Friday, March 31, 2017

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): The Three Taps (Miles Bredon #1) by Ronald A. Knox + 50/50 Friday


Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.


I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.


This week I'm spotlighting my next read as a part of Book Riot's 2017 Read Harder Challenge which tasks participants to read a book published between 1900 and 1950. My choice is The Three Taps (Miles Bredon #1) by Ronald A. Knox.  I've picked up quite a few older mystery books pretty recently at antique shops, yard sales, and thrift stores. and this story from 1927 in particular stands out to me.  My copy doesn't have a dust jacket, but it after flipping through it I noticed that the subtitle is "A Detective Story Without A Moral" - that sounds right up my alley. Plus, I didn't realize right away that the "taps" are referring to gas jets from old-fashioned gas lights right away - so that plus seeing what the dust jacket looked like really upped my interest.  This twisting mystery follows an insurance investigator, Miles Bredon, who goes to a small town to investigate a rich man's death.  If it's suicide like he suspects, the company won't have to pay on his large policy, but if it's murder like the lead police detective thinks, the company will have to make a huge payout.  Can I help it if I'm having visions of Double Indemnity meets the old time radio show Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar (10 points to Gryffindor if you've ever listened to this show before)!


Beginning:

The principles of insurance, they tell us, were not hidden from our Anglo-Saxon forefathers.  How anybody had the enterprise in those rough-and-tumble days to guarantee a client against "fire, water, robbery or other calamity" remains a problem for the historian; the more so that it appears that mathematical calculations were first applie to the business by the eminent John de Witt.

56:

"Well," she asked, "and what do you think make of Mr. Brinkman?"

"I think he's a bit deep.  I think he knows just a little more about all this than he says.  However, I let him talk,m and did my best to make him think I was a fool."

"That's just what I've been doing with Mr. Pulteney.  At least, I've been playing the ingénue.  I thought I was going to get him to call me "My dear young lady' - I love that; he very nearly did once or twice."

"Did you find him deep?"

"Not in that way.  Miles, I forbid you to suspect Mr. Pulteney; he's my favorite man."




This week I'm also taking part in a brand new linkup called 50/50 Friday, which is hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader and Laura @ Blue Eye Books.  Every week they'll have a new topic featuring two sides of the same coin - this week the topic is Best/ Worst Book You Read In March.

Best: 

Of the thirteen books that I've read (so far) this month four of them have actually been five star reads!


Dark Matter by Blake Crouch - I loved all the multiverse, what if scenarios!  I'd love to see a movie or tv adaption of this one.



Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Adventures - This is a must listen for fans of Doctor Who, particularly David Tennant and Catherine Tate!  They actually narrate most of the stories and really bring it to life!



Fatemarked (The Fatemarked Epic #1) by David Estes - I really lucked out here!  This author's first in a brand new epic fantasy series is wonderful and I has a little bit of everything for everybody.


The Girl with Ghost Eyes (Xian Li-lin #1) - I was completely hooked!  I NEED more of Li-lin, and more historical fantasies like this one!

Worst:



Once Upon a [Stolen] Time (Stolen #1) by Samreen Ahsan - I really tried with this book, but I only ended up giving this read for review "romantic" fantasy fairytale two stars.


As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting below.  Have you read any of these books?  Have you ever heard of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar?  I would be tickled if you've listened to that show before!  Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mini Reviews - A Study in Scarlet Women, Replica, and A Night Divided


Happy Thursday everyone!  Today I'm featuring three mini reviews of February reads, A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock #1) by Sherry Thomas, Replica (Replica #1) by Lauren Oliver, and A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen.  All three of these are very different from one another - a adult mystery, young adult sci-fi, and middle grade historical fiction - but all of them are worth trying out.  I'll just say this now - my favorite is easily A Study in Scarlet Women!  I mean, it's a Sherlock Holmes retelling featuring a great female Sherlock!


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Charlotte Holmes is whip smart, has an excellent memory, and she craves independence above all. She's never been interested in marriage or in maintaining a household, and in order to make something of her own life she has to run away. She has to come to terms with the reality of being out in the world alone with no resources. And, what's she to do when a series of murders involve two of her family members? Invent a man named Sherlock Holmes in order to solve the case and prove her family's innocence.

Sherlock Holmes is one of my all time favorite characters and I loved seeing Charlotte take on the mantle. Of the two Sherlock Holmes retellings I've read in the last year, both featuring a female incarnation of the classic detective named Charlotte (the 2016 YA debut called A Study in Charlotte), this series opener takes the cake. Aside from Charlotte, other standout characters from this reimagining include Mrs. Watson and Inspector Treadles (aka Lestrade). If you're looking a new take on Sherlock Holmes and a decent mystery at that, you'll definitely want to try A Study In Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas. A little forewarning, though, the first quarter of the book is relatively slow, but once everything is set up you will not want to put it down. I can't wait to continue the Lady Sherlock series with A Conspiracy in Belgravia due out this September.


