Imitation in Death by J.D. Robb – Audio Edition

Posted by on Jun 23, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, JD Robb | 0 comments

Imitation in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan EricksenImitation in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan Ericksen

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #17 in the In Death series
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: 2003
Length: 14 hours, 14 minutes
Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Summer, 2059. A man wearing a cape and a top hat approaches a prostitute on a dark, New York City street. Minutes later, the woman is dead. Left at the scene is a letter addressed to Lieutenant Eve Dallas, inviting her to play his game and unveil his identity. He signs it, ‘Jack.’

Now Dallas is in pursuit of a murderer who knows as much about the history of serial killers as she does. He has studied the most notorious and the most vicious slayings in modern times. But he also wants to make his own mark. He has chosen his victim: Eve Dallas. And all Eve knows is that he plans to mimic the most infamous murderers of all — starting with Jack the Ripper…

My Thoughts:
This series has long been a guilty pleasure of mine. The mix of police procedural, romance and just slightly in the future science fiction elements is a lot of fun.

When I read the previous book in the series it was the first one I’d listened to instead of reading. I will not go back to print for this series. Susan Ericksen is an excellent narrator. Her accents and voice characterizations for the regular characters match perfectly with what my brain created when I read the print editions.

The mystery in this one was interesting and the investigation kept me guessing.

My favorite supporting character in this series is Eve’s aide Peabody. She cracks me up. In this book she’s nervously studying and preparing for her detective’s exam. The utterly predictable outcome had me a little teary with joy.

 

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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Secret Path by Gord Downie

Posted by on Jun 22, 2017 in 2017, 5 stars, Book Review, Graphic Novel, Jeff Lemire | 0 comments

Secret Path by Gord Downie with art by Jeff LemireSecret Path by Gord Downie with art by Jeff Lemire

Genre: History
Format: Music plus graphic novel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 96
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Secret Path is a ten song digital download album by Gord Downie with a graphic novel by illustrator Jeff Lemire that tells the story of Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, a twelve-year-old boy who died in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School fifty years ago.

Chanie, misnamed Charlie by his teachers, was a young boy who died on October 22, 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School to return home. Chanie’s home was 400 miles away. He didn’t know that. He didn’t know where it was, nor how to find it, but, like so many kids—more than anyone will be able to imagine—he tried.

Chanie’s story is Canada’s story. We are not the country we thought we were. History will be re-written. We are all accountable. Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history—the long suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the residential school system—with the hope of starting our country on a road to reconciliation. Every year as we remember Chanie Wenjack, the hope for Secret Path is that it educates all Canadians young and old on this omitted part of our history, urging our entire nation to play an active role in the preservation of Indigenous lives and culture in Canada.

My Thoughts:
I heard about this book and music in my LibraryThing group. I was immediately interested because Jeff Lemire did the artwork and as you know he’s one of my favorites. It wasn’t readily available but I was able to get a copy throuth interlibrary loan.

This is much more than the graphic novel. The music is an integral part of Chanie’s story. The only text in the graphic novel is the lyrics to the songs by Downie.

Secret Path Screenshot

After reading the book I watched the animated film that was created from Downie’s music and Lemire’s art. It’s about an hour long but in my opinion the best way to experience this story.

In all of it’s formats Chanie Wenjack’s story is heartbreaking. In the music of Gord Downie and the art of Jeff Lemire it is one of the most beautifully heart wrenching stories I’ve ever experienced.

This is the film which is about an hour long followed by an hour long panel discussion. Secret Path is bookended by Downie’s visits with Charlie’s family. Save this link and watch it when you have time.

5 stars Rating 5/5

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Roughneck by Jeff Lemire

Posted by on Jun 9, 2017 in 2017, 5 stars, Book Review, Graphic Novel, Jeff Lemire | 0 comments

Roughneck by Jeff LemireRoughneck by Jeff Lemire

Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Gallery 13
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 272
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Derek Ouelette’s glory days are behind him. His hockey career ended a decade earlier in a violent incident on ice, and since then he’s been living off his reputation in the remote northern community where he grew up, drinking too much and fighting anyone who crosses him. But he never counts on his long-lost sister, Beth, showing up one day out of the blue, back in town and on the run from an abusive boyfriend. Looking to hide out for a while, the two siblings hunker down in a secluded hunting camp deep in the local woods. It is there that they attempt to find a way to reconnect with each other and the painful secrets of their past…even as Beth’s ex draws closer, threatening to pull both Derek and Beth back into a world of self-destruction that they are fighting tooth and nail to leave behind.

My Thoughts:
Yes. I know, another Lemire. He’s being rather prolific this year and I can’t help it. I love his work and this one is no exception.

For this one he’s back to doing his own artwork. He has a distinctive style and I’m happy to see it again. He’s done the main story is blues, white and black. It’s the colors of the landscape in wintertime in remote northern Canada. He’s done the flashbacks in more color as well as the danger and violence in the present to underscore the connection.

