Saturday, May 30, 2015

spring reading list

I'm not likely to finish my current book by tomorrow, though I have had plenty of time to read it, so here's my book list from the last three months.

Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich – a new series by Janet. Same formula...Lizzie has two men in her life, both alpha males and opposites, only this time there is a supernatural element. Lizzie is a pastry chef and works at a bakery with countergirl Glo who aspires to magic. Diesel, a person with special abilities who has been assigned as Lizzie ersatz bodyguard, teams up with Lizzie, who is also a person with special abilities but different than Diesel's, to find another of the magical stones that used to be for good but have now been cursed and will be used for evil if the wrong people find them and so of course all the wrong people are looking for them as well. This stone, the True Love/Lust stone is the one they are looking for in this book. Their main opponent, Wulf (the counterpoint to Diesel, dark haired to Deisel's blond), Diesel's cousin and also a person with special abilities, operates on the shady side as opposed to Deisel's wanting to save all the world side. No hot sex though, implied or otherwise though they are tempted (of course, it's a Janet Evanovich book) because having sex means one of the partners will lose their special abilities and there's no predicting which one will lose. This is the second of this series. I'll have to go back and find the first.

The Nethergrim by Matthew Jobin – 14 year old Edmund is the eldest son of an innkeeper in the feudal society of this world of magicians and dangerous evil creatures. The inn is in the town that serves the Lord that presides over this section of the kingdom. Decades ago, a monster who's lair is in the mountains and had been under a spell from ancient times was due to finally awaken and it's monster minions were wreaking havoc on the countryside in anticipation. A troupe of men set out to kill it before it could. Only three returned and one of those men, who never spoke of what they saw or did besides to say that the Nethergrim had been slain, lived in the town raising and training warhorses for the Lord. Young Edmund who would rather be a magician than an innkeeper had a secret stash of books which his father found and burned. When livestock is found butchered then children go missing including Edmund's younger brother, he and his two friends Katherine, the daughter of one of the heros, and Tom, an indentured servant to a local farmer, set out to rescue the children. It's a good tale, suspenseful in places. I enjoyed it. It's a first book of a series.

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich – this is the first of the 'Wicked' books and introduces the cast of characters mentioned in Wicked Business. The first of the magical stones of the seven deadly sins to be located is the gluttony stone. Entertaining and a quick read.

The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard – I was actually looking for a different book by this author but the library didn't have it so I picked this one up instead. Kirsten, now in her early 20s, is headed home for her father's funeral but before she arrives at her aunt's door, she remembers the past and the unraveling of her family. The story starts during the summer of Kirsten's 9th year when her brother Johnny, high school senior and wrestling champ, starts dating a local girl. One winter Saturday Johnny and Stacy leave for a dinner and a movie. When they didn't return at the expected time, and during a fairly severe snowstorm, their father goes out to look for them. While he is gone, Johnny returns alone having been given a ride by a neighbor and his story is that his truck slid off the road into the ditch and Stacy, his girlfriend, decided to just walk home, less than a mile away, instead of sitting, freezing, in the truck waiting for someone to find them. Johnny is shocked to discover that she never made it home. Police are called and a massive search begins but Stacy is never found. So begins the fracturing of a family when the whole town is convinced, though he is never arrested and without a shred of proof, of Johnny's guilt. There is a healing at the end of the story and we do find out at the very end what happened to Stacy. It's a good story and I enjoyed it well enough.

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins – this story is told by three women, all of them just a little unstable each in their own way. Rachel is the main story teller. She spends her days pretending to go to work after she lost her job and was too afraid to tell her roommate with whom she has lived for the past two years after losing her husband to his mistress. She passes her house, now their house with their perfect little baby, the baby that Rachel could not conceive, every morning on her way in to London on the train and every evening on her way home. She also watches a house several doors down and fantasizes about the couple that live there. Rachel has sunk into drunkenness in her inability to conceive and then in her loss of Tom whom she can't seem to let go, calling the house, appearing on the street, watching them, and unintentionally terrorizing Anna, Tom's wife. Then one Saturday night, Megan, the woman that lives in the other house, the one that Rachel fantasizes about, leaves after an argument with her husband and is never seen or heard from again. Rachel, who was blind drunk that night and woke with an injury, thinks she was there and saw something but she doesn't remember what or who. And because she knows something no one else knows about Megan, she gets herself entangled in the whole affair. It was a good read, a good ending, a little suspenseful, a little surprising.

The Martian by Andy Weir - "I'm pretty much fucked." That's the first line of the book. How can you not immediately like this book? Astronaut Mark Watney has been left for dead and the mission abandoned after a particularly fierce storm sent the crew running and headed back to earth. Watney suffered an injury that should have killed him, his suit compromised. His crew saw it and they were right, his suit was not reporting any life signs, he should have died but he didn't and when he came to, the ship was gone. So now astronaut Mark Watney, engineer fix-it man and botanist and low man on the totem pole of command has to figure out how to survive until the next mission comes in four years. He has the habitat and the rovers and all the equipment and all the food for the whole team of 6 for the whole mission plus some. What he doesn't have is any way to communicate with the ship or with earth because the storm ripped off and blew away the antenna dish on the habitat and no one knows he survived. Two months later, when satellite images of the Ares 3 mission site show some peculiar alterations to the habitat on Mars and, more importantly, no dead body, NASA understands that he is still alive. It's a great story even if you don't care for science fiction. It's a survival story and a rescue story and it has successes and catastrophes and ingenuity and action and humor (I laughed out loud more than once). I keep writing more and erasing it. I don't want to tell you the story, I want you to read it.

