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by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The story of an imaginary rock group from the early 1970s as told in interviews with the imaginary characters. This was an interesting read despite the unusual format and most of it was realistic enough that I actually checked to make sure it wasn't a real band. The relationship between the lead singer and his girlfriend stretched believable romance a little far, but it still worked.
A lot of references to real bands and things happening in the world at the time made this as enjoyable as reading about any favourite obscure band from that era. For those of us who weren't around to experience the times first hand, it might as well be as true as any of the documentaries about other bands.
It was very well done and the dynamics among the various band members and close associates are interesting and realistic enough to believe it all could happened. I so wanted Daisy to stop hurtling towards her own self destruction!
What was unexpected because of the format were a couple of twists near the end. I came out of reading this with the same sort of nostalgic feelings I get from real documentaries, for a place and time I've never been. I did wish the ending had gone one step further, but it was satisfying nonetheless.
A restless cowboy, a veterinarian with dating rules, and a chance for happily-ever-after...with dogs!
Logan Buttars has always been good-natured and happy-go-lucky. After watching two of his brothers settle down, he recognizes a void in his life he didn't know about. He tried to fill that void with canine service with special needs students, but it's not quite cutting it.
Veterinarian Layla Guyman has appreciated Logan's friendship and easy way with animals when he comes into the clinic to get the service dogs. When she attends his brother's wedding, she sees him through new eyes.
But with his future at Steeple Ridge in the balance, she's not sure a relationship with him is worth the risk. After all, she's got an established practice in her east-coast hometown and he's talking service dog training all the way across the country in California.
Can she rely on her faith and employ patience to tame Logan's wild heart?
Read all the Steeple Ridge Romance novels by Liz Isaacson!
1. Finding Love at Steeple Ridge
2. Learning Faith at Steeple Ridge
3. Kissing Santa at Steeple Ridge
4. Coming Home to Steeple Ridge
The rest of the series is also current on sale for 99 cents each book.
by Maria DeBlassie
This is a book of snippets of thoughts about some of the things many of us contemplate, but don't think to write down. Things like the wonders of synchronicity and observations of everyday life. Many of these are related from the author's point of view but written in second person so that the book tells me there are roadrunners where I live and that I like chamomile tea (not!)
The further I read, the more I felt I was looking at the author's perspectives rather than my own and experiencing her thoughts from looking over her shoulder. What is striking about these short thought-spills is the consistent positivity expressed and how one might find joy or strength from ordinary things.
While I didn't always feel the perspectives applied to me, the second person format worked to draw me into the author's mind and see her life from an optimist's view. The idea here is to turn around and apply these positive thoughts to your own life details.
I could see this being of benefit to those who tend to get down about things generally. I'm rather an optimist myself so although I couldn't identify with the details, I could appreciate the author's attitude.
by Helen Susan Swift
Two people are out on a pleasurable boating trip on the North Sea when storm clouds suddenly move in and turn the sea violent. As if that weren't enough to ruin their day, things take a strange turn.
This is a ghost ship story with a few weird turns. It did stretch believability in some places, but was overall an interesting read. My one complaint is some lazy writing where one of the main characters would 'just feel' what she was meant to do or that a ghost wanted her to do something.
The majority of the story is told through the voice of a doctor who had been on the ghost ship and what happened to the rest of the crew. There are some triggers here. It was a sealing ship and animal lovers like myself may find some passages difficult, though it isn't gratuitous gore. Just the thought of a sailing expedition whose purpose is to slaughter animals, including baby animals, is enough to be upsetting.
The writing is excellent and the supernatural aspects of the story are very well done. The beginning and end sequences felt rather rushed, but the bulk of the story, told by the doctor's journal, made for a very good read.
by C. J. Sansom
Book 1 of the Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series.
This is the beginning of an ongoing series of Historical Mysteries that take place in the Tudor period of England. The books are all self-contained stand alone novels and the character who takes us through the progressing snippets of history is a high-level lawyer called Matthew Shardlake. In this first novel, it is 1537 and Lord Thomas Cromwell is the vicar general and supports the Reformation, as does Shardlake.
The country is divided between those who are faithful to the Catholic Church and those loyal to Henry VIII and his newly established Church of England. A murder leads Cromwell to bring in Shardlake to investigate.
