Sunday, January 8, 2017

My Year in Books- Third and Final Part...#41 to the end.

41. Herald of the Hidden by Mark Valentine
Written in the same vein as older Gothic stories about occult detectives and odd goings on. The
author is a well versed collector of literature in the genre and does a good job of writing his
own works in a similar style.

42. The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher
What do you do when you read all the Dresden files, started reading the Codex Alera and want
more from the same author? You read other stuff you can find that said author has written.
Fantastic world building and a set of great new characters by a very talented author. I hope he
continues this series. 

 43. The Bible's Cutting Room Floor by Dr. Joel Hoffman

A work of non-fiction giving historical perspective on the bible and what was and was not
included in it. Interesting.

44. Under the Shadow of Etna by Giovanni Verga
A book of stories about Sicily and the Sicilian mind-set by an Italian author known for such
historical story telling. Rather bleak and fatalistic but helps the reader understand
where the people of this island are coming from in their life view.

 45. The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers
I still have no clue what this story was about and I read it twice.

 46.Your Happily Ever After by Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Inspirational reading from a beloved religious leader. 

 47. Turn on Your Super Brain by Dr. Jill Ammon Wexler
I'm always on the look out for interesting and or informative reading.


 48. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling &.
At first I found it hard to get into the story with the distraction of the screen play format. Then I
became more interested in what was happening in the book and was able to overlook the
distraction of the format, even though I still think it was an unusual way to present a book. I'd
like to read Fantastic Beasts, but am not too excited about that one also being in a screen play
format.
  
49. Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Duggard
Interesting historical exploration about the politics and peculiarities surrounding this famous
person's death from a view that is not trying to support any particular religion.

 50. Beloved by Toni Morrison
Masterful representation of life from a historical freed slave point of view after the civil war..
An important cultural representation, and a dang good ghost story mixed in. 

51. Kitty's Greatest Hits by Carrie Vaughn
A collection of stories by the author of the urban fantasy series featuring “Kitty”, (Kitty and the
Midnight Hour, etc.), who is a late night radio host and also happens to be a werewolf. Not all of
the stories are in the Kitty universe, but they are a really good mixed bag and a nice introduction
to the author because I went on to start reading the Kitty series because I enjoyed these stories.
My interest was really peaked to find out more about, Cormac, whom I felt was a very intriguing
character and he is also included as a character in the Kitty series.
   
52. To Hold the Bridge by Garth Nix
A collection of stories by an author I have enjoyed. Some of them take place in the world he
created for the Abhorsen or Old Kingdom series featuring Sabriel. I particularly enjoyed the title
story and the one about the Uncle in Scotland and a hell-boy type character. I will probably
revisit this one again in the coming year.
  
53. The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E. Ladd
A interesting Gothic type book, the main character is Camille. Her father runs a
curiosity/antique shop. He is keeping secrets from his daughter about his business and why
Camille's mother seemed to abandon the family when she was still a young girl. Camille
becomes embroiled in all the mystery even though she was not trying to be involved. Family
secrets, English manors, and a young woman in peril...what more could you ask for? I would
read more by this author.

54. The Lights of Mahonri Moriancumer by Phyllis Gunderson
I was on a Jaredite kick after reading The Lost Stones, mentioned above. The main character is
a woman who is also an archaeologist. A niche author catering to the LDS/Utah crowd but it
was still well done and I have already obtained another book by the same author, about the
same lady archaeologist when she travels to South America to check out some ruins. it is
already in my to-be-read pile.

 55. Dead Men Do Tell Tales by William R. Maples
An interesting collection of accounts written by a Forensic Pathologist about examining the
bodies of crime victims and what can be deduced about the circumstances of the death to help
solve the crime. The author also writes about how he was asked to be part of a forensic study of
the Russian Romanov family, the circumstances surrounding their deaths, and what was found
out about studying the victims and correlating it with the historical accounts.
  
