Monday, September 14, 2015

August Reads

Even though my vision problems have slowed down my reading I'm still finding wonderful escapes in which to immerse myself. Here's what I read in August.

Loved the adventure SF of Time Salvager, reminded me of a long ago read John Varley novel, the title of which escapes me now. Liked the quantum possibilities in The Bookseller which brought to mind Jo Walton's My Real Children. The Denver setting was wonderful to read. Black-Eyed Susans was a riveting thriller. Looking forward to it making its way back to the New Castle Branch Library so I can put it on the Killer Thrillers display. I listened to All Involved and it is amazing as an audio book. Radiance and Swords and Scoundrels, I reviewed for Booklist so please look there for my reviews.  The only YA title I read last month was David Lubar's Sophomores and Other Oxymorons, great fun for lovers of language. The Wild Inside is a grisly murder mystery that should appeal to fans of C.J. Box and Nevada Barr. I love the humor of Martin Millar so The Goddess of Buttercups and Daisies was a real treat. It's different that his wonderful werewolf series but still laugh out loud funny. I've been recommending it to fans of Christopher Moore.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Book Bites Tonight!

The New Castle Branch Library in western Colorado is having its first Book Bites program tonight. Adults have been invited to come and talk about the books they've read lately that they've liked and why. 

People have been talking about how they want recommendations for the books they will like that are not necessarily bestsellers or award winners, just good solid reads that will provide pleasure and entertainment. Genre readers in particular have voiced this need. I'm looking forward to hearing about some great books tonight and sharing some of the science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, western, and historical novels I've read recently. 

The Friends of the Library are providing appetizer/hors devours type refreshments and we have some new releases (including Jo Walton's The Philosopher Kings, Tana French's The Secret Place and Helen Giltrow's The Distance) as door prizes.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Reading, reading, reading. Now that I can see fairly well again, I've been gorging on books. My speed is way down because of the vision problems but I'm still reveling in story.

Here's what I've read so far this month.

Orbiting Jupiter will be out in November and is not to be missed. It is a heart wrenching and heart warming story of a fourteen-year old father and foster brother (yes, a kid who is fourteen years old, in foster care, and has a child) that has gone to the top of my best books of 2015 list.

The Gilded Hour is historical fiction featuring female cousins, both physicians, in the 1880s. My review is in Booklist.

Dark Orbit is by a new to me but by no means new author who is accomplished at telling the kind of "what if" tale that made me a fan of science fiction in the first place. The depiction of a society that has no visual references is fascinating.

I loved Queen of the Tearling last year, and really enjoyed the direction this sequel/prequel interwoven story takes.

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things is an enjoyable and nuanced teen romance with real world issues. It's one I would have nominated were I currently serving on the Best Fiction for Young Adults committee.

While I've loved some of Kim Stanley Robinson's other books and have repeatedly referred to them, Aurora, a book I can definitely recommend to readers of hard SF, just didn't captivate me. I'm glad I purchased it for my library's collection but I didn't connect with it like I thought I would. I did like that it went in directions I didn't expect. Always a good thing.

Since it has been so long since I've updated here are the books I read last month... some with my eyes and some with my ears.
Enchanted August is enchanting women's fiction and a perfect vacation read. The Darkness Rolling is the first in a great new historical mystery series set in the southwest just after WWII with a mixed race Navajo/Jewish sleuth.  MARTians is the quirky kind of unique story that Blythe Woolston does so well and Lair of Dreams is the long awaited sequel to The Diviners, an enticing blend of mystery, horror, and teen romance in a vividly imagined 1920s setting.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pandora's Gun by James Van Pelt

Van Pelt, one of the finest short story writers of our time has written a YA novel. It has a kind of sweet old timey feel to it. A boy, who likes scavenging in a rural dumping spot, finds a bag with a strangely molded gun shaped device inside. Along with his former best friend and the girl next door, he explores what this "gun" can do. Meanwhile, strangers come to town, some claiming to be FBI and  conducting an investigation at the high school.

I will admit I am somewhat biased as I hold a special fondness for Colorado authors, especially those on the Western Slope but I really did enjoy this short novel that asks lots of wonderful "what if" questions in the traditions of classic science fiction. It will be out in August, published by Fairwood Press and is currently available for preorders. Teen Bistro Book Club members will get a shot at the ARC tomorrow at 3:30.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Book of the Week - Not Always a Saint by Mary Jo Putney

Not Always a Saint
Putney, Mary Jo
Kensington 9781617739064
294p. $27.95 2015 - May

Dr. Daniel Herbert has devoted his life to helping those in need. After stitching up a badly beaten young woman he and his sister started up a shelter to help victims restart their lives. When disease sweeps death through a country house party held by a distant relative, Daniel unhappily inherits a title and must take on duties of managing his properties and serving in the House of Lords. Jessie Kelham has always been too beautiful for her own good but being married to an elderly baron had kept her safe. With his death and the news her daughter inherits the title through an ancient barony of writ she knows she must find a husband who can keep her and her child safe from her husband’s nephew who had expected to inherit and will, if anything happens to young Beth. In London for the Little Season, the two are brought together by mutual friends. Jessie
tries to keep her distance because she believes she is not worthy of Daniel (who also happens to be a member of the clergy as well as a thoroughly good guy) and doesn’t want to use him. Putney captures the flavor and feeling of the Regency era beautifully in this heart warming romance that is part of the Lost Lords series. Exquisite!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Book of the Week - Double Vision by Colby Marshall

