Monday, March 5, 2018

winter reading list

The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye by David Lagercrantz – Lisbeth Salander has been sentenced to 6 months in prison for abducting the autistic son of a murdered scientist and keeping him hidden, an act that saved his life while the police finally caught the people trying to kill him. Three months in, she has had enough of the brutality of the prison gang leader towards a meek muslim girl in for the murder of her brother. A visit from her former guardian Holger Palmgren puts her on the track of learning more about the agency known only as The Registry which was instrumental in her life growing up and between her and Mikael Blomvist they break open the pseudoscientific program that split up twins at birth. Meanwhile, the prison gang leader escapes and teams up with the other brother of the muslim girl and kidnaps Lisbeth.

The Orphan's Tale by Pan Jenoff – I'm not really sure who the title refers to in this story as it's a tale of two women told alternately by each of them in first person present. During WWII, blond Noa, a Dutch 16 year old, becomes pregnant by a Nazi soldier and when her father throws her out of the house she ends up in a Nazi home for unwed mothers and is forced to give up her baby. She is turned out and finds meager shelter and food as the cleaner in a train station. One night she hears babies crying and discovers a rail car full of dead and dying Jewish infants. She plucks one of the still living from the train and flees into the snowy night in the forest where she collapses and is discovered by a clown from a circus whose winter home is nearby. Astrid, a Jewish aerialist pushing 40 from a circus family who married a German officer and moved to Berlin, has her marriage annulled by the Nazis and is turned out by her husband. She makes her way to her family's circus winter home adjacent to a friendly competitor circus but there is no sign of her family. She is taken in by the rival German circus and given shelter. Thus Noa and Astrid are thrown together when the circus owner tells Astrid she must teach Noa the flying trapeze in 6 weeks so she can perform when they start traveling. The story is about these two women's relationship as it develops, their constant fear that they will be discovered by the frequent inspections by the SS, the love relationships they engage in, and their eventual dependence on each other as the power shifts from one to the other. Halfway through I was ready for the book to be over. I found much of the agonizing and 'secrets' to be a bit tedious and I didn't really care for the author's writing style but the story itself is interesting.

Marsbound by Joe Haldeman – 18 year old Carmen Dula and her younger brother and her scientist parents win a lottery for a work/study program at the fledgling underground colony on Mars, what would have been for a period of four years and an eventual return to Earth until one night Carmen ventured out onto the surface in a fit of anger and a desire for solitude and fell through the thin crust of Mars and into a cavern breaking her ankle and a rib only to be rescued, healed, and returned to the Mars base by an alien creature, a creature that turns out to be the leader of a group of four legged, four armed, potato headed group of 'martians' that have been living underground on Mars for thousands of years and so first contact is achieved. The 'martians' were created by the Other's to keep watch on the developing humans with an agenda specific to the humans obtaining spaceflight. Turns out the Others, old old old and far advanced, had already felt the need to exterminate more than one planet of it's aggressive dominant life form and it's not too sure about humans but fails in their attempt to wipe out all life on Earth.

Starbound by Joe Haldeman – Earth builds a ship to transport 7 Humans and two Martians to the star and planet of the Others, a 24 year round, trip to try and convince them humans are no danger to them and please don't exterminate us. Halfway there, the Others send an emissary to parlay and take stock. The Others decide to give them another chance on one condition...they must leave one Human and one Martian to be absorbed into their group mind...and are sent back. While they were gone the humans were busy building a fleet of spaceships for protection against any further aggression by the Others. When the Others learn about the fleet through absorbing the mind of the human left behind, they take exception to that and blow up the moon which destroys the fleet in space. Of course the humans react by sending up a rocket designed to somehow clear the debris field left behind which makes further space flight impossible. So the Others respond by siphoning off all forms of energy on the planet basically sending them back to the bronze age.

Tea Time For The Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith - next in the series...Mma Ramotswe finally must say goodbye to her tiny white van, the agency must discover why the football team is losing, and Mma Makutsi's nemesis makes a move on her fiancé.

Origin by Dan Brown - as in all his books it's religion as in catholic vs science or rather some discovery that religion is desperate to keep secret or will cause people to shed their faith, you know, typical Dan Brown. So the most brilliant and innovative mind alive today has discovered the irrefutable answer to mankind's most pressing questions...where did we come from and where are we going. As with his books he provides a lot of interesting supportive information as the story progresses but the story itself got kind of stupid for a while but had a little twist at the end.

Down A Dark Road by Linda Castillo – because his 5 children live with their aunt and uncle in the area, ex-Amish chief of police Katie Burkholder is apprised that an Amish man convicted of killing his wife has escaped prison. That man is her childhood neighbor and crush, Joseph King. When Kate goes to check on the family she sees a strange car pulled over on the side of the road and gets out to investigate. As she nears the house she is overpowered by Joseph and her gun taken and they return to the house where he is holding his kids hostage after releasing their aunt and uncle. Local and county police show up and SWAT but Katie is released when she promises to look into the case after Joseph swears he did not kill his wife. After shots are exchanged, the SWAT team kills Joseph which spurns Katie on to find out the truth, an investigation that nearly gets her killed as well.

Liar by K. L. Slater – a murder mystery of sorts, the book begins and ends with the murder only you don't know who is the murderer and who is the murderee until the end. The story is told through the perspective of Judi and Amber. Judi is the mother of Ben who Amber targets and insinuates herself into his life for her own nefarious ends which turns out to be connected to Judi's other son who fell to his death as a teen. Most of the story is told by Judi who resents Amber and her intrusion into the status quo...Ben is a widower whose wife died over two years previous leaving him and their two sons. Judi has stepped in and takes care of Ben's house and her grandsons...and forcing Judi out. The story gets a little tedious as Judi investigates Amber and concludes that she is a liar. I read it to the end to find out who killed who but I wouldn't really recommend it.


  1. I have not read a one of those books! Which one(s) did you enjoy the most?

    1. not a very inspiring list this time but of these I'd have to say The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye (and the one that preceded it, continuing the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series).

  2. I had no idea Alexander McCall Smith was still writing those Precious Ramotswe books!

    1. Oh, and you mentioned "no picture of the bench" in your comment on my blog -- but that top photo IS the bench. It just doesn't look much like a bench, so you probably overlooked it!

  3. I just finished the third book in the ladies detective agency series. I'm sad to hear that she has to say goodbye to the van!

    I have a love/hate relationship with the Burkholder books. I think it's because I listen to the audio books & the narrator makes everything seem so fraught.


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