56. Staked by Kevin Hearne (Iron Druid)
I am a fan of the Iron Druid series by this author and have even read all the novellas that have been written which include the same characters in the series. When I first started reading this one I became bored by all the Norse Mythology stuff because it seemed like nothing was really happening to move the story forward. Then the story got all vampire laden and a bit out of control. Personally I feel this was not one of the better Iron Druid novels, maybe the author felt pressure to put out another story about Atticus but struggled getting it out. That is what it felt like to me. After putting the book aside for a few months I wanted to be able to complete the series up to what had already been written so I started reading from where I left off. I finished but I did not enjoy it as much as the other books. A novella,”The Purloined Poodle”, (Oberon's Meaty Mysteries), recently written by Hearne is much better and more like what I have come to expect from this author. 

57. Find Me by Dan Baldwin
This book turned out to be a bit different than what I expected. I purchased it because I wanted
to read about missing persons cases that psychics had helped solve. The book turned out to be
more like how to become a psychic and solve cases, and this is what some other psychics do to
help them get information/inspiration to solve cases. Oh well.
  

58. Dance of Death by Preston and Child (Pendergast #6)
The continuing thriller series starring Special Agent AXL Pendergast, this one continues with
the exploits of Diogenes, the evil brother of Agent Pendergast, who is expected to commit his
greatest crime during the time period of the book. 
  
59. Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn (Kitty #1)
The first in a series of urban fantasy stories featuring Kitty Norville, late night radio talk show
host and unwitting werewolf. I was put off by the brutishness of Carl, the leader of the Denver
clan and Kitty's action, or rather, inaction about it but this part of the story is important to
understanding things that happen in the following books. Interesting series. 

60. The Book of the Dead by Preston and Child (Pendergast #7)
More thrilling adventures had by Agent Pendergast and his trusty sidekick NYPD Lt. Vincent
D'Agosta. Reminiscent of the first two books in the series (Relic, Reliquary) in that this is
another tale of a special museum exhibit gone bad. This time it is rumored to be because of an
ancient Egyptian mummy curse.

61. Kitty Goes to Washington by Carrie Vaughn (Kitty #2)
Kitty reveals to the world that she is a werewolf on her late night radio talk show. She and her
lawyer Ben, travel to Washington D.C. to testify before congress in hearings regarding the
rights of supernatural beings in our midst such as vampires, werewolves, etc. Upon arrival, she
is whisked away by the local vampire clan, enjoys a romance with an attractive were-jaguar she
meets in the D.C. werewolf community, and is captured by a paranormal researcher.

 62. The Wheel of Darkness by Preston and Child (Pendergast #8)
Another Special Agent Pendergast adventure. While recovering from the events of the last book,
(Book of the Dead) Pendergast and his ward Constance spend time in a remote Tibetan
monastery. The monks ask for their help in retrieving a stolen artifact. A worldwide chase
ensues. A lot of the story takes place on a cruise ship while following the trail of the artifact
thief.

 63. Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn (Kitty #3)
Kitty decides to escape from the world for a while after the harrowing events of the last
book by renting a remote cabin in the mountains, away from Denver, where she is no longer
welcome because of a feud with the clan leader, Carl. She settles down to write her
memoirs, but this is Kitty we are talking about here and she rarely has quiet time
to just enjoy her life as she soon finds out even when she tries to get away from it all.

 64. Cemetery Dance by Preston and Child (Pendergast #9)
The book starts out with continuing characters in the series, William Smithback and Nora Kelly
celebrating their first wedding anniversary. I wanted to throw the book across the room for what
happened next, but don't want to spoil it for you if you have not read it yet. The book was at
first entitled Revenant, so that should give you some kind of an idea about what kind of
adventures Agent Pendergast is having in this book. Classic Pendergast with the added twist of
an ancient zombie cult and Constance being institutionalized as insane for the supposed
murder of her infant son that she threw overboard when they were on the cruise ship in the last
book.
 
65. Wrapped for Eternity- The Story of the Egyptian Mummy by Mildred Mastin Pace
I developed a curiosity about mummies while reading the novel The Book of the Dead, (#59)
above, so I read a non fiction book about mummies. 

66. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
I needed a break from murder and mayhem with Agent Pendergast so I read about India with
Kipling. Most of the book was a fascinating look at a culture I don't know much about in a
unique time period. Toward the end, it seemed the author did not know how to end the book
so he just came up with something. Nonetheless, an interesting and rather amusing read as Kim
and the holy man seeking the blessed river are great characters that I suspect are a
compilation of real people the author met while living in India.
  
67. Fever Dream by Preston and Child (Pendergast #10)
Here I am, looking for more murder and mayhem with Agent Pendergast. In this book
Pendergast discovers that his deceased wife, Helen, was really murdered and not killed in a
tragic safari hunting accident as previously thought. Pendergast stays in the old family mansion
in New Orleans and the action takes place in the southern USA for this book. The story
involves artist John J. Audubon, genetic engineering of the avian flu, and the introduction of
Justin Esterhazy, brother to Pendergast's late wife. The first of a mini trilogy within the series
about Helen.

 68. Cold Vengeance by Preston and Child (Pendergast #11)
The second installment of the Helen miniseries within the Pendergast series. Pendergast is
determined to bring justice (or vengeance) to all those involved in the murder of his wife Helen.
He puts his trust in Helen's brother to help solve the mystery only to find out that Justin
was involved in the planning and cover up of the murder. He learns about a still surviving
group of German Nazi's called The Covenant, that may have had something to do
with his wife's death.

 69. Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn (Kitty #3)
A satisfying development for Kitty's personal growth as she has to confront some distasteful
events in her past in this book. She is torn between visiting her ill mother and having been
banished from Denver by the jerk named Carl who is the wolf clan leader there. She finds a new
love and repairs past blunders with her family, she also finds her inner Alpha.

 70. Two Graves by Preston and Child (Pendergast #12)
The third and final volume of the Helen miniseries within the greater series books. Pendergast
anticipates a reunion with his wife Helen, whom he thought was dead for the past 12 years but
she really has been alive. She is kidnapped by a crazed band of Nazi's just as their reunion is
about to take place. There is also trouble brewing in NYC as a murderer dubbed the Hotel Killer
creates havoc around town and Agent Pendergast is asked by the NYPD to help apprehend the
killer.
 
71. White Fever by Preston and Child (Pendergast #13)
Previously introduced character, Corrie Swanson, has been generously sponsored by Agent
Pendergast at the university to learn the art of law enforcement and forensics. She sets out to
investigate an old story of miners killed by a bear in a Colorado ski town and to examine the
remains to see what she can learn about the incident for her Master's thesis. Along the way, she
discovers a whole lot more than she bargained for. Pendergast is drawn to the scene to help
Corrie escape from the mess she uncovered and help solve the mystery of recent arson
murders that have taken place in the town. I have enjoyed the Corrie character but she acted
foolishly in this book. She kind-of redeemed herself at the end, but I hope she will return in a
future novel cast in a better light.

 72. The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
Sanderson is a master story teller with an amazing imagination, and he does great world and
character building. This book is part of a spinoff of his Mistborn series. This is the second book
I have read about Waxilliam, the main character, who has special abilities involving metal. He is
an interesting character but I realized I missed a few books in the series about Wax that took
place before the events in this latest installment. It is interesting enough that one can understand
and enjoy the book without previous knowledge of the characters but I plan on seeking out the
books that I missed to round out my experience with this series. A bit like a steam-punk
western, if you can follow that train of thought at all.
  
73. Blue Labyrinth by Preston and Child (Pendergast #14)
The drama and mayhem continue as Agent Pendergast, confronting the knowledge that he is the
father of twin teenage sons he never knew about until recently, one evening he receives a knock
on the door of his Riverside Drive, New York City mansion. Deposited on his door step is the
body of the bad twin, Alban. During the autopsy of Alban's body, a rock made of unique
turquoise is found in his stomach. Pendergast sets out on a quest to learn why this rock was
found in the stomach of his son. From the southwestern USA to the greenhouses of the Brooklyn
Botanical Gardens, Preston and Child never fail to deliver on the Agent Pendergast series.

