Monthly Archives: February 2018

My February Reads

For some reason, February was a slow reading month for me.  In January I was flying through books, this month I felt like I was slogging through molasses.  I enjoyed my reading, but didn’t do it swiftly!  I want to add more NF to my reading this year, but apparently, February was not the month for it.

I started the month with “Blue on Black” by Michael Connelly, and I got it as an audiobook so I could listen while I baked and cleaned.

Blue on Black

2. “Gone Missing” by Linda Castillo.  I hadn’t previously read any books by Linda, nor had I really read any Amish fiction books, although I know they are quite popular.  I was looking for a readily available audiobook for my house cleaning time, and only book #4 was available.  I took a chance that I could jump into the middle of the series and not miss too much. There were references that I might understand better if I were reading the books in order, but nothing that impacted the plot line so much that I couldn’t enjoy the story.  I reviewed it here.Gone Missing

3. “Sweep in Peace” by Ilona Andrews – this is the second book in the Innkeeper series, definitely a paranormal/fantasy series, a type which is definitely a fun read for me.  I will definitely be reading the third book in this series, “One Fell Sweep”.Sweet in Peace

4. “Ricochet Joe” by Dean Koontz – Dean is one of my favorite authors, and while some of his books are definitely in the horror genre, and make me rethink sleeping entirely, I still seek out every new book he writes.  “Ricochet Joe” reminds me a bit of the Odd Thomas series, also by DK, and I would love to see more books or a longer story about “Ricochet Joe”.  Ricochet Joe

5. “Artemis” by Andy Weir – to be honest, I was almost reluctant to read “Artemis”, as I so enjoyed “The Martian”, and didn’t want to be disappointed if this didn’t live up to the gripping drama, humor, and suspense of “The Martian”.  I reviewed the book here.

Artemis

6. “Renegades” by Marissa Meyer – this is the first book in a new series, detailing a dystopian style novel of individuals who are born with powers and abilities that are superhuman.  Superhuman strength, crazy abilities like flying, strange abilities like being able to put someone to sleep instantly, anything that makes them more than human.  Some of them use these abilities for good, while others make different choices. Of course, this leads to conflicts, detailed in this new series.Renegades

7. “Menagerie” by Rachel Vincent – Also the first in a new series, I wrote a review about this book, which you can find here.  I love this series!

Menagerie

8. “Her Last Breath” by Linda Castillo – this is the book following “Gone Missing”, so #5 in the Kate Burkholder series.  I WILL get to the first book in the series, I am actually on the wait list for it.  This may be the first time I have ever knowingly started a series, mid-series.  Her Last Breath

9. “Stillhouse Lake” by Rachel Caine – Y’all – this book!!!  One of my wonderful friends, also a reader, read this and recommended it.  I have also seen this all over the place in the bookish world and finally decided to read it.  I could not stop!!!  I stayed up until 11pm finishing this book, the same day I started it, even though I had the normal daily interruptions – school car line, feeding of animals, feeding the family, cleaning up, etc., etc., I HAD to finish this book.  Definitely worth your time!

Stillhouse Lake

10. “Killman Creek” by Rachel Caine – and yes, this is the second book in the “Stillhouse Lake” series – I downloaded this on Kindle about 10 minutes after I finished “Stillhouse Lake”.  At 11:15pm.  Knowing full well I had to get up before 6am, and lying to myself about not staying up too late.  With everyone in bed and the animals asleep, I had no interruptions (except for getting snacks), and read straight through until the end, and made it to bed by 3:30am.  Yes, I think it’s that good!  Suspenseful, dramatic, family stuff, kid stuff, emotions, it’s all there.  I’m stalking for an ARC of the third book, “Wolfhunter River” because I know that just when it seems like everything is fine, and all the loose ends are tied up – they aren’t!!!  The third book is expected out in December of this year, so stay tuned!

Killman Creek

11. “All We Can Do Is Wait” by Richard Lawson – this is a Young Adult book that tells the story of a bridge collapse in Boston that brings a group of teens together in a hospital ER.  I reviewed the book here.

All We Can Do Is Wait

12. “Spectacle” by Rachel Vincent – this is the second book in the Menagerie series, and I wrote a book review here.

