Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Forgotten by David Baldacci, (John Puller #2)

The Forgotten (John Puller, #2)The Forgotten by David Baldacci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If the real John Puller would please contact me so I can date him, thanks.

Puller is back, this time to see what's behind a mysterious letter that his aunt sent to his ailing father. Puller should be on R&R from his last adventure, but drama seems to find him. He gets sucked into crime in Paradise, Florida, but, of course, he saves the day.

As for the audio, I heard some mispronounced words, and, please, please stop with the gunshots and knife squishing into bodies sounds! Yuck! I don't mind music, but the other sounds are just silly. And scary. In my neck of the woods, if I hear a gunshot while driving, I duck.

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Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Saint AnythingSaint Anything by Sarah Dessen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ahh, this is the Sarah Dessen that I remember! Good, solid, teenage drama with a hint of everything thrown in to keep you reading.

Sydney lives in the shadow of her older brother. He's always been more outgoing, better looking, and wilder. But now he's in prison.

Sydney is trying to grow up in a household where she has to walk on eggshells. Her new friends from the public school she transferred to are helping when her mother lets them.

There's a bit of romance, foreshadowing that something bad is going to happen to Sydney, and parent/daughter drama. It's just a good read about growing up in the suburbs--things and people aren't always what they seem. And change is inevitable.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Grantchester, Season 1

Okay, so I don't usually review TV shows, but, whoa, this is good.  Lately I've been watching a lot of PBS and BBC, mainly because the shows are awesome. Downton Abbey (of course), Endeavor, Mr. Selfridge, Wallander, and The Paradise are some of my favorites.  And now I can add Grantchester to the list.  
Sidney Chambers is a vicar with a nose for sniffing out trouble. And where there is trouble, he has to try to fix things. Meanwhile he's struggling with some beautiful women in his life.  He really wants to settle down with an appropriate woman, but the girl he loves is out of his league and engaged to someone else.  The beautiful German girl isn't quite what he wants either.  Oh, Sidney, you are a man who struggles! And solves crime. And suffers from PTSD from WWII.  And doesn't look to shabby with your shirt off. 

Women Heroies of the American Revolution: 20 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Defiance, and Rescue by Susan Casey

Women Heroes of the American Revolution: 20 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Defiance, and RescueWomen Heroes of the American Revolution: 20 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Defiance, and Rescue by Susan Casey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting informational text to add to a elementary, junior high, or high school nonfiction collection. Twenty chapters about that many women who helped win the American Revolution. I gotta admit that I didn't read this straight through, but I skimmed the chapters about the women I hadn't heard of. There is a glossary, index, and bibliography in the back, as well as a detailed source list in the Notes.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1)The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love reading really great fantasy that is perfect for adults and children of all ages. This is one!

Joel wants to a a Rithmatist, a chosen person who is trained in an art of fighting that involves chalk lines on the ground that come alive and attack people. He's at one of the eight schools in the United Isles, but he isn't one of the lucky ones who is chosen to be special. His mother cleans at the school, and, even though he is bright, he barely passes most of his classes. A special summer class with a disgraced Rithmatist teacher, leads him to help a young female Rithmatist who is struggling. When young Rithmatists start to get kidnapped, they must solve the mystery and find out who is trying to destroy their way of life.

The best thing about this book is the readability--I was 100 pages in before I even realized it. Sanderson (Steelheart, Warbreaker) writes like it's easy--the worldbuilding is superb, and I can't wait to get a hold of Book #2.

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Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth, Read by Kate Reading.

Bitter GreensBitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This audiobook was a beast to finish--16 CDs meant 19.5 hours of listening time. But the narrator, Kate Reading, made it worth it.

Three different stories come together in this historical fiction novel with a fairy tale twist. Charlotte is banished from Versailles to a nunnery. While there, an old nun tells her a fairy tale story of a young girl who is sold to a witch for a salad (hence the bitter greens title). The witch didn't always used to be a witch--she was the famous model of the painter Tiziano, and she was part of the exciting life that was Venice during the Renaissance. The young girl is locked in a tower (Rapunzel) and hopes to be rescued.

