Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

First sentence:

"According to the First Scroll of Wen the Eternally Surprised, Wen stepped out of the cave where he had received enlightenment and into the dawning light of the first day of the rest of his life."

Description:

"Time itself is threatened— and it's up to the History Monks to save it in Terry Pratchett's bestselling Discworld® series

Everybody wants more time. Which is why, on Discworld, only the experts can manage it—the venerable Monks of History who store it and pump it from where it's wasted, like underwater (how much time does a codfish really need?) to places like cities, where busy denizens lament never having enough of it.

While everyone talks about slowing down, one young horologist is about to do the unthinkable. He's going to stop. Well, stop time, that is, by building the world's first truly accurate clock. Which means esteemed History Monk Lu-Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd have to put on some speed to stop the timepiece before it starts. For if the Perfect Clock starts ticking, time—as we know it—will end. And then the trouble will really begin " -- from Amazon.com

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book about time, destiny and the Four, or is it Five, Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I especially liked Monk Lu-Tze and his lessons to his apprentice Lobsang Ludd.

Date read: 7/9/2014
Book #: 24
Series: Discworld  #26
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fantasy

ISBN-10: 0062307398
ISBN-13: 9780062307392
Publisher: Harper
Year: 2001; 2014 (this edition)
# of pages: 432
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
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The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

First sentence:

"On the day of the miracle, Isabel was kneeling at the cliff's edge, tending the small, newly made driftwood cross."

Description:

"After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them." -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

This is a beautifully poignant book about hope and loss, good and bad decisions, and how people's choices affect people they don't know.

Date read: 7/9/2014
Book #: 23
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre; Fiction

ISBN-10: 1451681739
ISBN-13: 9781451681734
Publisher: Scribner
Year: 2012
# of pages: 345
Binding: Hardcover
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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

First sentence:

"Lost in the shadows of the shelves, I almost fall off the ladder."

Description:

"The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco web design drone--and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey have landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customer, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything. Instead, they 'check out' impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, longs-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger. Soon Clay has embarked on a complex analysis of the customers' behavior and roped his friends into helping him figure out just what is going on. And when they bring their findings to Mr. penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside he walls of the bookstore.

With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the twenty-first century, evoking both the fairy=tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or the young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that is rare to the world of literary fiction. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter the time of day." -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book of books both new and old.I especially liked how Clay and his friends use their skills and interests to solve problems big and small.

Date read: 7/5/2014
Book #: 22
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0374214913
ISBN-13: 9780374214913
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Year: 2012
# of pages: 288
Binding: Hardcover
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Monday, June 30, 2014

Mount Dragon by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

First sentence:

"The sounds drifted over the long green lawn, so faint they could have been the crying of ravens in the nearby wood, or the distant braying of a mule on the farm across the brown river."

Description:

"Mount Dragon: an enigmatic research complex hidden in the vast desert of New Mexico. Guy Carson and Susana Cabeza de Vaca have come to Mount Dragon to work shoulder to shoulder with some of the greatest scientific minds on the planet. Led by visionary genius Brent Scopes, their secret goal is a medical breakthrough that promises to bring incalculable benefits to the human race. But while Scopes believes he is leading the way to a new world order, he may in fact be opening the door to mass human extinction. And when Guy and Susana attempt to stop him they find themselves locked in a frightening battle with Scopes, his henchmen, and the apocalyptic nightmare that science has unleashed. . . ." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This is a good thriller with lots of twists. I liked the mix of desert survival challenges with virtual and physical computer hacking.

Date read:  6/30/2014
Book #: 21
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Thriller

ISBN-10: 0812564375
ISBN-13: 9780812564372
Publisher:: TOR
Year: 1996
# of pages: 478
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fastnet, Force 10 by John Rousmaniere

First sentence:

"When the gale swept over Ireland during Monday night, it seemed like any other summer storm that catches a few boats out in the Western Approaches to England."

Description:

On August 11, 1979, 303 yachts began the 600-mile Fastnet Race from Cowes on the Isle of Wight to Fastnet Rock off the Irish coast and back. It began in fine weather, then suddenly became a terrifying ordeal. A Force 10, sixty-knot storm swept across the North Atlantic with a speed that confounded forecasters, slamming into the fleet with epic fury. For twenty hours, 2,500 men and women were smashed by forty-foot breaking waves, while rescue helicopters and lifeboats struggled to save them.

By the time the race was over, fifteen people had died, twenty-four crews had abandoned ship, five yachts had sunk, 136 sailors had been rescued, and only 85 boats had finished the race. John Rousmaniere was there, and he tells the story as only on who has sailed through the teeth of a killer storm can. In a new introduction for this edition, he discusses the effects of the tragedy and whether it could happen again today." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This is an exciting book about storms and the people who battle them. I especially liked learning about the life boats and helicopters and the men who rescued all they could.

Date read: 6/25/2014
Book #: 20
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Nonfiction, Adventure

ISBN-10: 0393308650
ISBN-13: 9780493308655
Publisher: W.W. Norton
Year: 1980; 2000 (this edition)
# of pages: 266
Binding: Trade Paperback
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Monday, June 16, 2014

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

First sentence:

"Wilson sat on the balcony of the Bedford Hotel with his bald pink knees thrust against the ironwork."

Description:

Graham Greene's masterpiece The Heart of the Matter tells the story of a good man enmeshed in love, intrigue, and evil in a West African coastal town. Scobie is bound by strict integrity to his role as assistant police commissioner and by severe responsibility to his wife, Louise, for whom he cares with a fatal pity.

When Scobie falls in love with the young widow Helen, he finds vital passion again yielding to pity, integrity giving way to deceit and dishonor—a vortex leading directly to murder. As Scobie's world crumbles, his personal crisis makes for a novel that is suspenseful, fascinating, and, finally, tragic.

Originally published in 1948, The Heart of the Matter is the unforgettable portrait of one man, flawed yet heroic, destroyed and redeemed by a terrible conflict of passion and faith." -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book about an assistant police commissioner facing a moral dilemma. I especially liked the interactions between Scobie and Helen and between Scobie and Wilson.

Date read: 6/15/2014
Book #: 19
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0142437999
ISBN-13: 9780142437995
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 1948 ; 2004 (this edition)
# of pages: 255
Binding: Trade Paperback
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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Arctic Chill by Arnaldur Indridason

First sentence:

"They were able to guess his age, but had more trouble determining which part of the world he came from."

Description:

"A dark-skinned young boy is found dead, frozen to the ground in a pool of his own blood. The boy's Thai half-brother is missing; is he implicated, or simply afraid for his own life? While fears increase that the murder could have been racially motivated, the police receive reports that a suspected paedophile has been spotted in the area.

Detective Erlendur's investigation soon unearths the tensions simmering beneath the surface of Iceland's outwardly liberal, multi-cultural society, while the murder forces Erlendur to confront the tragedy in his own past." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this mystery set in Iceland. The possibilities kept me guessing right until the end.  I look forward to reading earlier books in this series.

Date read: 6/2/2014
Book #: 18
Series: Reykyavik Murder Mystery #7
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Mystery

ISBN-10: 0995423223
ISBN-13: 9780099542322
Publisher: Vintage
Year: 2009
# of pages: 344
Binding: Trade Paperback
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