Showing posts from July, 2012

The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett

Title:The Magician's Assistant
Author: Ann Patchett

Genre: Fiction (Magicians / Nebraska / Homosexuality / AIDS / Family Secrets / Marriage / Abuse)
Publisher/Publication Date: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (10/1/1997)
Source: My public library.

Rating: Meh -- okay.
Did I finish?: I did, with considerable effort.
One-sentence summary: A new widow traces her husband's mysterious past and learns more about love, family, and belonging.

Do I like the cover?: I do, but rather meanly: the pretty, vapid, abbreviated head is obviously Sabine, who is pretty, vapid, and abbreviated; the cute rabbit was my favorite character.

I'm reminded of...: Ann Patchett (is that unfair to say?)

First line: Parsifal is dead.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow, but then again, I'm biased.

Why did I get this book?: Favorite blogger Nomadreader mentioned she wanted to read more Patchett and kindly agreed to do a joint read with me. You can read her take here.

Review: This is my second Patchett novel, and I li…

House of Shadows by Rachel Neumeier

Title:House of Shadows
Author: Rachel Neumeier

Genre: Fiction (Fantasy / Orphans / Prostitution / Magic / Magicians / Political Turmoil)
Publisher/Publication Date: Orbit (7/10/2012)
Source:TLC Book Tours / NetGalley

Rating: Liked.
Did I finish?: I did -- it read quickly!
One-sentence summary: War, love, magic, loss, and loneliness shape the lives of four strong individuals in this fantasy novel.
Reading Challenges:A-to-Z, E-book, NetGalley, Witches & Witchcraft

Do I like the cover?: I don't have any strong feelings one way or the other -- it's pretty enough but doesn't jump at me.

I'm reminded of...: Tarrant Smith

First line: In a city of grey stone and mist, between the steep rain-swept mountains and the sea, there lived a merchant with his eight daughters.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow if you like battle-y fiction that has an emphasis on characters, if you like unique settings, and strong women.

Why did I get this book?: Every now and then, I like a fantasy novel, and I d…

Mailbox Monday, July 30

This week's Mailbox Monday (hosted in July at Mrs. Q: Book Addict), is another book explosion of awesome. Seriously, I want to spread these on my bed and swim in them, a la Scrooge McDuck. As usual, click on a cover to learn more about the book (link will automatically open in a new tab/window).  What did you get?  Have any of these?

For Review



This week's winners!

Two winners for Thieftaker ... Brooke and Diane!

The winner of The Thread is ... Marisa!

And last week's winner of The Virgin Cure never responded, so I redrew and the new winner is ... Elizabeth!

Congrats to the winners! If you didn't win, be sure to check out my open giveaways.

A note about contact -- a few of my winners reported never getting my email but as they were GoodReads friends or Twitter friends, I was able to message them. Please be sure to check my Saturday winners post if you do enter since it seems my emails aren't always going through! 

Should I include an alternate contact option in my giveaway form to use if I don't hear back from winners?  Or should I just go ahead and redraw after 48-hours?

Friday Reads and a rainy weekend...

It's going to be a rainy weekend -- perfect for reading -- so I'm very excited to get my read on. As usual, I'm juggling a handful of books included Miss Me When I'm Gone (thriller) and House of Shadows (fantasy). I'm still (slowly) chugging along with Telegraph Avenue and finishing up Mistress of Mourning (which I'm really digging) and The Magician's Assistant (which I'm not).

What are you reading this weekend?

Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino

Title:Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling: A Novel
Author: Michael Boccacino

Genre: Fiction (Victoriana / Supernatural / Undead / Governess / Cross-Class Romance / Widow / Good Versus Evil / Motherhood / Mothers & Sons)
Publisher/Publication Date: William Morrow Paperbacks (7/24/2012)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Liked - ambiance; disliked - characters; okay - plot. I suppose I'll give that a solid 'okay' for good and for bad.
Did I finish?: I did -- only it took me a while because I kept nitpicking every other page.
One-sentence summary: A governess fights for her charges, her employer, her burgeoning romance, her sanity, and her reality when the world of the Not Dead threaten.
Reading Challenges:Historical, NetGalley, Victorian

Do I like the cover?: I love the cover: it's deceptively simply, evocative of the decaying estate where the story takes place, and I'm thrilled that it doesn't feature an anachronistically-dressed model with blowing hair and dress…

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

Title:The Colorado Kid
Author: Stephen King
Narrator: Jeffrey DeMunn

Genre: Fiction (Maine / Murder Mystery / Journalists / Unsolved Mystery / Small Town)
Publisher/Publication Date: Hard Case Crime (10/4/2005) / Simon & Schuster Audio (9/26/2005)
Source: Personal copy (my wife's technically)

Rating: Okay.
Did I finish?: I did, because my wife is relentless and wouldn't turn off the audiobook.
One-sentence summary: Two reporters regale their intern with their favorite unsolved mystery, a case involving a corpse from Colorado on the coast of rural Maine.

Do I like the cover?: Adore it -- although I don't think it looks anything like Stephanie, the reporter.

First line: After deciding he would get nothing of interest from the two old men who comprised the entire staff of The Weekly Islander, the feature writer from the Boston Globe took a look at his watch, remarked that he could just make the one-thirty ferry back to the mainland if he hurried, thanked them for their time, dr…

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Title:The Age of Miracles
Author: Karen Thompson Walker

Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / California / Ecological Disaster / Coming-of-Age / Teenage Protagonist but not YA )
Publisher/Publication Date: Random House (2012)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Liked.
Did I finish?: Raced through it in about two hours.
One-sentence summary: A fourteen-year old girl reflects on the year the Earth's rotation slowed down.

