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-Eva-'s 2012 Assault on Mt. TBR - Part 3

This is a continuation of the topic Bookoholic13's 2012 Assault on Mt. TBR - Part 2.

The 12 in 12 Category Challenge

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1-Eva-
Edited: Dec 27, 2012, 9:59pm Top

This year, I seriously need to attack Mt. TBR, so the actual challenge part of my 12-in-12 category challenge will technically not be the categories, but rather resisting acquiring new books. Since I read about 100 books per year, my goal is to read 75 books off Mt. TBR. Also, most of these (60 or more) should be given away (to leave room for the new shiny ones that are undoubtedly to appear...).

1. January totals - Mt. TBR: 10/11 (Given away: 11)
2. February totals - Mt. TBR: 6/6 (Given away: 6)
3. March totals - Mt. TBR: 5/5 (Given away: 4)
4. April totals - Mt. TBR: 7/8 (Given away: 7)
5. May totals - Mt. TBR: 4/12 (Given away: 3)
6. June totals - Mt. TBR: 6/8 (Given away: 5)
7. July totals - Mt. TBR: 11/13 (Given away: 8)
8. August totals - Mt. TBR: 3/11 (Given away: 6)
9. September totals - Mt. TBR: 6/11 (Given away: 7)
10. October totals - Mt. TBR: 6/9 (Given away: 5)
11. November totals - Mt. TBR: 3/4 (Given away: 2)
12. December totals - Mt. TBR: 9/10 (Given away: 6)

GOALS:
Running totals - Off Mt. TBR: 75 - COMPLETED
Running totals - Given away: 70 - COMPLETED

TOTAL BOOKS READ:

2-Eva-
Aug 19, 2012, 8:45pm Top


January

Off Mt. TBR:
1. The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney Finished January 5th TIOLI
2. When the Air Hits Your Brain by Dr. Frank T. Vertosick Jr. Finished January 10th
3. It Takes A Wizard by Thomas Hart Finished January 13th
4. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith Finished January 15th TIOLI
5. Griffin & Sabine by Nick Bantock Finished January 22nd TIOLI
6. Sabine's Notebook by Nick Bantock Finished January 22nd
7. The Golden Mean by Nick Bantock Finished January 22nd
8. Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman Finished January 23rd TIOLI
9. The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz Finished January 27th TIOLI
10. The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill Finished January 30th TIOLI
-------------
Newbies:
1. Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James Finished January 20th

3-Eva-
Aug 19, 2012, 8:45pm Top


February

Off Mt. TBR:
1. The Sacred and Profane by Faye Kellerman Finished February 3rd TIOLI
2. Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill Finished February 13th TIOLI
3. Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs Finished February 18th TIOLI
4. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison Finished February 19th
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg Finished February 19th
6. The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan Finished February 28th

4-Eva-
Aug 19, 2012, 8:45pm Top


March

Off Mt. TBR:
1. Milk and Honey by Faye Kellerman Finished March 3rd TIOLI
2. Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs Finished March 8th TIOLI
3. The Alienist by Caleb Carr Finished March 18th
4. Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill Finished March 23rd TIOLI
5. From Hell: Being a Melodrama in Sixteen Parts by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell Finished March 27th

5-Eva-
Aug 19, 2012, 8:45pm Top


April

Off Mt. TBR:
1. Day of Atonement by Faye Kellerman Finished April 2nd TIOLI
2. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Finished April 6th
3. Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs Finished April 7th TIOLI
4. Anarchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill Finished April 14th TIOLI
5. Soulless by Gail Carriger Finished April 17th
6. The Magicians by Lev Grossman Finished April 23rd
7. False Prophet by Faye Kellerman Finished April 30th
-------------
Newbies:
1. Suddenly, a Knock on the Door by Etgar Keret Finished April 15th

6-Eva-
Aug 19, 2012, 8:46pm Top

This has also turned out to be visit-home-month!



May

Off Mt. TBR:
1. The Secret History by Donna Tartt Finished May 6th
2. Borstal Boy by Brendan Behan Finished May 8th
3. My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl Finished May 10th
4. Dance on My Grave by Aidan Chambers Finished May 12th
-------------
Newbies:
1. Fångar på Bohus by J O Rune Hasslöf Finished May 9th
2. Love, Cherish Me by Rebecca Brandewyne Finished May 16th
3. Sirila gentlemän sökes by Karin Brunk Holmqvist Finished May 24th
4. Zelda by Lina Neidestam Finished May 25th
5. Prins Charles känsla by Liv Strömquist Finished May 25th
6. Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmonds Finished May 26th
7. Macbeth by William Shakespeare Finished May 26th
8. Eld by Mats Strandberg and Sara Bergmark Elfgren Finished May 31st

7-Eva-
Aug 19, 2012, 8:46pm Top


June

Off Mt. TBR:
1. The Complaints by Ian Rankin Finished June 10th
2. Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill Finished June 12th
3. Grievous Sin by Faye Kellerman Finished June 14th TIOLI
4. The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett Finished June 18th
5. Storm Front by Jim Butcher Finished June 20th
6. The Merry Misogynist by Colin Cotterill Finished June 29th TIOLI
-------------
Newbies:
1. Railsea by China Miéville Finished June 8th
2. Maran by Lina Neidestam Finished June 20th

8-Eva-
Edited: Oct 21, 2012, 5:06pm Top


July

Off Mt. TBR:
1. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown Finished July 5th
2. Röde Orm by Frans G. Bengtsson Finished July 6th
3. Sanctuary by Faye Kellerman Finished July 10th TIOLI
4. The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander Finished July 11th
5. The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander Finished July 12th
6. The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander Finished July 13th
7. Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander Finished July 14th
8. The High King by Lloyd Alexander Finished July 15th
9. My First Sony by Benny Barbash Finished July 18th
10. Past Continuous by Yaakov Shabtai Finished July 29th
11. Talking to the Enemy: Stories by Avner Mandelman Finished July 30th
-------------
Newbies:
1. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher Finished July 26th
2. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher Finished July 29th

9-Eva-
Edited: Oct 21, 2012, 5:07pm Top


August

Off Mt. TBR:
1. Christine Falls by Benjamin Black Finished August 4th
2. Justice by Faye Kellerman Finished August 12th TIOLI
3. A Trumpet in the Wadi by Sami Michael Finished August 16th
-------------
Newbies:
1. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher Finished August 3rd
2. Death Masks by Jim Butcher Finished August 5th
3. The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin Finished August 9th
4. The Killings at Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham Finished August 18th
5. Death of a Hollow Man by Caroline Graham Finished August 21st
6. Falling Glass by Adrian McKinty Finished August 25th
7. We Are The Hanged Man by Douglas Lindsay Finished August 26th
8. Death in Disguise by Caroline Graham Finished August 28th

10-Eva-
Edited: Sep 29, 2012, 5:16pm Top


September

Off Mt. TBR:
1. Blue Has No South by Alex Epstein Finished September 3rd
2. Prayers for the Dead by Faye Kellerman Finished September 23rd TIOLI
3. Jamilti and Other Stories by Rutu Modan Finished September 23rd
4. The Actus Box by Actus Finished September 23rd
5. The Shunra and the Schmetterling by Yoel Hoffmann Finished September 25th
6. HebrewPunk by Lavie Tidhar Finished September 27th
-------------
Newbies:
1. Skarlet by Thomas Emson Finished September 2nd
2. Written in Blood by Caroline Graham Finished September 3rd
3. Faithful unto Death by Caroline Graham Finished September 6th
4. A Place of Safety by Caroline Graham Finished September 9th
5. A Ghost in the Machine by Caroline Graham Finished September 15th

11-Eva-
Edited: Oct 29, 2012, 12:14pm Top


October

Off Mt. TBR:
1. Broken Skin by Stuart MacBride Finished October 7th
2. Flesh House by Stuart MacBride Finished October 8th
3. Serpent's Tooth by Faye Kellerman Finished October 19th TIOLI
4. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn Finished Octorber 21st
5. Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold Finished October 28th
6. Doctor Who: The Stone Rose by Jacqueline Rayner Finished October 28th
-------------
Newbies:
1. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling Finished October 3rd
2. Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel Finished October 16th
3. How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell Finished Octorber 21st

12-Eva-
Edited: Nov 26, 2012, 10:50pm Top


November

Off Mt. TBR:
1. Jupiter's Bones by Faye Kellerman Finished November 21st TIOLI
2. Dracula by Bram Stoker Finished November 22nd
3. Doctor Who: The Feast of the Drowned by Stephen Cole Finished November 26th
-------------
Newbies:
1. Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley Finished November 15th

13-Eva-
Edited: Dec 27, 2012, 9:59pm Top


December

Off Mt. TBR:
1. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan Finished December 1st
2. Blind Eye by Stuart MacBride Finished December 7th
3. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan Finished 12/12/12 :)
4. Real Time by Pnina Moed Kass Finished December 17th
5. The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan Finished December 19th
6. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan Finished December 23rd
7. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan Finished December 27th
8. Dead Herring by Actus Finished December 27th
-------------
Newbies:
1. Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me by Harvey Pekar and JT. Waldman Finished December 11th
2. Back Story by David Mitchell Finished December 13th

14-Eva-
Edited: Sep 1, 2012, 5:13pm Top



#69

A Trumpet in the Wadi by Sami Michael

Coming-of-age story set just before the First Lebanon War of two Christian Arab sisters living in the Wadi Nisnas of Haifa: one of them pregnant with the local mobster's son and negotiating a marriage with her cousin and the other seemingly doomed to staying unmarried until a Jewish dockworker moves in upstairs and mesmerizes her with his music. At the forefront is, unavoidably perhaps, the tension between the Arab and Jewish citizens, but also the clash between the various traditions of the cultures somehow attempting to coexist in the pressure-cooker which is Israel. The characters manage to be irritating and endearing at the same time and their choices, based on their own peculiarities or tradition or a merge of both, are understandable and commendable and frightfully tragic all at once. My only problem with the book is that it's not very long and some events that are merely hinted at would have been more fascinating were they described more fully. It is a poetic novel and its writer something of a master, so the gripe about the length may be mine alone.

15-Eva-
Edited: Sep 1, 2012, 5:13pm Top



#70

The Killings at Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham

Experienced and thorough Chief Inspector Barnaby and clever but laddish Sergeant Troy are teamed up when it turns out that a natural death is actually a murder to conceal a pair of secret paramours and another murder follows to cover the tracks of the previous one, with the circle of suspects numbering nearly the same as the inhabitants of Badger's Drift itself. Great characters, especially Barnaby who manages to be an engaging detective at the same time as being a loving husband, patient father, and devoted gardener. I'm already fond of Barnaby from the TV-series, but the one in the book is almost better - he's much sharper in his estimations of people, has a dark past, and even lets lose some sarcasm at times. Such a great whodunit - I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

16cammykitty
Aug 19, 2012, 9:16pm Top

You are doing a fantastic job clearing space on your shelves. Envious. That's where I've been mucking up my challenge. Badger's Drift sounds good - even your summary makes me wonder who is guilty.

17-Eva-
Edited: Aug 19, 2012, 10:07pm Top

Thanks!! It does get a bit difficult at times; it's like new books scream ever the louder when you're trying to stay away. :) Very good series, the Midsomer Murders one - the TV series as well as the books.

18mamzel
Aug 20, 2012, 3:00pm Top

I've never seen the series or read the books. Will have to try one or both. Thanks for the nudge.

19DeltaQueen50
Aug 20, 2012, 3:53pm Top

I just can't resist a British Mystery series, so of course, this one has been added to the list!

20lkernagh
Aug 20, 2012, 8:48pm Top

I have stumbled across your new thread and taken a peek.

*waves hello*

Nice progress on your challenge, Eva! Yay for the Badger's Drift review and I have to say, as a follower of the British TV series, I do miss the "clever but laddish Sergeant Troy", he is my favorite of all the sergeants that have worked with Barnaby.

21-Eva-
Aug 21, 2012, 1:59pm Top

I must say I'd recommend the TV-series just as much as the books. Plus there are only 7 books and I think 15 seasons of the TV-series. :)

Lori: I miss Troy too! He was so deliciously inappropriate all the time (and it seems even worse/better in the books!), but the other have grown on me reasonably fast!

22mathgirl40
Aug 21, 2012, 9:16pm Top

I'm a huge fan of the Midsomer Murders TV series, but I've not read any of Caroline Graham's books. Your review is making me think that I should remedy that soon!

23-Eva-
Aug 21, 2012, 9:59pm Top

->22 mathgirl40:
Of course, you'll know the outcome of the mystery, but the characters are so great that it's definitely worth it!

24cbl_tn
Aug 21, 2012, 10:05pm Top

I'm pretty sure I've only read one of the Midsomer Murders books. I've seen a few episodes of the TV series, but there are a lot I haven't yet watched. I've got it in my Netflix queue. I've liked John Nettles since his Bergerac days. It was one of my favorite TV shows during my years in England. I've almost given up hope that it will ever be available in the U.S.

25-Eva-
Aug 21, 2012, 10:16pm Top

Me too! I've been tempted for a while now to pick up the Complete Bergerac-box from Amazon UK.

26cbl_tn
Aug 21, 2012, 10:22pm Top

I'd be tempted if I had an all-region DVD player. I might have to get one just for that purpose!

27-Eva-
Edited: Aug 21, 2012, 10:30pm Top

FYI - a lot of DVD-players can be hacked to become region free...

