A Conspiracy of Faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in 2013, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Jussi Adler-Olsen | 6 comments

A Conspiracy of faith by Jussi Adler-OlsenREdemption by Jussi Adler-Olsen

A Conspiracy of Faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Genre: Crime Fiction / Mystery
Series: #3 in the Department Q series
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: 2013 (Originally published 2009)
Pages: 632
Source: e-galley provided by publisher. I also received a copy of the UK Edition titled Disgrace which is why I posted both covers.

The Short Version:
Years after it was was written in blood, a message in a bottle leads the Department Q team in search of the truth.

Why I Read It:
I loved the first book in the series and while I thought the second wandered a bit I’ve been looking forward to continuing to read more.

The Book:
From the Publisher:

Detective Carl Mørck holds in his hands a bottle that contains old and decayed message, written in blood. It is a cry for help from two young brothers, tied and bound in a boathouse by the sea. Could it be real? Who are these boys, and why weren’t they reported missing? Could they possibly still be alive?

Carl’s investigation will force him to cross paths with a woman stuck in a desperate marriage- her husband refuses to tell her where he goes, what he does, how long he will be away. For days on end she waits, and when he returns she must endure his wants, his moods, his threats. But enough is enough. She will find out the truth, no matter the cost to her husband—or to herself.

Carl and his colleagues Assad and Rose must use all of their resources to uncover the horrifying truth.

My Thoughts:
Oh Carl and the rest of his team are back and I love them. Carl is troubled, surly and has a personal life that is even more of a mess than life at work. Assad is still hilarious and mysterious. Assad has secrets and this time we got a couple of more glimpses into his life and possibly his past but they were fleeting. There’s a big reveal coming about Assad. I just know it. Rose was introduced in the last book and I was hoping she’d be back. She definitely is and her story becomes quite interesting in this book. Assad and Rose both annoy the heck out of Carl but together the three of them are like a dysfunctional family but a functional detective team.

The mystery of the message in the bottle is a tough one for the team. Readers quickly know ‘whodunnit’ but the why and how as well as the ‘will they catch the perpetrator’ is what is played out piece by piece.

I was pleased that after a slight sophomore slump with the second book that the series is back to being as good as I thought it was with the first book.

I’m also glad that the series is being translated and released in the UK and US at a faster pace. The fourth book is already out and I plan to read it soon.

I highly recommend this series.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Audiobook – Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters

Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in 2013, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Elizabeth Peters | 3 comments

Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters

Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters

Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: #15 in the Amelia Peabody series publication order, #17 in story chronology order
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2003 Recorded Books (Book originally published 2003)
Length: 15 hours, 10 minutes
Read by: Barbara Rosenblat
Source: Library

The Short Version:
With World War I over the extended Emerson/Peabody clan is all together for the first time in a long time but they’re still in danger.

Why I Read It:
This is one of my favorite series and I’m doing a bit of binge listening even though I know I’m going to be sad when I finish the final two books.

The Book:
From the publisher:

The Great War has ended at last. No longer must archaeologist Amelia Peabody and her husband, Emerson, the distinguished Egyptologist, fear for the life of their daring son, Ramses, now free from his dangerous wartime obligations to British Intelligence. The advent of a season of joy and peace marks a time of new beginnings in Luxor, with delightful additions to the growing Emerson family and fascinating wonders waiting to be discovered beneath the shifting Egyptian sands.

But in the aftermath of conflict, evil still casts a cold shadow over this violence-scarred land. The theft of valuable antiquities from the home of a friend causes great concern in the Emerson household. Ramses’s strange encounter with a woman costumed in the veil and gold crown of a goddess only deepens the mystery. And the brutal death of the suspected thief washes the unsettling affair in blood.

My Thoughts:
Note on series order: I read this one out of publication order because I’m reading the series in order of the story. You can find the chronology here.

I always enjoy an adventure with Amelia Peabody Emerson and her family. I’m down to the last few books in the series and I’m binge listening to them close together and having a wonderful time.

My favorite part about this one was having all the extended family in Egypt and the multiple generations all together for the first time in many books.

With the war over and Ramses done working for Military Intelligence it seems like a peaceful time is ahead for the family but it’s not to be. A kidnapping followed by multiple occurrences of obvious sabotage make it clear that someone is out to get the family and their friends.

Amelia is her usual intrepid and hilarious self and she made me laugh along the way. The way the solution to the mystery played out was both interesting and fun.