I listened to this audiobook from February 5 - 12, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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I started with Gemma's story, which I ended up preferring to Lyra's. Although, Gemma got a little irritating at times, I liked the mystery she was trying to uncover about her family and Haven and she's connected to it. Plus, Pete (dubbed "Perv" by his classmates) seems like genuinely nice person with a kind of addictive personality. As for Lyra's story, I'm glad that 72 got to do a little more there. I know there's a sequel coming, but I honestly wish we had a little more closure for both stories. This is my first Lauren Oliver book and while I liked it, it just didn't quite live up to the hype for me. I definitely plan on trying Delirium in the future.


I read this book from February 18 - 21, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



❋ ❋ ❋ 

A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen is a must read for fans of the author's previous works, middle grade historical fiction, and an interest in the Berlin Wall. Although this story is set in the 1960s, it still manages to come across as a very timely piece historical fiction novel featuring a twelve year old girl trying to escape to the West after her family has been divided by the Berlin Wall. Then again, the story really focuses on what it means to be a family and how to survive dark times. I really liked Gerta and her brother, Fitz, both are very brave and protective of their family. The only thing that really bothered me was with the audiobook production - the Stasi agents get thick German accents whereas Gerta and her family get standard American accents. Either way, I highly recommend this tense middle grade historical fiction novel featuring a family separated by the Berlin Wall in the 1960s. Nielsen is as fantastic at writing historical fiction as she is enthralling epic fantasy and I can't wait to read The Mark of the Thief and The Scourge.

I listened to this audiobook from February 18 - 22, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix - Review


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Abby and Gretchen have been friends since elementary school what with their love of E.T. and everything, but when they get to high school Gretchen begins to act different. As more and more weird and freaky happenings pile up, Abby comes to the conclusion that there can only be one true explanation. Gretchen has been possessed by a demon. Abby is not going to stand by and watch Gretchen's life and their friendship be ruined by this thing inside of her. She can only hope that their relationship is enough to beat the devil.


Horrorstör was one of my favorite reads from 2016, so, of course, when I heard about My Best Friend's Exorcism I knew that I had to try it. While I didn't love it quite as much as I did Horrorstör, this one is still pretty awesome and right up my alley. His combination of horror, humor, and heart-warming story of two friends is fantastic. Hendrix also excels in suspense - I think I could have had about three or four heart attacks while reading this one! Plus, although, I only lived through the 80s as a baby, I think he did a good job of portraying 1988 - and I kept trying to figure out the different references.  By the way, each chapter title is named after a song! Even though I know what's coming in this Exorcist-esque tale, I loved cutting through the mystery shrouding Gretchen alongside Abby.


I don't want to spoil too much, but I just want to say that I have actually seen something like Hendrix's The Lemon Brothers Faith and Fitness Show a couple of years ago at a festival. It was pretty ridiculous. This muscle-bound guy was basically doing this faith-healing/ fitness show set to hardcore metal and rap music while his ten year old son with a broken arm set up the entire show by himself by putting boards, concrete blocks and everything else in place. Several people in the audience questioned the guy in the middle of his act about that poor kid. I can't believe I watched show for as long as I did - I just couldn't look away from that train wreck, though. Anyway, if you're a fan of horror comedy, the 1980s, killer suspense, The Exorcist, Supernatural, and Beetlejuice, My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix is a must read.



I read this novel from February 7 - 12, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I'm Dying To Meet


Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week's topic is Authors I'm Dying To Meet.  I haven't had the opportunity to meet very many authors, but I have had the chance to meet Mindy McGinnis and Louise Erdrich both of which were great experiences.  Below are ten authors I would love to have the opportunity to meet one day.



Jim Butcher - The Dresden Files is one of my all time favorites.


Cassandra Clare - I can't resist being sucked into the Shadowhunter world.


Neil Gaiman - I will read anything Gaiman cares to write.


Kevin Hearne - The Iron Druid Chronicles is right up there with The Dresden Files!


Marissa Meyer - After The Lunar Chronicles, I had to add her to the list.


Rick Riordan - His takes on Greek, Egyptian, and Norse mythology are just the best.


J.K. Rowling - How could I not want to meet Rowling?!


V.E. Schwab - Pretty please?


Maggie Stiefvater - I think she would just be awesome to meet - can you blame me?


Cat Winters - She has quickly become one of my favorite authors of historical fantasy.


Have you met any of these authors in person?  Have you read any of their novels?  As always, thanks very much for visiting my blog and for perhaps even commenting down below.

Monday, March 27, 2017

From Ice To Ashes by Rhett C. Bruno - Review


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I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review after being approached by the author to review his newest release.