That's how I picked the DVD-player I have - I went online and found the hackcode and then bought the player. :)

28cbl_tn
Aug 22, 2012, 6:35am Top

I'll have to check and see if I can do that to mine!

29GingerbreadMan
Aug 22, 2012, 5:51pm Top

>25 -Eva-: Or, you could just pick up any number of the DVD issues that came one a week with Aftonbladet a few years ago - you'll find them in droves in most any flea market next time you come home :)

30cammykitty
Aug 22, 2012, 6:32pm Top

Speaking of temptation - during the summer, I take care of a boy with autism and today took him to half-price books & B&N. Bought a book on Santeria in 1/2$ and was able to resist in B&N, but just barely. They have a new book A Difficult Woman about Lillian Hellman (playwright of A Children's Hour and scandalous not-wife of Dashiell Hammett). It still only out in hardback. That's the only thing that saved me. :)

And as for all-region dvd players, do it! I bought one and I love it.

31-Eva-
Aug 22, 2012, 8:09pm Top

->29 GingerbreadMan:
Are you seriously telling me I missed out on Bergerac!? I randomly got DVDs from people who were buying Aftonbladet and thought I might want a DVD from Sweden, but nobody gave me Bergerac. Actually, I wouldn't have given that away either... :) Good to know, I will check it out next holiday to Svedala!

->30 cammykitty:
It seems like every time I decide not to buy a bunch of new stuff because I already have too much to read/watch, something really shiny pops up. All-region DVD player is a must for me or I would be missing out on all new international films that my peeps talk about but that don't make it to the US - not an option! :)

32IrishHolger
Aug 25, 2012, 7:52am Top

Thread 3 for 2012? Gosh, you're good. :-)

33-Eva-
Aug 26, 2012, 7:28pm Top

->32 IrishHolger:
A bit chatty, more like it. :)

34-Eva-
Edited: Sep 1, 2012, 5:13pm Top



#71

Death of a Hollow Man by Caroline Graham

When the leading man of Mrs. Barnaby's theater group dies by his own hand using the “prop” straight-razor, Chief Inspector Barnaby must interview people he considers friends to find the actual culprit. Definitely edgier than its television counterpart with Barnaby even dropping the f-word at one point, which also means that Troy is even more intolerant and thus funnier, so it's really to the book's benefit. For a mystery, its dilemma is very clever as well: those characters with a motive for the murder had no opportunity and the ones who had the opportunity had no motive. These books are certainly a lot less "cozy" than the TV-series although the characters are quite recognizable.

35-Eva-
Edited: Sep 1, 2012, 5:13pm Top



#72

Falling Glass by Adrian McKinty

When Killian makes a deal with a shady businessman to hunt down the runaway ex-wife and children, he thinks it'll be an easy task until the ex-wife explains why she ran and it's something nasty enough for Killian to change sides and run with her. It's difficult not to side with Killian immediately, since his first scene is an hilarious account of the man at a bar New York bar on St. Paddy's, trying to explain why drawing a four-leaf clover in the head of a pint of Guinness is always, always a bad idea (don't expect any "Oirish" affectations in this novel). Killian is Pavee, an Irish Traveller, and his traditional upbringing very much rules how he conducts his "business" and is the reason he rarely goes in guns blazing. Why damage when you can persuade? The writing is terse with little flourish, but it sets exactly the right tone for the story, resulting in an high-stakes cat-and-mouse hunt all over Ireland, Killian the physically weaker, but with a sense of right and wrong that eventually triumphs, at least on the moral level if not the ethical.

36-Eva-
Edited: Sep 1, 2012, 5:13pm Top



#73

We Are The Hanged Man by Douglas Lindsay

DCI Jericho's boss punishes him by volunteering him for a reality TV show, Britain's Got Justice, but Jericho is being pursued by someone who's sending him mysterious tarot cards hinting at death, and his attention is elsewhere - that is, until the two worlds collide with horrific results.

With the completely immoral TV production crew as the foil, it is obvious that Jericho, despite his surliness and maudlin spirit, is the obvious hero. He seems an odd choice for a main character at first, since he teeters quite close to depression at most times, but he does grow on you - especially when, as a reader, you realize how much he actually cares despite his own self-preservation telling him he doesn't. The dramatic irony is what endears you to him, along with his disdain for the ghastly TV crew (which the reader must share). The one thing that irks me slightly (and Lindsay most definitely isn't the only male writer who falls into this trap) is that Jericho, without doing anything at all, is completely irresistible to all women - he appears and they simply take their clothes off. It just isn't likely, is it?

The mystery itself is very intricate, with numerous distractions and misdirections, although a murderer is revealed almost at the onset. Don't be deceived, though - it's not the whole story and hardly part of one. Instead there are a multitude of actors in the wings, some of which we get to know, some we only get hints of, and some of which we can surmise are there but will never be revealed. So, in store for the reader are multiple layers, a reluctant DCI, a gruesome murderer, and something more - something odd, just beyond the reach of everyone involved.

37GingerbreadMan
Aug 28, 2012, 5:38pm Top

>31 -Eva-: No, wait, sloppy reading on my part (plus I'm not completely down with my brittish inspectors, that'd be Flea's department). Aftonbladet DVD's were Midsomer Murders, not Bergerac.

38-Eva-
Aug 29, 2012, 1:31am Top

->37 GingerbreadMan:
Oh, good, I'm relieved now! Well, you're not entirely off - the main character in both series are played by the same actor. :)

39-Eva-
Edited: Sep 1, 2012, 5:13pm Top



#74

Death in Disguise by Caroline Graham

A commune of mystics preaches and teaches love and understanding, but when their leader is murdered during a ritual, Inspector Barnaby and a very skeptic Sergeant Troy have to sort out who in the colorful group, if any, are who they say they are. Most of this book deals with the everyday life at the commune, mainly personal relations and the various religious rituals they perform. The mystery part is interesting, but it does seem a little like an afterthought (Barnaby and Troy don't even show until 1/3 of the story is done). Not uninteresting, the people at the commune – au contraire, it’s quite an intriguing cast – but if you’re after a regular mystery, it’s somewhat lacking in this installment of the series. When they are around, though, Barnaby is his usual, and entertainingly, gruff self and Troy his usual, and entertainingly, politically incorrect self.

40cammykitty
Aug 31, 2012, 12:02am Top

Death in Disguise sounds good. I always thought a peaceful mystic ceremony might be a good place for a murder - especially since a lot of those Golden Dawn people - Crowley, Yeats etc - obviously had humongous egos.

41-Eva-
Sep 1, 2012, 5:32pm Top

->40 cammykitty:
It is a very good background to put a mystery in - a lot of mystery inherent already so that the mystery itself almost seems mundane. :) Good stuff!

42-Eva-
Sep 1, 2012, 5:40pm Top

This month went by really fast, didn't it? It's already September! August was a good reading month for me, but I went a little haywire with the book-shopping - it's so easy to keep clicking "add to cart" once you've started. :)

August Summary:

Number of books: 11 (very good)
Pages: 3855 (very good)
Off TBR: 3 (not good)
Given away: 6 (very good)
Books bought: 11 (very poor...)
TIOLI books: 1

Best read of the month: The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin
Least good read of the month: Christine Falls by Benjamin Black

43mathgirl40
Sep 3, 2012, 10:46am Top

Looks like you had a great reading month! I can sympathize with the book shopping issues. I also had a problem keeping the book-buying under control in August.

44lkernagh
Sep 3, 2012, 1:23pm Top

Great reading month Eva! 3/11 books off your TBR pile sounds good to me.... ;-)

45mamzel
Sep 3, 2012, 2:08pm Top

You accomplished a lot last month! Good for you.

46-Eva-
Sep 4, 2012, 10:38pm Top

Thanks all!!! I am quite pleased that I seem to be ahead of myself for the year. I canceled my cable TV earlier this year and it has given me lots of extra reading-time - I really didn't know how much I must have lazy-watched! :)

47-Eva-
Edited: Sep 4, 2012, 10:39pm Top



#75

Skarlet: Part One of the Vampire Trinity by Thomas Emson

An ancient vampire-cult is spreading a drug through London to breed supporters, so war veteran Jack Lawton turns to unexpected allies to defeat the cult before the entire world is under their spell. Emson has a great talent when it comes to writing action - those scenes in the book are extremely engaging - and he writes credible characters with realistic flaws. However, his decision to break up the flow of the story with a seemingly infinite amount of back- and side-flashes, especially with the huge number of narrators (some of which only appear once), was not such a great idea. The first half of the book is very confusing due to all these breaks and although the various strings do get pulled together at the end, I am not convinced that the story wouldn't have been better had it had a less complicated narrative thread. Note that this is part one of a trilogy, but although there is a cliffhanger, the story-arc of this book is closed quite satisfactorily.

48-Eva-
Sep 4, 2012, 10:39pm Top



#76

Written in Blood by Caroline Graham

After hosting an author-talk, one of the Writers' Circle members is found brutally murdered and Barnaby and Troy are called in to sort fact from fiction in this creative group. This installment is my favorite in the series so far. It seems Graham really hit her stride in the balance between police procedural, character development, and mystery. The mystery part is quite clever, even though the background that leads up to it is somewhat of a stretch (I had seen the TV version of the book before reading the book, so I can't really say how hard it is to guess the "tricky" plot-twist). My favorite character must be Barnaby's new "nemesis," Cully's kitten, Kilmowski, who gets to eat bacon while Barnaby himself is on a strict diet.

49-Eva-
Edited: Sep 5, 2012, 12:59pm Top



#77

Blue Has No South by Alex Epstein

A collection of poetic flash fiction stories and musings that sometimes hit home and sometimes seem too quirky to know what they are supposed to be. I'm not a huge reader of poetry, so most of the "stories" that were poems in prose format didn't really work for me, but the more straight-forward flash fiction, especially the more surreal pieces, was very engaging. The span of Epstein's stories is vast, covering biblical mythology, Homerian legend, Kafkaesque nightmares, the Israeli situation, bookstores, angels, lovers, and many other topics. The imagination is there, for sure, but I may have been spoiled by "that other" Israeli flash fiction writer (yes, I mean Keret) and so can't help but find Epstein's work, technically great though it is, a little too literary to truly touch the soul.

50clfisha
Sep 5, 2012, 4:50am Top

Just catching up on your thread and We Are The Hanged Man looks fun.. I can sadly hear the TV shows theme tune just looking at the pic ;)

Also does it mean I am an old curmudgeon if another vampire thriller sets my teeth on edge?

51-Eva-
Edited: Sep 5, 2012, 1:12pm Top

I only wish the concept of that TV show would be preposterous, but I wouldn't be all too surprised to find it in the TV listings nowadays. It's an excellent read, though, and I have Lindsay's The Long Midnight Of Barney Thomson on Mt. TBR as well - that one is apparently jammed with black-black-blackcomedy!

At least these vampires are proper blood-thirsty killers, not lovey-dovey sparkly ones.... :) You're not the only one - I think we're all a little over vampires at this point.

52cammykitty
Sep 5, 2012, 11:37pm Top

ah - y'all keep talking about Keret. I'll have to squeeze him into my category challenge somehow!!!

53clfisha
Sep 6, 2012, 4:27am Top

I managed to hoover up The Nimrod Flip-Out stories by Etgar Keret at the Edinburgh lit fest :) I know just have to squeeze it in somewhere too. Too many short story books!

54mamzel
Sep 6, 2012, 1:35pm Top

I don't know if I would have picked up this book but I'm sure that cover would catch my eye! Stunning!

55-Eva-
Sep 6, 2012, 2:28pm Top

Everybody should read Keret!! :) Looking forward to finding out what you think, Claire - small doses, though, is recommended!

56lkernagh
Sep 6, 2012, 9:38pm Top

Well darn.....You caught my attention with Blue Has No South. I love flash fiction and have been slowly developing a palate for poetry with my challenge reading this year but a little disheartened to see that some if not most of it would probably be lost on me as a reader.

57cammykitty
Sep 6, 2012, 11:02pm Top

The Nimrod Flip-out is the one on my WL. What is it with short stories? I seem to own tons of short story collections, but I don't tend to read a ton of short stories.

58psutto
Sep 7, 2012, 4:36am Top

57 - I can sympathise! seem to have many on the shelves - however the habit I got into in previous challenge years was to read 3 short stories between each book I read and that started to make an inroad - this year though I've been doing 100 pages of the weird compendium per month instead. For 2013 I'll definitely be going back to 3 stories between books as have several new collections on the shelves that "appeared" this year...

59-Eva-
Sep 7, 2012, 10:46pm Top



#78

Faithful unto Death by Caroline Graham

A young woman disappears and her husband starts acting odd, so Inspector Barnaby is called in to see if there's any foul play afoot, which there turns out to be plenty of when the husband ends up dead and yet another young woman goes missing. The previous book in the series was my favorite and I thought Graham had hit her stride properly with the series, but this installment hit a stumbling block and turned out to be my least favorite. It moves incredibly slowly and at long stretches absolutely nothing happens that brings the story forward. There are several references in the text as to how slowly a police investigation sometimes proceeds, but I very much doubt a fictional detective story needs to move in real-time. Also, Sergeant Troy is no longer the bumbling, laddish, lovable fool that he's been before, but had become uncouth and at times even downright mean. It's also not a great thing when the fate of the baddies is little more than an "oh well, nothing to do about that;" there needs to be some sort of comeuppance or at least a point made about its absence. Hopefully this installment was a blip on the Midsomer radar and we get our proper format back in the next book.

