Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Salon: Book Recommendations & Other Bookish Talk

Last week's events put a damper on my reading mood, and unfortunately my reading is still slow going. I finally did settle into a book that has caught my interest, however. My usual comfort reads weren't even sounding appealing. I was instantly drawn to Allison Hoover Bartlett's The Man Who Loved Boooks Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession. Now, it might be strange that I would want to read a book about a real life thief right about now, but, of course, there's much more to the story than that. I am quite enjoying the book at the moment and am fascinated by the world of book collectors. I may have a large collection of books, but I'm by no means a book collector in the same sense the people described in the book are. They look for rare valuable books while my interest is merely that of a reader looking for a good story. Have you read Bartlett's book? If so, what did you think?

On another note, I took several more bags of books to the office recently. I never guessed they would be such a big hit! Several people have come to me to thank me, and I thought I'd share one e-mail that made my week:
Wendy -

Thanks again for all the wonderful books you donated. I just finished "The Five People You Meet in Heaven". Remember Eddie, the 83 year-old maintenance man who feels his life is meaningless and then suddenly dies, meets these five people, and realizes his significance in life. Love, love, love it.

Candace just recommended that I read "Tuesdays with Morrie" written by the same author Mitch Albom. - That's what I'm going to do.

What makes this particular e-mail even more meaningful is that Christine is not a reader. She decided to give one of the books a try to see what it was I loved about reading so much.

Several of my workmates have approached me to ask for recommendations among the books I brought to the office. I always start off by asking them what it is they like to read. I tend to be shy about recommending books. Sometimes I find it easy to match books with tastes, but other times, not so much. There's always a risk when recommending books to people that they will not like them.

My darling husband is a much more discerning reader than I am, which makes him a bit difficult to buy books for. It doesn't stop me from giving him recommendations now and then, however. I think he's still wondering why I recommended The Hunger Games trilogy (because I wanted to discuss it with him in more detail), which he did like but wondered what all the fuss was about. And he was less than enamored by Robin Hobb's Assassin's Apprentice (and for the record, I haven't actually read this one myself yet--he just happened to get to it first). I'm not even sure he finished the book.

Anjin recently read and reviewed An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, a book I slipped into his TBR stack this past summer. I was a bit nervous about what he would think given it's not his usual type of book to read. I do hope you'll mosey on over to his blog and read his thoughts on the book.

What was the last book you recommended to someone? What did the person think of the book?

As to the packing, the number of boxes full of books continues to grow. At last count we were up to 31 boxes--and these are the keepers. Included in the boxes are most of my TBR collection as well. We still have several more shelves to go before all the books will be packed away. Minus my "just in case" books, of course. Talk about a book obsession . . .

I hope you all have a wonderful week. Happy reading!

© 2011, 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.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It Could Have Been Worse

My home was burglarized this past Monday and included among the items stolen was my computer. In some ways it feels like having a limb cut off--although I imagine that would be much much worse. I lost quite a bit with the loss of my computer. This has been a hard reminder of how important it is to back up my computer regularly. The last time I made a back up was two years ago.

My husband has been extremely generous is sharing his computer with me; however, as you can imagine, it isn't quite the same. I am checking my e-mail regularly, both via my cell phone and his computer, but my time on the computer is limited at the moment.

You would think my need to escape in a book would increase at this point, but instead I'm finding it hard to read and therefore blog. My concentration is shot. It'd be the perfect time to veg in front of the television set, but, well, the television was taken too. I'm sure it will pass and I'll be back to reading and blogging in no time. Thank goodness I have work and packing to keep me busy. Not to mention animals to cuddle and play with and a husband who has been my anchor through all of this. I know it has been just as hard on him (probably even harder because he has to deal with a very pregnant and emotional wife).

So please forgive me for my absence the next several days. I hope to be back in the swing of things soon.

As for the most important concern, the only ones home at the time of the burglary were my dog and cats who fortunately were not harmed in any way physically. I can't even imagine what it must have been like for them, being home alone, and having someone kick in the door and violate their sanctuary. Needless to say they were frightened by what happened. My husband and I are trying to do what we can to maintain as normal a routine as possible to help them (and us) through this. The material items taken are replaceable, but our sense of safety and well being in our own home will be much more difficult to get back.