Shardlake is a hunchback, which I thought was a brilliant way to bring diversity into a historical setting where not a lot of diversity existed. He is intelligent and thorough in his investigations and that can get him into some difficult situations when he uncovers uncomfortable evidence of such things as sexual misconduct, embezzlement, and treason.
Like much Historical Fiction, a lot of detail is included and it can take a while to get from one place to another. I wouldn't call it 'slow' because it keeps interest and seeing events from Shardlake's point of view works well with his detailed observations. It is basically a Mystery story, but within a historical context. The historical details look to be well-researched and accurate.
There's also a certain amount of dramatic action, especially at the end. I thought it was extremely well done and I enjoyed reading the historical notes after the end, as I always do when a Historical Fiction novel includes them.
Most importantly, the end really is the end. The first chapter of the next story in the series is included, but each story is complete and you don't have to buy another book to see what happened. If you enjoy a good historical mystery this is a good place to start as it develops Shardlake as a character and gives the reader some insight into how his deformity affects him as well as his thinking processes and how he came to be in his position, but after that the books could be read in any order.
A very intelligently written series.
by Karen Thompson Walker
I've been caught out once again by a book written in present tense. Why, oh why is this a thing?
The story is about a strange virus that makes people fall asleep and not wake up, but remain dreaming. It was an interesting premise, but because present tense is so difficult to read I couldn't really get into the story.
Some interesting ideas in there, but it's just not for me.
by Grady Hendrix
Kris Pulaski was a rock star who almost made it, but now she lives paycheck to paycheck at a boring (if she's lucky) job as a cheap hotel desk clerk. All she has is memories of what almost was and the band member who ripped everybody off and went on to stardom, then obscurity, until she sees a billboard advertising his return tour.
This was a wild ride that earns its Horror category well and truly. Heavy on rock and roll, mainly Heavy Metal, but also you'll encounter conspiracy theories, supernatural stuff, cults, social commentary and a whole list of triggers with claustrophobia topping the list and some notable gore. If you've got a trigger, just assume it's in here somewhere.
I should mention that the characters were all distinctive and well developed, especially Kris, and the plot had unpredictable twists and all sorts of surprises.
Some parts of this were difficult for me to read, but I had to know what would happen so I persevered. The end was worth it. For the Horror fan, this is a work of art. For those who don't like Horror or tend to be squeamish, best steer clear. I can see this story developing its own cult following. Black Iron Mountain has touched the souls of all who read it.
by Robert Jackson Bennett
This one is a Fantasy story about a professional thief by the name of Sancia. It takes place in an imaginary world with lots of magic with an original approach. Sancia has been hired to steal an item she knows little about from a safe. This takes her sneaking into a compound through sewage, ensorcelled blade on guard.
Many items have magic in this world, referred to as scriving, a sigil-based spell method which in this world is defined as magical writing. The item she is after has a few surprises which will lead much of the progression of events. It is well-written, if perhaps a little cliché as thieves in Fantasy worlds tend to be. The world building is quite workable though and I found it an enjoyable read.
I was thrown off a little by the voice of a certain magical item because it sounded too modern day and pulled me out of the fantasy world a little. Also, a few occasional phrases pulled me out like "Praise God" in a world where religion hasn't been an element in the story up to then. Otherwise the characters were as you would expect for the genre.
I found myself deeply engaged with the story and have to give it a high rating for that, but this expertly constructed alternative world is both stressful and depressing and makes me think I may pass on the sequels. It also had a blatant 'buy the next book' ending and I'm finding myself less and less enamoured of those. Why must everything be a series?
by Kate Morton
Elodie, is getting married soon, but she doesn't seem all that interested. She's a likeable character with a strong sense of her own independence and a love of researching the past, which is part of her job. Although her part in the story is set in modern day, she has the feel of a Victorian character out of place.
I really enjoyed reading this at first as the writing is very good and I could identify with Elodie in many ways, but as the chapters went on I felt it became very slow. There are interesting time jumps, but they aren't done as smoothly as they might have and the connection between Elodie and Ada had a lot of potential, but again, things just took forever to progress.
I think this story could have been shorter and tightened up. Some brilliant creative ideas were in there that deserved to hold my interest more than they did.
We all know what is going on in the United States right now, so I won't bring it up here, but please do go and vote. If you are able to, please vote tomorrow. I have marched, signed letters, and left phone calls, and now all I have left is my vote.
by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
This is part of The Cemetery Of Forgotten Books universe, along with Shadow of the Wind, The Angel's Game and The Prisoner of Heaven. They are stand alone stories but are connected through a common setting in Barcelona and some characters that appear in all of the stories. They are Literary, Gothic, Mystical Mystery stories that have helped define the Magical Realism category of fiction.
The book description tells us, "As a child, Daniel Sempere discovered among the passageways of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books an extraordinary novel that would change the course of his life. Now a young man in the Barcelona of the late 1950s, Daniel runs the Sempere & Sons bookshop and enjoys a seemingly fulfilling life with his loving wife and son. Yet the mystery surrounding the death of his mother continues to plague his soul despite the moving efforts of his wife Bea and his faithful friend Fermín to save him."
They say you can read this series in any order and this was my first Zafón. I found it very slow in the beginning and with the characters changing in different segments, found it very difficult to find a linear plot line to follow. The second half was much easier as the various elements start coming together. The writing itself was undeniably good and there were definitely some exciting passages, but I think I might have to read it again with more familiarity with the characters and how they relate to each other. Hopefully the other books in the series will be easier as a result.
I think I would advise first time readers to start with Shadow of the Wind first.
So, today's call gave me my 4th Bingo, 5th row down. I finished 20 of the 25 books and started 4 more, to be finished in November. One never got started, oh well. It was fun, and that's what matters. Now to catch up my Netgalley reads!
Well, 9 books for the month isn't bad. I accepted a week ago that I just haven't been able to read fast enough to expect to finish any more, even though I have several still in progress. Maybe saving my longer books for the second month of Bingo wasn't the best strategy. Oh well, it's been enjoyable anyway.
Of the above list, I would happily recommend any of the first 4 (yes, even the zombie book). The others were mostly decent reads. The only disappointment was The Amulet Thief. I had high hopes for that one but found it boring.
So not a bad month over all. I haven't managed Bingo blackout. I will finish my Bingo books in progress. There are 6 of them and 3 of those are Netgalley reads. I also have 6 more Netgalley books not yet started. Guess what I'll be doing for November!
Only one of my Bingo books never got started, the Mary Shelley. From what I've heard it's a bit slow, but I want to read it anyway. Whether I do it soon or save it for next year is yet to be seen. My priority for the moment is shifting to Netgalley commitments.
I also want to have a blitz of my samples. I may not get to it in November with so many Netgalley books but I'd like to just take some time to sit and read them, keeping in mind that many never take more than a couple of pages to reject. Whether I do any holiday reads this year may depend on how far I get with both samples and Netgalley. I'd like to start the new year with a clear samples folder, though I find it easy to slip in short books. I'll let my mood take me where it will.
Bingo has been fun. I expect to get one more from tomorrow's call, but that's it for me. Next year I'll make sure I don't lumber myself with any bricks!
Free or Discounted Books.
Horror, Fantasy, Paranormal, and Dark Fantasy ebooks online fair is until October 31st.
by Lin Senchaid
I can never resist a good antichrist story. At first I thought this one was going to be just a light hearted YA novel, but things started happening by chapter three that had me holding my breath! There are also some great laugh out loud one-liners between the more intense scenes.
Lucas is the antichrist, but with incarnation comes free will and he's having a teenage rebellion. Rather than being anti-social in high school, he has a few close friends that border on being followers, but most of the time treat him like any other teenager, albeit one with certain leadership abilities and a few, um, unusual skills.
Part of the amusement value is that he attends a Los Angeles high school where everyone knows he's the antichrist and it's just treated as another teenage quirk, except when things get too real. Some of his teachers assume it's just a fantasy thing, but he's got a crush on a girl with very religious parents who disapprove of him for what he is and won't let her go to a dance with him.
I hope there will be further books with these characters. I'm usually not big on series but there's room to further develop some of the peripheral characters and I rather liked the main ones. Yes, including Lucas. I used to wonder after the second of The Omen series films came out what would happen if the antichrist decided he just didn't want to fulfil his prescribed role or questioned the prophecies and this addresses those questions within the context of a fun, fast moving story. Highly recommended!