60-Eva-
Edited: Sep 7, 2012, 10:54pm Top

LOL - I seem to be collecting short stories too and I don't really read any (apart from flash fiction). psutto's idea to read a few between longer works is the best way for me to get through a collection.

->56 lkernagh:
In the same situation, then, but on opposite ends - I got the topics, but the form didn't work at all. :)

61mathgirl40
Sep 8, 2012, 7:28am Top

I'm enjoying your Midsomer reviews, even if you do find the occasional "blip", and looking forward to reading the series myself one day. We just finished watching the "Secret and Spies" TV episode yesterday. I do love the Midsomer setting!

62-Eva-
Sep 8, 2012, 8:08pm Top

->61 mathgirl40:
With a little luck, this is the only one! I'm going to finish off the last two as well and then I'll go back and rewatch those first episodes. It's been such a long time since I've seen them that I only remember parts and the books add another layer of course, so it'll be interesting to see if they feel any different. Great series, isn't it!?

63cammykitty
Sep 9, 2012, 6:47pm Top

I may take your read between suggestion - only way I've made inroads is to have it as a category - and when I do read them, I enjoy them. - but I also seem to have a natural reading pace suited more for novels. But I appreciate the art and creativity of a good short story. If you're going to experiment with writing, the short story is the place to do it. & I partly buy them just because I know how hard it is to market them, both as a writer and an editor. Being a short story writer is like volunteering to move into the literary ghetto.

& thanks for the warning on Faithful Unto Death.

64LauraBrook
Sep 10, 2012, 8:43pm Top

Hi Eva! Just caught up here, and your reading is a reminder to read the Midsomer books! I just have one of them, so I should focus on getting the rest. (Well, really I should focus on not buying books, but honestly, I have close to zero self control.)

65-Eva-
Sep 10, 2012, 11:37pm Top



#79

A Place of Safety by Caroline Graham

Be prepared for murderers, juvenile delinquents, thieves, psychopaths, blackmailers, pedophiles, and poor Inspector Barnaby trying to make heads and tails of the mess that is the charming little village of Ferne Basset. The previous installment in the series wasn't very good, but Graham is back on track with this one - Barnaby is gruff in public and sweet at home and Troy is back to being inappropriate and laddish and unintentionally funny. The mystery-part is quite gruesome, but it only stands out because the Midsomer environs are peaceful and quaint and the juxtaposition makes it all the more intriguing. Great page-turner this one - hope the next one (last in the series) doesn't disappoint either.

66-Eva-
Sep 10, 2012, 11:40pm Top

->63 cammykitty:
"Being a short story writer is like volunteering to move into the literary ghetto"
That's very true - not a bad reason to buy a few short story collections, I suppose.

->64 LauraBrook:
Other than Faithful unto Death, they're really good - even if you've seen the series. The characters are quite a bit more edgy which is fun.

67mamzel
Sep 11, 2012, 11:13am Top

Sometimes short stories are nice to fill a time gap between books by favorite authors. I just found a collection of dragon stories, featuring some of my favorite authors including Naomi Novik. Unfortunately, it's at home and I haven't added it to my library yet so I can't share the link.

68-Eva-
Sep 11, 2012, 12:05pm Top

If it's by a favorite writer, then I can get through short story collections quite fast, but if it isn't, I have a hard time persuading myself to pick the book up - even if I enjoy it. Like cammykitty says, I think my reading pace is set up for novels - I almost feel a little cheated when a story is over too fast. :)

69GingerbreadMan
Sep 12, 2012, 5:18pm Top

I guess I'm a minority here. I really enjoy short stories and have no problems with reading them back to back. In fact, I think I muych prefer reading a collection of short stories than a single one. More often than not, a theme, an ambience or an idea is linking the stories in a collection. I even had a great time reading about twelve Keret mini stories per sitting as I read The nimrod flip-out. Absolutely backing that recommendation!

70cammykitty
Sep 12, 2012, 9:51pm Top

Writers talk about having a natural pace suited to writing short stories, or a pace suited to writing novels. It makes sense to me that readers would have that too. Okay, I'm going to go to my 2013 thread and add Keret in there.

As for dragon short stories/novellas, highly highly recommend Lucius Shepard. Over the years, he's been writing short stories about a huge, perhaps extinct, dragon with such intricate detail - I don't want to do spoilers though so won't say anything more. He recently released them all together in The Dragon Griaule. His stories definitely tend to creep toward novella length.

71psutto
Edited: Sep 13, 2012, 5:50am Top

Just about to purchase stanley donwood two collections, I'm going be helping out at his event during the fest in Oct and thought it only polite to read his books... So even though I have plenty of short story collections there's always room for more :-) and household worms looks so good!

72clfisha
Sep 14, 2012, 7:11am Top

I think I prefer single author short story collections to mixed. For some reason I find it more stressful reading mixed collections, different quality and length make me impatient.

73-Eva-
Sep 16, 2012, 11:38pm Top

I'll agree with that - with one author, there is at least some cohesiveness of voice and style and many of them can be read as part of an overall story arc. Collections with different authors can sometimes feel like overdosing on amuse-bouches. :)

74-Eva-
Sep 17, 2012, 3:34pm Top



#80

A Ghost in the Machine by Caroline Graham

A collector of ancient weapons is crushed by a trebuchet, a young woman is duped into squandering an inheritance, and a pseudo-psychic woman leaves the earthly realm, creating the possibility of a loving home for her neglected daughter. This (so far) last installment of the Inspector Barnaby/Midsomer Murders-series was published a few years after the rest of the series and feels a little bit like an indulgence (since the TV-series had by its publication become a hit) in that it's very long and the mystery, although it does permeate the storylines, isn't treated as being too urgent. The main thrust of the book is definitely village life and its inhabitants' respective quirks, relationships, and fates. The mystery-part is clever, though not rushed, and the denouement at the end is quite thrilling. Well worth the read if you're a Midsomer fan (this book has not been filmed), especially since it hints at Barnaby's upcoming retirement. No word if any more installments are forthcoming.

75mathgirl40
Sep 17, 2012, 10:09pm Top

I had to laugh when I read your comment about the mystery being rather gruesome in your previous Midsomer review. My husband and I are always amused by the high body-count in so many of the TV episodes, and there too, it's the contrast with the quiet village life that makes it stand out.

76-Eva-
Sep 18, 2012, 1:14pm Top

Isn't it great?! Everyone putters around in their gardens or goes for vigorous strolls or bakes cakes for the village fête and hacks each other to death with medieval weaponry. :)

On one of the DVDs (can't remember which one), there is an extra feature where they list how many people in Midsomer have died and what was their respective cause of death. Well into the 200s as far as I can remember! More than the number of inhabitants almost! :)

77avatiakh
Sep 18, 2012, 9:47pm Top

I'm going to have to visit this series by dvd.

78GingerbreadMan
Sep 20, 2012, 4:58am Top

>76 -Eva-: I suspect property prices are low in Midsomer. Then again: if you don't have an unusual hobby, you seem to be pretty safe :)

79-Eva-
Sep 20, 2012, 1:42pm Top

->77 avatiakh:
Highly recommended! :)

->78 GingerbreadMan:
That is true - people who collect odd trinkets tend to be found with said trinket sticking out of their neck. :)

80lkernagh
Sep 20, 2012, 3:52pm Top

> 79 - LOL, all the more reason to not collect odd trinkets.... at least not in quaint village communities like Midsomer! ;-)

81GingerbreadMan
Sep 20, 2012, 5:32pm Top

Or, you know, get into bell-ringing or bird-watching or amateur theate or join the "save the old mill" activist group...

82lkernagh
Sep 20, 2012, 8:59pm Top

.... and the quaint village fairs......

83LauraBrook
Sep 20, 2012, 10:53pm Top

...or miniature villages....

84-Eva-
Edited: Sep 21, 2012, 1:29pm Top

...or orchid growing...

ETA: and bell-ringing is "campanology" - new word for me!!

85andreablythe
Sep 21, 2012, 5:02pm Top

I don't think I was aware of either part 2 or 3 of your challenge until RIGHT NOW. *sigh*

I love flash fiction, so Blue has No South looks rather interesting.

86-Eva-
Sep 21, 2012, 5:40pm Top

->85 andreablythe:
LOL @ that!! Yes, I have managed to chat my way through a few threads. :)

If you enjoy poetry as well as flash, I'd recommend Blue Has No South, but it veered too much toward the poetic for me.

87-Eva-
Edited: Sep 21, 2012, 5:47pm Top

Severe geekfest at work today when the space shuttle Endeavor flew by the office (on top of a 747, of course). :)

88mamzel
Sep 21, 2012, 5:48pm Top

Jealous.

89-Eva-
Sep 21, 2012, 5:57pm Top

It was VERY cool! :)

90andreablythe
Sep 21, 2012, 6:09pm Top

I do love poetry, so it sounds right up my alley.

The Shuttle has been ALL over the internets. Wish I had had the chance to see it in person.

91cammykitty
Sep 22, 2012, 10:00pm Top

Yes, jealous!

92psutto
Sep 24, 2012, 6:42am Top

wow great photo!

93-Eva-
Sep 24, 2012, 5:15pm Top

It flew over a few selected landmarks before landing at LAX and I work in a highrise next to one of them - The Queen Mary - so we had an excellent view! Its permanent home is to be at the California Science Center, so I can't wait to go see it really close-up! :)

94andreablythe
Sep 24, 2012, 5:28pm Top

Oh, nice! I may have to drive down to So Cal to go see it sometime. :)

95-Eva-
Sep 24, 2012, 5:58pm Top

I think it'll be installed sometime mid-October, but I don't know the exact date.

96andreablythe
Sep 24, 2012, 6:18pm Top

Okay, it'll be a while for me to get down there anyway.

97lkernagh
Sep 24, 2012, 8:44pm Top

How cool to see the space shuttle being transported and to learn that it will be located at the Science Center. That would be worth seeing!

98Smiler69
Sep 24, 2012, 9:43pm Top

Was about time I came by for a visit. You've got me very intrigued about the Barnaby series. Can't say the character is familiar to me, having never seen the tv series. I usually read series in order, but not always. Is this one of those that are better read in the published sequence?

99-Eva-
Sep 25, 2012, 2:16pm Top

->97 lkernagh:
Also, I got to see a lot of "regular" people turn into complete geeks and that was half the fun! :)

->98 Smiler69:
No, I'd say in this series, order doesn't really matter. There are a few side-stories, but they are just described and don't have much bearing on the main characters. Hope you like it!!

100-Eva-
Sep 30, 2012, 6:00pm Top



#81

Prayers for the Dead by Faye Kellerman

A well-known surgeon is murdered without an apparent motive and Decker's investigation gets extra complicated when he finds out that Rina's first husband was a close friend of one of the family-members. There is quite a lot of running around trying to figure out family relations in this one as well as a barrage of theological discussions about the difference between Judaism and Christianity and that gets slightly tedious, but since the mystery is quite puzzling, it's a proper page-turner read.

101-Eva-
Sep 30, 2012, 6:00pm Top



#82

Jamilti and Other Stories by Rutu Modan

A collection of Modan's short works, which have previously been published with other Actus materials (Actus being the Israeli comics collective to which Modan belongs, along with Yirmi Pinkus, Batia Kolton, Itzik Rennert and Mira Friedmann). As usual, her flatly drawn charachers invoke strong emotions with their rich inner lives that they either cannot or will not reveal to others. Their reactions to their respective dramatic events are equally agonizing, whether brought about by a fantasy (such in the more surreal pieces) or by the extreme reality which is Israeli modern life. Due to her ability to wrench so much emotion from such a simple style (or perhaps because of it), I would absolutely call Modan one of the gems in the modern sequential art community.

102-Eva-
Sep 30, 2012, 6:00pm Top



#83

Actus Box: Five Graphic Novellas by Actus

A collection of stories from Israeli comic collective, Actus Tragicus. As usual, this group has produced an inventive and diverse collection, which can't help but bring the human condition to the front. Their stories of are of varying absurdity, but always manage to be darkly humorous.

The Panty Killer by Rutu Modan - A serial killer roams the streets of Tel Aviv, leaving all the victims with their underwear on their heads.

We Are Seven by Batia Kolton - Visual interpretations of Wordsworth’s "We Are Seven," Irish folksong "Danny Boy," and "He’s the Greatest Dancer" by Sister Sledge.

Crumpet Ladies by Yirmi Pinkus – A series of bizarre stories about the existential state of old people, tied together by a story of the author’s aunt Gina’s humiliating search through the trash for her lost dentures.

Royal Sable by Mira Friedman - A Jewish furrier’s flight from Prague to Tehran during WWII, where a telephone call from the royal palace could spell extatic success or utter ruin, depending on one’s state of mind.

Pretenders by Itzik Rennert - A bitter taxi driver in need of a change, is forced to confront himself, and realized that there’s more to himself than he ever imagined. Personal Involvement by Itzik Rennert – A writer takes drastic measures when his characters refuse to go in the direction he wishes.