This very readable page turner, the second in a series (I didn't read the first one) is an enjoyable diversion. Dr. Jenna Ramey, an FBI profiler who is forensic psychiatrist also has synesthesia. She sees colors that tell her a lot about the people she encounters. When there is a mass shooting at a supermarket she discovers that the youngest witness, Molly, a young girl has an ability with numbers that is as unusual and helpful as her own synesthesia. Meanwhile, Jenna's lover and former partner who has been relegated to being an emergency dispatcher due to the loss of his leg, finds himself enmeshed in a dangerous plot when he becomes too involved in the case of a battered woman. Marshall's strength lies in creating likable but flawed characters who have huge issues to overcome but who have an inner kindness and decency. The relationships between her characters are also rich and satisfying. While the plot and action may be a little far fetched in places they do make for enjoyable

Friday, March 6, 2015

Book of the Week - Before He Finds Her by Michael Kardos

Melanie Denison has spent most of her life, the last fifteen years, living in a small single wide with her aunt and uncle. Home schooled until twelfth grade and not allowed to go much of anywhere or do much of anything, she has obeyed because the family is in hiding. She knows that when she was two and a half, her father murdered her mother and disappeared which is why the Denison family disappeared into the Witness Protection Program with the toddler formerly named Meg Miller. If her father finds her all will be lost. After graduating from high school she begins to steal a few hours here and there from her schedule at a nearby junior college and her job to go off on her own which is how, at age 17, she finds she is pregnant. An epiphany in math class about fractals makes her decided she is not going to let her baby grow up in hiding, sending her on a quest to find her father before he finds her. Along the way we meet a dying journalist for whom the case has been his white whale and go back into the lives of her parents and those who knew them.

What I really liked about this twisty tale of suspense was that it kept surprising me. Just when I knew I had it figured out something else would divert my suspicions.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

February Reads

February was the worst reading month I ever had in my reading life. I had two cataract surgeries and one of them left me unable to see much out of my right eye. Fortunately, even though I read so few books this month, three of them were outstanding. Of course, all the books posted are ones that I enjoyed enough to finish and can recommend them. I do not finish reading books that I can't recommend and I only keep track of the books I finish.

Edge of Dreams won't be out until April and at that time I will post it as a book of the week. I found Moonlight Water by Meredith and Win Blevins, a delightful experience. It features a great depiction of the high desert West, characters who become real, and just the right touch of whimsey and mythic reality with an appearance by Edward Abbey. Jo Walton's The Just City is utopian science fiction combined with classical mythology, time travel, and philosophy. Another stunner from the highly acclaimed Walton.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

January Reads

I honestly don't remember a month in my life when I read so few books. There has been a lot going on in my life. I'm loving my job as manager of the New Castle Branch Library and researching several things I'm interested in. I've developed some vision problems that have limited the amount of time I can read but hopefully in the next few weeks that will be behind me. The other limit on my reading has been my dh has discovered cable tv and we now have pretty much unlimited high speed internet which equates to binge watching tv series on Netflix so there has been a lot more watching than reading going on. Fortunately February is off to a good start. Today I read Fairest, the latest in Marissa Meyers' excellent Lunar Chronicles, got more than halfway through reading Black Dove, White Raven on my iPhone before my eyes gave up, and then relaxed with the very enjoyable first 90 pages of Moonlit Water by Win and Meredith Blevins.

Anyway here are the books I finished reading in January. It was great to read a couple by favorite authors, some quality SF, great YA, a couple of romances reviewed for Booklist, as well as a few that I read just to be outside my comfort zone.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book of the Week - When by Victoria Laurie

Whew! Now that I am done with my award committee work for a few weeks I can free range read.

When is a terrifically entertaining read. It uses the same premise Rachel Ward used in her Numbers series; the protagonist can see the date someone is going to die by looking at them. I loved the Numbers series and its apocalyptic plot.

When is a fast paced thriller. It is the story of Maddie, the only child of an alcoholic mother, who has one friend and keeps a low profile. Her mother gets booze money by having Maddie do "readings" for clients because when Maddie looks into a face, whether in person or viewing a photo, she can see the date that person will die. When a client who has a child with cancer brings in a photo, Maddie is happy to tell her the child will outlive the disease but she sees an imminent date when she glimpses a photo of another child. The mother perceives this as a threat and when her son does goes missing Maddie becomes the prime suspect. Things go from bad to worse as a girl who her best friend has a crush on disappears and Maddie is linked to her, too. The climax is wonderful!

In addition to the top notch thriller plot, When also explores issues of friendship, bullying, isolation,  and teens shouldering adult responsibilities. It is early in the year but this is going on my Top Ten for now.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014 Top Ten

Wow! It has been a wild year. I had a hard time narrowing my list down to ten and I'm sure if I sat down and redid my list ten times, each time would be a little different. They are listed in no particular order.