The story, as with much of Lemire’s work, deals with emotional issues. It’s about family dysfunction, loss, healing, and breaking the cycles of violence and abuse. It’s a dark story but one that draws you in and tugs at your emotions.

Here’s a video from the publisher that include some of the first few pages and some comments from Jeff Lemire.

I know I always highly recommend Lemire’s work but seriously do yourself a favor and read this one.

5 stars Rating 5/5

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My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Posted by on Jun 6, 2017 in 2017, 3 stars, Book Review | 3 comments

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth StroutMy Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Genre: Fiction
Format: Hardcover and ebook
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 191
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

My Thoughts:
This is a short little book with much more story than the number of pages would suggest. As Lucy tells her story it’s with spare language that clearly tells the basics but at the same time hints at much unsaid.

At first it’s she and her mother reminiscing about people they knew but within that is Lucy doing her own telling of her childhood and her departure to college and a new life so very different. This book is about family relationships, it’s about wondering what love means.

Lucy herself seemed flat. Even as I finished the book I didn’t feel as if I knew Lucy Barton.

Individual sentences and paragraphs were beautiful but they were wrapped up into a whole story that left me wanting. It was good but I wanted it to be better.

3 stars

Rating 3/5

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The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

Posted by on May 30, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Book Review | 2 comments

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam KeanThe Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Trade Paperback and ebook
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Publication Date: 10
Pages: 376
Source: Purchased (ebook) and Library (paperback)

The Book:
From the publisher:

From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes incredible stories of science, history, finance, mythology, the arts, medicine, and more, as told by the Periodic Table.

Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie’s reputation? And why is gallium (Ga, 31) the go-to element for laboratory pranksters?*

The Periodic Table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it’s also a treasure trove of adventure, betrayal, and obsession. These fascinating tales follow every element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, and in the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them. THE DISAPPEARING SPOON masterfully fuses science with the classic lore of invention, investigation, and discovery–from the Big Bang through the end of time.

*Though solid at room temperature, gallium is a moldable metal that melts at 84 degrees Fahrenheit. A classic science prank is to mold gallium spoons, serve them with tea, and watch guests recoil as their utensils disappear.

My Thoughts:
The Hubster is a chemist so it seemed appropriate for me to read this. I’ve actually had the ebook in my library for years. It was the What’s In a Name challenge that finally got me to start it because I needed a title with an item of cutlery in it.

This was fun. I wasn’t a big chemistry fan in school. I enjoyed my physics classes much more but as this book shows the elements of the Periodic Table are integral to both branches of science.

This was extremely readable and even the complex scientific material is easy to understand. Kean has also inserted more humor into this book than I expected. It’s really more about the scientists than it is about the actual elements. There are extensive notes which I found quite helpful.

It’s full of tidbits of scientific history and I learned a lot as I was being entertained along the way. I kept reading bits and pieces to The Hubster and I think he’s going to read it too.

If you like your scientific history with a bit of fun you should read this. I will definitely be taking a look at Kean’s other books.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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Fairest Vol. 1: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham

Posted by on May 26, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Comics | 0 comments

Fairest Vol. 1: Wide Awake by Bill WillinghamFairest Vol. 1: Wide Awaye by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges with art by Phil Jiminez, Andy Lanning, et al.

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #1 in the Fairest series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 160
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 1 is a compilation of issues 1-7 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

Love’s labors lost and found

They call her Sleeping Beauty, but life’s always been ugly for Princess Briar Rose. Cursed at birth by a pissed-off fairy godmother, she wound up acting as a one-woman weapon of mass destruction against the Adversary in the last days of his war against the Free Fables. She won the day, but at the cost of sending herself into a permanent nap from which one true love’s kiss can awaken her. Few would have guessed that it would be Ali Baba, Prince of Thieves, who would rise to the challenge–or that he;d be accompanied by an obnoxious, not-quite-a-genie sidekick. But as Briar Rose’s true origin is revealed, can this no-longer-sleeping beauty and her Prince Charmless escape the cold fury of the Adversary’s former right-hand woman–the icily regal Snow Queen?

My Thoughts:
I’m glad to move on from Mr. Dark. This volume has a couple of major story lines. I really enjoyed the one that focused on Bigby Wolf and Snow White’s children. One of them will take over in their grandfather’s place as the king of the North Wind. The children are subjected to a series of tests to determine which of them is the rightful heir. It’s a bit odd and fun but also a tad bit dangerous.

The second major story involved Bufkin and his crew traveling through Oz. I usually enjoy Bufkins adventures but this time around it just didn’t click with me for some reason. It was okay but I didn’t enjoy those parts of the book as much as I did the rest.

In addition, there are a couple of other stories. I really enjoyed Rose Red’s version of A Christmas Carol.

The artwork throughout was wonderful. The majority is by Mark Buckingham. He’s done most of the Fables series and I always enjoy his work The final issue is done by several artists and the variety of styles works well with the series of short tales that are not part of the main ongoing storyline.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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