Wednesday, October 19, 2016

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

"His Majesty's Dragon" was the Hugo Award winner for 2007. I've had this book in my collection for a very long time. I think it was a first in a series special offer from Kindle a few years ago. I wonder why I waited so long to read it. This is one of my favorite reads of this year. It did give me pause when I saw there were 9 books in the series, the last one being published this year, so that probably means the author is not done. This one had a good ending so I can probably wait a while before diving into the others.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

“Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell, won the World Fantasy Award in 2015. It was also nominated for the Locus Award in the same year.

This audio book was divided into 6 sections and read by 5 different people. It is a very complex novel and I admit to having to rely on internet synopsis help occasionally. In the first part we meet Holly Sykes who is a fifteen-year-old runaway. Just as you are really getting into her story, the next section starts and then the books progressively jump ten or so years in each of the remaining five sections. Another person reads each section and all have ties to Holly. The last section is again narrated by Holly and brings all the plots and subplots together.

I got kind of bored in the middle. I am glad I stuck with it because the ending was really good. Overall, I liked the book and thought it was well worth the listen.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Nightwings by Robert Silverberg

“Nightwings” was written in three parts. The first part, “Nightwings”, was the 1969 Hugo Novella award winner. Two other parts, “Perris Way” (Paris) and “To Jorslem”(Jerusalem) were added later. 

The first part, takes place in Roum (Rome).  At a time in the far distant future, humanity has been divided into guilds, each with a specific job to do. In the first book, the Watcher travels to Roum with a guileless changing and a young, female night flyer. The Watchers job is to watch the sky for alien invasion. So much time has passed, that the Watchers are thought to be unnecessary and are not treated with much respect. While the Watcher is in Roum, the aliens strike. He sounds the alarm, but routine has gotten so lax, that the defenses fail and the aliens easily take over.

In “Perris Way”, the Watcher travels to Perris in the company of the blinded, displaced prince of Roum. The Watcher applies to become a member of the guild of remembrance since watchers are no longer needed. 

In “To Jorslem”, the Watcher makes a pilgrimage to Jorslem, where he again finds the night flyer and where he finds renewed hope and redemption. 

Robert Silverberg is the Grand Master for 2004.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Rolling Stones by Robert Heinlein

The Rolling Stones by Robert Heinlein - written in 1952 is very much a book of its time. Written for Scribner’s “juvenile boys” series, it follows one family’s foray into space. The main focus is a set of teenage twin boys who seem to land in all sorts of trouble including jail on Mars. The father is a writer of television sci-fi, the mother is a doctor, there is an older sister and a baby brother. Grandma is also along for the ride. The father very much reminds me of a man of the 50’s. I was a young child in the 50s and his “I should forbid you…” to his wife and his “I send my daughter to school and she is just going to get married…” are echoes of men of the 50’s (60's & 70's) backward thinking. There is also talk of punishment with belts and a lot of people yelling at their children to “shut up”. Grandma laments that the young girl would make a wonderful pilot, but everyone is so hesitate to take on a female pilot. I have to admit, it was hard to read at times and I am so, so happy that we have moved past, or at least I hope as a society we have moved past, that way of thinking.

Robert Heinlein was the Grand Master for 1975.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

2015 Year in Review

The Numbers:

Total Books: 302
E-book: 51
Print: 20
Audiobook: 231
Total Pages: 86,506 (Estimate because I only added it once and didn't check my work !)

Again, audiobooks win the format race! I have a long drive to work and I can now listen while at work, so that will probably be the norm in 2016 as well. My print book selection went up this year, and my e-book selection went down. Go figure!

My Favorite(s) of 2015
There were two this year that I have a hard time choosing between the best, so I'm putting them both.

The first of a trilogy, I read this first book and the second "Invasion of the Tearling". I am eagerly awaiting the third book and the promised movie starring Emma Watson.

The other favorite of the year is a zombie book about children. Not my usual kind of book, but I really loved this one!

Now for the rest of the best:

I started several new series this year and continued with some old favorites.

Trouble in Mudbug series by Jana Deleon is a cute, funny, cozy mystery series. I read the first of the series in January, "Ghost Mother-in-law."