As a Ringer, Kale knows where he belongs and how to keep his mouth shut and his head down, no matter how much abuse he suffers at the hands of the Earthers, or his own people for that matter. He knows he's lucky to only be sentenced to maintenance work on a gas-harvesting ship after getting caught stealing from a rich merchant. Then when he learns that his mother has been quarantined, he knows that his back's to the wall. He'll never be able to pay for her medicine, so he jumps at the chance to take a simple yet mysterious job in exchange for his mother's treatment. The only thing he has to do is upload a program to his employer's ship and all of his trouble will be taken care of. What should be as a simple smuggling gig actually has huge repercussions. The people Kale's working for are much more dangerous than he expected, and he's much more important to them than he could know.

From Ice to Ashes by Rhett C. Bruno starts off with a bang and just speeds up from there. It's set in the same universe as the author's novel, Titanborn, but you don't need to be familiar with that story to fully understand the events of this novel. I'm sure being familiar with that novel would only benefit the reader, but even though I've never read it I never felt lost here. Butler's novel still managed to suck me in right from the very beginning regardless. His writing is compelling and I didn't want to put this book down for a minute. His world-building, character development, and action scenes in particular are all top notch. One thing that really stood out to me from early on are his descriptions of the Ringers (people born on Titan, the colonized moon of Saturn) in comparison to the Earthers. Just that detail really began to set the tone and the atmosphere of the novel for me. I also particularly liked that none of the characters are exclusively good guys or bad guys. Everyone tends to occupy a morally gray area, which is certainly refreshing. The descriptions and action are all quite visual - I could easily picture the events of this sprawling space opera as if they were on the big screen.

Overall, Rhett C. Bruno's newest novel, From Ice to Ashes, is a tightly written and action packed adventure from start to finish. If you're looking for a new space opera to dive into, I have a feeling that you'll like this story whether you've read it's companion, Titanborn or not. You may also like Bruno's style if you are a fan of Neal Stephenson's work. After reading From Ice to Ashes, I definitely want to return to this universe and try Titanborn.

Thanks again to the author and NetGalley for providing this free eARC!


I read this eARC from March 15 - 18, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Music Monday: Chris Warner


Happy Monday everyone and welcome back to Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately!  If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.

Rules:

Every Monday share one or two songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up by sharing your post's url.

This week I'm sharing three of my favorite songs featured in The Stelling Banjo Anthology, released in 2005, all three of which are instrumental numbers performed by Chris Warner.  In my opinion, Warner is one of the most underrated banjo pickers.  He's worked with everyone from Jimmy Martin, Del McCoury, Doyle Lawson, Red Allen, and Audie Blaylock to many others.  Every now and then I'll hear his music featured on the Bluegrass Ramble weekend radio show I like listening to and it just makes me happy.  I can't get enough of his hard-driving style.








Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday Funday: Weekend Update, Book Haul, & Beauty and the Beast (2017)


Happy Sunday everyone!  It's been quite a couple of weeks!  My car has finally been repaired and it looks good as new.  I got to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie in 3D on Tuesday in a newly remodeled movie theater with big comfy chairs - keep reading for my review!  I also had the opportunity to attend the Ohio Library Council's Central Chapter Meeting for professional continuing education programming.  It was great to see libraryland friends and I came away with a lot of interesting ideas to put into use.  Plus, I was able to pick up an ARC of Slade House by David Mitchell for our library.  In other library news, my library has applied for the NASA @ My Library grant which would be an absolutely amazing opportunity for our community if we are one of the 75 libraries selected to receive the grant, so fingers crossed!


This Friday and Saturday, the weather has been pretty outstanding (if a bit breezy) which is a nice change of pace.  Finn really enjoyed his time outside on Friday evening - he looks pretty relaxed there in the field, doesn't he!  Of course, he wanted to explore everything and we were outside for nearly two hours.


This Saturday I went to the Scott Antique Market which is a huge antique show for it's last show in Columbus for the season.  I had a few things I was looking for, but I ended up coming home with three books, including Unwind by Neal Shusterman (an ex-library Playaway), Worthy Brown's Daughter by Phillip Margolin (the vendor totally talked me into this one!), Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer (I haven't read it's companion, but this sounds very cool).


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I've been ready to see this movie since I heard that it was being made, honestly.  It's one of my favorite Disney movies, so I fully expected to enjoy it especially as more news of casting came through.  I mean, Emma Watson as Belle - I couldn't imagine a better choice for the character.  After having watched the movie, I can definitely say that I loved this quite a bit more than I expect to and when I walked out of the theater, my cheeks kind of ached from smiling so much. It's a faithful to the original movie in the best of ways while filling in a few holes, including some new songs, and giving a bit more depth to the characters. Everyone is pitch perfect in their roles.