Spectacle

13. “The Cuban Affair” by Nelson DeMille – this is the first book I’ve ever read by Mr. DeMille, and I really enjoyed it.  While looking up his other works I found that he also wrote (among many others) “The General’s Daughter”, which was made into a movie starring John Travolta.  I will definitely be reading more of Nelson DeMille’s work!

The Cuban Affair

I had hoped to get through more books this month, but March is tomorrow, and I have great hopes for this coming month.  There are so many wonderful books out there just waiting to be read!  What were your favorite reads of February?  What are you most looking forward to reading in March?

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Spectacle by Rachel Vincent

Spectacle

 

“Spectacle” is the second book in the Menagerie series, (Find the review of “Menagerie” here) and follows the story of Delilah Marlow, the small town Oklahoma girl who finds herself gone from paying visitor at the infamous Menagerie, to a caged prisoner, expected to perform IN the Menagerie, although she doesn’t remember what happened to put her in this position. She fights the imprisonment, with disastrous results, and when hurting her does not bring about the desired results, the Menagerie handlers begin hurting other cryptid prisoners to force Delilah to revert to the monster that put her in her cage.
“Spectacle” details the journey of the ending of the Menagerie as it had been, and a new dawn for the cryptids held prisoner there. While this does not last, they are given a small taste of what freedom might look like for them and have gained enough self-respect that even those raised in captivity yearn for the feeling, and are dangerous in their pursuit of this right. While the Menagerie seemed like hell on earth, things can almost always get worse, and The Savage Spectacle becomes the cryptids new home, and lower level in the hell they are becoming reaccustomed too. While bars, cages and malnutrition seemed unbearable before, permanent electronic collars that can be used in varying degrees to take away cryptids powers, limit their locational movement, take away their voice, and even paralyze them with the touch of a remote now seem much worse. No sunshine, no wind, no freedom and no bargaining with the handlers. While Delilah was able to give hope to the cryptids while in the Menagerie, and coordinate their efforts, is there any hope when even she is confined by her collar and cannot even speak?
I loved this continuing story, and am so looking forward to the continuation in the third book, “Fury”, out in October, 2018. I’m a big fan of Rachel Caine, if she needs an early reader and/or reviewer, I’m willing to volunteer! 🙂

Fury

For a quick teaser of “Fury”, click here.

 

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“All We Can Do Is Wait” by Richard Lawson

AWCDIW

 

“All We Can Do Is Wait” follows a group of teenagers through a harrowing day in a hospital waiting room after a bridge collapse in Boston. Each is waiting to hear news of loved ones, one a sister, one a girlfriend, two their parents, and one a father. Not all of them receive good news. But it is more than that too. It tells their background – being a teenager is complicated, full of drama and shadows. Life is big and emotions are bigger. Some secrets seem insurmountable, and we believe they have the power to destroy us. We pull away from those we love, those who know us best, and try to close ourselves off from those who may see through our walls, our facades built of pain, to protect ourselves, to curl up around our secrets, protect them like the Golum in “Lord of the Rings”, hoping no one ever finds out, while we wait for someone strong enough, who cares enough, to break down the wall and come find us. To come find us and tell us we are loveable anyway – despite the secrets that we find so big, despite our pain, our mistakes, and our insecurities. This isn’t limited to our teenage years, even though it can be really hard then. This book talks about secrets, love, life, family, how you feel when you realize that you may never have a chance to see that family again – with all its flaws, and thorns, and who that makes you in this great big world without them.
While this book is a written with young adults in mind, the lessons and emotions felt here are everyone’s age. Definitely worth your time!

 

 

 

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Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

Menagerie

Menagerie focuses on Delilah Marlow, an everyday, small-town Oklahoma girl, whose boyfriend purchased four tickets to Metzger’s Menagerie, a “circus” of cryptids, or beings that are not fully human or fully beast – anything that is a mix of two or more species. These cryptids have lost all rights under the law after the “reaping” in the 1980’s, and are now either shot on sight, or captured and used in circuses, private collections, and freak shows. Metzger’s is the most interesting, well-stocked menagerie in the US, and tickets are ridiculously expensive. While Delilah would have much preferred a quiet dinner and movie with her best friend and their boyfriends, she knows her boyfriend is trying to be thoughtful, so she goes along with it. She feels both guilty and enthralled watching the creatures at the menagerie, but when she sees a young werewolf pup being mistreated and tazed in order to make her change her form in front of the spectators, something snaps inside her, and she has to speak up for the young pup, even though she knows they have no rights. This has disastrous results, with her waking up in jail, and that’s only the beginning. Things go quickly downhill for Delilah, and she learns what it means to have no rights, exist in a cage and made to perform for spectators. Can she fight back when she’s in chains? Can she get justice for herself from a cage? Can she hope to gain justice for the werewolf pup and others like her when she’s no longer free herself?
I enjoyed reading Menagerie, and am impatiently waiting for the second book, Spectacle, to become available at my library!

spectacle

 

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Artemis by Andy Weir

Artemis

 

I loved Andy Weir’s first book, “The Martian”, it was more humorous than I expected, and “Artemis” is like that. The main character, “Jazz” (Jasmine Bashara), has lived on the moon in Artemis since she immigrated there with her father from Saudi Arabia when she was six years old. She grew up there, and although she could have been a master welder, and has “so much potential” according to her father, a devout Muslim, she has become a bit of an outlaw. Her official title is Porter, however, she is actually a smuggler, and she uses her job as a porter to deliver smuggled goods that are banned on Artemis. Flammable goods, light drugs, cigars, etc., but she does have standards, no heavy drugs, and no guns! The one law enforcement officer on Artemis, Rudy, has been trying to catch her red-handed for years, and his main goal in life seems to be catching her so he can deport her to Earth/Saudi Arabia. Of course, Jazz wants no part of Earth or gravity sickness, nor any of the things it would take to get her to acclimate to Earth again. She just wants to be rich. She currently lives in what is not so fondly called a coffin, as it is only big enough to sleep in, not to stand up in, she doesn’t have a private bathroom or shower, and she wants to make enough money to get a place she can walk in and have a private bathroom. (without working for her father). In her goal to become rich, she takes a job above her smuggler status and gets in over her head. She can lose her citizenship on Artemis, she’s being chased by Rudy, her father is now in jeopardy, there has been a double murder, and unbelievably, the entire citizenship of Artemis is in danger, and a mob hitman from Brazil is on the moon, in Artemis, and chasing her. Andy Weir does not disappoint with this novel. It is just as good as The Martian, and it would make a fun movie to watch.

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“Gone Missing” by Linda Castillo

Gone Missing

 

This is the first book I’ve read by Linda Castillo, and one of the few books I’ve read about the Amish culture. I kind of jumped in mid-series, because this was the only book available at the time I needed a book, and while the characters do progress through the series, I don’t think I lost much in reading this one out of order.
Kate Burkholder is a police chief in a small town near an Amish community, and she is also a former Amish person. She was raised Amish, but during her 18th year she decided that she wasn’t cut out for the plain life, and left home to pursue a career in law enforcement. Based on some traumatic events that happened to her, which she addresses briefly, she had a falling out with her parents, and sadly, she never saw her father again.

In this book, several Amish girls have gone missing during an event called Rumspringa. During Rumspringa an Amish teen can live an “English” lifestyle, their poor decisions are mostly overlooked, and they can experience things they would never experience as an Amish person. Typically they choose to come home, be baptized, and continue on with the plain life after experiencing this rite of passage. There are a few that decide not to stay Amish, choose to live an “English” lifestyle, and do not come home. Some of them do not come home because they are taken. And it’s Kate’s job to find out who took them and why.

The case rapidly becomes personal when one of the girls who goes missing is from Kate’s Amish family back home. When a dead Amish girl is found, Kate becomes nearly frantic with worry and begins to dig deeper into the secrets of the Amish community. Who were these missing girls seeing, and what were they doing before they were taken? One was dating an abusive English boy, one was pregnant and contemplating abortion, and another was hooked on drugs. Kate knows that no one can keep secrets like an Amish family, but she is desperate for answers, and some of the answers she gets just might put her own life in jeopardy.

I enjoyed this book enough that I will read the next book in the series because the epilogue left me hanging.  It picked up two months after the book ends, and now I must know how it continues – which of course, is the mark of a good author/plot line.

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My January Reading

I’ve had a good batch of reading so far this year (I know the year is young….).  While I don’t typically do Reading Challenges because I’m stubborn, and don’t like being told what to do, I did decide to broaden my reading horizons by reading more non-fiction, and authors I haven’t read before.  I sometimes get overwhelmed seeing all the books in the world that I want to read (and all the ones yet to be released) while knowing that I most likely will not live to be 250 years old.  If SciFi is real, and paranormal beings do exist, I would be willing to become a vampire just to have unlimited reading time.  I’m already as translucent and sun-repellant as it gets, can’t get a tan if I try, so having more time to read seems only beneficial.