© 2011, 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, January 23, 2011

Sunday Salon: The One in Which I Sound Like a Broken Record

I am afraid I do not have much new to talk about today. The packing of books continues as well as the weeding out of books no longer wanted. I am doing it in bits and pieces when time permits. My husband and I are fortunate that we have been given a head start in preparing for our move, but our cushion is rapidly deteriorating. The city's offer on our house will be coming in the next week or two (I finally heard back from the city rep), and it will bring with it a whirlwind of activity--possible negotiations over the amount being offered (although I understand the city isn't willing to budge much), house hunting, final preparations for the baby's arrival, more packing and the actual move. My hope to move before the baby comes is nonexistent at this point. I do hope, however, we will be able to make the move sometime towards the end of spring, beginning of summer. So many changes happening close together! As excited as I am, it's also rather stressful. I manage though. I'm not one to overly worry about the things I can't control, although I do like to plan ahead. It's part of of what keeps me sane. Mostly I'm trying to focus on the here and now. Tomorrow will come soon enough.

And yet, as I pack up books, I find myself lingering over certain ones, not wanting to pack them all away just yet. Those books have found their way into a box I've set aside. I do not know if I will get to them before the move or even have time to read them in those early months once the baby is here, but I feel comforted knowing they're handy if I do need them. It's quite a mix, from nonfiction, general fiction to crime fiction and fantasy novels. There's also my remaining review books I'm hesitant to pack just yet.

I found it funny that here I am setting books aside "just in case" while my husband packed his entire TBR pile. I asked him what he planned to read in the meantime. His response was that he'd figure it out as he went. I've since noticed that he's reading books that I've either read and recommended to him or books from my TBR collection. That's one way to do it! He recently read John Green's An Abundance of Katherines and is now working his way through Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself, a book I haven't yet read. He also finished off the Hunger Games trilogy, and we had a great discussion over the series and final book over lunch yesterday. I'm sure he'll be reviewing the books on his own blog eventually. I'll try and remember to link them here in case any of you are interested.

At the moment I am reading Tigerheart by Peter David. Somehow this book got relegated to a hidden corner of my review book section and has languished there ever since. As I began reading it, I fell in love almost instantly. I love the author's narrative voice--it's quite playful. The story itself is both light-hearted and serious: about a boy who goes out looking for a way to make his mother happy again after tragedy tears apart his family. It's a magical story full of hijinks and adventure. I have not managed to spend as much time with the book as I had planned this past week, but hopefully can change that today.

I had hoped to get to George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones this month but it wasn't meant to be. I think I've done pretty well though, fitting in the other books I had wanted to read. I am not sure yet if I want to be so well organized next month. All I know is several books are calling to me all at once . . . Deciding what to read won't be easy!

As you can see, I changed my template again. What can I say? I'm never satisfied.

What are you plans for today? Are you reading anything interesting at the moment?

This Week In Reading Mews:

Reading Now:
by Peter David

Next Up:
The Matchmaker of Kenmare by Frank Delaney - I really will get to this one next this time.

Books Purchased:
The Case of the Missing Servant
by Tarquin Hall - bought with Christmas gift card

Reviews Posted:
From Book to Film:
Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
Blood of My Brother by James LePore

Posts of Interest This Week:
It's Monday! Bookish Musings
Random Tuesday Tangents on Wednesday
Random Friday Fun: Question of the Day, Fill-Ins & Book Beginnings

© 2011, 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.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Random Friday Fun: Question of the Day, Fill-Ins & Book Beginnings

Hosted by Katy of A Few More Pages
Weekly meme where book bloggers and readers share the
first sentence of the book they are reading say what they think

Yesterday I began reading Tigerheart by Peter David. I have had this book for ages but for some reason (like with so many other books) never got around to reading it. I was in the mood for a little magic, however, and, when searching my shelves, David's book popped right out at me.
Young Paul Dear stared at his reflection one evening for a very long time.
While in and of itself this first sentence isn't overly exciting, it is what follows that makes it all the more interesting.
When his reflection began talking back to him, Paul began to think that perhaps he himself was actually The Boy of Legend.
Does this remind you of another, much older story at all? It did me. Although I haven't read too far into the book as of yet, it's given me that giddy sort of feeling I sometimes get when I know I'm in for a real treat. Let's hope it lasts!

