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.




 

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