A Spool Of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler – I'm not really sure what this book was about besides being about the Whitshank family, their stories and their secrets. It's told in sections starting with Abby and Red and their four children focusing mainly on their sons Denny, secretive and unforthcoming with his family about his life and who comes and goes abruptly sometimes after years of no contact, and Stem, who follows in his father's footsteps in the family business, in which we learn Stem's story, then it backtracks and tells the story of Red's father Junior and how he came to build the house and then get possession of it, the house that Abby and Red now live in and have raised their family in. Then it jumps back to Abby and Red who are now older with grown children and grandchildren and then we get Abby's story which is really just the story of one day, the day she decided on Red. At the end we get Junior and Linnie Mae's story before it returns back to the main story line. What we never really get is Denny's story. He remains as mysterious to us as he is to his family. It's a good enough read but I feel a little disappointed for some reason.

The Outcasts a novel by Kathleen Kent - I picked this off the new arrivals shelf at the library, sort of a 'this'll do I guess' pick, about 320 pages. The story is set in post Civil War Texas and is told from two characters' story lines. Lucinda, who suffers from the falling sickness, begins by escaping the whorehouse where she works and running away to meet up with her robber/killer boyfriend to seek out the legendary pirate treasure buried somewhere in the small settlement of Middle Bayou. While Lucinda is getting herself settled in as the new teacher for the settlement, Nate, as part of his 6 month commission in the new Texas State Police, has been ordered to assist two veteran Texas Rangers in their pursuit of a dangerous killer. Chapters alternate between the two characters and the story progresses to their intersection. Through the story telling the characters are revealed and how they're connected and while the story doesn't end with the apprehension, the ending is right, the last loose end revealed. This is a good well told story and I enjoyed it a lot. I'll be seeking out her other two.

The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker - A psychotic schizophrenic goes on a ritual murder spree collecting the seven brides for God, being god's messenger and all. He selects only the most beautiful, drills their heels and then glues them to the wall to drain their blood. Brad Raines is the FBI agent tasked to catch him. It starts out very formula and I was almost immediately over the whole soul searching thing by the killer, crazy religious, and by the FBI agent, who wonders if he is not quite stable as well. Boring. And then it took an interesting turn leading to a residential facility for the crazy with high IQs and a small group of patient/residents. Then back to all the crazy head stuff especially the crazy killer guy. But really just about every character, half the story was crazy head stuff. Halfway through, the killer abducts and kills the FBI's psychology partner on the case. It was an OK story, good enough when he was advancing the story but I would have enjoyed it more if it had had less psyche searching and been 100 pages shorter.

The Fragile World by Paula Treick DeBoard - this was the book I was looking for originally when I picked up The Mourning Hours which I enjoyed well enough. I had no idea what this one was about or why I even had it on my read list but the library got it for me. In the first 10 pages, the amazing musical prodigy, only son and first child whose family's life...father, mother, younger sister...revolved around the rising star of the talented son who is away at a music conservatory or school and who dies in a freak accident. The story basically opens with the phone call in the night. The entire rest of the 300+ pages is about how the remaining members of his family cope, or don't cope blah blah blah. I didn't read it. The library had another book I requested so I turned this one back in.


  1. Ooh. I really want to read the Mars book. Reminds me of a thing I heard Neal deGrasse Tyson saying on a video about how when people crossed the ocean to new continents, at least a tree was still a tree. They knew how to use the wood. Water was still water. Etc. But how on distant planets none of that will be true.
    So. Yes. I want to read that!

  2. P.S. The first "real" book I recall reading was a book called "Marooned on Mars."
    How odd!

  3. I've read a lot of Anne Tyler, but that is about it on your list.

  4. I know two names and titles on your list.
    I’m always amazed how many books are written and pretty quickly forgotten every single year.

  5. It may have been my review of "The Fragile World" that got it on your list; you did come by and comment. I liked it. As for Anne Tyler, she hasn't written anything I've really liked in years and years.

  6. That is a lot of reading. I read more nonfiction during the summer.

  7. I've read the Wicked books - definitely fun & light. I like to read books like that after a Pendergast book so I can have some recovery time :)

    I LOVED The Martian! We read it for book club. I listened to the audio version & just thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, I might see about buying the audible version & listening to it again...

    I'm going to check out The Nethergrim & The Girl on the Train - they seem right down my alley.

  8. I enjoyed Wicked Appetite, Wicked Business, and The Nethergrim. I'm waiting for Wicked Charms. The Outcasts sounds like a good read... I shall check it out.

  9. I had to be a bit careful here because I haven't yet read "The Girl on the Train" or "A Spool of Blue Thread," and they're both on my list. I skipped over those summaries!


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