What is the first line of your current read, and what was your first impression of it?

Graphic courtesy of Tonya!
*Click on the image above graphic to get to the Friday Fill-In headquarters, hosted by Janet!*

1. So many of us wouldn't mind a raise and more free time.

2. It is important to keep moving forward even in hardship.

3. Those who are accepting of wearing mismatched socks are creative souls at heart. Or got dressed in the dark and didn't have time to change afterward.

4. The red capped fairy is waiting quietly.

5. Light is in both the entrance and exit hallways but not in the center; at least not while the movie is running.

6. If we had a keen vision of all that is ordinary in human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which is the other side of silence. -- George Eliot

7. For a three day work week it was sure a long one! I am so glad the weekend is finally here. Today I'm looking forward to spending more time sorting through my To Be Read (TBR) stacks and spending some quality time with my book; tomorrow my plans include taking Anya for her veterinary appointment to have her red cell count checked (fingers crossed her count has remained stable) and running errands; and Sunday, I want to spend the day with my husband and animals, maybe catch up with this season's Supernatural and get in some more reading (I'm really on a reading roll lately!).

What are your weekend plans?

On Facebook, my uncle has a feature in which he or a guest host asks a random question every Friday, encouraging his friends to participate. The questions are wide and varied, usually simple and fun. I thought I would throw out a question today just for the fun of it. Please leave your answer in the comment section, and than you for participating!

What was your favorite television show when you were growing up?

© 2011, 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.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

From Book to Film: Winter's Bone

Ree nearly fell but would not let it happen in front of the law. She heard thunder clapping between her ears and Beelzebub scratchin' a fiddle. The boys and her and Mom would be dogs in the fields without the house . . .

. . . She said, "I'll find him." [pgs 16-17]

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
Little, Brown & Co, 2006

I initially saw the movie trailer for Winter's Bone at Linus's Blanket, Nicole's blog, and became interested in both the book and the movie. It wasn't until I had the movie in hand (rented through Netflix) that I suddenly had the urge to read the book first--so off I went to download it on my trusty little nook.

What drew me to Winter's Bone was the character of Ree, her determination and steadfastness to protect her family. Ree Dolly is only seventeen. Her father went off on one of his many trips and has yet to return. Ree learns that her father has a court hearing coming up and if he fails to appear, the family will lose their house. With a mother who is suffering from severe depression and unable to care for herself as well as two young siblings, Ree has taken on the role of parent in the home. It falls upon her to search for her father to try and save not only the family home, but the family as well.

She sets out to question her kin who are secretive by their very nature. Theirs is a life of crime, selling and manufacturing drugs being the family trade. Set in the Ozarks, during the winter months, the author captures the bleakness and poverty of the area, mixed in with its beauty. The people are hard and untrusting. It's clear that they have something to hide.

While Woodrell's writing is descriptive, the actual dialogue and story somehow come across as raw and harsh. It has a noir quality to it. The movie itself sets that same tone--the muted music, the silence, and so much being said through expressions and body language. I was especially cognizant of the role the women played throughout the book and movie--all strong, many trapped in their situation.

The movie varies from the book in minor details. In the book, Ree has two younger brothers, however, in the movie, she has a brother and a sister. There were other differences, such as a lack of snow in the movie whereas it was a big part of the story in the book. The overall story remained the same. Jennifer Laurence who plays Ree in the movie had the same moxie as I envisioned in the book's character and John Hawkes was well cast as Teardrop, Ree's uncle, at once threatening while also being compassionate.

This is one of those books and movies that leaves you sitting for a few minutes after all is said and done to reflect on the story and the characters. It is very much a story about survival, family and human nature.

