Saturday, April 09, 2011

What is Keeping Me Away, You Ask?

and this little one, of course:

© 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, April 03, 2011

Sunday Salon: Squeezing in a Little Reading Here & There

The grandparents long ago returned to their own homes and Anjin to work. Mouse and I have the house to ourselves during the day, the furkids our only company. You might think that would leave me lots of free time to write blog posts and comment on blogs, especially considering my little girl is only interested in eating, sleeping and having a clean diaper at this point (although, she does likes the occasional song, going on walks and watching her mother do a little back stretching dance). As those of you who were once first time parents know, despite her seemingly simple life, I rarely have a moment to do much of anything but meet her needs at this early stage. A newborn, especially mine, eats A LOT.

Even so, I am able to read while I nurse Mouse (or watch TV). And can I just say how much I love my smart phone? Who would have thought? I can keep up with my e-mail, read your blogs, stay on top of the news, and keep in touch with my husband, family and friends (who are probably tired of the daily photos I take of the baby with my phone). I may not be able to write a coherent book review or spend time on my actual computer, but I am not totally disconnected. I take what I can get in short spurts. I only wish I could somehow better manage the growing laundry piles!

I especially love that I am able to read. Once Mouse is awake more often and more interactive, I know I will have to sacrifice some of that reading time. For now though, I am taking full advantage.

Right before and after Mouse was born, I finished off the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series books by Patricia Briggs I had on hand. I flew through Blood Bound, Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed and Silver Borne, reading one right after the other. Mercy Thompson owns her own car repair shop and is an ace mechanic. She also is a walker, someone who can turn into a coyote at will. She mingles with werewolves, vampires and other supernatural beings. Trouble always seems to be around the corner and Mercy and friends are quick to step in and put a stop to it. Mercy has many of the typical urban fantasy heroine characteristics, and yet she stands out on her own. I love the world Patricia Briggs has created and enjoy spending time with the various characters. Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of her latest release, River Marked, and so am now officially one behind in the series. When I get my hands on that one (probably not until it's out in paperback), I will definitely be jumping right in.

After finishing Patricia Briggs' Silver Borne, I was still itching to read urban fantasy. Unfortunately most of my TBR books are packed away. I did have Lori Handeland's Any Given Doomsday handy, however, and so decided to give that a try. The book is the first in the Phoenix Chronicles featuring psychic Elizabeth Phoenix. Life has already proven to be tough for Liz but when her beloved foster mother dies leaving her a special gift, her life suddenly has become much more difficult--and dangerous. The fate of the world lays on her shoulders. The novel got off to a slow start for me, and I admit to considering setting it aside. I persevered, however, and enjoyed the book in the end. Mostly. It took me awhile to warm up to the main character, and I was reminded of the later books in the Laurel K. Hamilton Anita Blake series where sex is used as a means to an end. I wasn't quite sold on that idea. Vague, I know, but I don't want to totally spoil the book for those who haven't read it. I do like the world Lori Handeland has created as well as the many supernatural characters she introduced in this first book in the series. She definitely offers a different take on the genre. Will I pick up the next book in the series? The jury is still out. It might be worth it to see where the author takes the story next.

I then settled into Linda Castillo's Sworn to Silence, which I had heard so much about. The first in a crime fiction series featuring a police chief with an Amish background. A serial killer is targeting young women in the area in ways that seems eerily like vicious murders that occurred in the same area years before. Only, the police chief knows that can't be possible--or could it? The mystery grabbed me from the start and didn't let go until I reached the end. Kate Burkholder is a complex heroine with a dark secret from her past. I instantly took to her and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

My next attempts at reading were not quite as successful. Reruns of Law and Order were more enticing. It isn't that the books were bad; rather I was trying to read review books, books that require more energy and thought than I have to spare right now. I should have realized that from the start, but it isn't like I am working on all cylinders at this point. Exhaustion has that effect after all. So, when Anjin suggested I dive into the select few TBR books I had purposefully not packed and just enjoy reading for the sake of reading, no strings attached, I decided to do just that.

I wasn't sure George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, the first in an epic fantasy series, was the book to pick up and read (it's size alone is rather daunting), but Anjin said he was sure it was just what I was looking for. It couldn't be because he wants me to read it before the HBO miniseries airs later this month, right? I should know better than to doubt my husband though. I am only 200 pages in but am enjoying every minute of it.

Mouse is ready for another feeding, and I can't say no to my adorable little girl. Do drop me a comment and let me know what you have been up to and what you've been 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.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Review: Dogs Don't Lie by Clea Simon

The problem with murder is that it's messy. Not just the blook, the viscera, and what you, but the boundaries. And when you're trying to save a life--provide an alibi--for someone you know is innocent, well, the guilt tends to splash back on you. Especially when there's money involved. [opening paragraph]

Dogs Don't Lie by Clea Simon
Poisoned Pen Press, 2011 (April 5)
Crime Fiction; 256 pgs

When trying to decide what to read next, my husband suggested I pick up Clea Simon's Dogs Don't Lie, the first in a new series, giving me somewhat of a break between two rather dark books. Not that murder is ever "light".

In Dogs Don't Lie, animal behaviorist Pru Marlowe, stumbles upon the scene of a murder. One of her clients has been brutally murdered. The client's pit bull, Lucy, comes under immediate suspicion by the authorities. Only, Pru doesn't believe the dog could commit such a violent crime. You see, Pru has a special gift; she is also an animal psychic, however reluctantly so. She is still unsure of her ability and just what it means, but one thing she is certain of: Lucy's innocence. Teaming up with her tabby cat, Wallis, Pru is determined to prove Lucy didn't kill her beloved human. Of course, that could very well make her the number one suspect.

Let me say right off that I really enjoyed reading this novel. I adored Wallis (and Frank). I also liked Pru. The author did a good job of setting the right tone for her main character, her love of animals, her longing for human companionship, and the struggle she has gone through in accepting her ability to communicate with animals.

The other characters in the novel range from eccentric, to sexy, to your average joe. They each were very much their own person and it made for an even better reading experience. While I never grew to like some of the characters (i.e. Delia Cochrane), my opinion of others went up in the end (Detective Creighton).

I loved the end of the novel in all its complexity--I couldn't help but stay up late to finish, as the layers fell off at such a rapid rate and in such a satisfying way. Of all the Clea Simon books I've read over the past few years, I think this new series will be my favorite.

You can learn more about Clea Simon and her books on the author's website and on her blog, Cats & Crime & Rock & Roll.

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.