103-Eva-
Sep 30, 2012, 6:00pm Top



#84

The Shunra and the Schmetterling by Yoel Hoffmann

A prose poem in 39 parts, which takes the reader through the narrator's youth, from the small child on his grandfather's knee to the young man who finished his army-duty and makes plans to marry and settle down. Hoffmann has a fantastically evocative language mixed with an eye for descriptive detail, which is quite breathtaking at times. I'm not surprised he has been described as "Israel's avant-garde genius." Be prepared for lovely passages such as this one, where growing up (and hormones) has changed a young boy's view of his every-day surroundings:

"Girls now have bras, and cotton under-
pants have been replaced by silk.
The school is full of naked bodies (if
one subtracts the clothes from the sum
total) and sometimes, when there's an
assembly and everyone is gathered inside
the gymnasium, apocalyptic visions take
shape (on account of the myriad limbs)."

Even in translation (from Hebrew by Peter Cole), Hoffmann manages to conjure images of youth and growing up which are quite astute. Not an easy read, but quite rewarding once comfortable with the narrator's voice.

104-Eva-
Edited: Sep 30, 2012, 6:01pm Top



#85

HebrewPunk by Lavie Tidhar

Four short stories by Lavie Tidhar, all fantastic and all placed somehow in the traditions of Hebrew mythology. Our main characters in these stories are the Rat (something as bizarre as a Jewish vampire), the Tzadik (formerly one of the righteous ones, now an immortal trouble-maker), and the Rabbi (a powerful mystic and fixer for those whose needs are beyond the mortal coil).

The Heist - Rat, Tzadik, and Rabbi team together to break into a magically defended blood-bank.
Transylvania Mission - Rat hunts Doctor Mengele's team of werewolf Nazis.
Uganda - Rabbi recounts his involvement in Theodore Herzl's 1903 Uganda Proposal.
The Dope Fiend - Tzadik assists a 1920s drug ring, unintentionally involved in occult transactions.

These are some of Tidhar's earliest stories and, while not great, the inventiveness combined with the sense of humor shows great potential and is placing Tidhar firmly on my read-more-of list.

105-Eva-
Sep 30, 2012, 6:01pm Top

September Summary:

Number of books: 11 (very good)
Pages: 3320 (very good)
Off TBR: 6 (good)
Given away: 7 (very good)
Books bought: 3 (decent)
TIOLI books: 1

Best read of the month: Written in Blood by Caroline Graham - it gets to be representative of the series which I enjoyed a lot.
Least good read of the month: Blue Has No South by Alex Epstein - not because it wasn't well written, but because it wasn't my cup of tea.

106clfisha
Oct 1, 2012, 6:39am Top

Right I am going to have to track down more of Tidhar's books, no excuses left :)

107psutto
Oct 1, 2012, 9:05am Top

A serial killer roams the streets of Tel Aviv, leaving all the victims with their underwear on their heads. how intriguing :-)

Also making a note of the Lavie Tidhar book...

108cammykitty
Oct 1, 2012, 4:56pm Top

Jamilti sounds really interesting. I hope I can find it in our library.

109avatiakh
Oct 1, 2012, 7:03pm Top

I've read Jamilti but not the others and they're not available here apart from HebrewPunk which I've had home from the library but not read.
I read somewhere that Anthony Horowitz was the scriptwriter for Midsomer Murders, i'll have to investigate.

110-Eva-
Oct 2, 2012, 4:53pm Top

->109 avatiakh:
Horowitz has indeed written a few of the MM scripts - looks like he's adapted two of Graham's books and then written four original episodes. I've not read any of his books, though - any recommendations?

111mamzel
Oct 2, 2012, 6:55pm Top

He wrote a fun series for young adults called the Alex Rider series, a kind of junior James Bond. The first one is called Stormbreaker and was turned into a movie.

112-Eva-
Oct 2, 2012, 7:23pm Top

The film seems to have both Ewan McGregor and Bill Nighy in it, so I'm putting it on my Netflix-list! :)

113avatiakh
Oct 2, 2012, 8:48pm Top

Yes, I've read most of the Alex Rider books, though I prefer Robert Muchamore's Cherub series. Horowitz also wrote House of Silk which is a new Sherlock Holmes story. He also did the scripts for Foyles War another tv series I've enjoyed and should get back to.

114-Eva-
Oct 3, 2012, 1:29pm Top

I am a Sherlock-fan, so I'll put House of Silk on the wishlist. Foyle's War keeps getting recommended to me on Netflix, so it'll go on the list as well.

115lkernagh
Oct 3, 2012, 9:20pm Top

Foyle's War is an amazing TV series Eva! I have seen all of the episodes and I was completed traumatized when I found out there weren't making any more.

..... okay, traumatized may be a bit extreme but I was really upset!

116cbl_tn
Oct 3, 2012, 10:16pm Top

I love Foyle's War too! Did you know that there are new episodes coming out next year?

117lkernagh
Oct 4, 2012, 12:46am Top

I did not know that. Yay for Series 8..... Sooooo excited! *does happy dance*

118-Eva-
Oct 4, 2012, 4:44pm Top

Well, looks like Foyle's needs to move WAY up the list! :)

119-Eva-
Edited: Oct 7, 2012, 7:07pm Top



#86

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

When Barry Fairbrother (apt name!) dies and leaves a vacancy on the parish council, the inhabitants of Pagford show their true (and rather vicious) colors when it comes to electing a replacement. In other words, welcome to Little Whinging the way Uncle Vernon would have preferred: devoid of magic and full of upwardly mobile people trying to rid themselves of the town's hoi polloi.

In all seriousness, I'd say the only way to appreciate this book to its fullest extent is to follow these instructions:
1. Pick up book.
2. Remove or turn dustcover inside out.
3. Completely and utterly forget that its writer was in any way involved in the creation of Harry Potter.

Then, be prepared for a barrage of characters - I would even suggest using a notepad (at least initially) to keep track of the members and friends of the main families involved in the kerfuffle. It's not a pretty place, this Pagford. Rather, it is inhabited by a large number of people who all seem to have devastating secrets and ulterior motives for everything they do. Rowling does manage to make them feel real in all their misery and the descriptions of abuse in all its vile forms are poignant and immensely sad.

There is a little too much of the misery, but that is partly the fault of the editor/publisher who has (doubtlessly due to the name on the cover) let the book get to over 500 pages when a much shorter story would have packed a bigger punch. You do get to a point where you wonder if the extreme details of abuse are only there to ascertain that the difference between this and Rowling's previous books is absolutely clear.

In the end, while not entirely enamored (especially with the ending being a bit rushed), I must admit I enjoyed Rowling's effort to tell a story and at the same time make a point about contemporary small-town life and its issues. Oddly, this could be considered her sophomoric novel, and as such I think it's well above par and am looking forward to seeing if her next novel lands somewhere a little more comfortably between the two extremes.

120mamzel
Oct 4, 2012, 5:30pm Top

Did you see the LT contest? Enter your review here for goodies!

121-Eva-
Edited: Oct 4, 2012, 6:07pm Top

I like goodies!! Everyone - go thumb up my review! :) Actually, I'm not sure that kind of canvassing is legit...

122avatiakh
Oct 4, 2012, 7:23pm Top

Enjoyed your review of Rowling's book, I'm going to read it but not for a couple of months.

123lkernagh
Oct 4, 2012, 9:46pm Top

Thumb! Even though you say the book could have used some editorial controls I am intrigued and might get around to reading it. I will admit, very, very quietly, that I will have no problem following instruction #3 in your review as I have never read any of Harry Potter books. *shush*

124cammykitty
Oct 4, 2012, 11:41pm Top

I was going to thumb that review before I even saw you begging for thumbs. It's a well written review.

125SouthernKiwi
Oct 5, 2012, 2:23am Top

I've been very curious about The Casual Vacancy, and I think I will pick it up at some point. Nice review!

126mysterymax
Oct 5, 2012, 8:37am Top

>116 cbl_tn: -

A new Foyle's War? Does it pick up in America? I always wondered what that unfinished business was.

127hailelib
Oct 5, 2012, 4:24pm Top

The unfinished business was probably from "Fifty Ships".

128cbl_tn
Oct 5, 2012, 4:45pm Top

Here's a link to an article about Foyle's War from the LA Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2012/02/foyles-war-returns-three-new...

129mysterymax
Oct 5, 2012, 5:24pm Top

>127 hailelib: That's what I thought, but it wasn't really spelled out when he 'left' for America.

130-Eva-
Oct 5, 2012, 5:45pm Top

Thanks all! It's quite bleak, but well worth the read. I think you're at an advantage with this one, lkernagh - not having a comparison at all is the best way to read it. I'll leave the why-no-HP issue well alone... :)

Oh and thanks to all of Foyle's-War'ers - now I'm uber-intrigued at this Fifty Ships business and I don't even know any of the characters yet!

131GingerbreadMan
Oct 9, 2012, 6:33am Top

Catching up on an active week here! Loved the excerpt from The shunra and the schmetterling, and think the Israeli comics sound quite intriguing. Would you say Actus are part of a movement, or are they contemporary Israeli graphic arts?

Also thumbed you review of The casual vacancy quite unpromped :) Doesn't sound like something I need to rush out and read right now, though (despite liking HP well enough).

132-Eva-
Oct 9, 2012, 4:56pm Top



#87

Broken Skin by Stuart MacBride

A brutally savaged body is dumped at the A&E and the investigation gives DS Logan McRae an insight into Aberdeen's BDSM community while he's also attempting to juggle two abusive bosses and somehow curb girlfriend Jackie's bloodlust for a celebrity footballer cum suspected rapist.

Although McRae is such a realistic character that it feels like you're getting an actual insight into the workings of the police, in this installment, Detective Inspectors Steel and Insch have been made somewhat into caricatures and it makes McRae look a little worse too, even if it is exaggerated for the sake of humor. This installment is actually quite a bit funnier than the previous ones - presumably comic relief from the crimes that are infinitely more gruesome than before.

There are quite a few storylines and, at first, it makes the story seem scattered, but all is nicely, but not too neatly, tied together at the end. I'll jump on the next installment to see how the Jackie-issue is resolved (don't let me down, McRae!).

133-Eva-
Oct 9, 2012, 4:57pm Top



#88

Flesh House by Stuart MacBride

Serial killer and cannibal "The Flesher" seems to be back after a 20 year hiatus and DS Logan McRae needs to put a stop to the killings so not more human flesh reaches the butcher shops. McRae is such a great character; he's just a regular detective who makes errors and draws erroneous conclusions and gets bollocked for it and then eventually works it out and solves the mystery organically, rather than having some sort of extrasensory sixth sense that many literary detectives have. Heads-up that this is a properly gruesome installment in the series and the descriptions of the murders and the other "nasty events" (so called to avoid spoilers) are extremely gory, so no snacking while reading, not even a bacon buttie!

134-Eva-
Edited: Oct 9, 2012, 4:58pm Top

->131 GingerbreadMan:
There are definitely other comic writers in Israel, but Actus' books are the easiest to get hold of outside of Israel. The group was created (the way I've understood it) for the very purpose of allowing its members to reach outside of Israel's borders; it's easier for 5 artists to drum up support (and money) than each of them working on their own. Nowadays they tend to include at least one guest artist too in their collections so they're spreading the "wealth." :)

Thanks! I had missed the JK thing until mamzel brought it up. Whinging for votes isn't legit, though, so no thumbing if no liking. :)

135andreablythe
Oct 15, 2012, 2:13pm Top

Great review of Rowling's book. The book has been gifted to me, so I'll be reading it soon. It's interesting to me that she choose to go so straight for her adult book with a complete absence of fantasy. I get that as an author, you need to write what you feel compelled to write, but I wonder if she feels that fantasy is a genre for children and "real life" literary writing a genre for adults.

136-Eva-
Oct 15, 2012, 4:29pm Top

I can't say I have any idea of what her thinking was, other than I think she deliberately wrote something as different from HP as possible. I did hear that for her next one, she's planning on going back to the younger crowd (possibly even younger than for HP). I do find her characters engaging, so I'll follow along to see where she goes. :)

137andreablythe
Oct 15, 2012, 5:11pm Top

Yeah, I mean, who knows what she had in mind. All I know is that she said this was a book she had to write, which I understand.

I'm very curious to see what her next set of books for young adults or kids will be. :)

138mamzel
Oct 16, 2012, 12:40pm Top

I read on one post how you are considering reading Game of Thrones and on another post how "I too want some positive outcomes for my characters". You are aware that there are no positive outcomes in Martin's books, I hope. ;-)

139-Eva-
Oct 16, 2012, 12:55pm Top

Oh no - is it all misery? Maybe I should nix the books and just watch the TV-series, then, so at least the misery is over faster...? :)

140mamzel
Oct 16, 2012, 1:50pm Top

Then you'll see it in full color!
Seriously though, I had to pause on reading the series because it was so soul-suckingly evil. Some people thrive on this, however, so I wouldn't want to dissuade you from giving them a try. There is something about them that keeps pulling me back.

141-Eva-
Oct 16, 2012, 2:37pm Top

"soul-suckingly evil"

Oh dear. :)

I own a copy of the first book, so I will at least give it a try!

142lkernagh
Oct 16, 2012, 9:03pm Top

If it helps any I have a friend who has watched the TV-series and then started reading the books and so far she reports that the TV-series has done a really good job staying true to the book. She does rave about the TV-series so like mamzel mentioned, at least with the TV-series you get to see it in full colour!

... I have probably been no help what so ever..... ;-)

143banjo123
Oct 17, 2012, 12:52am Top

I would advise against the Game of Thrones. I started it and got sucked in and had to read all 5 books. Towards the end, I was totally sick of violence and sexual violence...but I had to keep reading because I wanted to know what happens to Bran. Then I got through the 5th book, and it turns out Martin isn't even through with the series yet. I was SO mad.