Although it took awhile, I was content when the stories of all these women came together in the end. Satisfying read and an interesting take on many of the old fairy tales.

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Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson

Kindness Goes Unpunished (Walt Longmire, #3)Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sheriff Walt Longmire is challenged this time in Philadelphia, when someone attacks his daughter and she is left in a coma. Luckily his best friend Henry Standing Bear is there to help, and the two of them must solve the case with the help of Vic's police family.

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Highlander Claimed by Juliette Miller

Highlander Claimed (Clan Mackenzie, #1)Highlander Claimed by Juliette Miller
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was in the mood for a smutty historical fiction romance, so I requested this title that has been compared to Outlander.

It was too cheesy for me, although I know that's what some people want in their smutty historical fiction. For example:

"Inexplicably, I felt a part of myself open to him, like a flower when it first sees the sun. I craved more of this connection. My senses wanted to touch, to feel, to drink in the scent and the sight of his magnificence. His face was too beautiful, too glorious. I was blinded and dazed. And he, as well, looked momentarily overcome (30)."

Insert eyeroll. Everything was TOO perfect in this book and I won't continue the series.

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

The Rook (The Checquy Files, #1)The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ahh, loved this! It's a combination Doctor Who and Spellman Files--what's not to like? Myfanwy wakes up not knowing where or who she is, but luckily she has letters that she can read that tell her what she needs to do. Fortunately, she works for the most powerful organization in England--the Chequy. It's a secret organization full of people with superhero/magical powers, as well as the "best of the best" from other normal Muggle (er, human) organizations. Someone is out to kill Myfanway, and she must figure out who tried to kill her and save the Chequy, as well as England and the world. Full of snark and genuine mystery and action/adventure, as well as some fantastical creatures. Great combination! Can't wait until the sequel comes out--Stiletto

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't a fan of Gone Girl, so I was leery picking up this bestseller because of it constantly being compared to it. So I was pleasantly surprised! This is a fast-paced thriller--easy to read in one or two settings. Nothing difficult here--easy to guess who did the killing, but I wasn't sure how things were going to wrap up. I felt like everything wrapped up a little too neatly in the end, but that's how the masses like their endings.

If you're in the mood for a quick and easy murder mystery, try this one if you haven't already.

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

A Time to DanceA Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This has been on my to-read shelf for ages so I'm glad I finally got around to it.

Reasons why?
1. Diversity. Loved the India setting and learning more about sacred ancient dance.
2. Diversity. The main character loses a leg, but that doesn't stop her. At times I felt like I was reading a modern, global Izzy, Willy-Nilly, but that's okay.

The novel in verse thing was meh--at times I felt like I was reading rhythm in the words, but I wish more authors would use prose at times, too. Some parts read like prose, so why not write them that way?

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Down Don't Bother Me by Jason Miller

Down Don't Bother MeDown Don't Bother Me by Jason Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm impressed! I wanted to read this adult mystery novel after reading a review of it--the setting is coal country in southern Illinois. So I recognized a lot of place names--Crab Orchard, Carbondale, and all the tiny little podunk towns around there.

Slim is a coal miner--it's in his blood since his estranged dad was one of the scariest coal union leaders around. But he's always been a bit of a finder, too, so he's asked to find out where a man is. Everything is tied to the mines, their corrupt owners, and the people who work in them. I loved finding out more about the mines, but, whoa, I don't think I want to hang around the people too much. Scary stuff. There's a lot of western revenge killing going on in this book, and not much police justice. I sure hope this kind of thing doesn't go on down there in real life? I hope? I mean, I always knew southern Illinois was a good place to hide dead bodies, but yikes....

I did laugh at times while reading this--Slim is a lot like Walt Longmire. Quick witted conversation is always a plus!

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan

Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor, #1)Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars many secrets and spies at the royal court of Queen Elizabeth! She is new to her throne, and too many people want her to leave it.

Pickpocket Meg is caught in the act and forced to choose between the dungeons or becoming spy for the queen. Easy choice! Eventually her fellow trainees become her closest friends and they have to choose where their loyalties lie. No one knows who to trust--with good reason. Things are complicated, but Meg figures most things out, but leaves plenty of room for a book sequel.