Barbara Rosenblat does such a masterful job of voicing a wide variety of characters in this series. She manages to portray a large cast with varying accents and I never lose track of who is speaking.

This continues to be one of my favorite series to experience via audio but you really need to start at the beginning with Crocodile on the Sandbank.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the narration


SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.

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Runaways Vol. 3: The Good Die Young by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

Posted by on Jan 7, 2014 in 2013, 3 stars, Book Review, Brian K Vaughan | 2 comments

Runaways Vol. 3: The Good Die Young by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

Runaways Vol. 3: The Good Die Young by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

Genre: Science Fiction, Superheroes (Graphic Novel)
Series: #3 in the Runaways series
Publisher: Marvel
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 144
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Our teenage heroes determination to take on their evil parents turns deadly.

Why I Read It:
What can I say? I’m hooked on this series.

The Book:
This volume 3 is a compilation of issues 13-18 of the comic series.

From the publisher:

The world as we know it is about to end, and the Runaways are the only hope to prevent it! But if our fledgling teenage heroes are going to succeed, they may have to become just as evil as their villainous parents. The Runaways have learned how their parents’ criminal organization began, and now they must decide how it should END. As the Runaways’ epic battle against their evil parents reaches its shocking conclusion, the team’s mole stands revealed, and blood must be shed. Which kids will still be standing when the smoke finally clears? This is the story that changes everything (seriously!).

My Thoughts:
So much happens in this volume!! As the final volume of the first major story arc it wraps up most of the story lines yet leaves the door open for more to come. I’ll admit I was surprised at the identity of the mole but once it was revealed it made sense and I’d just missed the clues.

The kids are growing on me as they mature and learn to use the skills and abilities that they have. The dialog gets a bit corny now and then but for the most part works well. They’ve become their own non-traditional family in a way and I’m pleased to see them continuing to support each other.

I enjoyed the cameo appearance by Captain America and the nod to Tony Stark late in the book. I’m hoping for more appearances by established Marvel characters.

The artwork is a blend of classic Marvel comics and a bit of Japanese style art. It makes sense given the target young adult audience.

Mostly it’s just a lot of fun and a bit of escapist adventure. They’re quick reads and I’ve got the next two out from the library already.

43 stars Rating 3/5

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Audiobook – The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens

Posted by on Jan 3, 2014 in 2.5 stars, 2013, Audio, Book Review | 6 comments

The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens

The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2013 Audible Inc.
Length: 3 hours, 39 minutes
Read by: Jim Dale
Source: Free Audible download

The Short Version:
A novella often included with Dickens’ Christmas stories is a tale of Victorian home life with a guardian angel and Shakespearean misunderstandings and mistaken idenities.

Why I Read It:
When I got the email from Audible that they were offering this as a free download I considered it. When I saw that it was Jim Dale narrating it I downloaded it.

The Book:
From Google Books:

The Cricket on the Hearth is the third in Charles Dickens’ series of Christmas classics that started with his beloved A Christmas Carol. In this tale the Peerybingle and Plummer families find themselves at odds with crotchety toymaker Mr. Tackleton, who hates children as much as he hates making toys.

My Thoughts:
I have discovered that with older classics I often do better listening to them than reading them. I’d never read this story by Dickens and the fact that Audible was offering it for free just before Christmas worked well for my listening plans. I was close to finishing my last audiobook and something short to listen to during Christmas week was perfect.

The narration by Jim Dale was the thing that made me download it. I could listen to him read me the dictionary.

It’s a light charming and predictable story but that’s exactly what I wanted to listen to this past week. I’m not sure why it’s considered a Christmas story since Christmas is never mentions and the only time indicator puts the story in January but whatever.

It’s a Victorian Shakespearean melodrama complete with an evil villain, a good hearted toymaker, his blind daughter and a few other characters who range from likeable, to unlikeable and downright funny.

It was a good diversion to finish out the year and besides . . . Jim Dale.

2.5 stars Rating 2.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the narration


SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.

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The Drops of God Vol. 3 by Tadashi Agi

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in 2.5 stars, 2013, Book Review, Tadashi Agi | 2 comments

The Drops of God Vol. 3 by Tadashi Agi

The Drops of God Vol. 3 by Tadashi Agi

Genre: Fiction (Graphic Novel)
Publisher: Vertical
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 402
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Two rivals continue their competition to determine who will inherit their father’s estate by searching out twelve outstanding wines.

Why I Read It:
I loved the first volume of this series and while the second was still excellent it left me wondering whether the third in the series would be able to continue the level of the first one.