Winter's Bone
Drama - 2010 (Norway) (rated R)
Directed by Debra Granik
Screenplay written by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini
Based on novel written by Daniel Woodrell

Source: E-book bought with gift card; movie rented through Netflix at my own expense.

© 2011, 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.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Random Tuesday Tangents on Wednesday

Tuesday Tangents is hosted by Florinda of The 3 R's Blog

I have lived with my cats for a number of years now, and I have yet to get the impression that they are arrogant. A little self-centered, yes.

Likewise, my dog is quite bright, even if he isn't the greatest multitasker.

With all the boxes piling up, my poor animals aren't sure what to think. No one seems the worse for wear, although all three have been a bit more clingy as of late.

I'm sure they're even more confused now that the bassinet is up and in place.

My husband and I switched sides of the bed since he had more room on his side--easy access to the bassinet and not so difficult for me to maneuver around in the middle of the night.

The sorting and packing of books is going quite well. I sometimes forget though that I'm in my 8th month of pregnant and maybe should leave the heavy lifting to my husband.

The stuff you find in drawers you rarely open is amazing.

In one drawer I found dozens of 3.5 disks. Some completely unused. Of course, I don't have a 3.5 drive anymore.

Oh, and I not only found those left handed scissors I thought I lost, but I found an extra pair as well.

I also looked through my stationary/notecard drawer and was reminded of how many beautiful and cute cards and stationary sets I have. It makes me want to write more letters.

I haven't been the best letter writer the past few years. There was a time when I was a voracious letter writer. I had pen pals all over the globe. Now I blog.

I miss getting letters in the mail. I miss writing letters.

A coworker asked me the other day what it was about reading I love so much. I asked her if she had an hour or so to spare.

Enthusiasm for reading can be infectious. By the end of our conversation, she was ready to pick up a book and start reading.

I desperately need to update my series lists here on my blog. I'm trying to decide if I should take out the ones I'm no longer reading or just create a separate section for them.

I took something like eleven bags of books to work yesterday. I'm determined to turn the break room into a library.

Any reluctance I had in letting those books go was washed away by the excitement in a few of my coworkers' eyes. The couldn't believe I was giving away so many books and once they were assured I didn't want them back, they eagerly dove into the bags.

And why is it everyone knew the books were mine without my saying anything? I guess my obsession with books and reading is more well known than I realized.

I bought myself an iPod. Finally, I know. I have gone back and forth about wanting one for years now and decided it was time to take the plunge. Now I can take my music with me and give those darn audiobooks another try.

If you haven't already, do check out Trish's post on the process of reading over at Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity. Both Trish's comments and especially Kay's (who left the first comment) explain perfectly why audiobooks and I seem to have such an uphill battle.

Maybe this is the time to listen to the Harry Potter books! I hear they're awesome in audio format.

My first audiobook download on my iPod is Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Jill over at Fizzy Thoughts gave me the idea since I can't seem to motivate myself to actually read the book.

My intention was to start listening to it last week during my lunch break walk, but, well, I was more interested in finishing up the print book I was reading.

I am taking audiobook recommendations, if you have any.

I find the fuss about e-books interesting. I wonder if audiobooks received a similar reception when they came on scene.

Frankly, I don't care how a person experiences a book. If you prefer paper books, wonderful. If you'd rather read an e-book, great. If you like audiobooks, terrific. Rather mix it up and use two or three formats? Awesome. We all have our personal preferences and there's nothing wrong with sharing yours. But let's let everyone else have theirs please.

© 2011, 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.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review: Blood of My Brother by James LePore

Linda extracted a card from her purse and handed it to Jay. Turning it over, he wrote on the back, "Linda, Take no prisoners. Jay." he showed her what he had written and, putting the card in his wallet, said, "I'll send you the Santaria documents tomorrow. You can use them and Kate Powers's letters when you learn that I am dead, or when you get his card in the mail, whichever comes first." [excerpt from Blood of My Brother]

Blood of My Brother by James LePore
The Story Plant, 2010
Crime Fiction ; 313 pgs

Last year I had the opportunity to read and review James LePore's A World I Never Made, a complex novel about a father and daughter's relationship amidst a tale of terrorism and intrigue. I was swiftly taken in by the author's writing and the complexity of his characters and their stories. And so, when offered the chance to read his latest book, Blood of My Brother, I was eager to give it a try.