Aside from Emma Watson and Dan Stevens playing our title characters, I was also looking forward to seeing the performances of Luke Evans as Gaston, Josh Gad as LeFou, and Ewan McGregor as Lumière and all three did their characters justice. I had no idea that Evans could even sing, but he's very good at playing the full of himself Gaston. With all of the talk about LeFou's sexuality, of course, I was curious about Gad's take on the character - it's pretty subtle and tonally he feels a lot like the original cartoon version of his character. Lumière has always been one of my favorite supporting Disney characters, and McGregor does a wonderful job bringing the character to life and "Be Our Guest" is the real showstopper of the movie.

Overall, if you haven't seen this live action reimagining of one of Disney's best cartoons, what are you waiting for? Luckily, it lives up to hype (and, as enjoyable as the live action Cinderella was, this is better by far) and is a joy to see on the big screen. The 3D looks great especially for the curse and transformations, but I wouldn't say it's absolutely necessary to make the most of your viewing experience. Emma Watson's the perfect choice to play this bookish heroine!


Theater notes:

Since the last time I was at this movie theater to see The Secret Life of Pets, it's been completely remodeled. Now, there's even the option to select which comfortable leather seat you want to sit in and everything. Plus, everything is much more roomy and everywhere was a good seat. 

Trailers included Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Coco. I'm really looking forward to both of these, especially Coco. If you haven't seen the trailer for Coco, you need to see it.

There was also a trailer for the next Wimpy Kid movie. I liked the original movies, and I have to admit that I'm disappointed that everyone has been recast.

I don't know about you, but I've watched a ton of "Tale as Old as Time" covers. The one that I've shared above is easily my favorite - it features a fellow local Ohioan, Lance Horsley, and his eleven year old daughter performing a duet of the song at her school library and it's features clips of her singing "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes from Cinderella when she was younger.  Aren't these two really talented?  You can check out his YouTube channel here - be sure to listen to his covers of "Lego House", "Something Just Like This", "How to Save a Life", and "Mercy" which are also great. 
Have you done anything interesting this weekend?  Have you seen Beauty and the Beast yet - if so, did you love it as much as I did?  Have you found any new-to-you reads?  Thanks as always for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab + 50/50 Friday


Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.


I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.


This week I'm spotlighting one of my most anticipated reads of the year, A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab!  I'm so excited to be starting in on this series finale, but I really don't want it all to be over.  Anyway, without further ado:


Beginning:

Delilah Bard - always a thief, recently a magician, and one day, hopefully, a pirate - was running as fast as she could.

56:

The driver didn't fight the magic, or if he did, it was a battle quickly lost.



This week I'm also taking part in a brand new linkup called 50/50 Friday, which is hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader and Laura @ Blue Eye Books.  Every week they'll have a new topic featuring two sides of the same coin - this week the topic is a Novel Worth/ Not Worth the Hype.

Worth: 


Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - Both it and it's sequel - I'm dying for the third book in the series to come out already!


Not Worth:


Passenger by Alexandra Bracken - It kills me a little bit to say this since this was one of my most highly anticipated releases of 2016, but it just live up to my expectations.


What are you reading this week?  Have you tried any of the books I've mentioned above?  If so, what did you think of them?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Shortest YA Books I've Read


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Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week's topic is Read In One Sitting Theme like ten of the shortest books I've read, top ten books I read in one sitting, ten books to read when you are short on time, top ten books that will make you read the whole day away, etc.  I've decided to share the shortest YA books I've read not counting short stories, audiobooks, or graphic novels.  Here we go, in order of length:


Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy, 96 pages - This is an absolutely fascinating nonfiction piece discusses women's rights and freedoms by way of the history of the bicycle.


Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman, 112 pages - I loved this in middle school so much!


Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming, 118 pages - I've always been fascinated by Amelia Earhart and this work of nonfiction's no exception.


Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, 139 pages - You can never go wrong with this classic!


Haunting Joy by Lena Goldfinch, 156 pages - Eerie ghost story with a bit of romance for fans of the tv series, Ghost Whisperer.


Coraline by Neil Gaiman, 162 - Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors and this is one of my favorites of his works.


Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen, 163 pages - The Sammy Keyes YA mystery series will always be a favorite of mine.  If you've never tried them before you should look into it.


Redemption by Elora Mitchell, 171 pages - You might have seen me mention this excellent YA dystopian in the past - it's well worth your time!


Unholy Alliance by Haley Yager and Lacy Yager, 174 pages - I read this paranormal romance for review and it's pretty great.  If you like urban fantasy and vampires, you may want to give it a shot.


Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet, 176 pages - If you're in anyway interested in the life story of E.B. White, the author of Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, this tribute is a must read.


Have you read any of these books?  What are some of the shortest books that you've read?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting.