Tuesday, September 23, 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read list

The Broke and the Bookish host Top Ten Tuesday every week - head over to see other posts with fall reading. My fall reading is dominated by the creepy and the mysterious RIP reading. And lots of female authors. Don't you feel lucky Stephen King?

The Secret Place by Tana French
Must read everything (MRE) author with a new book out!

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Must read everything (MRE) author with a new book out!

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny (audiobook)
I listened to the last book and quite enjoyed it. Looking forward to seeing where she takes this series, besides Three Pines

Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear
This will get me up to date on Maisie Dobbs. Another series which gets better and better.

Anne of the Island by LM Montgomery (audiobook)
I've been re-immersed in my beloved Anne books, by listening. Really enjoying Marilla this time round.

The Prime Minister`s Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal (audiobook)
The only series I've never read, just listened to. I've started it already!

Just After Sunset by Stephen King
To get my short-story fix by Uncle Steve.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn  (audiobook)
Last week's post of author's to read again, plus those Gone, Girl movie teasers, has me inspired to listen to some older Gillian Flynn

Alys, Always by Harriet Lane
Book club book for October will certainly get read

Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)
Found this book second hand recently, and although I've been good about not buying too many books, this was too good to pass up. One dollar!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Authors I've Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More

 The topic this week from The Broke and the Bookish: Top Authors I've Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More. This was an easy topic for me. For a number of years, I even kept track of New Authors I've read, so I only had to go back and look at the lists to find authors that made me go, "Oh, I need to read another of theirs!" I did find lots of favorite authors that I have now read more than one, but this list should also include:

Allegra Goodman - I liked Intuition a lot. It was a balanced look at scientific research that had real, interesting characters. Her book, The Cookbook Collector had been recommended to me, looks good, and is in my town library.

Connie Willis - I've read Miracle and Other Christmas Stories which I enjoyed. Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, or Blackout are the books that interest me. She writes science fiction, time-travel, and historical fiction

Gillian Flynn - Gone Girl was a fantastic dark ride with twists and terrible people. There are a couple of her books available on audio at my library, so Sharp Objects and Dark Places are on my short list to get to.

Lauren B Davis - Her book based on the Goler clan was a fantastic piece of writing. Our Daily Bread got me interested, and then buriedinprint raved about her other book, The Empty Room. Looks like a great Canadian author to get behind.

Patricia Highsmith - The Talented Mr Ripley was a creepy, dark book and while I'm not interested in more Ripley books, there are five altogether, her book Strangers on a Train looks deliciously suspenseful.

CJ Sansom - A great historical mystery series set during Henry the VIII? Why have I not read more? I read the first book, Dissolution, and I really want to read more in the series.

Tom Perrotta - I loved The Little Children when I read it in 2011. Perrotta writes general fiction, about people, and yet there was an edge to the book. The Leftovers or The Abstinence Teacher both pique my interest every time I see the titles.

Claire Messud - I listened to The Woman Upstairs and it was one of those books that had me still thinking of it months later. Another book by Messud, maybe The Emporer's Children, is in order.

Elizabeth Taylor - Mrs Palfry at the Clarement was one of those delightful British books I enjoy. The other Elizabeth Taylor wrote a number of books that are considered classic and under-appreciated.

Wilkie Collins - The Woman in White was a pretty good mystery, especially for a classic author. He's got another classic, The Moonstone, I'd like to try.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

AUDIOBOOKS: Sync Young Adult books

At the first of the summer, Sync again offered pairs of audiobooks to download each week. This is the first year I`ve made the effort and signed up to get the emails each week for a reminder. Awesome! I certainly didn`t get through all the books but I still have them on my iPhone, as they are free, and don`t expire. Thanks Sync! The link to the Sync site has an archive of all the books that have been offered, although you can only ever get a book the week it is offered.

Each week, a modern newer release is paired with a classic book. So, you might get Code Name Verity with The Hiding Place. The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Murder at the Vicarage with Confessions of a Murder Suspect. Not every book is available in every country - Canada missed out on a couple; sadly one was Murder at the Vicarage, which I would have loved.

Confessions of a Murder Suspect - James Patterson

Patterson has a real industry of writers now, and is venturing into suspenseful, thrilling young adult books. This is a stand-alone, but is part of a series called Confessions Series. This was a wild ride, with a crazy family, and twists and turns that make you rewind and say, What?!? The parents are killed and the four kids are suspects. The daughter narrates and it is very dramatic. I can`t even begin to tell the secrets that come out, but I did listen through pretty quickly. (I`m not interested in another by him, but it was still engaging in its unbelievability)

 I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You - Ally Carter

The first of 6 books in the Gallagher Girls series. Very young adult series, and I would have really enjoyed it if I was 14 years old. Told in first person, the narrator is a student at a espionage school for girls. They are quite historic and renown, and it is very exaggerated in what the girls can do and learn. And still, the focus of their lives is boys. But the town boys don`t like the Gallagher Girls! It`s Romeo and Juliet and kissing. Cute enough, but I`ll survive if I don`t read any more.
This was paired with Anne of Green Gables - spunky girls!

