve been doing this seasonal list of Top Books I’d Like to Get To for a while now and this is the third time in a row I’ve read or started all of the books I picked.

For Summer I picked 5 books and read four and have started the fifth. Yay me!

Back in June when I picked my Summer possibilities that I wanted to read before the Autumnal Equinox. I once again tied this in with my goal to Read My Own Damn Books in 2016 and choose books that were already on my shelves, ereader or audiobook library

The four I finished are:

Room by Emma Donohue – I bought this back when it seemed like everyone I knew was reading it. I’m glad I finally read it and now I understand why it got all the buzz it did. I might need to watch the movie adaptation now.

Hexes and Hemlines by Juliet Blackwell – This was one from my audiobook files. It’s the third book in Blackwell’s Witchcraft Mystery series. The audio editions read by Xe Sands are very good. I was happy to back to this series which features the proprietress of a vintage clothing store in San Francisco who just happens to be a witch.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson – I enjoy Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) and I listened to her first book andhad preordered this second one. I finally listened to it and enjoyed it quite a bit.

In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides – This was just excellent nonfiction. It’s about an expedition to get to the North Pole beginning in 1879. The ship spent two years locked in the drifting ice pack before finally sinking and leaving the crew with no option but to make their way across the ice and try to get to Siberia.

The one I haven’t finished yet:

The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig – I had heard good things about this author’s work. I’m not sure exactly why I picked this one of his to read first but it really doesn’t matter. I’m enjoying it quite a bit and hope to finish it up this week. I don’t know whether or not I’ll finish it before the official end of summer or not.

Thursday is the Autumnal Equinox so it’s time to move on and pick my Winter possibilities that I want to read before the on December 21st. Once again I am tying this in with my goal to Read My Own Damn Books in 2016 and choosing mostly books that are already on my shelves, ereader, or audiobook files.

The Five Books I Want to Read This Fall

A Gentleman's Game by Greg Rucka

A Gentleman’s Game by Greg Rucka

A Gentleman’s Game by Greg Rucka – This is a novel related to Rucka’s Queen and Country comic series. This isn’t one from my shelves but I have now checked it out from the library twice and I’m determined not to return it unread a second time.

The Founding by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

The Founding by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

The Founding by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles – This one will actually be a reread. This is the first in a ridiculously long family saga series. I read it several years ago and liked it a lot. I bought the second in the series shortly afterward. Since it’s been so long I want to reread this one before I read the second.

The Likeness by Tana French

The Likeness by Tana French

The Likeness by Tana French – This is yet another second in a series book that has languished on my shelves for years. I finally figured out that I kept putting it off because the print in my copy is too small for me to read comfortably. I now have the ebook which will be much friendlier to my eyes.

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson – The first two books in this Shades of London series for a long time and read the first earlier this year. I don’t want to let this one be another one of those second in a series books that I read years after the first.

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Girl Waits With Gun – This one was on my Fall list a year ago but I never got around to reading it. This time I hope it’ll be different.

What books are you looking forward to reading in the next few months?

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides

Posted by on Sep 16, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Book Review | 1 comment

In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides
In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Hardcover and ebook
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 454
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

On July 8, 1879, Captain George Washington De Long and his team of thirty-two men set sail from San Francisco on the USS Jeanette.

Heading deep into uncharted Arctic waters, they carried the aspirations of a young country burning to be the first nation to reach the North Pole. Two years into the harrowing voyage, the Jeannette’s hull was breached by an impassable stretch of pack ice, forcing the crew to abandon ship amid torrents of rushing of water. Hours later, the ship had sunk below the surface, marooning the men a thousand miles north of Siberia, where they faced a terrifying march with minimal supplies across the endless ice pack.

Enduring everything from snow blindness and polar bears to ferocious storms and labyrinths of ice, the crew battled madness and starvation as they struggled desperately to survive. With thrilling twists and turns, In The Kingdom of Ice is a spellbinding tale of heroism and determination in the most brutal place on Earth.

My Thoughts:
I hadn’t heard about the expedition of the USS Jeannette and her crew before this book. I’m not sure why because it’s a fascinating story. This book is excellent and I will absolutely be getting my hands on more of Hampton Sides work.

This is my favorite kind of non-fiction. It’s engaging and entertaining while at the same time providing a ridiculous amount of information. Since I hadn’t read about the expedition and didn’t know who of the crew survived it was like reading suspense fiction.

The North Pole. The top of the world. The acme, the apogee, the apex. It was a magnetic region but also a magnetic idea. It loomed as a public fixation and a planetary enigma—as alluring and unknown as the surface of Venus or Mars. The North Pole was both a physical place and a geographer’s abstraction, a pinpointable location where curved lines met on the map. It was a spot on the globe where, if you could stand there, any direction you headed in would be, by definition, south. It was a place of perpetual darkness for one half of the year and perpetual sunlight for the other. There, in a sense, chronology stood still, for at the pole all the time zones of the world converged.

The big difference is that this story is not fiction. Aiming for the North Pole the ship became lodged in the ever moving polar ice. They drifted in that ice for nearly two years. Then the ship was crushed by the ice andsank. They dragged themselves and their remaining supplies and three small boats across the ice pack toward Siberia.

The courage and endurance of these men was phenomenal.

I was also fascinated with the theories of what the North Pole was like before anyone had really tried to reach it. Some thought the polar ice cap was just a ring of ice around a tropical sea at the pole.

I learned a lot from this book and I highly recommend it. I will be forcing encouraging The Hubster to read it soon.

4.5 starsRating 4.5/5 stars

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