74.  Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival by Dean King
I recently did a write up on this one for the Teaser Tuesday feature on this blog. This
book is a compilation of journals written by two of the men who had the experience of
being shipwrecked off the northern coast of Africa, taken as slaves by the Arab peoples
there and their trek to freedom across the Sahara desert. The author also did a similar
trek while being sponsored by National Geographic as additional research for this book.
A riveting account.


75. Crimson Shore by Preston and Child (Pendergast #15)
A fast moving thriller continuing the drama of the life of Special Agent Pendergast, who, at the end of the book was lost at sea and presumed dead (again). The action takes place in a sleepy New England village on the Atlantic coast. I was good with the story and thought the it was all wrapped up after the reasons for the wine cellar theft was solved. But there was more...it continued in a over the top vein with the conclusion of a second story line that was brewing all along in the main story. I would have been satisfied with the story ending after the resolution of the wine theft as it became quite fantastical after that, but I guess Constance had to have her day in the sun beside agent Pendergast. It did not stop me from going back for more action in the next Pendergast book.
  
76.  The Obsidian Chamber by Preston and Child (Pendergast #16)
What will I do now that I have read all the Pendergast novels! Woe is me, what can happen
next as I wonder if Preston and Child have more Pendergast tales up their respective
sleeves. Constance is coerced into going away with Pendergast's evil brother Diogenes,
who was supposed to be dead in a previous book (surprise, surprise). She is convinced
Pendergast is dead as his body has never been recovered from the ocean off the coast of
New England. Sounds like a soap opera doesn't it? But, never the less,it is a long action
filled one that I hope to return to again in the future. (Guess I have no excuse but to finish
Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series now, and catch up on all the other series I've started
reading.)

 77. Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman 
Delightful and told like a folktale. Gaiman used his magic to tell the story of a boy named Odd who saved Asgard for Odin, Thor and Loki of Norse mythology. I'd like to see the graphic novel version of this one.




 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

My Year in Books, Part II; The next 20 books.


  1. Vanished by Kat Richardson
Part of theGreywalker” series by this author, set in today's world (urban fantasy) with a great
female protagonist who unwittingly gains special abilities to see/exist in between this world and
the world of the dead after suffering a near death experience. Series centered around Seattle, WA. Harper investigates her past and seeks to communicate with the ghost of her dead father
to find out why he mysteriously vanished.
  1. Abhorsen by Garth Nix
The third book in the Sabriel/Abhorsen trilogy, continuing to tell the story of Lirael, Sabriel and
her two children. (Zombies before zombies were a “cool” thing.)

 3. Labyrinth by Kat Richardson
Another interesting novel starring Harper Blaine who is a Greywalker, and Seattle P.I. Harper has returned from London after investigating her father's past and wants to find out who it was that originally 'killed' her, which resulted in her gaining extraordinary abilities to walk between the world of the living and the world of the dead.
  1. The Dead Sea Scrolls by Verne Madsen
An interesting and readily understandable account and history of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
  1. Downpour by Kat Richardson
More intrigue and investigating from the brave and independent Harper Blaine. Harper is “killed” again and discovers dark secrets about a mountain resort in the Olympic Peninsula (Washington State) and a place called Blood Lake.
  1. Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigaluppi
Another one that could be classified as Utopian Literature (as in a world gone wrong), I seem to like this genre as it gives me a lot to think about regarding society and how it is, was, or could become. Interesting world building and a bit of a brutal world, but good reading.
  1. Princesses Behaving Badly By Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
This one is just like the title says, historic stories of royalty, specifically female royalty, with all the warts showing for all the world to see.
  1. The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey (9th Duke of Rutland)
Historical fact finding by a researcher who came upon a conundrum about a titled English
family and delved into the family secrets. Spoiler: The Duke wound up being a lamer and a coward of privilege, but still an interesting read as it seemed like a real life Gothic tale.
  1. Eerie Britain #2 by M B Forde
A collection of ghost stories from the British Isles, which has a rich tradition of such stories.
  1. Sabriel by Garth Nix
A backward way to finish out the Abhorsen trilogy by Nix, as this is actually the first novel of the series, but after reading Lirael and Abhorsen I went back and re-read the first book.
  1. Seawitch by Kat Richardson (#7 Greywalker Series)
Another tale starring detective Harper Blaine, and the underworld of Seattle, a very enjoyable series. Harper investigates a 25 year old tale about the disappearance of a boat called the Seawitch, which leads to information about another ship's disappearance 100 years ago and the dark secrets surrounding the events.
  1. Possession by Kat Richardson (#8 Greywalker Series)
A woman who has been in a coma suddenly wakes up and starts painting pictures of scenes that wind up being real places with some terrible stories attached to them. Strange writing also appears on her body. Thinking the woman is possessed, her sister, desperate for some answers to the unusual happenings, seeks the help of Greywalker, Harper Blaine.
  1. Revenant by Kat Richardson (Last Greywalker novel)
Harper's niece is kidnapped in Portugal and she goes to investigate. She finds out more about her boyfriend's father and his nefarious dealings with the Ghost Division and learns more about the enigmatic vampire, Carlos, who is a trusted friend. (As you can see I was really interested in this series during the year.) I was bummed that this was the last book in the series as I wanted more!
  1. The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigaluppi
Sequel to Shipbreaker, by the same author. It takes off with a side/continuing story about the super soldier/genetically engineered being that was introduced in the previous book. Still a pretty bleak world.
  1. The Witch Finder and Other Stories by S. Baring Gould
I guess you either love or hate mid-eighteen hundreds writing, which can be rather wordy to wade through at times but I have read several works by this author and will continue to do so as I find them. For the most part, good Gothic genre tales, which interest me. Many of this author's works are free on kindle because there are no copyrights on this old stuff. Sometimes the
electronic formatting is second rate though.
  1. Great Ghost Stories 2, another kindle freebie or one to be had for a small price such as 99 cents. I can't turn down most ghost stories but I am definitely not a fan of gore, so most of them that I read are old or from the wordy writers of the 1800's and rather more fantastical, anecdotal or psychological rather that gory.


  2. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
Could be considered a classic fantasy tale, with fantastical animals involved- a winner for me. Interesting and haunting main character.
  1. The Woman with the Alabaster Jar by Margaret Starbird
The author puts forth the theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and expounds on
the royal blood line of Jesus explored in the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The DaVinci
Code.

  1. The Encounter-Amazon Beaming by Petru Popescu
A rather mind boggling story of a man who was lost in the Amazon jungle and spent time living
with one of the tribes indigenous to the area. They could not understand each others spoken
language very well but the man, McIntyre, claims to have been able to communicate
telepathically with the tribal chief.
  1. The Story of the Amulet by E. Nesbit
A children's oldie written in 1906, but still delightfully entertaining. A story about a mysterious
amulet, a strange animal and three siblings who travel to different periods in time learning
about times and places where the amulet has existed. Part of a trilogy.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Year in Books (Part One)

I've kept lists of the books I have read for years and I usually post a goal for the new year along with some book challenges to tackle and a list of the books that were read during the year. Here we go with part one of "My Year in Books". I met my goal of reading 75 books and actually read 76, so kudos to me for reaching that goal. I am going to keep that same goal this year as well while secretly hoping to best it by one or two more books. Maybe you will find a few books you have or will enjoy from the list. Best to all in 2017!!

My 2016 Reading List, with quick comments about each one.
I reached my year end goal of reading 75 books!

  1. Mycroft Holmes Casebook by David Dickinson
A nice collection of detection stories, solved by Mycroft Holmes, brother of one of the most
famous detectives in the world. Conveniently available in electronic format (Kindle). Mystery.
  1. The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
The first book in a series with teenage twins (a brother and a sister) as the main characters who
have adventures with an ancient alchemist (who really was a historical figure, but these
adventures are fictional). Mythology and fantasy in a modern setting.
  1. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Could be categorized as utopian fiction, aimed at the YA market, but interesting enough for
adults, too. Part of a Divergent series, which has also been made into a movie. Takes place in a
world where ones life path is determined in a special ceremony when a teenager. The world is
suffering the aftermath of some huge disaster.
  1. The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb
A nice Gothic piece which takes place in the present day. It has been called 'tourism horror' by
one reviewer, but I don't necessarily agree with the horror label, it is a good Gothic to me;
Heroine finds out about her true identity after moving in to the mansion left to her by her family
in an idealistic setting, discovers family secrets and all the rest that I love about the Gothic
genre.
  1. Fated (Alex Versus #1) by Benedict Jacka
While mourning the fact that there were no more Dresden Files books to read (I'd read them
all), a book loving friend sent me the first book of the Alex Verus series. Kind of a knock off of
the Dresden Files but has interesting characters that get involved in the paranormal in today's
world.
  1. Homo Sylvanus by Amber D. Sistla
A Sci Fi novelette I gave a try to on Kindle because it was either free or it cost one dollar. About
genetic engineering, a father tries to help his teenage daughter illegally. I don't remember much
about it so that means, to me, it was kind-of forgettable.
  1. Detection by Gaslight by various, including Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert W. Chambers, Baroness Orczy, etc. (Victorian and Edwardian Crime Stories)
I absolutely loved this old collection of stories about Crime solving and “Occult” Detectives. I
never realized this was a category, but it opened up a new sub-genre to me that I realized I
enjoyed, Harry Dresden, Alex Verus, and the Greywalker Series with Harper Blaine, to mention
a few.
  1. The Life and Times of Jesus from Child to God by Joseph Lumpkin, a collection put together by the author from varied ancient sources telling mostly about the childhood of Jesus.

  2. Atlantis Rising Magazine volumes: 99, 100, 101, 112,113, 114
Atlantis Rising is a new age magazine that comes out 6 times a year. The kindle version is about
half the price of the printed version and makes for interesting middle of the night reading when
I am unable to sleep due to discomfort from a chronic health condition. I don't believe
everything I read in it, but it definitely gives one food for thought. I have been slowly catching
up on back issues on my kindle (all caught up now). My least favorite section is the astrology
because the lady goes on and on about it, so it is good for putting me to sleep, when I reach
that part.
  1. The Cabinet of Curiosities by Preston and Child (Agent Pendergast #3)
Wow, I did not know what I was getting myself into when I started this series last year. I was
browsing the audio book section of the local library and found the “Gideon” books by these
authors. I enjoyed listening to them in my car, so I started looking for other books by Preston
and Child as well. I have became obsessed with the Agent Pendergast series and have finished
them all, racing through them this year. I stayed up late way too many nights reading on and on.
Well worth the effort!! Now I am looking to read everything these guys have written, as a pair
and individually. This particular story is important to the rest of the series as it is when the
character Constance Green is introduced. She eventually becomes an important part of the
series. I am going to re-read this one in 2017, to make sure I did not miss any important plot
points about Constance and also because I know her appearance will be better understood in the
later books after I re-read it. Slow down while reading this one to integrate what comes in the following novels.
  1. Still Life with Crows by Preston and Child (Pendergast #4)
Another fast paced Pendergast novel, introduces Corrie Swanson, a character who also appears in later books in the series.
  1. Amazed by Grace by Sheri Dew
Inspirational reading from a well loved woman of faith.


  1. Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick
One of my most favorite books for the year. This book still “haunts me”. It is a bit surreal but it grabs you into unusual circumstances you are not really sure you understand and pulls you straight into the story. I'm still there on that island with these characters. Amazing.
  1. Haunted Utah by Andy Weeks
A collection of folklore and local ghost stories specific to Utah.