Jay Cassio is a successful attorney whose best friend is murdered by professional hit men. Danny had been his savior time and time again when they were growing up in New Jersey. Danny's death appears to be connected to a couple of other murders in what the police have ruled as a murder-suicide. But Jay has information that leads him to suspect otherwise. As Jay digs deeper into his friend's murder, the more trouble he finds himself in. Not only is the FBI out to stop him, but he is being targeted by some very powerful people involved in money laundering and the drug trade.

Jay's only chance at exposing the truth and coming out on top is to find Isabel Perez, the beautiful Mexican woman who he believes lured his friend to his death and may hold the secrets to bring down the bad guys once and for all. Isabel's own life has been marred by cruelty. She wants nothing but to escape the bonds holding her down since she was a young teenager--that and to exact revenge against those who have enslaved her.

The novel got off to a slow start for me but soon took off. It is an intense book, right up until the end. I was most drawn to the scenes when the author takes the reader back into the characters' pasts, giving us a taste of why the characters are who they are today. Isabel especially has had a difficult life. She has proven to be a strong and resilient woman time and time again, fighting for her own survival in a world she had so little control over.

As enjoyable as it was, I wasn't as taken in by the characters of Blood of My Brother as I had been of A World I Never Made. I was wrapped up in the action of the book but never quite felt close enough to the characters. Regardless, Blood of My Brother is suspenseful read, one I couldn't wait to see how it would end.

You can learn more about James LePore and his books on the author's website.

Source: Book provided by author for review.

© 2011, 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, January 17, 2011

It's Monday! Bookish Musings

Hosted by Sheila of One Persons Journey Through a World of Books
Weekly meme where we discuss the books you've read
and those you plan to read in the coming week.

One dangerous thing about packing up the majority of the TBR books is finding all the books I want to read "right now". I have set quite a few books aside, many of which I'm sure I won't get to anytime soon, but for, you know, just in case. For example, I found a couple of books dealing with exorcism on my shelves that I thought might be fun to read back to back--one if fiction and the other nonfiction. Something for next month, perhaps?

This past week I enjoyed Clea Simon's first in a new series, Dogs Don't Lie. I ended up staying up late one night to finish it because I was so engrossed in the mystery. I am currently finishing Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell about a girl who goes in search of her drug dealing father in order to save the family home. The main character, Ree, is amazing. I took to her right away and so want everything to work out for her in the end. Hopefully I'll be able to fit in the movie soon as well. I hear that's pretty good too.

After this, I'll likely start on The Matchmaker of Kenmare by Frank Delaney, a book which the wonderful Jill of Rhapsody in Books Weblog was kind enough to give me. She noticed how much I enjoyed one of Delaney's previous books and thought I might like this one.

What are you reading at the moment?

Hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading
Weekly meme where we muse over a weekly question .

Do you prefer deep, intellectual, “meaty” books… or light, “fluffy” books? Why? Give us an example of your preferred type of book.
Why both, of course! I am something of an eclectic reader who likes to mix up my reading. I enjoy a good meaty book (the intellectual part might be questionable, but the deep and meaty definitely apply) now and then and will often follow it up with a lighter book. I probably fall in between most of the time, however. As I said last week, in response to The Book Blogger Hop question, I read for a variety of reasons and different books fit different needs I may have.

Something I have learned over the years in my reading is that some of the more deep and meaty reads (Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy) do have their lighter moments, and those lighter books (Shakespeare's Landlord by Charlaine Harris) should not be discounted as having little substance.

I suppose too that a lot has to do with how a reader defines a deep or a light read. One reader's fluff is another man's meat. Or something like that.

Do you have a preference between a lighter or meatier read?

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Rose City Readers (January Host)
We share what books that we found
in our mailboxes last week.

