Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 30: Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015

The topic this week for Top Ten Tuesday hosted at The Broke and the Bookish is Top Books I've Read So Far in 2015. Great topic! I've read and listened to some awesome books so far. I wonder what books the second half of 2015 will bring and which ones will be bumped from a year end review?

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
An older book that was delightful, about what makes a family. Passed this one around the staff room.

Dodger by Terry Pratchett (audiobook)
Fabulous invented historical novel with lots a real people stopping by, like Sweeney Todd and Charles Dickens. I shouldn't have been surprised with Pratchett writing.

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Really scary because it seems plausible but it also has well developed characters and doesn't make me feel like I'm reading a young adult book; just a really great story.

A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie (audiobook)
I'm picking one of the twelve Christie book I listened to, which was the best of them, but all of the Miss Marple books have been wonderful and will be my favorite 'book' of the year. The series is better than any individual book.

I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short (audiobook)
A book which makes me laugh and cry? Even (slightly annoying) Martin Short couldn't ruin this book for me. Great memories of Canadian comedy from my childhood.

Cobra by Deon Meyer
Great mystery, great characters, great setting - Meyer writes some of my favourite mysteries around.

X by Ilyasah Shabazz (audiobook)
A novelized biography of Malcolm X by his daughter, up to the point he was imprisoned. My Malcolm X knowledge was sadly lacking, and I was very impressed by this book.

                                                               The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
There are good reasons why certain books are everywhere - great, surprising plots with characters that make you want to bang their head on a wall! 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (audiobook)
Epic WW2 novel about two different characters.

Walt by Russel Wangersky
I started the year with this creepy little number, and it holds up in my memory after six months.

Monday, June 22, 2015

BOOKS: Young Adult Titles

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

For no good reason, this one took a while to read, but it was easy to pick up and get right back into the book. The narrator had a strong voice, 16 year old DJ who is looking after the farm, and peace-making with her parents and brothers, and having teen-age angst. She agrees to 'train' the rival quarterback before the season, but it only serves to make her realize she wants to play football too. For an easy to read, quick novel, there are lots of topics dealt with here, including a teenager coming out, teenagers dealing with adult problems, and realizing your parents are people too. Pretty good read, easy to recommend.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth (audiobook) book 2 of 3 in the Divergent series

The factions are falling apart; the dystopian world not working out; surprise! Tris and Four are dealing with their divergent qualities, their parents, and betrayers all around. Because I am listening, I am not as into the characters as I probably might be, but it is a simple divergence (ha!) and I'm planning to listen to the final in the trilogy this summer. It's no Harry Potter or Hunger Games, but it's a good teenage dystopian series.

The Dead & the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
A number of years ago, I read Life as We Knew It, and found it a very compelling read. It was just reasonable enough to be scary and realistic future world building. Pfeffer writes realistic characters that are easy to cheer for. (I confess, I spent months after the last book imagining how I would deal with a disaster like this - how would I get food? would I survive? would I think of the things I'd need to get for my family? Should I have a wood stove?) I took a long time to get to this book, dealing with my usual trepidation - would this next book be as good as the first? And it is. This isn't so much a sequel as a companion book. At the same time as Miranda in Pennsylvania (Life As We Knew It) is dealing with the natural effects of an asteroid hitting the moon, Alex is dealing with the same problem in New York City in The Dead And the Gone. Alex's parents are both away from home when the disaster strikes, and Alex is left to look after his two younger sisters. The realism of these books is what makes them so scary and tragic and Pfeffer writes great stories. I waited seven years between books, and both books were fabulous. There is a third book, where Alex and Miranda meet up, This World We Live In, and I think it may be part of my summer reading.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl (audiobook)

YA Sync 2015 is back! Two free audiobooks each week, pairing a classic and a newer young adult book. This was the first book I listened to, and it was a ridiculous, fun mess. [This was paired with Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier which was unavailable in Canada, to my extreme disappointment!] Narrated by a 16 year old Ethan, there are witches and vampires, and southern history (Confederate flag type history) and he is the perfect first boyfriend!. The plot is crazy and predictable but still it was a blast to listen to. This is book one of six in The Castor Chronicles (six?) and while I have no intention of seeking out any more in the series or watching the movie, it was still enjoyable enough. The narration was perfectly Southern and dramatic.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

BOOK: The Green Road by Anne Enright

The Green Road by Anne Enright, 309 pages

I do like Anne Enright. I particularly loved The Forgotten Waltz, closely followed by The Gathering. This book places third, but is following some great books that I've loved. Some authors just match your brain, and Enright is in mine. I 'get' her half sentences, her Irish sentiment, her family sense. I love her writing. I liked the structure of this book.

Family. The love and hate and relationships that can't be explained, but you spend your whole life trying to define. You know so well, but yet, you spend little time with them. Enright has it all down pat. This story is about four siblings, and each gets a section of the book, all at different times in their lives, in different places in the world (Ireland, Mali, New York, Toronto). Not necessarily connected or even mentioning the other. Then, about half-way through, their mother decides to sell their family home, and they all come home for Christmas to 'deal with mother.'

Nothing happens, but family. As Enright can write, with similies like nobody else. (Poor example, that's why I'm not a writer and Enright is!) If you have a sibling, or mother, or father, there is something to relate to in this book. What's that quote: " Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." from Anna Karenina? There's your theme, set in Ireland, by the amazing Anne Enright. Can't wait for the next book.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

The topic this week for Top Ten Tuesday hosted at The Broke and the Bookish is Most Anticipated Releases for the Rest of 2015.  I'm not really someone who gets excited about new books (mostly because I don't buy them often). I'm usually waiting for the library to get a copy, but I do get excited if I'm the first to request it before it comes in and get it first. First!  I'm often not even very aware of new books, except for the next in a series, which is what my list is mostly:


Mrs Roosevelt's Confidente: A Maggie Hope Mystery by Susan Elia Macneal
(I like to listen to this slightly earnest series, so will wait for the library, but it must be coming soon)

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny
(Inspector Gamauche - I liked listening to the last book, so I may wait for that to be released, although the narrator of all the other books has sadly died.)

A Beam of Light by Andrea Camilleri (19th)
(another trip to Sicily...)

The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander Mccall Smith
(next in the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series)

Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans
(From the Bailey Prize for Women's Fiction longlist)

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
(This girl rocks - smart and funny)

Circling the Sun by Paula Mclain
( I really liked her book, The Paris Wife, and would give her next book a good look)

The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens
(It was already released in April, but anything in 2015 counts for me)

That's all I can come up with for now - what are you looking forward to?