The Book:
From the publisher:

The hunt is on! Shizuku and his adopted brother Issei have both selected their choices for the First Great Wine Apostle. Now they have to actually acquire these wines. Crossing the globe to meet with the winemakers and critics that know these casts inside and out. But will either one of these two know why Yutaka Kanzaki selected the winning wine? The message behind it may shatter the conscious of at least one challenger, for there is more to wine appreciation than just wine value. There are messages attached to these heaven sent wines. Shizuku’s father selected them to help bring his family closer together through wine, even if it meant having to do so while he was no longer on this plane. The blood and wine will continue to flow, but who will appreciate it the most in the end?

My Thoughts:
The first book in this series was my introduction to Japanese Manga. It surprised me how much I liked it and how much I actually learned about wine and wine tasting. The second volume was still good but it left me wondering how things would progress with the series. My concern was whether the pace of the series would pick up or not,

Now that I’ve read the third volume I have my answer. Unfortunately that answer is “No”.

The long term story of this series is finding and identifying and finding twelve amazing bottles of wine. Here we are in volume three and only one of twelve has been identified. The other problem I’m having is that the side stories are becoming repetitive. I loved the first book. I liked the second book but I think the third book will be the last in this series for me.

My vote is read the first one and call it done.

2.5 stars Rating 2.5/5

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Fables Vol. 8: Wolves by Bill Willingham et al.

Posted by on Dec 13, 2013 in 2013, 4.5 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Graphic Novel, Mark Buckingham | 3 comments

Fables Vol. 8: Wolves by Bill Willingham et al.

Fables Vol. 8: Wolves by Bill Willingham et al.

Genre: Fantasy (Graphic Novel)
Series: #8 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 159
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Bigby Wolf returns then leaves on a secret mission that may ensure the safety of Fabletown and he’s not the only one on a secret mission.

Why I Read It:
I love this series and have since the very first volume. I’ve got The Hubster reading them along with me while I’ve got them out from the library. I’d speed through them much faster but I try to pace them out so he can read them too and we can stay at the same point in the series.

The Book:
This volume 8 is a compilation of issue 48-51 of the comic series.

Spoilers for previous books in the series are inevitable so be warned if you haven’t read this far in the series.

From the publisher:

Into the Woods

The community of Fables living undercover in our midst has endured plenty of suffering at the hands of their longtime antagonist, the Adversary. Now it’s time to return the favor and put the would-be conqueror on notice that the cost of subjugating this last stronghold of independent magic will be higher than even he can bear. The one Fable who can accomplish this mission, however, has hidden himself away in the wild and will take some convincing if he can even be found. Luckily for Fabletown, there’s something more than a trip behind enemy lines awaiting Bigby Wolf’s return.

My Thoughts:
Yay! Bigby’s back! I’ve missed him in the past few volumes because I think (at this point at least) he’s my favorite character in Fables.

In the previous volume Mowgli was sent on a mission by Prince Charming to find Bigby Wolf and bring him home. It takes some doing but Mowgli succeeds. Bigby is immediately sent on a secret mission to the Cloud Kingdoms to enlist some help in finding where the Adversary is so that he can deliver a message from the Fables in New York.

I loved this volume. There was plenty of action both with Mowgli and Bigby. Catching up with Snow White and the cubs as they are growing up was fun. That helped put a time perspective on how long Bibgy has been gone. The big payoff I’ve been waiting for finally happened and it was wonderful.

Cinderella cracks me up! She was revealed as a spy for the New York Fables in an earlier volume and she is a big part of the story in this one. The final section features her in her diplomat role (which she hates) but she manages to get the job done (as I knew she would) with skill and a lot of humor. That section was drawn by Shawn McManus and while his artwork is clearly different from that of Mark Buckingham who drew the rest of this volume it manages to still have the same feel so there’s really not a break in continuity.

Several storylines came to either conclusions or points where they can comfortably hold. This sets this volume up as a major break in the story. Next up is a standalone volume and then a spin-off series with the exiled Jack picks up. Eventually that joins back up with the main Fables books so I’ll be switching back and forth between Fables and the Jack series for a bit.

A special add on to this volume was something I found quite interesting. It’s Bill Willingham’s script for the main story and it was fascinating to read through. It includes the dialog, and directions to the artists of what he has in mind so it’s a peek into the middle of the creative process between the writer and the artists. I loved reading it.

If you’re reading Fables, you’ll love this one, If you haven’t started Fables pick up Volume 1: Legends in Exile. Trust me on this.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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