No books arrived in the mail this past week; however, I did stop by Barnes and Noble this past weekend while running errands and picked up a present for my Dad's birthday, which is at the end of the month. My husband and I also each picked out a book for the baby. No new books for me. And after spending the weekend sorting TBR books, I feel as if I've discovered a long lost treasure as it is! Why am I still on the computer? I'm ready to read!

What books have received in the mail recently?

© 2011, 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.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Random Friday Fun: Book Blogger Hop & Friday Fill-Ins

Book Blogger Hop

Hosted by Jennifer of Crazy for Books
Weekly meme where book bloggers and readers connect
and share in our love for the written word.

This week's question comes from Barb who blogs at Sugarbeat's Books: Why do you read the genre that you do? What draws you to it?

I was chatting with a coworker yesterday afternoon and the topics of books came up. She asked me what it was about reading I liked so much. She always sees me reading and has never been much of a reader herself. I gave her my usual answer about how I read for entertainment, escapism, to learn, to feel and to be inspired among other things.

Thinking about it now, it's easy to see how that comes out in my choices of reading material. I enjoy reading a wide variety of books on varying topics. I get something different out of each book I read, whether I am cozying up with a light-hearted or hard boiled mystery, sitting on the edge of my seat and holding my breath as I finish a thriller, visiting imaginative and entirely new worlds in fantasy and science fiction, diving into the past in a historical novel, sharing in the hardships and struggles found in fiction of all kinds, or digging up facts I had not given much thought to before in nonfiction.

Reading allows me to step into someone else's shoes for awhile and experience the world, whether real or make believe, in a way only a book can offer. I believe I am a better observer, more patient, more compassionate and better at solving problems than I might have been had I not been a reader.

I find pleasure and satisfaction in many different types of books, regardless of genre and category. The draw is what lays inside the cover, the stories and characters that I bring into my life, if even for a short while.

Graphic courtesy of Tonya!
*Click on the image above graphic to get to the Friday Fill-In headquarters, hosted by Janet!*

1. Right now I need a book to go with my peace and quiet.

2. The last drop of milk is what's in my glass.

3. A copy of this letter will be sent to the crime reporter at the local newspaper with a request to publish should I meet a foul or suspicious death.

4. When I want to take my enemies by complete and total surprise, I find my attack is best done with a spoon.

5. The best television show I've seen lately is BBC's Sherlock Holmes, in which I've totally fallen in love.

6. Slippers: like; Fuzzy giant socks: love.

7. I am feeling ambitious this morning. I want to spend some time cleaning out draws that haven't been opened in a while and do the laundry. It may not sound like a lot, but you haven't seen what's in those drawers! I have a doctor's appointment as well. I'm now officially in my 8th month of pregnancy. The not so pleasant moments are becoming more frequent, but I can't complain. I still have more good days than bad ones. Nothing a foot massage can't cure! And a good nap when I can fit one in.

What are you up to today? I hope you all have a great weekend and may you find yourself lost in a good book.

© 2011, 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.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

I didn't realize he was a werewolf at first. My nose isn't at its best when surrounded by axle grease and burnt oil--and it's not like there are a lot of stray werewolves running around. She when someone made a polite noise near my feet to get my attention I thought he was a customer. [1st paragraph]

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
ACE Fantasy, 2006
Fantasy (Urban) ; 288 pgs

I do love a good urban fantasy novel and Patricia Briggs' novel Moon Called, the first in the Mercy Thompson series, lived up to its reputation. Why did I let this book languish in my TBR collection for nearly five years?

Mercy Thompson is a mechanic who specializes in German cars. She also is a walker with the ability to shift into a coyote at will. When a young man appears on the doorstep of her garage to ask for a job, Mercy can tell right away he is a werewolf. Going against her better judgment she hires him and soon trouble follows. Not only is Mac a new werewolf not yet in control of his new found form and strength, he is also being hunted by some very bad supernatural beings. Mercy turns to her next door neighbor, Adam, the Alpha of the local werewolf pack, for help. Forced on the run when Adam himself becomes a target and his teenage daughter kidnapped, Mercy goes to the only place she can think of for help: the reservation where she was raised. Not everyone there is happy to see her, but they do what they can to help.