144SouthernKiwi
Oct 17, 2012, 1:17am Top

The Game of Thrones TV series is very well done, and is well worth a watch. I love the books, yes they are ruthless and there are some gruesome moments but they're so full of intrigue and some great characterisation. I don't think the violence is overbearing - especially as Martin's Westeros is meant to be reminiscent of the medieval world and that's what comes across for me.

145-Eva-
Edited: Oct 17, 2012, 12:21pm Top

->142 lkernagh:
Very helpful indeed! I am now firmly in the "Undecided" camp!! :)

->143 banjo123:
I hate that!! I was thinking of waiting until he was all done, but I relize that might never happen. :)

->144 SouthernKiwi:
I don't mind gruesome as long as there's respite somewhere. :)

Well, since I already have the first book, the plan is now (and yes, you have ALL been helpful! Even Lori...) to read that one and then transfer to the TV-series unless I fall totally in love with the book!

146andreablythe
Oct 17, 2012, 12:50pm Top

I keep hearing things about Game of Thrones. My friends love the show. But one of the biggest things I've heard about it is the sexism and unfortunate ways that rape is described in the book (and show?), to which hardcore fans tend to attribute to realism. There's been some internet wars about that.

However, as I have not the books, nor seen, the show, I cannot judge that one way or another.

147mathgirl40
Oct 17, 2012, 12:57pm Top

I'm also undecided about the Game of Thrones series. So many people have recommended it, but the length of the series and the violence are intimidating me. I don't mind some violence (I love murder mysteries, so it's hard to avoid), but I find really lengthy scenes of brutality tedious and disturbing. I'll be interested in seeing what you think once you finish the first book.

Also, I enjoyed your review of The Casual Vacancy and I plan to read it sometime. It does sound like the best approach is to forget that the author is Rowling and treat it like any other new book.

148mamzel
Oct 17, 2012, 1:47pm Top

Eva,
Obviously there are a lot of opinions about the series and I would hate to think I would dissuade anyone from reading it. I know that there are some sensitive people on this site and wanted to let you know how intense it is. It is a very compelling read and like banjo123 says, I hope that Bran makes through it all. Martin's method of each new chapter switching POVs to different characters really draws you along. You get to like some and hate others and know that one chapter might be rough but the next will switch to another character and a different location.

149-Eva-
Oct 17, 2012, 2:50pm Top

->146 andreablythe:
I get even more intrigued when different people seem to have so very different opinions - it's usually indicative of depth. Looking forward to giving it a try, though!

->147 mathgirl40:
It's hard to avoid the series, isn't it, especially after the TV-series came out. I think trying the first book and then watching some of the series will give me a decent idea of whether to go with one or the other (or both...).

The Casual Vacancy is absolutely recommended, but with the caveat that no HP comparison is made. :)

->148 mamzel:
No, I'm definitely intrigued enough to try - I don't mind the gruesome (I do read a fair amount of fairly graphic mystery). The heft is what has put me off so far; it's very tempting to get the story fast in film-format rather than spending very valuable reading-time on a very looong book if I don't absolutely love it.

150avatiakh
Oct 17, 2012, 3:03pm Top

I've loved reading the books and am up to the 4th one. I found the first season of the tv show fairly good, though a bit extreme with the sex scenes. I haven't bothered yet to watch the second season. The violence mostly echoes medieval history.
Look out Eva, 'winter is coming'.

151-Eva-
Edited: Oct 17, 2012, 3:28pm Top

LOL!! One of my coworkers just told me that she started watching the series on a date and it was still early in the relationship. Neither of them had read the books and hadn't expected how graphic it was, so there were a few quite awkward moments. :)

Yeah, I know, me and series....

152-Eva-
Oct 17, 2012, 3:29pm Top

My current ER was a win!



#88

Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel

A Hudson steamboat captain with literary ambitions rescues a wounded mermaid, and while she lures him with inspiration rather than the infamous singing, others are not as “fortunate.” I appreciate that Siegel goes with a traditional mermaid rather than a “Disneyfied” one; dealing with mermaids is supposed to be hazardous, not romantic. The mythology of the Hudson is one that Siegel seems to have studied meticulously and his carefully revealed details add tons to the mood of the story. The art is outstandingly beautiful and charcoal is absolutely the perfect medium in which to render the fog and mist of the river. The result evokes New York at the end of the 19th century vividly enough to be completely believable despite the fairy tale element. The one thing that detracted for me was Siegel's characters that I found much too cartoony compared to the beautifully drawn scenery. They all have the same googly eyes - apart from the character based on Amy Winehouse (quoi?)! - that don’t really make for much emotional impact. The storyline and characters are complex enough to make up for it, though, so the gripe is minimal.

153avatiakh
Oct 17, 2012, 3:50pm Top

#151: That's one of the reasons I haven't watched more of GoT on tv, I prefer to watch these on my own rather than have to squirm alongside one or two of my children. I sat through a few such scenes in 'The Book Group' with my daughter recently which I wasn't expecting in this black comedy. You think, ok, they'll just show this...but no, they show more...

Sailor Twain sounds like a good read and my library has it on order.

154lkernagh
Oct 17, 2012, 9:07pm Top

Yay for a great ER book! Would this one qualify as a GN, because if so, I will add it to my list of candidates for the 2013 challenge.

155cammykitty
Oct 17, 2012, 9:18pm Top

You had me interested in Sailor Twain until you mentioned the Amy Winehouse Goldfish (I don't know how to spell Quoi either so thought I'd avoid it.) I can imagine a googly eyed singing goldfish with darkly lipsticked lips all too easily. ;)

156-Eva-
Edited: Oct 18, 2012, 12:07pm Top

->154 lkernagh:
Yes, definitely qualifies as a graphic novel!

->155 cammykitty:
LOL! I totally understand how you read that. Sorry! Not Koi, the fish, but "Quoi!" as in French - an exclamation of surprise! One of the characters is Amy Winehouse - she's drawn exactly like her and she is a singer who is described as (I'm paraphrasing) a tiny white woman who sings like a black woman. Oh, that was excellent - I needed that giggle. :)

157mamzel
Oct 18, 2012, 3:20pm Top

I am halfway through Sailor Twain. I requested it with the hope that I would be able to put it in my library, but unfortunately it's a tad too risqué for a high school library.

158clfisha
Oct 20, 2012, 9:32am Top

I had to go and look at the boggly eyes to see if it would annoy me and found its on the web (great review btw)
http://sailortwain.com/blog/2010/02/05/sailortwain-015/

159lkernagh
Oct 20, 2012, 11:51am Top

Thanks for the link Claire.

Eva, I see what you mean about the boggly eyes. If I didn't have to head out and run errands this morning, I would sit at my computer and read it now.

160-Eva-
Oct 20, 2012, 7:24pm Top

That's brilliant, Claire!! I knew it had been a webcomic, but I just assumed that it had been taken down once the book was published. The web-version is almost better since you also get Siegel's comments on his own work.

mamzel, yes, it might be a bit explicit, depending on the maturity of the students... :)

161-Eva-
Edited: Oct 20, 2012, 9:32pm Top

If any of you have Coraline on your to-read list, Neil Gaiman is hosting a read on this YA webpage, Mr. Bobo's Remarkable Mouse Circus, where he and friends are reading a chapter each on video - they've posted 2 chapters so far (the first one read by Neil Himself and the second by Lemony Snicket).

Link over here.

162psutto
Oct 22, 2012, 5:53am Top

I watched GoT TV series and can't say it gripped me or inspired me to read the books...

sailor twain looks interesting

163clfisha
Oct 22, 2012, 8:04am Top

@162 you perked up when that character (who will remain nameless to avoid spoilers) died. I personally get a bit fed up of the medieval patriarchy shtick in any fantasy tale these days and if it wasn't for Peter Dinklage as Tyrion I wouldn't watch it. Although moments such as judiciously placed baby dragons against certain parts of "strong naked female character No. 2" are quite unintentionally amusing too.

164-Eva-
Edited: Oct 22, 2012, 11:48am Top

"judiciously placed baby dragons against certain parts of "strong naked female character No. 2"

LOL! And I'm now leaning toward the TV-series again....! :)

165-Eva-
Edited: Oct 22, 2012, 7:19pm Top



#90

Serpent's Tooth by Faye Kellerman

An apparently disgruntled ex-employee goes on a killing spree in a restaurant, but after closer inspection, it seems there may have been more than one gunman, one with a very different agenda from the other. Another good installment in the series. This one has the regular twists and mixes in a little sexual politics to keep the interest high. Recommended if you already like the series and its characters - if not, you may find the somewhat condescending tone towards women a little off-putting.

166-Eva-
Oct 22, 2012, 7:17pm Top



#91

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is the Viking chief's son and when it's time for his coming-of-age test - to steal a dragon from the dragon nursery - he is supposed to come back with the largest and fiercest of dragons, but instead ends up with the smallest one of all, and one with no teeth and a big attitude problem at that. If you're picking this up because you liked the film, be aware that they have very little in common except for character names and setting. The dragons in the book are a mix of guard dogs and falcons rather than huge creatures you can mount to fly. The humor is still there, though, and although I'm very far from the intended audience (8-year-olds), I found it quite entertaining. I listened to the audio version read by David Tennant (note that he only reads the abridged version) and can highly recommend him as a reader - he nailed these characters perfectly.

167-Eva-
Oct 22, 2012, 7:17pm Top



#92

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

In order to keep their carny circus in the family, the Binewskis breed their own freak children with the help of drugs and poisons - this is the story of flipper-limbed Arturo the Aquaboy, Siamese twins Iphy and Elly, albino hunchbacked midget Oly, and normal-looking Chick, who is anything but ordinary. I was going to call this book a freak-show, but that would be quite redundant, and, although its characters are certainly of the carny persuasion, the main gist of the story deals with power, especially when it is abused, and how a person's charisma can mesmerize their environment, regardless of physical appearance.

As an idea it's quite intriguing and the various oddball characters are at least somewhat engaging, but being told that Arty is magnetic and alluring without getting to understand why is quite pointless. There were a few moments when I found myself truly caring about a character, but the moments didn't last long because eventually everyone turned into a cruel sheep. Had I seen any evidence of Arty's charismatic personality instead of just being told about it, I might have sympathized more with the other characters. Heads up that this is quite graphic and not recommended if you have a problem with gory descriptions. It's not a great endorsement that I remained lukewarm to something that was clearly out to shock and disturb.

168mamzel
Oct 23, 2012, 10:46am Top

Eww! Thanks for taking the shot on this book and warning us off of it. Gratuitous shock does not fly for me.

169-Eva-
Oct 23, 2012, 12:08pm Top

I picked up my copy ages ago because a band I liked (Bang Bang Machine) make a song based on the novel. I never got around to reading it, but apparently it's a bit of a cult novel. Unfortunately, it didn't work 100% for me. There are lots of 5-star reviews on LT, though, so it must work very well for some! :)

170avatiakh
Oct 23, 2012, 2:07pm Top

Echoing mamzel in saying thanks for taking this one for the team. Doesn't at all sound like one for me and I have a cult novel category lined up for next year.

171-Eva-
Oct 23, 2012, 2:51pm Top

I think you can skip this one...! Looking forward to seeing what's included in that cult category - or rather, how obscure a list it is. :)

172GingerbreadMan
Oct 23, 2012, 5:46pm Top

>167 -Eva-: I have Geek love lined up for this year's challenge, and have some hopes for it, as Dunn is often mentioned alongside other writers of strange americana I really really like - George Saunders and Karen Russell. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I'll find more to like in this book than you did.

The bit about dragon babies and strong female no. 2 crakced me up too. Haven't seen anything of the TV series - mostly due to the fact that damn Flea watched the first season on DVD while on maternity leave, which leaves me on my own for catching up. Not likely to happen soon. As for another 1200 pages per book type series to start reading...I'm just not sure.

173lkernagh
Oct 23, 2012, 9:49pm Top

And yet a title like Geek Love has such potential! Echoing everyone else's thanks for reading it for us.... like mamzel I can't stomach gratuitous violence. I can take a lot but the really blatant stuff I can do without.

> 172 - I will be curious to see your review for Geek Love Anders if you do get around to it. Reading reviews of books can be just as much fun as reading the books themselves and this book sounds like a perfect candidate for that type of reading for me!

174avatiakh
Oct 24, 2012, 1:32am Top

>171 -Eva-: - I don't think it will be too obscure, just using The Rough Guide to Cult Fiction to grab books off my TBR pile.

175-Eva-
Edited: Oct 24, 2012, 12:09pm Top

->172 GingerbreadMan:
"strange americana"
Well, it fits that category. :) Hope you like it better too! I got a "meh" out of what was supposed to be (I think) shocking - thus the low grade from me.

It is that "1200 pages per book" aspect that makes me lean towards the TV-series too - I do want to know the story since everyone else seems to now. :)

->173 lkernagh:
It does have some quite grisly bits, so I'd pass if I were you. That's what I love about this whole thing too - that people can have such extremely different reactions to a book sometimes that it makes you rethink what you thought. That whole process makes it seem like reading isn't such a solitary excercise... :)

->174 avatiakh:
I will absolutely be interested in seeing what's included in the book. Does it list only separate books or does it go by authors who are considered "cult?"

