Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: Redshirts by John Scalzi

From the top of the large boulder he sat on, Ensign Tom Davis looked across the expanse of the cave toward Captain Lucius Abernathy, Science Officer Q'eeng and Chief Engineer Paul West perched on a second, larger boulder and thought, Well, this sucks. ~ Opening of Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi, narrated by Wil Wheaton
Tor Books/Audible Frontiers, 2012
Science Fiction; 320 pgs (7 hours, 41 minutes)
Source: I purchased this copy.

From Goodreads: 
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.  
Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.  
Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expendedon avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.
I decided on a whim one Friday to listen to John Scalzi's Redshirts, narrated by Wil Wheaton. I ended up listening to the entire book in one day. I have not much to say about it, other than it had me laughing out loud in spots and was just plain fun to listen to. This is my second audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton, and yet again he impressed me. He was the perfect narrator for this book, especially given his time on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

For those who are fans of science fiction television, particularly Star Trek, this is a must read (or listen). It pokes fun at and celebrates the genre in a way that is both compelling and comic. There is action, and a great cast of characters who one just can't help but root for. The Codas are worth listening to as well, adding to the main story in unexpected ways.

To learn more about John Scalzi and his work, please visit the author's website.
For more information about the narrator, Wil Wheaton, visit his website.

© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Shelf Control: Elizabeth George's Inspector Thomas Lynley Series

I have seen this meme quite a bit this year and decided it might be a fun way to give attention to some of the books marinating on my shelves, patiently waiting their turn to be read. I make no promises that it will be soon. My TBR collection is . . . well, let's just say, quite large. And that's an understatement.

Shelf Control hosted by Lisa of Bookshelf Fantasies "is all about the books we want to read — and already own! Consider this a variation of a Wishing & Waiting post… but looking at books already available sitting right there on our shelves and e-readers."

This mystery series features Detective Inspector Thomas "Tommy" Lynley, 8th Earl of Asherton, and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers of New Scotland Yard. I believe the series is up to 19 books, but I only have 14 of them, along with a short story collection that includes one story featuring Inspector Lynley. There are two many books to provide a synopsis of each one, but I imagine just knowing who the main players are and the setting gives you an idea of the type of books these are.

 A Great Deliverance (1988; 413 pgs)
Payment in Blood (1989; 374 pgs)
Well-Schooled in Murder (1990; 414 pgs)
A Suitable Vengeance (1991; 449 pgs)
For the Sake of Elena (1992; 442 pgs)
Missing Joseph (1993; 567 pgs)
Playing for the Ashes (1994; 678 pgs)
The Presence of the Enemy (1996; 625 pgs)
Deception on His Mind (1996; 716 pgs)
In the Pursuit of the Proper Sinner (1999; 718 pgs)
A Traitor To Memory (2001; 1009 pgs )
A Place of Hiding (2003; 777 pgs)

How I got them: Years ago, I discovered E-Bay and the fact that I could buy boxes of used books at a irresistible rate. I bid on a box of twelve used books in Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley's series, and one short story collection (The Evidence Exposed), and won.

When I got it: *hangs head in embarrassment* September of 2004. (I later purchased No One As My Witness in March of 2006 from Barnes and Noble and a signed copy of This Body of Death at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in 2010, which is kind of silly in retrospect given I had only read one f the other books in the series. This was back in my must-have-every-possible-book-in-the-series-before-reading phase.)

Why I want to read them: A pen pal recommended the series to me, and I have heard wonderful things about the books since then. I have actually read one of Elizabeth George's books (For the Sake of Elena--although another copy; not the one that came in this box), which I enjoyed quite a bit. I love mysteries, and really do want to read this series someday. It's one of the reasons all these books survived my massive book purging when we moved five years ago and the second one last year. Of course, pulling the books off my shelf for the photos for the post, I nearly dove right into the first one because, even after all these years, the series sounds so good.

The Evidence Exposed (1999, 216 pgs)

Have you read these books? If so, what did you think? Should I move them up in my TBR pile?

© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Where Is Your Bookmark? (07/26/2016)

I am currently reading (and enjoying) Amanda Quick's 'Til Death Do Us Part, a Gothic mystery romance, which the majority of you voted for as my July read. The protagonist owns an introduction service in Victorian London and is being stalked by an unknown person. She turns to a reclusive crime fiction author for assistance in finding out who is targeting her.

'Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick 

Every Tuesday Diane from Bibliophile By the Sea First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where participants share the first paragraph (or a few) of a book they are reading or thinking about reading soon. It is also where I share my first impressions about the book I am sharing.

"I've got to get rid of her, Birch." Nestor Kettering reached for the brandy bottle and refilled his glass. "I can't abide the sight of my wife. You have no idea what it's like living with her in the same house."

Every Tuesday, Jenn from Books And A Beat hosts Teaser Tuesdays at which time participants grab their current read, open to a random page, and share two (2) "teaser" sentences from that page while avoiding any spoilers.

Teaser from page 3% of 'Til Death Do Us Part:
For a precious few seconds he debated where to leave his gift. The bed or the dressing table? 
The bed, he decided. So much more intimate. 

Teaser from page 6% of 'Til Death Do Us Part:
"The last thing I need is a professional fortune hunter trying to make me believe that he is still in love with me after he abandoned me to marry another woman. I would remind you that I am not alone in this house. My housekeeper and butler may be elderly, but I assure you they are still quite capable of whistling for a constable if necessary. Yes, Nestor, I will scream bloody murder if that's what it takes to remove you from the premises."

What do you think? Would you keep reading?  

I am intrigued already!

What are you reading at the moment?  Is it anything you would recommend?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely ladies at Broke and Bookish.

This week's  Top Ten Tuesday is Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Not Do.

Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do:

1. Own and work in a bookstore - Whether it's The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend Broken Wheel Recommend or The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry or another book set in a bookstore, I understand it would be hard work and I might find a dead body or two, but what reader wouldn't want to be surrounded by books all day?

2. Travel ~ Reading has let me travel all around the world, and so many of those places I would love to visit in person. Be it London, Australia, Narnia, New York City, Japan. Anywhere really.

3. Go back in time ~ Oh, how I would love to go back and time and meet some of my favorite historical characters in person, not to mention see how they really lived. And wouldn't it be amazing to experience some of history's greatest moments in person?

4. Hang out at Hogwarts ~ I have always wished I could explore the campus and surrounding grounds more fully. It is a magical place. If I met up with a few of my favorite characters from the Harry Potter books, well, I wouldn't mind that either.

5. Have magical powers/Save the day ~ I have always enjoyed stories involving magic, and would love to one or more magical abilities myself. In my ordinary very normal life, I sometimes enjoy reading a book in which I can place myself in the place of the hero or heroine, saving the day. Even if no one else knows, I have thought I wouldn't mind doing that in real life.

Things Books Have Made Me Not Want To Do:

1. Date a vampire ~ Can you imagine cuddling up to someone who is so cold? And, well, dead? Not to mention he will likely want to drink my blood. Plus, where vampires go,  trouble always follows.

2. Go intentionally into a dangerous situation alone--or without at least telling someone what I was doing ~ Because that's a sure sign I am too stupid to live (TSTL) and will likely wind up in a lot of trouble.

3. Go back in time ~ No indoor plumbing, inadequate medical care, and women weren't exactly always treated well.

4. Hang out at the Overlook Hotel ~ If you've ever read Stephen King's The Shining, you'll understand why.

5. Have the weight of the world on my shoulders ~ If I did have those magical powers and, as much as I would like to have saved the day, the actual work to do the saving would probably be hard, cruel and I would likely almost die a few times before the final outcome. I'm not sure I would be up for that.

What are some of the things books have made you want to do or not do? Please share in the comments!

© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

From the Archives: A Blogging Retrospective - July 2006

[Post idea stolen borrowed inspired by Kay of Kay's Reading Life's Bookish Nostalgia and Stacy of Stacy's Books' A Look Back features. Thank you, Ladies!]

July 2006 was overcast, stormy and hot. I took advantage of a week long vacation to get in some quality reading time. My husband had a flat tire and the person at the tire repair shop switched out the wrong tire. I am sure there was plenty of cuddle time with my cat, Parker, and dog, Riley.

I'll be honest with you. The reason I decided to set up this blog at this very moment instead of tomorrow or two months from now is because I am avoiding the book I am reading.
With those opening lines, Musings of a Bookish Kitty was born on July 23, 2006. Sixteen posts went up during the final days of July, reviews mostly. I received all of one comment that month by my online book group friend, Linda Sheehan. Boy, did she make my day! I was very active in online book groups at the time, mostly through Yahoo Groups. I had been participating in them for years, enjoying the company of other book lovers who were just as obsessed with reading and books as I was. Although book blogging was not a new concept when I entered into it, the community was much smaller than it is today. In fact, I wasn't aware there was a book blogging community at all initially. I knew a couple of people who had book blogs, but that was it. When I did discover it, I was in awe of other book bloggers and the community itself. Everyone was welcoming and made me feel right at home.

Reviewing books for publishers, publicists and authors may not have been very common in 2006, but it was on the rise. I had been reviewing books for Harper Collins' First Look Program for little a while before starting my blog. There were also websites set up where readers could volunteer to read and review early releases or independently published books on those sites. I would eventually give that a try--but that's getting ahead of myself. One of the books I reviewed on my blog during my first July of blogging was First Look book, Lifeless by Mark Billingham, a crime fiction novel set in London. It was my first book by the author.

In July of 2016, My template for my reviews was more defined in terms of sections, although not much different from what I do now when it comes to content. I posted about my rating system, which I would go on to add numeric value and define a little more clearly the next year. At some point, I went in and added the numeric (1 to 5 paws) ratings in to those early reviews, although I can't tell you exactly when that was. I have since stopped rating books on my blog, although I still rate them on my reading spreadsheet and when I list books I read on sites like Goodreads and LibraryThing.

Although I reviewed 13 books that month, I read 11, which, even today, is a pretty amazing number for me.  I am tempted to copy and paste my July 2006 reading summary post because it describes the books I reviewed in July very well, as if I was traveling through the world--which I was, in a way.  My reading took me across the U.S., into Canada, and through Europe, Asia and Africa. Not to mention taking me all over history, past to present, fantasy, mystery, and more realistic fare. Most were books I owned, although one was a review book and another from a BookCrossing bookring (similar to my postal mail group, where a book is mailed from reader to reader). Just via books.

My July 2006 reviews:

Three of the books I reviewed received my highest rating (LabyrinthThe Alchemist, and Tales From a Child of the Enemy) which must have been a happy surprise at the time. Even then I didn't give Outstanding ratings often. I still think highly of all three books. If I were to pick a favorite from the bunch today, I might be more likely to go with The Birth of Venus or Empire of the Sun, however. But I may have Empire of the Sun muddled in my head with the movie--which I loved. My least favorite definitely remains Christopher Moore's book, I am sad to say, which I liked somewhat, but found disappointing. I have yet to try anything else by the author.

It appears my first month of blogging got off to a great start. I certainly read and reviewed some great books that month.
  • Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?
  • Do you remember what you were reading 10 years ago? 
  • Do you think your opinion of what you were reading then has changed? 

© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sunday Post: Ten Years of Blogging & My Usual Update

The Sunday Post is hosted by the wonderful Kimba, the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, and gives us all a chance to recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. 

Well, it's official. Musings of a Bookish Kitty is ten years old. It doesn't seem possible. Where has the time gone?! My blog has been through several different looks since I first began. Those who have been around a while, may remember some of these headers my husband put together:

I feel so lucky to be a part of such a great community of other book bloggers. Those of you who visit and read my blog mean so much to me. I still feel the same excitement when I receive a comment as I did when I received my first comment. Musings of  a Bookish Kitty has turned into not only a journal of the books I read, but also a record of my life's journey in these past ten years. This has blog has seen me through so many ups and downs and life changes. Thank you to all of you for reading my posts, your comments and friendship, whether old or new.

I hope you will take time out to tell me what you are up to this weekend! What are you reading? Are you watching anything you would recommend?

Book Blogger Hop

Every Friday Coffee Addicted Writer from Coffee Addicted Writer poses a question which participants respond on their own blogs within the week (Friday through Thursday). They then share their links at the main site and visit other participants blogs.