As a side note, my reading goal for the year is the same as last year,  because I barely made my goal last year.  My lovely daughter, going through a particularly wounding teenage moment, informed me that she was “disappointed in me” for ONLY reading 133 books last year, as she “expected more”, and hopes that I do better this year.  She also suggested I update my reading goal to a book a day to reflect an actual challenge that would make me push myself. *sigh*  Who is this child?  Does she know other people who read 7 books a week on the regular?  I can’t even tell her that I read 21 books in January.  Most people would say, “Wow, that’s cool!”, or something else, like my husband, who says, “You aren’t normal!”, but if I told HER, she would probably say, “Really, Mom?  21?  You had 31 days.  What did you do with your time?”  I can’t deal with hot flashes AND that kind of negativity in my life, so I’m not going to tell her that I’m happy to have read 21 books and that GoodReads tells me I’m ahead of schedule on my meager goal for the year.  My emotional wounds aside, here are my January books:

  1. The Black Book by James Patterson
  2. Wave by Sonali Derangiyagala (review on blog)
  3. Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
  4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  5. Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner
  6. Very Good Lives by J. K. Rowling
  7. The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
  8. The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz
  9. Year One by Nora Roberts
  10. The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian (review on blog)
  11. Matagorda by Louis L’amour
  12. Lando by Louis L’amour
  13. Silver Canyon by Louis L’amour
  14. The Sackett Brand by Louis L’amour
  15. Utah Blaine by Louis L’amour
  16. The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz
  17. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  18. Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardener
  19. 113 Minutes by James Patterson
  20. The Crooked Staircase (ARC) by Dean Koontz
  21. Helium by Rudy Francisco

Three of my twenty-one books were non-fiction, which in terms of percentages, isn’t much, 14%, but a bigger percentage than I typically read in NF vs Fiction I think.  #4 was a re-read, but it has been about six years, so there were details I didn’t remember, and I loved it as much as the first time I read it.  The books by Lisa Gardner are second and third of a series I started in late 2017, and #8 is a book I got for Christmas, first in a new series by Dean Koontz, and boy was it good!  I got the second one from the library and was fortunate enough to get the third one as an ARC, as it doesn’t release until May.

My mom called one evening, and as my family is full of readers and book lovers, we talked books, then specifically Louis L’amour books.  She had some duplicates in her collection and wanted to know if I was missing any she could send to me.  The more we talked and reminisced about his stories, the more I felt the urge to reread a few of them, which started me on a short burst of westerns.

Somehow in all my reading through high school and college, I never read Fahrenheit 451, so I got that done, and finished the month with my third non-fiction of the year, a poetry book called “Helium”.  Y’all.  Have you read this?  If not, you should.  I LOVE IT.  I saw a FaceBook clip of Rudy Francisco doing a live reading of one of his poems, and it moved me.  His words are like a paintbrush of emotions.  Incredible.  I knew his book was coming out, and I could hardly wait.  I stalked my library, I stalked my library’s book buyer, then stalked the “processing” section of the library books, and I may be the first person in town to have checked out this book.  I think I’ve read it through three times, and read some poems five or six times each.  I’ve sent them to friends, I’ve posted them, I’ve tagged Rudy on his FB page, all but offered to have his kids (because that’s weird, and I’m married).  He’s amazing, you should watch him, listen to him, read him.  You can find his FaceBook page at RudyFranciscopoetry.  He’s touring, you can follow his events or watch clips of him reading.  You should check it out.

All in all, I’m pleased with my January reading, and am looking forward to all the wonderful books coming my way in February!!!  I’d love to see/hear about what you’re reading, and what your favorite January books were.

 

2018-02-02 (2)

Books Read In January

 

This is a poem from the book, “Helium” by Rudy Francisco.

 

Good Morning

“Good Morning” by Rudy Francisco

 

Here is a link to Rudy Francisco speaking about “Complainers” – just fair warning – this brought me to tears.  Maybe it’s just me and those darn hot flashes…

Rudy Francisco – Complainers

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