I discovered Simone St. James last year. "The Haunting of Maddy Clare", another ghost story, but a bit more serious.

Another new series I started this year was the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I also discovered "FictFact" website for keeping up with series titles. It also includes short stories and novellas. In February, I read the first book in the Lunar Chronicles, "Cinder" along with the second book in the series, "Scarlet", and several short stories in the same series.

 Joe Hill and his dad, Stephen King, both made my February list. Joe's "NOS4A2" audio narrated by Kate Mulgrew (awesome narration!) was a February favorite. "Danse Macare" by Stephen King, I also listened to on audio. I was a bit disappointed in the narration of this one. Stephen should always narrate his non-fictions. It makes them way better. I can't remember who narrated this one, but he put emphasis where emphasis was unneeded and didn't emphasis things that did.

"As You Wish" by Cary Elwe is a memoir of the filming of "Princess Bride". Needless to say, I loved it!

Lunar Chronicles "Cress" made the March list.
A sad, bittersweet memoir, "Time of My Life" by Patrick Swayze & Lisa Niemi was one of my favorites this month. Written after Patrick was diagnosed with cancer, it was a sad, joyous story of his life, his fame and his hope for the future that did not happen.
The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne is one of my favorite series. I was able to read several novellas, short stories and one novel "Tricked" this month.
"Horns" by Joe Hill makes the list. Joe is a great horror writer, every bit as good as his dad.
My sister loaned me a book a year or so ago and I just got around to reading it in May. It started a massive search for the other books in  the series and I read a whopping 8 of them before the year was out. The Puzzle Lady series by Parnell Hall, begins with "A Clue for the Puzzle Lady"  I won't list each book separately for the rest of the year, but I really enjoyed them all.
One of my favorite writing duos Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia have teamed up to write more Caster Chronicles. A spin off series is Dangerous Creatures and I read "Dangerous Deception" this month. Also, they are writing a few novellas & short stories from the Caster world and I read a couple of those this month as well.
Another cozy mystery series I began this month, Rose Gardner by Denise Grover Swank, made my favorites list beginning with "Twenty-Eight & a Half Wishes".
I started a new series by one of my favorite authors, Charlaine Harris, Midnight Texas. I listed to the first two books in the series "Midnight Crossroad" & "Day Shift". The next installment comes out soon and I can't wait !

A new series for me, Enola Holmes by Nancy Springer, is now a favorite. I managed to read all the books in the series this year. The first was "The Case of the Missing Marquess."

Nothing really stands out this month except for the Paper Magician Trilogy by Charlie Holmberg. Great trilogy beginning with "Paper Magician".

One of my favorite all time authors is Andre Norton. It had been years since I read any of her work and I have had "Three Hands for Scorpio" on my TBR shelf for years. I finally read it and it did not disappoint. I loved it.

Other than that, I read several "next" in several series I enjoy, Puzzle Lady, Haunted Home Renovation, and Elemental Assassin.

This is the month I read "The Queen of the Tearling"!

I began a new series, Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost. I read the first two books in the series this month, "Paladin Prophecy" and "Alliance".

"Still Foolin' 'Em" by Billy Crystal, possibly the best memoir I've listened to - and it should be listened to, not read.

The only thing that really stood out this month was a new short story by Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia, a companion to their Beautiful Creatures series, "The Mortal Heart."

There were also more Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne and the second book in the Queen of the Tearling series.

I revisited an old favorite "The Rowan" by Anne McCaffrey.

The rest of the month was reading more series and short stories by favorite authors. Molly Harper came out with a new book as did Susan Elizabeth Phillip - always winners with me. More stories from Beautiful Creatures, more books in the series Haunted Home Renovations, Elemental Masters, Ghost in Law, and Poor Relations. Nothing really stands out, but all enjoyable.

I revisited another series I love from my first reading years ago. This time, I listened in audio, the Last Herald Mage series by Mercedes Lackey. I finished up several series Enola Holmes, Poor Relations, and Mortal Instruments.

A new series for me, Colors of Madeleine by Jaclyn Moriarty makes the favorites list.

Two stand alone books, "March" by Geraldine Brooks and "Sea Hearts" by Margo Lanagan were audios I received free last summer from AudioBookSync. Both were outstanding.