176avatiakh
Oct 24, 2012, 3:48pm Top

The Rough Guide to Cult Fiction is divided into 7 sections, the largest being 'The Authors'
The Basics - what makes book/author cult
The Authors:
Graphic Novels:
The Isolation ward: cult books whose authors aren't
Cult Characters:
Reader's Digest: morbid selection of literary trivia
Mostly factual: non-fiction cult books

kiwiflowa mentioned 500 essential cult books as well.

177-Eva-
Oct 24, 2012, 4:02pm Top

Sounds pretty thorough! If that 500 Essential Cult Books includes the cool bookcovers like the ones on its cover, I'm in! :)

178avatiakh
Oct 24, 2012, 4:10pm Top

Yes it does, I've got a copy of it from the library. It's similar in layout to the 1001 books. What I dislike about it is the book title is in a large bold font but the author's name about size 8 font and included as part of the publishing info.

179-Eva-
Oct 24, 2012, 4:16pm Top

OK, that's an "interesting" choice... I would have thought that the author was at least slightly more important than, say, the year of publication or ISBN. :)

180avatiakh
Oct 24, 2012, 4:23pm Top

It's ok once you 'train' your eye where to look, but you can't just flick through the book to find a writer.

181andreablythe
Oct 24, 2012, 4:39pm Top

I've added both "Cult Books" books to my wishlist. I am nothing if not obsessed with lists. :)

182-Eva-
Oct 24, 2012, 4:48pm Top

I was trying to pick one over the other, but, as it seems my local library has decided it needs three books on cult movies and none on cult books, I too have added both to the wishlist. My mum is the obsessive listmaker in my family, so I have someone to pass them on to if I don't like. :)

183cammykitty
Oct 24, 2012, 5:00pm Top

Yup, Cult Books is going in mine too. I feel like I've stumbled over a ton of cult books already. I remember about 10 (or 15?) years ago when it seemed like everyone I knew was reading Geek Love.

184-Eva-
Oct 24, 2012, 6:04pm Top

It must have been extremely popular at one time or another since 3,667 people on LT seem to own a copy. I'll be giving mine away. :)

185cammykitty
Oct 27, 2012, 9:33pm Top

Wow, that's a lot of people especially for a book that is far from new. No wonder it made it into the rough guide.

186-Eva-
Edited: Oct 30, 2012, 10:22pm Top



#93

Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold

A fictionalized biography which follows stage magician Charles Joseph Carter (AKA Carter the Great) from his humble beginnings when Harry Houdini takes him under his wings to his final performance, where he must genuinely beat the devil, albeit a worldly one, in order to save his own and his friends' lives. Carter is a great character and it is such fun to follow him around the world in all his adventures. It's been a while since I've read such a genuinely nice character that I still found interesting - most of the time I want an edge, but in Carter's case, it's his way of viewing the world that engages, not his shady dealings. The story does go on a walkabout on several occasions, following a few characters whose backstories could easily have been surmised from Carter's story rather than having focus of their own. However, as soon as the spotlight is back on Carter, the flow and interest is back as well. Other than the Phoebe-reveal (which is much too deus ex machina to be satisfactory), the ending has a great (and quite action-filled) resolution.

The above book cover is a copy of an actual Carter the Great poster and although I'm not a fan of stage magic, I must say that vintage magician's posters are so mesmerizing they would lure even me into a theater.

187-Eva-
Oct 30, 2012, 10:19pm Top



#94

Doctor Who: The Stone Rose by Jacqueline Rayner

When Mickey finds a statue of Rose at the British Museum, the Doctor and Rose travel back to Ancient Rome where a sculptor has been "blessed" my a god, or perhaps something stranger is afoot. Rayner is very good at characterization and has captured the voice of the 10th Doctor and of Rose very well. The writing isn't much to write home about, but the mystery is one of those future-affecting-the-past storylines and it's quite clever. The audio version I listened to was read by David Tennant and he (obviously) does the characters extremely well.

188-Eva-
Oct 30, 2012, 10:21pm Top

I've just started a couple of chunksters and they won't be done before October ends tomorrow, so here's my round-up for the month.

October Summary:

Number of books: 9 (very good)
Pages: 3675 (very good)
Off TBR: 6 (good)
Given away: 5 (good)
Books bought: 10 (poor)
TIOLI books: 1

Best read of the month: It's a tie between Carter Beats the Devil and How to Train Your Dragon - Dragon is very cute and made me laugh and Carter is one of the most likeable characters I've read in a while.
Least good read of the month: Geek Love - lots of people seem to have loved this, but I couldn't connect with the characters enough.

189clfisha
Oct 31, 2012, 5:18am Top

@186 love those posters :)

190andreablythe
Oct 31, 2012, 1:36pm Top

>187 -Eva-:
LOVE that David Tennant did the reading. It sounds rather fun. :)

And Carter Beats the Devil looks great, too.

191avatiakh
Oct 31, 2012, 2:34pm Top

Carter beats the Devil does sound interesting, I'll try to resist though.

192GingerbreadMan
Oct 31, 2012, 6:20pm Top

Our paths keep crossing! I have Carter beats the devil as a candidate for my 13 in 13 - after it's lingered unread on the TBR for a good six or seven years...

193mysterymax
Nov 1, 2012, 9:13am Top

Oh my, another book to add to my list! I am going to have to live to 150 to get all my reading in...

194AHS-Wolfy
Nov 1, 2012, 12:50pm Top

Carter Beats the Devil has been on my tbr shelves for a few years too. One of these days...

195lkernagh
Nov 2, 2012, 12:53am Top

Hi Eva, looks like you have had another great reading month for # books read and page count!

196psutto
Nov 2, 2012, 12:36pm Top

I enjoyed carter beats the devil once I finally got round to reading it. Love the posters

197mamzel
Nov 10, 2012, 3:33pm Top

Congratulations on winning the contest, Eva! Well done!

198cbl_tn
Nov 10, 2012, 3:56pm Top

Congratulations Eva!

199SouthernKiwi
Nov 10, 2012, 7:07pm Top

Well done Eva!

200lkernagh
Nov 10, 2012, 8:36pm Top

I was confused for a few minutes when I read the new posts - they had me scanning up and down your thread looking for the contest I missed being mentioned and then I discovered it was the Casual Vacancy Review contest. Happy to see I didn't miss anything you had posted above.... I can be a rather bad skim reader at times.....

*whips sweat from brow*

Congratulations Eva!!!!

201clfisha
Nov 11, 2012, 4:42am Top

Congrats!

202avatiakh
Nov 11, 2012, 4:44am Top

Congratualtions too, I noticed what you'd won when I finally checked the LT blog.

203mysterymax
Nov 11, 2012, 9:07am Top

Good for you!

204-Eva-
Nov 11, 2012, 4:41pm Top

Thank you all very much!! And an extra thanks to mamzel for giving me a heads-up about the whole thing in the first place! :)

205mamzel
Nov 12, 2012, 1:53pm Top

So glad to be of help. My daughter hogged our copy of the book so I wasn't able to participate. I have so many books lined up now it may be a while until I can get to it.

206psutto
Nov 18, 2012, 2:57pm Top

Belated congrats, I'm way behind on people's threads...

207GingerbreadMan
Nov 18, 2012, 6:58pm Top

What Pete said - on both accounts!

208cammykitty
Nov 20, 2012, 11:05pm Top

I was confused too. Had same reaction as Lori. Yes, congrats! and not surprised. Your reviews are great.

209andreablythe
Nov 21, 2012, 2:03pm Top

What Cammykitty said! Congrats! :)

210-Eva-
Nov 23, 2012, 9:05pm Top

lkernagh - I made it to the post office today, so this is on its way to you - hope you like it as much as the rest of us did!!



#95

Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

When St. Tancred’s tomb is being opened, a more recent corpse is found and wunderkind Flavia de Luce gets to investigate not only who killed him, but also why he was left in the saint's tomb. This may be the best installment yet in an overall great series. The scientific discussions are more thorough, so Flavia's vast knowledge feels more organic and believable than before. I also like that she seems somewhat older and has more awareness of other people's feelings - she's still funny but less of that obstinate child she was before. In addition, the family's financial troubles may be relieved if Flavia manages to solve the mystery in the right way, so the stakes are very high as well. A very successful installment then, which ends with a fantastic cliffhanger that'll make anyone chomp at the bit for the next book in the series.

211-Eva-
Nov 23, 2012, 9:05pm Top



#96

Jupiter's Bones by Faye Kellerman

The founder and leader of a scientific cult is found dead and Decker is tasked with figuring out if it was a suicide or if the cult is hiding something much more malevolent. As usual in this series, the family parts are quite interesting and the characters very engaging. Unfortunately, this installment has taken the turn from mystery and police procedure and tries to become an action thriller and it's really not in Kellerman's scope as a writer. The action sequence at the end is so overblown that it brings to mind something like Mission Impossible, but with an unlikely cast and some details that are completely impossible since we're dealing with the LAPD and not a Hollywood production company. Only recommended to readers who already follow the series, but don't bother otherwise.

212-Eva-
Edited: Nov 23, 2012, 9:07pm Top



#97

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The story, told in an epistolary format, of infamous Count Dracula's attempt to settle in England, and the battle to thwart this attempt, and finish the vampire, by a small group of righteous people, led by equally well-known Professor Abraham Van Helsing. I've seen numerous film-versions based on this story, but this is the first time I've managed to get through the original and I must say it's absolutely fantastic. There isn't much new to say about the actual story since most people are fully aware of what a great and monumental literary masterpiece it is, but I must note that the (unabridged) full-cast audio-version with Alan Cumming and Tim Curry is absolutely excellent and highly, highly recommended.

213-Eva-
Nov 23, 2012, 9:06pm Top

Thank you all for the congratulatory and complimentary comments!!!! *blushing a bit* :)

214cbl_tn
Nov 23, 2012, 9:23pm Top

Glad to see you enjoyed Flavia's latest adventure. I can hardly wait to find out what happens next!

215lkernagh
Nov 23, 2012, 9:44pm Top

Thank you Eva! Your review has me looking forward to reading Bradley's latest even more than before!

216-Eva-
Edited: Nov 23, 2012, 9:46pm Top

->214 cbl_tn:
It was great, wasn't it. And, yes, I am really looking forward to seeing where it's going with that cliffhanger!!!

->215 lkernagh:
I can't imagine that you won't like it!

217cammykitty
Nov 24, 2012, 12:24am Top

I'll bet the audio of Dracula was fantastic! Tim Curry is just the right person to read that book.

218-Eva-
Edited: Nov 24, 2012, 1:23am Top

It was great - Tim Curry does Van Helsing and does a superb job! They were all very impressive actually - the whole cast list is as follows:

Dr. Seward: Alan Cumming
Jonathan Harker: Simon Vance
Mina Murray/Harker: Katy Kellgren
Lucy Westenra: Susan Duerden
Van Helsing: Tim Curry
Graeme Malcolm: Dailygraph correspondent
Steven Crossley: Zookeeper’s account and reporter
Simon Prebble: Varna
James Adams: Patrick Hennessey
Nicola Barber: Sister Agatha
Victor Villar-Hauser: Arthur Holmwood
Marc Vietor: Quincey Morris
John Lee: Introductory paragraph, various letters

219clfisha
Nov 24, 2012, 6:41am Top

Being a Philistine I didn't like Dracula when I read it, but I am intrigued with the audio version. Tim Curry should be able to breath life into anything!

220cbl_tn
Nov 24, 2012, 7:10am Top

>218 -Eva-: That's an impressive cast! I've listened to audio books read by several of them. They're among the best in the business.

221banjo123
Nov 24, 2012, 6:46pm Top

Glad you enjoyed Dracula--I read it about a year ago and really enjoyed it.

222GingerbreadMan
Nov 25, 2012, 11:22am Top

So, how does a full-cast audio book work? Is the narrative voice of Dracula one of the characters? (Pardonmyignorance...)

223IrishHolger
Nov 25, 2012, 12:47pm Top

DRACULA, the book, is definitely in my All-Time-Favourite list. I have even tried some of Stoker's other novels but they unfortunately have all aged pretty badly and don't hold up as well as DRACULA does. Mind you, given the way the book is written, I am not sure how an audio version would fare but it sounds that yours was first rate.

224mamzel
Nov 26, 2012, 1:14pm Top

Tim Curry must have been a wonderful Van Helsig. He is a great character actor (thinking of Dr. Frank-N-Furter). I'm glad you enjoyed the latest Flavia too.

225-Eva-
Edited: Nov 26, 2012, 4:56pm Top

Yes, definitely a recommended version with pretty much every reader being excellently cast.

->222 GingerbreadMan:
It's all written in journal-entry and letter format, so each part is read by its own writer, so to speak. No Dracula-reader, though, since he doesn't write any of the entries - he's only rendered through the others' writing about him. All dialogue is read by the person whose journal entry it is, i.e. when e.g. Van Helsing has some dialogue lines in Mina's journal, Katy Kellgren reads those as well as the narrative parts.

226lkernagh
Nov 26, 2012, 3:53pm Top

All this talk of Dracula and Van Helsing has me wanting to re-watch the movie Van Helsing with Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale. ;-)

..... Eva, you have twisted my rubber arm. Dracula is in my Epistolary category for 2013 and I will be keeping an eye out for the full-cast audio-version.

227DeltaQueen50
Nov 26, 2012, 4:15pm Top

Eva, I just read Dracula in October, but now you have me wanting to get my hands on the audio all-star version. Perhaps next year for Halloween!