Do I like the cover?: I actually don't -- I don't think it captures the novel's feel nor plot, but I do like the textured cover. I suppose it offers a kind of youthfulness that represents the heroine but doesn't look straight out YA.

First line: We didn't notice right away.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy -- even if you don't consider yourself a YA reader, this is really a coming-of-age novel in a unique setting.

Why did I get this book?: I love disaster novels.

Review: This quick read is a quiet coming-of-age story with an unusual setting. Sometime now, or va…

Mailbox Monday, July 23

On-going summer of awesome: yet another week of fantastic arrivals! In our house, birthdays are to be celebrated for thirty days, so I'm just telling myself it's the pub world helping me to celebrate! ;) This week's Mailbox Monday (hosted in July at Mrs. Q: Book Addict). As usual, click on a cover to learn more about the book (link will automatically open in a new tab/window).  What did you get?  Have any of these?

For Review

Michael Chabon Telegraph Avenue Readalong, July 19

My second of four updates of the Michael Chabon Telegraph AvenueReadalong, sponsored by Emily at As The Crowe Flies (and Reads!). Every Tuesday (roughly) for the next three weeks I'll be sharing my thoughts on the book so be sure to pop by.

This week I'm going to be discussing my general thoughts of Part Two as well as further thoughts on Part One.  I'll be sure to label spoilers.  Sorry again for the novel-length post!

Obviously, I'm a bit behind -- the update was to be posted on Tuesday but I just wasn't finished enough to get my thoughts in order, so I'm doing it today.  I'm glad for the extra time -- after feeling so very prickly toward Telegraph Avenue last week, I did a virtually Google-free read of Parts One and Two, and I'm a lot happier this week than last week.

Reading; or Giving Up Google

It made for a nicer read! I started treating this the way I do a fantasy novel with weird names for mythologies I'm unfamiliar with, and just skim…


Winners galore this week! About ten million, I'm pretty sure. Here they are!

The winner of The Virgin Cure is ... Mirella!

The winner of Brand New Human Being is ... Sarah!

The winner of My Dear I Wanted To Tell You is ... Rayna!

The winner of The Bay of Foxes is ... Nomadreader!

Congrats to everyone! Winners have been emailed and have 48 hours or so to respond; I'll redraw if I don't hear back. If you didn't win, be sure to check out my current giveaways!

Flight From Berlin by David John

Title:Flight From Berlin
Author: David John

Genre: Fiction (1930s / Nazis / Germany / 1936 Olympics / Espionage / Zeppelins / Divorce )
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper (7/10/2012)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Okay.
Did I finish?: I did -- I breezed through this one.
One-sentence summary: An American party girl turned journalist and a British journalist turned possible spy meet in 1936 Berlin.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: I do -- I'm rather fond of these split picture style covers and it feels like they're becoming increasingly common for a certain type of hist fic. If I had my way, some images from the 1936 photos would be featured on the cover...

I'm reminded of...:In the Garden of Beasts, Lauren Belfer

First line: He landed hands first on the wet, sandy soil and rolled over on his side.

Did... I love John's author note about this novel being inspired by what can be found in footnotes?: YES. I adore footnotes -- such a treasure trove of mad…

Darkness All Around by Doug Magee

Title:Darkness All Around
Author: Doug Magee

Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / Small Town / Murder Mystery / Amnesia / Flashback / Alcoholism / Football / Mother-Son Relationships / Second Marriage)
Publisher/Publication Date: Touchstone (6/2012)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Liked.
Did I finish?: I did -- this was a perfect beach read -- easy to dip in and out of, depending on whether I was dipping in and out of the ocean!
One-sentence summary: A woman's small hometown is rocked by the return of her declared dead husband, the resurfacing of a brutal murder, and her own family's violent past.
Reading Challenges:A-to-Z

Do I like the cover?: Eh -- it's nothing special but doesn't bother me.

I'm reminded of...: Jennifer McMahon

First line: It's a body.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow for a fluffy, creepy summertime read (or save for October!)

Why did I get this book?: Now and then, I like to get my creepy on!

Review: For a moment, I despaired ever really getting into this novel…

All He Saw Was The Girl by Peter Leonard

Title:All He Saw Was The Girl
Author: Peter Leonard

Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / Kidnapping / College Students/ Italy / Mafia / Hostages)
Publisher/Publication Date: The Story Plant (5/15/2012)
Source:Partners In Crime Tours

Rating: Liked a good deal.
Did I finish?: I did.
One-sentence summary: Five Americans, one Roman crime syndicate, and a barrage of crimes.
Reading Challenges:A to Z, E-books

Do I like the cover?: Love it! It represents THE scene where the line 'All he saw was the girl...' is used and it has that sharp, sparse, sexy look of a fabulous crime thriller.

I'm reminded of...: Amanda Prantera, Jonathan Santlofer

First line: McCabe watched Chip offer the long-haired guy a cigarette, the guy surprising him, taking the pack of Marlboros out of Chip's hand.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy -- this is a fluffy beach crime caper, brisk and entertaining, effortless and engaging.

Why did I get this book?: I was super curious to see how Elmore Leonard's son wrote!


Mailbox Monday, July 16

Another week of arrivals -- this might be my all-time favorite dream achieved summer! It's getting a little obscene. My Mailbox Monday (hosted in July at Mrs. Q: Book Addict). As usual, click on a cover to learn more about the book (link will automatically open in a new tab/window).  What did you get?  Have any of these?

For Review