  1. Dinosaurs in the Attic by Douglas Preston
I told you I was searching out everything Preston and Child have written.....Preston writes about
his time employed at the Museum of Natural History in NYC. Quite interesting, and relevant to
the Agent Pendergast series, too, as the museum is the setting for several of the investigations in the novels.
  1. The Lost Stones by Paul Rimmasch
A novel exploring the possibilities and realities of the seer stones of the Jaredites, (which
the Utah crowd/LDS members can relate to).
  1. Adventure Stories #4 by Seabury Quinn and Others
A kindle freebie and pretty interesting if you like oldish literature, Conan Doyle, Kipling, and
such authors.
  1. Forget Me Not by Dieter F. Uchdorf
Inspirational reading from a well known and well loved religious leader.
  1. Lirael by Garth Nix
The second book in the Abhorsen series by Nix. I thought I really liked Sabriel, the star of the
first book in the series, but I realized I absolutely loved Lirael even more, after reading this
book. I also fell in love with the “disreputable dog”, a great character in this book. Could be
described as a zombie story for those that don't really like zombie stories or maybe a zombie
story that was written before zombie stories were “cool”. Nothing like the Walking Dead, which
I think is kind of boring and soap opera-ish (from only watching two episodes on TV, read
The Road by Cormac McCarthy instead, WD is a rip off of it.

  1. Brimstone by Preston and Child (Pendergast #5)
Another spine tingling, fast paced, Pendergast adventure.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Teaser Tuesdays...Sparking your interest in books!!

Mixed in with my usual Fantasy/SciFi reading and my growing addiction to Richard Preston and Lincoln Child's action packed novels of the many faceted life of secret agent A.X.L. Pendergast, I recently managed to get in some non-fiction reading. The latest is entitled "Skeletons on the Zahara- A True Story of Survival" by Dean King. It was so gripping I found myself wanting to read during every spare minute I had. I have also been recovering from some new health challenges so I have had a bit more down time than usual trying to regain my health. Not good for so close to preparations for the holidays, but not something I have much control over. 


The story tells of a true event that happened in the early 1800's, of a trading ship Commerce, captained by a mostly, New England crew that took cargo across the Atlantic Ocean to sell and was shipwrecked on the rocky coast of northern Africa, on the edges of the Sahara desert. The crew were captured and taken as slaves by the indigenous peoples there and sold and traded to various masters. Most, but not all, of the crew obtained their freedom after the British consul in Morocco paid a ransom for them and because of one dedicated Arab owner who believed the Captain's word that it would be beneficial to them both if he brought the crew to 'civilization' in the city on the edge of the desert.

The book is based on journals, written afterward, of two of the crew that had these experiences, one of them being ship's Captain- James Riley. These journals were best sellers in their hey day of the early 1800's and the story was widely known then. The author, Dean King, actually went on a trek in 2001, sponsored by National Geographic, that roughly traveled the same route as the crew members did during their ordeal. 




The camel is a truly alien to us but it is an indispensable animal in these parts and although I don't think I would ever want the experience of herding, riding or eating the parts of one, this strange beast is a real blessing to people in these desert areas.

It is almost too awful to contemplate the trauma, both physical and mental these men endured. It is an amazing feat that they survived to tell about it, it was also eye opening to me to learn about cultures that many of us have no clue about. Even though the incident took place in 1815, the author traveled to the area and made the trek and knows first hand that much has remained the same in the nearly timeless sands of the Sahara.

Highly recommended- Skeletons on the Zahara- A True Story of Survival by Dean King.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Teaser Tuesday...to spark your interest in books!! Kevin Hearne-Iron Druid Series

Shattered by Kevin Hearne (The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 7) (Fantasy) NY Times Best Seller!

"Granuaile raised her hand. I have a problem with this plan to stab my father in the head and the heart!" (pg 66)

Hunted by Kevin Hearne (The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 6)

Atticus speaking: "Do you mean Pi, the mathematical symbol?"
Oberon the Irish Wolfhound: "< No, Atticus, I mean Shepherd's Pie. I'm not going to confuse that with math. Shepherd's Pie is delicious and desirable, math is not.> " (pg 67)