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Killer Librarian by Mary Lou Kirwin

Killer Librarian (Killer Librarian #1)Killer Librarian by Mary Lou Kirwin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book hit a little too close to home! A 40-ish Midwestern librarian takes off solo to Europe after her plumber boyfriend of a few years dumps her. Of course, she meets the British man of her dreams in about an hour of landing on British soil though--WHY DOESN'T THAT HAPPEN TO ME? ;)

She's a fan of cozy mysteries, and gets involved (slightly) in one herself when someone at her bed and breakfast ends up dead of a drug overdose. The mystery wasn't much present in this book though--it was more a story of Karen getting over her ex-boyfriend and finding love.

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the LusitaniaDead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I know I'm supposed to love this book since it's a bestseller and it's Erik Larson. But, come on--why do I have to know what EVERYONE is wearing? I really don't care about the color of someone's jacket. Seriously, it's boring. Yes, there were journals and letters written by passengers and he did tons of research (as always), but I'm not sure if all the tangents add to the plot.

The audiobook production is great, but I kept saying to myself, "Fire the damn torpedo, Germans! Sink the ship!" Even when I got to disk 8 (I think) when the ship finally is fired upon, it took ages. The suspense didn't make for a good book--it made for a boring one. I'm stopping after Disk 9. I didn't like In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin either, so I may have to give up on this author.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's been a long time since I've read a decent fairy book for the masses. And this is it!

Nineteen-year-old Fayre's family is starving. She does what she can for them--hunting in the forest around their home. But when she kills a wolf and skins it to resell its pelt in the marketplace, she discovers that the wolf was actually a fairie. For retribution, she is ordered to live in the faerie land for the rest of her life.

And so begins her acclimation to living with Tamlin and Lucien at a beautiful High Lord's mansion in fairy land. I gotta admit, I wouldn't mind being kidnapped by Tamlin--he's a hottie. And, of course, when you're hundreds of years old, you become really good in bed. This book has some of the best sex scenes I've read in awhile!

A mere human ends up being instrumental in saving the faerie lands from an evil queen, and I was surprised that the book didn't have a huge cliffhanger ending. This book is by the author of the Throne of Glass series--great YA fantasy reads.

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

A Desperate FortuneA Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ahhh, I love a good historical fiction novel!

Sara, a young woman with Asberger's, is hired to break a code that was created by a young Jacobite woman. The chapters go back and forth, and I was fascinated by both the modern and historical romance. No smut here--this is G rated.

Mary Dundas, the French Scot woman who the diary, is thrust into a life of intrigue when she agrees to accompany an Englishman on the run, but Hugh MacPherson is there to keep a watchful eye on her. He's like Jamie from Outlander, but all the romance in this novel is rated PG. ;)

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

We All Looked UpWe All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved it! T minus two months until an asteroid hits Earth--what would you do? How would you act?

Add in the typical Breakfast Club-ish cast of high school characters into that scenario and you have one heck of a story--this would make a great movie! I ended up wanting to befriend all the characters, especially Eliza.

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When the World Was Young by Elizabeth Gaffney

When the World Was YoungWhen the World Was Young by Elizabeth Gaffney
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Slow public library book club read about a young girl growing up in Brooklyn Heights during World War II. Wally Baker comes from a line of female doctors, so she has expectations to meet. But she wants to study ants instead of sick people. There's plenty of drama--race, ethnicity, war, romance, and female secrets.

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Signature Kill by David Levien

Signature KillSignature Kill by David Levien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this author's City of the Sun so I was looking forward to reading another mystery about former cop Frank Behr.

Behr is still one messed up guy--grieving about everything and not capable of anything other than obsessing with a crime until solving it. His personal life is messed up and he insists on making it worse! He reminds me of Wallander (see Netflix), and he's the kind of brooding guy that I would try to date and then get frustrated because he's always so depressed! ;)

Blondes are disappearing in Indy and Behr takes the case, even though the police are still working on it, too. He uses his old contacts in the force and forensics depts, and makes some new friends, too. The book doesn't end the way you think it will--trust me.

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