That finishes 2015. Now on to greater adventures in 2016!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 Year in Review

First the numbers:

E-Books:  83
Print: 3
Audiobooks: 151
Total: 237
Total number of pages: 57,403

Now the best of:

This was my favorite book of the year. I listened to the audio and Neil Gaiman is now one of my most very favorite authors. I've always liked his books, but his narration was awesome. I went back and listened to several of his books that I had already read and loved them all over again.

Chosen not so much for the story as the presentation. Colin Firth does an excellent job of reading this classic.

This series was chosen because of the story, the writing and presentation. The TV series is not bad either.

Monthly Selections

Only one book I read in January makes my Best of List.

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes has been one of my favorite authors for a while now. This book did not disappoint. Susan McBride's Debutant Dropout series is about Dallas. She has actually lived there, so the landscape is accurate. 

Den of Shadows #9: Promises to Keep by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Magical Bakery #3: Charms & Chocolate Chips by Bailey Cates
Debutante Dropout Mystery #1: Blue Blood by Susan McBride
Deadlocked #1 by AR Wise
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

I began re-reading an old favorite this month, Dragonlance. I held myself to the original trilogy and not all 900 of the other books.

Debutante Dropout #2: Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Susan McBride
14 by Peter Clines
Iron Druid #3: Hammered by Kevin Hearne
Dragonlance #1: Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Dragonlance #2: Dragons of Winter Night by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman

I began an awesome trilogy this month, Call the Midwife. I also read my first graphic novel, Cemetery Girl. It opened a whole new world for me!

Charmed Pie Shoppe #3: Pecan Pies & Homicides by Ellery Adams
Cemetery Girl #1: The Pretenders by Charlaine Harris & Christopher Golden
Cat in the Stacks #5: Silence of the Library by Miranda James
The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
Dragonlance Chronicles #3: Dragons of Spring Dawning by Margret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Call the Midwife #1:Memoir of Birth, Joy & Hard Times by Jennifer Worth

Finally, zombie books I can love, Junkie Quatrain and the White Trash Zombie series.

Junkie Quatrain by Peter Clines
Winter Witch by Paula Brackston
White Trash Zombie #1: My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland

A new series by one of my favorite writing duos, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl. Coldest Girl in Coldtown, another zombie book, made the favorites this month. A new favorite series, Elemental Assassin.

Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
Dangerous Creatures #1: Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Elemental Assassin#1: Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep

I met Jane Fonda at ALA in Las Vegas this summer. She was so nice and took the time to talk to each person in line to get her latest book signed. I really enjoyed listening to her autobiography. 

My Life So Far by Jane Fonda
Pendergast #13: White Fire by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
Midnight Texas #1: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Debutant Dropout #3: Lone Star Lonely Hearts Club by Susan McBride
Call the Midwife #2: Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth

I rediscovered a favorite author this month, but only audiobooks that he reads himself! Also, I re-read a favorite from last year along with the next book in the series (this month, another book in the series next month),  The Raven Cycle.

Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Raven Cycle #1: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (re-read)
Raven Cycle #2: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

This month, I listened to possibly the best performed audiobook I've ever listened to, The End of the Affair by Graham Greene and performed by Colin Firth.

Inquiry Into Love & Death by Simone St. James
White Trash Zombie #2: Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland
Elemental Assassin #2: Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep
Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountain by Neil Gaiman
End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Raven Cycle #3: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Joyland by Stephen King
Old Kingdom #4: Clariel The Lost Abhorsen by Garth Nix

I rediscovered an old favorite from when my children were young and listened to audios with me, the Best Christmas Pageant Ever. 

Pendergast #14: Blue Labyrinth by Preston & Child
Call the Midwife #3: Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth
Breeders #1: The Breeders by Katie French
Elemental Assassin #3: Venom by Jennifer Estep
The Herdmans #1: Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

End of the Affair

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Unabridged audio, 5CDs, narrated by Colin Firth

The story is not one I'd really pick up to read and I probably would not have finished it except for the performance. This has to be one of the best presentations of any audio book I have ever listened to. The emotions were right, the emphasis was where it should be and significant parts were significant. Colin Firth does an award winning reading. The 2013 Audie Audiobook of the Year it was well deserving of the honor.