228-Eva-
Edited: Nov 26, 2012, 5:00pm Top

->226 lkernagh:
LOL! I now have Bram Stoker's Dracula with Gary Oldman on my Netflix list. It's been a while since I saw it, but now that I've read the book, that version seems to be the one closest to the original - I just have to rewatch to confirm. :) I may throw in Van Helsing as well, just for kicks!

229avatiakh
Nov 26, 2012, 4:54pm Top

I did that too after reading Dracula a few years ago, had to watch as many Dracula movies as I could manage. I liked 'Shadow of the Vampire' and the Gary Oldman one as it's the closest to the book. I'm tempted to pickup this audio version though, with a cast like that it will be a treat.

230-Eva-
Nov 26, 2012, 5:02pm Top

->227 DeltaQueen50:
Not sure if I'd be due for a reread that soon. :)

->229 avatiakh:
I've not seen Shadow of the Vampire, so I'll add that to my queue as well! If you get a hankering for a reread, this is a great version!

To all: Note that there is a dramatized audio-version as well - that's not this one! This is a regular unabridged version, but with each character having its own reader.

231-Eva-
Nov 27, 2012, 9:29pm Top



#98

Doctor Who: The Feast of the Drowned by Stephen Cole

A naval cruiser sinks and the dead starts to haunt their loved ones and when one of Rose's friends appears as a watery ghost, the doctor must, as always, come to everyone's rescue. This is unfortunately not one of my favorites in the series. The villains are chilling in all the right ways and I could very much picture them being part of the show, but the secondary characters are a little cardboard-y. The main issue, however, is that the story arc is all over the place - I think Russell T. Davies (a genius when it comes to pacing) would have caught this, so I'm thinking that it's due to whoever abridged the audio-version. Tennant is a fantastic reader and renders each character perfectly, but I would still recommend going for a paper copy for this particular Doctor Who-book.

232-Eva-
Nov 27, 2012, 9:30pm Top

This wasn't a great month for me, numbers-wise. Good reads, though. I was (am?) in a bit of a reading slump, but have managed to mow through all seasons of Warehouse 13 and Heroes and have watched a shedload of movies, so it's not as if I've wasted my time completely. :)

November Summary:

Number of books: 4 (not good)
Pages: 1454 (not good)
Off TBR: 3 (OK)
Given away: 2 (OK)
Books bought: 13 (oops... something clearly went awry there...)
TIOLI books: 1

Best read of the month: Dracula by Bram Stoker - just a fantastic audio version of a great classic.
Least good read of the month: Jupiter's Bones by Faye Kellerman - rather a low point in an otherwise good series.

233cammykitty
Nov 27, 2012, 11:14pm Top

Well, Dracula isn't a novel that can be bolted down quickly, even with Tim Curry's help. Not a bad November, and congrats on the 13 new additions to Mt TBR!!! (we are evil enablers here, aren't we!)

234lkernagh
Nov 28, 2012, 1:50am Top

*Looks at Eva's November Summary.... looks at calendar..... checks date....*

.... are you a tad early with this or am I missing days from this week, because if it's the weekend already, I seriously want to know now as I could use a long lie in bed tomorrow!

*as she sheepishly starts watching yet another episode of Warehouse 13.* ;-)

235GingerbreadMan
Nov 28, 2012, 9:16am Top

>234 lkernagh: I think she's planning another book buying binge before the week-end and just deosn't want the monthly numbers through the roof.

Also, Eva, buying tons of books in late november!?? Don't the people about to buy you christmas gifts slap you for such behaviour?

236dudes22
Nov 28, 2012, 12:32pm Top

You know Anders - it amazes me every year that people don't think of that. I love reading and quilting and no one ever gets me a book or book gift card or fabric. It would be the easiest thing ever. Including my husband, who is usually a pretty observant guy. Although one year he did buy me the flat iron I wanted.

237lkernagh
Nov 28, 2012, 3:36pm Top

I agree with Betty. You would think it would be easy for friends and family members of a reader would think of books or gift cards for books as presents. I received two books last year but only because I specifically informed my other half what two books I wanted. He prefers to buy me technology gifts - I have no idea why - and for some reason he seems quite excited at the fact that the flash on my old camera is no longer working...... *rolls eyes*

238GingerbreadMan
Nov 28, 2012, 4:52pm Top

Hahaha "the flash is no longer working"! I tend to get books from Flea, and from the kids (who have strangely impeccable taste in weird fantasy and slipstream and such, for a five year old and a toddler). Dad always buys me a book, but likes getting titles to work with :)

239-Eva-
Edited: Nov 28, 2012, 6:04pm Top

->233 cammykitty:
That's a very good point - in 15+ hours of listening, I could have squeezed in two regular books. :) And, yes, you are all enablers - I'm blaming all of you for me buying books! :)

->234 lkernagh:
LOL! Sorry for the confusion. I relized that I wouldn't be fiishing another book this month, so I just went ahead and did my count. It's not weekend yet (although I wouldn't mind if it was).

->235 GingerbreadMan:
LOL! I'll do some shopping on Friday, exactly at midnight, and then it won't have happened.... Nobody wants to buy me books, so that's the one thing I can shop for myself before Xmas! They say that any book they buy just disappears on a shelf - I've explained to them, but it's no good. My Xmas gift tend to be nice DVD-sets instead - no complaints from me.

->236 dudes22:
As long as you can figure out a good way to make sure they don't get you something you already have. That's been a problem in the past for me that someone gets me that perfect book and it turns out to be so perfect that I already had it...

->237 lkernagh:
LOL! I think he like buying you electronics because that means he can go shopping for electronics... :)

->238 GingerbreadMan:
Your kids have "strangely impeccable taste in weird fantasy"?? You've done very well for yourself, my friend!

240GingerbreadMan
Nov 28, 2012, 6:11pm Top

I know! It's almost like they're getting help or something!

241cbl_tn
Nov 28, 2012, 6:23pm Top

I keep a wishlist on Amazon to make it easy for family & friends, but I rarely get books off the list. Most of the time I get DVDs. I guess my family & friends hope that they'll get to watch with me! I know that was my father's philosophy.

242-Eva-
Edited: Nov 28, 2012, 6:31pm Top

->240 GingerbreadMan:
LOL!

->241 cbl_tn:
I think that's the case for me too... I've (semi-accidentally) found out that I'll be having a James Bond-marathon this Xmas holiday and since I currently don't own any of those movies, I think I know what'll be in at least one of the packages under the tree... :)

243SouthernKiwi
Nov 29, 2012, 2:48am Top

A James Bond marathon sounds like an excellent winter activity :-)

244-Eva-
Nov 29, 2012, 12:19pm Top

Yeah, I have no complaints about that! :)

245-Eva-
Dec 2, 2012, 10:18pm Top



#99

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson finds out he's a demigod when he is attacked by a monster due to a supposed theft, and he has to endanger both his own and his friends' lives to travel to the underworld to clear his name. Fun read about the (now) standard storyline of outcast-kid-finds-home-and-friends-in-magic. So, it's a little bit of a Harry Potter-story (although this isn't nearly as detailed), but Riordan's adding creatures from Greek mythology makes for a different spin. The writing isn't outstanding, but I did enjoy it due to my old love of mythology and being reminded of how petty those mighty gods were is really entertaining. It was absolutely a good enough story for me to want to continue reading the series. Note: This has been made into a rather rubbish film, so if you're wavering between one or the other, the book is definitely the way to go.

246AHS-Wolfy
Dec 3, 2012, 8:12am Top

I read that last year but still haven't continued with the series yet. Like you, I thought it a decent enough read and am looking to carry on with the next book(s) maybe next year.

247mamzel
Dec 3, 2012, 11:35am Top

He has another series about Eqyptian gods which I found intolerable for me as an adult to read though I imagine younger readers with their shorter attention span love. Rather than one protagonist, there are two and they are alternately telling the story with a session of arguing and jabs in between each chapter which I found really annoying.

248christina_reads
Dec 4, 2012, 11:23am Top

I liked the Percy Jackson series, but it's clearly written for children. Not that I have a problem reading children's literature, but with these books it's obvious that I am not the target audience.

249LA12Hernandez
Dec 4, 2012, 1:14pm Top

I agree about the Egyptian series it was not that good. I am reading the Percy Jackson series with my 12 year old niece and it is definitely more fun that way.

250mamzel
Dec 4, 2012, 4:24pm Top

The dwarf in a speedo - Ick!

251-Eva-
Dec 4, 2012, 6:01pm Top

It was slightly too young for me, but since I'm a sucker for mythology I'll give the rest of the series a shot - plus they're quick reads and good for finishing a challenge...

Does the Egyptian one start with The Red Pyramid? I picked that up at the Friends of the Library for $1 this weekend, so I hope it's at least worth that. :)

252banjo123
Dec 4, 2012, 6:44pm Top

The Percy Jackson series is so great for middle schoolers. It gets them into mythology and it's so nice for kids to have a positive spin on ADD and learning disabilities.
One of my daughter's friends has pretty intense ADHD and she LOVED the series and became obsessed with Greek mythology.
Riordan is a middle-school teacher, I think, and really knows his audience.

253-Eva-
Dec 4, 2012, 6:45pm Top

"Riordan is a middle-school teacher"
That definitely makes sense!! Anything that'll get kids (or anyone, actually) interested in mythology is great in my book!

254avatiakh
Dec 4, 2012, 7:17pm Top

I read the first two Percy Jackson books and enjoyed them but never got round to reading any more of them. Will watch your progress.

255hailelib
Dec 4, 2012, 7:45pm Top

I liked The Red Pyramid and several 10 and 11 year old students are really liking the series.

256LauraBrook
Dec 9, 2012, 8:15pm Top

Holy cow! Lots and lots of great reads here, as expected, Eva!

I'm envious that you won Sailor Twain, I've been reading that online for a long time and had to make myself stop at about the halfway mark. The wait each week for a new chapter was killing me so I needed to let it go. Can't wait to get a real copy for myself!

I can't wait for the next Flavia book (the one you read - and a cliffhanger too? Ack!)!!! Wonder if Amazon Canada would let me order both?!?

The Percy Jackson series is one I've always wanted to read, as is How To Train Your Dragon, Geek Love (less enthused about this one, but I found a copy for $1, so...), Carter Beats the Devil, any Doctor Who book in any format, and that audio of Dracula too. I'm saving Drac for next Halloween when the book isn't so fresh in my memory.

257-Eva-
Dec 10, 2012, 10:22pm Top

Thanks! I have been quite fortuitous with the quality of my books this year and am quite grateful for that!

The online version of Sailor Twain had the advantage of also covering the actual creative process, but I wouldn't have had the patience to wait for each new installment either! :)

258-Eva-
Edited: Dec 10, 2012, 10:25pm Top

This is my 500th LibraryThing review!! :)



#100

Blind Eye by Stuart MacBride

DS Logan McRae is on a losing streak which only gets worse when members of Aberdeen's Polish population are viciously attacked, the city is on the verge of gang warfare, and someone on the force is taking direction from at least one of the major warlords. A properly bloody installment in a very gruesome, but quite realistic series; nobody is all good/bad or all clever/stupid and everyone has the potential for heroics or for messing up. I especially enjoyed DI steel's attempts at becoming less rough (so that she and her wife can pass the adoption agency interview) by installing a "swear box" at the office, only to be the only one that has to contribute to it. I do sometimes feel bad for McRae when all forces turn against him, but he can handle it and usually end up, if not on, then at least reasonably close to the top.

259lkernagh
Dec 10, 2012, 11:38pm Top

*Whoot, Whoot*, for your 500th Librarything book review, Eva!

260avatiakh
Dec 11, 2012, 12:10am Top

Congratulations, that's a real milestone!

261-Eva-
Dec 11, 2012, 12:39am Top

Thanks!!! I was quite surprised myself when I noticed.

262SouthernKiwi
Dec 11, 2012, 3:18am Top

500 reviews, wow!

263clfisha
Dec 11, 2012, 3:28am Top

Hey congrats!

264AHS-Wolfy
Dec 11, 2012, 6:59am Top

258, I do need to get to that series at some point. Congrats on the 500th!

265psutto
Dec 11, 2012, 3:51pm Top

Congrats on making 500! Reviews

266mamzel
Dec 11, 2012, 4:41pm Top

Another one! Gotta get going on the plans for the LT Hall of Fame!

267cammykitty
Dec 11, 2012, 5:17pm Top

OMG, that is quite a milestone!!! Congrats!!!

268andreablythe
Dec 11, 2012, 5:36pm Top

WOW! 500 is a lot of reviews! Congrats! :D

269-Eva-
Dec 12, 2012, 1:13pm Top

Thank you all very much! It always feels like I'm getting nowhere in the overwhelming stacks, but that's clearly not the case. Now I just have to figure out how not to add more than I read... :)

270mamzel
Dec 12, 2012, 4:05pm Top

Be sure to share any secrets you learn. I think a lot of us could use some help.