I took to Mercy right away. She has her edgy side, but she also knows when to play by the rules. She's still got that undeniable independent streak that urban fantasy heroines often have and will do as she pleases regardless of what others may say. She's smart and knows her weaknesses. The other characters in the novel compliment her well.

As technology and science become more prolific and advanced in modern society, the risk of exposure is far greater. Traditions and the old ways are being compromised. Patricia Briggs begins to set the stage for the day when the supernatural must come out of the closet. One group already has, that of the lesser fey, and the results were mixed. The reception and fitting in of the supernatural among regular ol' folk is nothing new in urban fantasy, but it is always interesting to see how an author tackles the subject, especially in a world of her own creation. The author does a good job of setting the foundation for Mercy's world and making it believable. I especially like the history she provided of the various supernatural beings in her world. She gives the reader just enough to whet your palate and leave you eager for more--at least she did this reader.

The suspense and intensity only increases as the story unfolds. There's a hint of romance with plenty of mystery and action. Moon Called won me over from the first page and if the other books in the series are as good as this first one, it will definitely become a favorite series. You can bet I'll be pulling that second book in the series off my TBR shelf much sooner than it took me to get to this one.

You can learn more about Patricia Briggs and her books on the author's website.

Source: I purchased the book for my own use in February of 2006.

© 2011, 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.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Review: Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse by Leann Sweeney

My cat is allergic to people--yes, odd, I know--so when I came in the back door and heard Chablis sneeze, I stopped dead. Why was she sneezing? This couldn't be a reaction to me. I use special shampoo, take precautions. Chablis and I are cool. [1st paragraph]

The Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse by Leann Sweeney
Obsidian Mystery, 2009
Crime Fiction ; 288 pgs

When Jillian Hart returns home from a business trip, she discovers one of her beloved cats is missing. There clearly has been a break-in, and it's unclear whether Chablis was catnapped or got out of the house. Nothing else is missing. When her house is burglarized a second time, this time the thief caught on tape, she takes matters into her own hand and goes to confront him. Only, what she finds is a dead body.

Jillian is sure the murder is tied to the cats that have been going missing around town, but the Chief of police doesn't agree. As a result, Jillian begins her own investigation with the help of her new friend and police officer, Candace.

I am not sure how bold I would be, stepping into a police investigation like Jillian did, especially when murder was involved. But then isn't that part of the reason I read books like this, to live vicariously through the characters, stepping out of my own shoes for awhile?

Jillian is recently widowed, she and her husband not having lived in the town long before his sudden and unexpected death. Jillian has kept mostly to herself, in the company of her three beautiful cats. As a result, as Jillian begins to step out into the town and become more social in her search for the truth, the reader meets many of the other characters in the book for the first time right alongside her. I really appreciated this approach in introducing the reader to the various characters.

Like you might expect in a cozy mystery set in a small town, the other characters are varied and quite entertaining all on their own. Many of which I liked instantly and others that grew on me after awhile. Ed was perhaps my favorite. He's not only charming in a cute sort of way, he's also very resourceful. Oh, and of course the cats! They steal the show in the scenes they are in.

The mystery itself was quite engaging. It didn't take me long to finish the book as I didn't want to put it down. It was a perfect book to finish and start a new year with. And the end made me smile. I look forward to reading the next in the series!

You can learn more about Leann Sweeney and her books on the author's website. You can also find her on the website Cozy Chicks.

Source: Book provided by author for review.

© 2011, 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, January 10, 2011

It's Monday! What I am Reading & An Awfully Full Mailbox

Hosted by Sheila of One Persons Journey Through a World of Books
Weekly meme where we discuss the books you've read
and those you plan to read in the coming week.

My reading year has gotten off to a great start. Although, choosing which book to read next has been a bit of a challenge lately. My mind changes on a dime. One minute I am trying to decide between two books in particular and then in the next, I have moved on to two other options, setting the first two aside for later. On the plus side, I am reading--and happily so.