The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne have, for the most part, been an entertaining and fun series for reading. I just barely finished the 8th book in the series called “Staked”, and to me, it didn't seem as good as the other volumes. I got a bit bored with all the Norse mythology stuff being rehashed over and over again, could it be the author was struggling for ideas? (Not surprising after writing seven volumes about the same characters.) I just wanted to read about Atticus (the main character) and his latest adventures. I stopped reading “Staked” about 2/3 through and put it away for a few months, then I pulled it out again the other night and completely finished it within a few days. It's not my favorite one of the series but the story is still entertaining and witty. I will continue to be a fan of the author as he creates more adventures for these characters. The one unique thing about the latest book is that it bounced around between three main points of view- Atticus (main character and the one known as the iron druid) his female student and now a full druid Granuaile, and Owen, Attticus' old druid master who was rescued from being trapped in time. It is an interesting story telling device having the three points of view, it also was sometimes a bit confusing. I can't say if I liked the technique or not yet, I am reserving judgment on that for now. Throughout the series there have always been parts of the story including “conversations” between Atticus and his dog (and the dogs point of view), these are some of the best parts of all the books. Oberon, the Irish Wolf Hound is the dog, he is one of the characters I love in this series.
A man with his Irish Wolfhound.
Author Kevin Hearne

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Teaser Tuesdays- To Spark Your Interest in Books of All Kinds!!






Notes to Myself (My struggle to become a person) by Hugh Prather (self-help, philosophy) (1970, 1983)


"All I want is for you to accept me as I am."
"Yes, and all I want is for you to accept my not accepting you."

A small volume that takes the reader on a ride of introspection. Interesting and inspiring, good for pondering, mindful. These are collected thoughts from the author's journal. Lends itself well to reading in bits and pieces, thoughts about oneself, handling life, relationships, human emotions. Put together in an unusual format with no page numbers.

Next time I will ..."
"From now on I will ..."
- What makes me think I am wiser today than I will be tomorrow?”

Now that I know that I am no wiser than anyone else, does this wisdom make me wiser?”
Hugh Prather, Notes to Myself: My Struggle to Become a Person



The author was a lay minister, author of self-help books, and a counselor. The book had sold over 5 million copies and has been translated into 10 languages. Prather died of a heat-attack in 2010 in his Arizona home.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Teaser Tuesdays...to spark your interest in books!

Never Argue with a Dead Person by Thomas John (Manhattan medium)
True and unbelievable stories from the other side.

Quotes from the book:

"A quizzical look on my face must have betrayed my thoughts as Detective Caprini immediately answered the question I asked only in my mind." 

" She hung herself. Nasty scene; we've been at her penthouse since 3:00 this morning..."
"So what is it that you do?" The taller cop asked..."I talk to spirit people...I channeled her son."


This book is written by a man who is known as a medium, he has the ability to channel, and communicate with the dead. The stories are heartwarming especially since they usually bring comfort and some closure to people that have lost a loved one. I do believe in life after death and it
is helpful to me to know that our loved ones are not gone forever from us when they go from one form of existence to another. While I have never really 'talked' to a dead person, I have had a few choice dreams where I have been in dreamland, with people I have known, that were deceased and do get “impressions” from people and places. I think some persons have special spiritual/supernatural gifts that may allow them to communicate with people after death. There are many examples of spiritual gifts and supernatural things in the Bible, burning bushes, heavenly manna, miracles of preservation (think Daniel in the lions den) and healing (Christ), banishing devils into swine, prophecy being pronounced and then fulfilled.

To me, mediumship seems to be a part of what we are as spiritual beings sojourning on earth, some people just have more developed spiritual senses than others. But this type of thing seems to be frowned upon by a lot of religions and is sometimes called evil. Maybe one reason it is not encouraged is that it may show a lack of faith and that one is not trusting in God by wanting to communicate with a person who has moved to the next spiritual realm, even though you do believe in it. These are the thoughts that clutter my mind when I consider mediums, or those called clairvoyant, because I am certainly curious about the afterlife, like I am sure many other people are.
Faith and actually knowing are not the same thing, which reminded me of a scripture:
Hebrews 11:1 (King James Version of the Bible)

 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."


Your thoughts??