Do you always put a book cover in your posts when you are mentioning books or just text? (submitted by Elizabeth
It depends. When I am reviewing a book, I like to include a picture of a book cover. If I'm just mentioning a book in passing, I may not include a cover. If I am making a list of several different books, I may include every cover or I may include just a few to keep the length of the post down. I think including pictures of covers adds color to a post. Too much of nothing but text can be boring after awhile. Besides, sometimes it's the cover that grabs someone's attention because it tends to stand out in a post and spurs his or her interest. I know it can have that affect on me anyway.

New to my Shelves: 
 Love Anthony by Lisa Genova, from my Postal Mail Group

The Whiskey Sea by Ann Howard Creel, 
from the publisher for an upcoming book tour 

 Used Bookstore purchases (and Gracie, my cat):
The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith
Haunted Mesa by Louis L'Amour
The Walking Drum by Louis L'Amour

What I Am Reading: My reading has been close to non-existent for the past couple of weeks, with my mom in town and other things going on. I did manage to finish Joe Hill's The Fireman this weekend though. Now I can devote all my attention to Amanda Quick's 'Til Death Do Us Part, my July TBR winner.

What I Am Watching: Surprisingly, I have watched very little as of late. Maybe a You-Tube video here and there.

What's Going On Off the Blog:  I have not been able to get around the blogiverse much over the last two weeks. With my wedding anniversary and my mom's visit on top of work and everything else going on, it's been hard to fit in even reading. Hopefully now things will settle into a more normal routine.

This past weekend my husband and I got away, leaving my mother and daughter to their sleep over. The two had a fun time making rice crispy cookies, preparing for and putting on a play, dressing up and playing games. Mouse kept her grandmother busy, and they had a lot of fun. Meanwhile, my husband and I had a nice time just the two of us. We took in a musical (The Man of La Mancha), had a romantic dinner, and stayed in a very nice historic hotel. Evidently there was a big PokemonGo get-together downtown that evening. We felt a little out of place, not walking with our phones out in front of us, among the throngs of people, some in costume. It was actually quite amusing. We stumbled on a used bookstore on our evening walk and came away with three books. It's a cozy little store. I could have probably spent hours browsing the shelves.

 The California Theatre of Performing Arts

Lobby of the Mission Inn

During my mom's visit, she brought along old photo albums of my grandmother as a girl and a scrapbook my grandmother kept of my grandfather's time in the military during World War II. It is quite a treasure of family history. There was even a letter my grandfather had written to my grandmother right at the moment Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese (he was in Tacoma, Washington at the time). My mother also shared with me notes my grandfather had kept of his childhood on Iowa.

 My grandfather in boot camp.

 My Great-Grandmother with the family Cat.

 A father/daughter dance upon our return

This past Friday was Mouse's last day at the daycare and school she has attended since she was three and a half months old. Mouse's bestfriend was able to come back (her last day had been back in June) for the day. The goodbyes were hard. Mouse's teacher and I hugged each other I don't know how many times, tears in our eyes. She and her family are like family to us. We've, in essence, raised Mouse together these past five years. Mouse said goodbye to her friends, giving them hugs, lingering a bit at the door as we headed out. She held back her silent tears until we got in the car. I reassured her we would see them again, maybe even as soon as next Friday for a drop in visit.

We still had time after swim class Friday afternoon to drive by the summer program Mouse will be starting this coming week, and I asked her if she wanted to stop in and see it again (we'd last been in May). I half hoped she would say no--it was 108 outside and the car air conditioner hand finally kicked in--but we were both hot. I am glad we did stop though. There weren't many kids there during their last hour of being open, but it was enough. Mouse and I walked around, the other children introduced themselves to her, and the staff person was very friendly and told us about the fun activities Mouse would be able to do there, including upcoming fieldtrips. I also got the reassurance I needed as the anxious mother, my last minute questions answered, and was comforted as I watched Mouse take in the new surroundings with a smile on her face. As we walked back to the car, Mouse asked me how many days until she started there. "I can't wait, Mommy! I wish it was tomorrow." 

This Past Week In Reading Mews:

Upcoming on the Blog:
Monday - From the Archives: A Blogging Retrospective - July 2006
Tuesday - Where Is Your Bookmark?
Wednesday - Shelf Control
Thursday - Bookish Thoughts: Redshirts by John Scalzi

I hope you all have a great week! Happy Reading!

© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.