Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New year, new format

It's 2017, and I am way behind on sharing my thoughts about the books I read in 2015 and 2016. And then, there are the books I've read so far this year!  So, I decided to change the format.  Sometimes I'll just list what I read, linking the title to the LibraryThing.com page, and will indicate my rating, and sometimes I'll share my thoughts about books that stood out to me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Deathbringer by Bryan Smith

First sentence:

"Hannah Starke watched a fly make its slow way up the length of her slim, tanned leg."

Description:

"Hannah Starke was the first to die. And the first to come back. In the small town of Dandridge they all come back. The buried claw their way out of their graves. The recently killed get up and kill. As the dead attack the living, the number of the dead continues to grow. And the odds against the living get worse and worse.

In the middle of it all stands a dark, shadowy figure, a stranger in town with an unspeakable goal. If he is successful, death will rule Dandridge and the terror will continue to spread until all hope is lost. Who can defeat an army of the living dead? Who can stand face-to-face against the . . .DEATHBRINGER" -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I don't read much in the zombie genre so I wasn't sure if I would like this book, but I did. I think what made this book a little different was that the zombies retained some of their memories and were aware of what they had become.


Date read: 10/24/2016
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Horror

ISBN-10:  0843956771
ISBN-13:
Publisher: Leisure Books
Year: 2006
# of pages: 342
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Plainsong by Kent Haruf

First sentence:

Here was this man Tom Guthrie in Holt standing at the back window in the kitchen of his house smoking cigarettes and looking out over the back lot where the sun was just coming up.

Description:

"Ambitious, but never seeming so, Kent Haruf reveals a whole community as he interweaves the stories of a pregnant high school girl, a lonely teacher, a pair of boys abandoned by their mother, and a couple of crusty bachelor farmers. From simple elements, Haruf achieves a novel of wisdom and grace--a narrative that builds in strength and feeling until, as in a choral chant, the voices in the book surround, transport, and lift the reader off the ground." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

A quiet and beautiful book! Haruf's description of place and characters drew me in to discover a family of friends.

Date read: 10/16/2015

Series: Plainsong, #1
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0375705856
ISBN-13: 9780375705854
Publisher: Vintage
Year: 1999
# of pages: 301
Binding: Paperback
LibraryThing page

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August 2015 - Part 2: I was Amelia Earhart; Mermaid; Firestorm

20. I was Amelia Earhart by Jane Mendelsohn

My thoughts:

This was an interesting book of the possible life of Amelia Earhart after she disappeared flying over the Pacific Ocean.

Date read: 8/21/2015
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction
LibraryThing page

21. Mermaid by Eileen Cronin

My thoughts:

I liked this book about growing up strong despite having missing limbs due to thalidomide. Cronin doesn't let anything get in her way and her determination to live her life fully is an inspiration.

Date read:
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Memoir
LibraryThing page

22. Firestorm by Rachel Caine

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this entry in the Weather Warden series. I liked how Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin worked to alert her colleagues of the dangerous collapse in the Warden-Djinn relations. I look forward to reading the next book, Thin Air.

Date read: 8/25/2015
Series: Weather Warden, #5
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Urban Fantasy
LibraryThing page

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August 2015 - Part 1: The Memory Book; The Care and Management of Lies; Tell; Windfall

16. Memory Book by Harold Engel

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this mystery featuring Benny Cooperman. I picked this book to read after Engel's memoir, The Man Who Forgot How to Read, as the main character also developed the same condition, albeit under different circumstances (head injury (Cooperman) vs stroke (Engel)).  I liked how Engel had Cooperman not just struggle with reading and memory but also try to figure out why he was attacked and who did it. I look forward to reading other books in this series.


Date read: 8/5/2015
Series: Benny Cooperman, #11
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Mystery
LibraryThing page

17. The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

My thoughts:

This was a good book about World War I, describing conditions both on the battlefield and at home.

Date read: 8/11/2015
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Historical Fiction
LibraryThing page

18. Tell by Frances Itani

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this sequel to Itani's book Deafening. Taking place after World War 1, the book brings to front the struggles of families dealing with men home from Europe with wounds, physical and mental.

Date read: 8/14/2015
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction
LibraryThing page

19. Windfall by Rachel Caine

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book featuring Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin as she negotiates her work and life among the Wardens and the Djinn. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Firestorm.

Date read: 8/17/2015
Series: Weather Warden, #4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
LibraryThing page


Friday, July 24, 2015

July 2015: Ghost Train to New Orleans; Deafening

13. Ghost Train to New Orleans by Mur Lafferty

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this sequel to The Shambling Guide to New York City. I especially liked the Ghost Train with the ghost train robbers on horses galloping along beside it!

Date read: 7/1/2015
Series: Shambling Guides, #2
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Urban Fantasy
LibraryThing page



14. Deafening by Frances Itani

My thoughts:

This is a very moving and thought-provoking book about deafness and the importance of listening in many different ways during the years up to and including the first World War. I know I really like a book when I wish I could meet the characters in real life, and I would love to meet Grania and Lloyd.

Date read: 7/15/2015
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Fiction
LibraryThing page


The Man Who Forgot How to Read by Howard Engel

First sentence:

"My name is Howard Engel."

Description:

"One hot midsummer morning, novelist Howard Engel picked up his newspaper from his front step and discovered he could make no sense of it. The letters had mysteriously jumbled themselves into something that looked like Cyrillic one moment and Korean the next. While he slept, Engel ahd experienced a stroke and now suffered from a rare condition called alexia sine agraphia, meaning that while he could still write, he could no longer read.

Over the next several weeks in hospital and in rehabilitation, Engel discovered that much more was affected than his ability to read. His memory failed him, and even the names of old friends escaped his tongue. At first geography eluded him: he would know that two streets met somewhere in the city, but he couldn't imagine where. Apples and grapefruit now looked the same. When he returned home, he ahd trouble remembering where things went and would routinely find cans of tuna in the dishwasher and jars of pencils in the freezer.

Despite his disabilities, Engel prepared to face his dilemma. He contacted renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks for advice and visited him in New York City, forging a lasting friendship. He bravely learned to read again. And in the face of tremendous obstacles, he triumphed in writing a new novel.

An absorbing and uplifting story, filled with sly wit and candid insights, The Man Who Forgot How to Read will appeal to anyone fascinated by the mysteries of the mind, on and off the page." -- from the inside flap


My thoughts:

A few years ago, I saw a cartoon from WNYC's Radiolab about Harold Engel, a Canadian mystery novelist, who had a stroke and developed the rare condition alexia sine agraphia. He became unable to read, though he could still write. This was a fascinating book about the Engel's ability to adapt and to find new ways to read.

Date read: 7/23/2015
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Memoir

ISBN-10: 031238209X
ISBN-13: 9780312382094
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Year: 2007
# of pages: 147
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page