After finishing James LePore's suspense novel, Blood of My Brother, late last week, I decided I needed something of a more lighter fare. And so I am currently enjoying Dogs Don't Lie by Clea Simon. It's the first in a new series due to come out this spring. The series features Pru Marlowe, an animal behaviorist who also happens to be an animal psychic, however reluctantly.

Next on my list to read is Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone, which I recently bought for my nook. I rented the movie from netflix recently, remembered it was based on a book and now suddenly want to read the book first. As a result, it's been bumped up on my immediate TBR pile.

What are you reading at the moment?

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Rose City Readers (January Host)
We share what books that we found
in our mailboxes last week.

If you caught my post yesterday, then you know how I spent my day. So, why would I even think of adding to my TBR collection right now, you ask? I have no good answer. I'm a glutton for punishment, what can I say? I could blame it on the gift cards I received for Christmas, I suppose. (All books mentioned below, e-books and paper books, are ones I purchased on my own, with a gift card or cash.)

Books that arrived in the mail:
  • Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow
Plus, what a great time to stock up on some books for my nook! All of these were recommendations I picked up from other bloggers. I wish I'd kept track of exactly who recommended them. Something to work on in the future!

This is what appeared in my e-mailbox over the past two weeks:
  • When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
  • How to be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  • By Fire, By Water by Mitchell Kaplan
  • Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin
  • The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
  • Winter Bone by Daniel Woodrell ~ After seeing mention of the movie and the book on Nicole at Linus's Blanket, I made note of the movie and decided I had to see it. But first, I want to read the book.
  • A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle ~ Having just seen the BBC television show of a modernized Sherlock Holmes and then coming across Kelly of The Written World's review, I couldn't resist.
What books have received in the mail recently?

© 2011, 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, January 09, 2011

Sunday Salon: Culling the Shelves (again)

I go through my bookshelves every now and then, pulling out books I no longer want, whether they are books I have read and do not feel the need to keep around or unread books I've lost interest in because I took too long getting to them. As Anjin and I prepare for our move (date still to be determined), we are being more ruthless in our culling out of books.

Today we tackled the "already read" shelves. As I looked over titles, several thoughts came into play. Is it a book I want to reread someday? Is it a book I want my daughter to experience (if she's so inclined)? How attached am I to that particular book? I also found myself wanting to hold onto books that I deemed as "classics", which my husband got a kick out of ("I'm beginning to think everything's a classic to you"). The series' collections I've accumulated proved to be the most difficult. I've always been of the mind that I should keep them around if I am still reading the series. And yet, suddenly, I found myself wondering if I really need to. Letting go of the series books I am no longer interested in was not hard to do. Most of the series I continue to read I just made an executive decision about, some I will keep and others I won't. Then there are a couple that I'm still undecided about.

There is a part of me that feels sadness at saying goodbye to so many books, many of which have been on my shelves for many years. They've been my companions, their characters my friends. Anjin and I set aside over 330 books from our "already read" shelves that we will be passing on. The remaining books are now packed in boxes, labeled and ready to be moved to our new home, wherever that may be. Anjin is already talking about how he wants to organize our books in our new home. By category, he says. That's a task I'm happy to leave to him.

When all was said and done, I suggested my husband might want to spend a weekend away while I go through my TBR collection, all those unread books I keep hidden in our spare bedroom. I have no inkling of how many I will decide to part with. It could be a small few or an embarrassingly high number. I just know it won't be easy on either of us. Even though I go through my stacks and cull out unwanted books regularly, it isn't with the same kind of ferocity I will do so now. What makes it especially hard of letting go of unread books is the amount of money we I spent on them over the past 20 years. I swear the books reproduce exponentially. You know what they say about appetites, about your eyes being bigger than your stomach . . . So many books out there I want to read and just not enough time. And I do love to be surrounded by books!

How are you at taming your stacks of books?

I haven't yet settled in to read today. Clearing the bookshelves was pretty much an all day task. You can be sure, however, that I will be curling up with a book this evening, joining Pru Marlowe, animal psychic, in proving dear sweet Lily couldn't have killed her human (Clea Simon's Dogs Don't Lie).

Enjoy your week and happy reading!

© 2011, 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.