All Our Yesterdays - Cristin Terrill

Time travel books are always hard on my head, and this one was no exception. I just find it hard to keep track of who is where, and what each person knows, and how did this now affect the past/future? It took a while to get into the story, and figure out what was going on and who the present and past people were, but then it was good with lots of twists and turns. Must save the world!

This was paired with Julius Caesar, performed by Richard Dreyfuss, JoBeth Williams, Stacy Keach, Kelsey Grammer, and a full cast. I tried to listen, but I didn`t have the attention or, quite frankly, the interest.

 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle 
Can`t go wrong listening to a few classic Sherlock Holmes. A little dramatic in the presentation with some music but still, it`s Sherlock, which makes me want to watch Benedict Cumberbatch, or Robert Downey Jr. There are two adaptations of Holmes that I think are almost better than the books.

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline - Nancy Springer

Actually book 5 in the Enola Holmes series, but easy enough to pop into the series. Enola is the younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft and is herself an accomplished detective. Nothing too fancy here, but it was cute and fun and I`d possibly listen to another. It`s definitely for young adults/children as clues were repeated and emphasized, but that just made me feel smart. I did love the Florence Nightengale aspect of this one.

The Hiding Place - Corrie ten Boom
I didn`t realize for quite a while into this book that is was non-fiction. It is also identified as a Christian book, but if I hadn`t read that, I wouldn`t have thought it. It is a wonderful book, set in occupied Holland during WW2. Corrie ten Boom wrote this in the 1970s, remembering her and her families effort in the Underground Resistance. Gives a little hope of the goodness of people amidst the Holocaust.  This should be paired with The Diary of Anne Frank in schools - is there anything more compelling than real life? Definitely my favorite of all the books I`ve listened to from Sync this summer.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

BOOK: The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Philips

The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Philips, 310 pages

Random House Canada review copy

Things you need on a good quest: a knight, a maiden, a squire, a lady in a lake, an elephant. Wait, you don`t remember an elephant in any of King Arthur`s tales? Well, this isn`t your father`s King Arthur!

This is even better, with a, dare I say it, feminist slant? Because the knights and the kings and the squire (an undersized giant) are not that good. Not good at all. And the maiden, Elaine, looking for her kidnapped finance as well as Martha, a run away Queen looking for her long lost brother are by far, the wisest of this crowd. Oh, Sir Humphrey du Val tries, but he hasn`t been allowed on a quest in many years and has been relegated to the square table, with one shorter leg, the Table of Less Valued Knights that you have never heard of.

This is a decidedly humorous take on Camelot. Martha disguises herself as a boy for her quest to escape her new husband (who thinks he`ll be King, not the King Consort) and find her long lost brother, the rightful king. Martha meets up with Sir Humphrey and his quest for Elaine, and it practically becomes a Three`s Company episode of misunderstandings.

Described as a Monty Python meets The Princess Bride, expect Jemima the elephant to carry our heroines and heroes, the lady in the lake to be rather flaky, magic to `almost` work, gay characters to appear, battles between kingdoms for stupid male reasons to be ridiculed, custom officials to deal with as you enter a kingdom, and everyone trying to find a partner. All in all, great fun!

Monday, September 1, 2014

BOOK: Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen, 324 pages

book 1 of 8 in the series

This was a surprising fun romp through 1932 London. Lady Georgiana is thirty-fourth in line for the throne of England, but flat broke. She lands in London from Scotland after being cut off by her brother who gets the title and the castle, with nothing but her royal connections to help her get by. She tries to get a job, tries to avoid getting set up to marry a fish-face prince, and then finds a dead body in her bath-tub.

I`m not usually a fan of cozy mysteries but this one worked for me. I am delighted to see that there are seven more books in the series. Lady Georgiana has pluck and the desire to make it on her own, and this first book certainly has a lot of examples of how difficult it was for her to live on her own and the differences between the classes still in the 1930s. She finds work ``opening up the London house` for others of her set, but forgets and tries to enter at the front door. Having to dig the coal out of the basement and start a fire for herself is a whole other adventure.

The mystery was thin (even I figured out who the murderer was, and I`m terrible at that!) but I still enjoyed it. There were a number of other great characters - her brother Binky, HRH the queen, her Cockney grandfather, and a few other friends from her set also eking out a sustenance, while trying to maintain a certain lifestyle. It often involved crashing weddings for a good meal.

I look forward to more adventures amongst Georgiana`s circle as she learns to stand on her own.