271-Eva-
Dec 12, 2012, 6:24pm Top

It might be an exercise in futility. You fellow LT:ers are very good at encouraging the reading, but you are all so, so much better at encouraging acquisition... :)

272-Eva-
Edited: Dec 12, 2012, 11:42pm Top



#101

Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me by Harvey Pekar and JT. Waldman

Harvey Pekar and JT. Waldman spend a day together in Cleveland, discussing Pekar's growing up with Zionist parents and how his outlook on Israel has changed through the years. A large part of the book is a flyby description of the history of the Middle East and the eventual creation of the State of Israel, which is probably already know to a reader who would pick this book up. The more interesting part for me is obviously Pekar's story about his parents and their different outlooks and how that permeated his thoughts and opinions as a child and youth and, more importantly, the point at which he changed his mind and started being more critical of his previous idealized land. The other interesting part is his discussions about how other Jews sometimes had knee-jerk reactions against him speaking out against Israel - it is indeed a high-tension topic in many circles. It'd been interesting to get a more in-depth discussion, but in its current format it is all that it could be, especially since Pekar passed away before its completion. The epilogue by Joyce Brabner, Pekar's wife, deals mainly with Pekar's funeral and artistically doesn't really fit in this book, but it's an interesting addition for any Pekar fan.

273-Eva-
Dec 13, 2012, 5:46pm Top



#102

The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

The magical borders at Camp Half-Blood are failing and Percy and his friends must retrieve the Golden Fleece from the Island of the Cyclopes or the place they all call home will be destroyed. This installment in the series is a little less engaging than the first (hopefully, it's the all-too-common sophomoric slump), but the quest is still an interesting one, but it feels slightly rush, like its author needed certain pieces of information to be transmitted (foreshadowing?) and just brought the heroes to one place after another without there being an overwhelming threat or urgency. It was a decent enough read to want to continue the series and had some funny moments, but I'm mainly looking forward to seeing the Kronos storyline come to fruition.

274-Eva-
Edited: Dec 13, 2012, 5:48pm Top



#102

David Mitchell: Back Story by David Mitchell

Pretty straightforward story of David "not the novelist" Mitchell's life from clever child to even cleverer comedian, coupled with quite a few "standard" rants about the various things in life that annoy him. The first half about his childhood and life through University (where he spent his time working with Footlights rather than studying) is absolutely hilarious. When the "proper" show-business part of the book starts, though, the story loses momentum and, although interspersed with some funny comments, becomes mainly a chronological recounting of the various shows and people Mitchell has worked with. I was pleased to find out that his favorite thing to do is the panel shows, because it's the format I think he excels at - a well-placed Mitchell-rant in the middle of QI or Mock the Week does wonders for the spirit! Well worth a read if you're a fan of Mitchell's (or indeed of Robert Webb's) and a decent introduction to the man behind the persona if you're not.

275andreablythe
Dec 13, 2012, 5:56pm Top

I've been wondering about starting the Percy Jackson books, but haven't been too drawn to them. The first movie wasn't great, but wasn't bad either, and a second movie is coming out, too.

276-Eva-
Dec 13, 2012, 6:03pm Top

They're OK (and does wonders for my counts on the challenge...), but I wouldn't highly recommend them for adult readers - they are definitely aimed at a younger crowd. I did not know there's another movie coming out. I will go see it!

277andreablythe
Dec 13, 2012, 7:08pm Top

I like books for young readers, so that's not necessarily a turn off. :)

Yeah, I'm probably going to see the movie, too.

278psutto
Edited: Dec 14, 2012, 7:03am Top

I'm a fan of David Mitchell - have you seen the Soapboxes he does (there's an app)? I'll probably get to that book eventually :-)

279-Eva-
Dec 14, 2012, 7:48pm Top

I've seen a few and someone sent me a birthdayrant ecard for my birthday, but I didn't know there was an app - going to go find it now!

280ivyd
Dec 15, 2012, 1:10pm Top

>273 -Eva-: If I recall correctly, The Sea of Monsters was my least favorite of the Percy Jackson series. I really enjoyed that series, but after reading the first 2 of the Egyptian series, I don't think I'll continue with it.

281LauraBrook
Dec 15, 2012, 10:57pm Top

Ah! I'd no idea that David Mitchell wrote a book or had an app! I'm currently flipping through the app and chuckling. Will keep my eyes on the lookout for the book. Great review, Eva!

Anyone know if there's a way to get "QI" or "Mock the Week" in the States?

282-Eva-
Dec 16, 2012, 7:15pm Top

->280 ivyd:
Good - if this was the least good of them, I'm looking forward to continuing! I already have the first in the Egypt series, so I'll give it a try at least, but I'll keep my expectations low.

->281 LauraBrook:

Thanks! The book was published only a couple of months ago and is not pushed in the US because he's not famous enough here, so not that odd if you missed it.

They put out neither QI nor Mock the Week on DVD, so youtube is your friend in those cases - there are a few people who have posted entire series of them.

283-Eva-
Dec 20, 2012, 6:55pm Top



#104

Real Time by Pnina Moed Kass

The story of a terrorist bus bombing and its aftermath, told in real time from the point of views of several characters. The story is not unfamiliar to those who have at least some idea of day to day life in Israel, but what stands out here is the narrative form, having each character tell of their personal history and experience throughout the event. No excuse is made for what happens, but at the same time not much blame is cast either, so each character's motivation (even the suspected bomber’s) is clear and surprisingly understandable. It takes a few pages to get to know the different characters, but after that, the story becomes very engaging. The only complaint I have is that the author - who lives in Israel - erroneously describes the Dome of the Rock as a mosque. The Al-Aqsa Mosque is at the south end of the Temple Mount and has a silver dome, which most of the time looks black; the two buildings aren't easily mistaken. I know it's a small detail, but it's one that irritates me more since it makes me feel the writer has been research-lazy.

284-Eva-
Dec 20, 2012, 6:55pm Top



#105

The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

Yet another rescue mission falls in Percy Jackson's lap, but this time, in addition to the goddess Artemis, his best friend Annabeth needs urgent assistance from her fellow half-blood heroes. Third time's the charm it seems, since this installment of the series is the best so far. The stakes for Percy are incredibly high since it's not just his own life that's endangered, but that of Annabeth. Also, the Kronos plotline is really picking up in this book and he and his cronies (ha!) are getting closer to victory than ever before. I'm enjoying the play on classic myth in this series and Riordan seems to get better and better at mixing the plotlines in a seamless way. This is aimed at the slightly younger range in the YA-sphere than I normally prefer, but the story is fun enough that I'll happily suspend whatever qualms I have about the writing.

285mathgirl40
Dec 21, 2012, 9:23pm Top

I'm enjoying reading your thoughts on the Percy Jackson series. I had read the series at the insistence of my daughter who loves it, and I thought it was a lot of fun. I too had heard the movie is terrible, which is a real shame.

Belated congratulations on your 500th review!

286avatiakh
Dec 21, 2012, 11:53pm Top

That's annoying about Real Time, I read it a few years ago and barely remember it. Have you read Before We Say Goodbye
by Gabriella Ambrosio? I read it around the same time and gave it 3 stars so I obviously wasn't that taken with it, but it covers similar ground.

287-Eva-
Edited: Dec 23, 2012, 5:51pm Top

Real Time is a good read, but I can't tell how memorable it is in the long run. :) I've looked at Before We Say Goodbye, but the reviews have dissuaded me.

288avatiakh
Dec 23, 2012, 6:07pm Top

I think the main reason I read the Ambrosio book was because she's Italian and I try to read translated YA wherever possible.

289DeltaQueen50
Dec 23, 2012, 11:11pm Top

Hi Eva, just dropping by to wish you a Merry Christmas. I am heading out of town immediately after Christmas and won't be back until the New Year. Looking forward to catching up with you over on the 2013 Challenge thread.

290lkernagh
Dec 24, 2012, 1:34am Top

Hi Eva - Stopping by with holiday wishes for you and to cheer you on as you complete your challenge!

291-Eva-
Dec 24, 2012, 3:22pm Top

Thank you Judy & Lori!! Hope you have a great holiday too! Figured I could squeeze in one more review before starting baking. Us Swedes celebrate Christmas today, so dinner has been prepared and only the dessert is left to do. :)



#106

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Kronos’ army is planning on invading Camp Half-Blood via Daedalus' infamous labyrinth and Percy Jackson and his friends must navigate the living maze to find new allies in order to slow the progress of the oncoming war. A very good installment in the series where we get to find out more about who is on which side. Even if the writing is a little too young for my personal taste, I enjoy how the characters are appropriately growing up a bit in order to step up to the challenges that will be presenting themselves once the war reaches its culmination. The mythological parts of the story are very well integrated into the "modern" story and the overall story arc is paced very well. Looking forward to seeing how it all plays out in the next, and last, installment.

292LauraBrook
Dec 25, 2012, 9:34pm Top

Merry Christmas, Eva! I hope you're having a lovely Christmas dinner!

293SouthernKiwi
Dec 25, 2012, 10:36pm Top

Merry Christmas and all the best for 2013, Eva! I hope you have a lovely holiday break.

294-Eva-
Dec 27, 2012, 11:34pm Top

Thank you Laura & Alana! Had a great dinner (and fantastic leftovers), so I'm very content with the holiday - hope you had a great time too!



#107

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

In this, the battle for Mount Olympus (and its current host, Manhattan), Percy Jackson and his demi-god friends must pull out all the stops and use their collected knowledge and wisdom to fight back Kronos’ army. An excellent, and action-packed, culmination to the series - all the characters are cashing in on their previous experience from preparing for battle. I did appreciate that Riordan used what we have learned about the characters from the previous installments - even tidbits we never thought of - to make sure that the ending worked, rather than being lazy and having some deus ex machina-solution take over and solve it for them. Very good series, even though the writing is a little bit younger than I personally prefer.

295-Eva-
Dec 27, 2012, 11:35pm Top



#108

Dead Herring by Actus

An oversized album, collecting stories from Tel Aviv-based comic collective, Actus, along with short stories by Etgar Keret and contributions from various international graphic artists. This isn't my favorite of Actus' work, mainly because it feels as if they're trying to fit too much into too few pages. Usually, their collections consist of stories from the five of them and one additional guest artist and here there are very short contributions from eight others (in a total of 120 pages). The best of the stories are well on par with other Actus-collections: Yirmi Pinkus’s “Rodnitzky’s Agony” is a great commentary on personal versus private life; Itzik Rennert’s “Bombshell” is a funny fable about the dangers of secrets; Batia Kolton’s “Compensation” is somewhat long, but has a great twist at the end; Mira Friedmann’s “So Far So Good” is a sad story about what loneliness can do to a person; and the Etgar Keret's stories are always worth the time (although both have been published elsewhere). Unfortunately, it's the guest artists' works that appeal to me the least, but the collection is still worth a look for the works of the Actus-artists.

296-Eva-
Dec 27, 2012, 11:36pm Top

December Summary:

Number of books: 10 (very good)
Pages: 3041 (very good)
Off TBR: 10 (very good)
Given away: 6 (very good)
Books bought: 8 (OK)
TIOLI books: 0 (guess I forgot about that...)

Best read of the month: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan - great culmination of a very good series
Least good read of the month: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan - the least good installment in the otherwise good series

297-Eva-
Dec 27, 2012, 11:36pm Top

Well, that's me done for the year!! The goal was to get 75 books off of Mt. TBR and it "only" took me 108 books to get there. :) Bringing on the, by now, traditional dancing girls!!



Santa came by with the James Bond-series on DVD, so I'll spend the rest of the year working my way through that. So far, I'm going to go ahead and say that Daniel Craig is my favorite Bond. Sean is always Sean, but after watching Jean Dujardin's Agent OSS 117, I can't help but snicker when Connery does his "smooth-guy" face. Moore is funny, and I do like funny, but his installments verge on silly and there needs to be a little bit of gravitas or the danger goes missing. I'm not even going to comment on Lazenby... Anyways, I've yet to tackle Dalton and Brosnan, but I doubt either of them will surpass Craig. We'll see, though.

Hope you all had a great holiday and will have a great new year! I'll be over here in 2013 for my Proclaimers-themed challenge - hope to see you there!

298-Eva-
Edited: Dec 27, 2012, 11:44pm Top

Challenge Statistics for 2012:

Number of books: 108
Total number of pages: 34,771 (average 322 pages/book)

Most prolific reading month: July - 13 books
Least prolific reading month: November - 4 books

Acquired in 2012: 33
Acquired before 2012: 75

49 female authors
76 male authors

Author nationality - top 5:
1. USA (42)
2. UK (39 - E: 29, S: 8, W: 1, NI: 1)
3. Israel (17)
4. Sweden (8)
5. Ireland (2)

Original language - top 5:
1. English (89)
2. Hebrew (11)
3. Swedish (8)

Top Five:
1. Suddenly, a Knock on the Door by Etgar Keret
2. The Complaints by Ian Rankin
3. Eld by Mats Strandberg and Sara Bergmark Elfgren
4. Borstal Boy by Brendan Behan
5. When the Air Hits Your Brain by Frank T. Vertosick Jr.

Bottom Five:
1. It Takes A Wizard by Thomas Hart and Sean Lam
2. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
3. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
4. Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
5. The Magicians by Lev Grossman

299andreablythe
Dec 28, 2012, 12:05am Top

Congrats on finishing! Yay!!

300avatiakh
Dec 28, 2012, 12:21am Top

Congratulations on finishing, still love those dancing girls!!

301-Eva-
Dec 28, 2012, 12:33am Top

Thank you both!! Yes, the girls are good, aren't they - they make me happy. :)

302SouthernKiwi
Dec 28, 2012, 12:35am Top

Congratulations on finishing your challenge Eva, those dancing girls are brilliant!

303lkernagh
Dec 28, 2012, 3:12am Top

Congratulations on finishing, Eva.... and for bringing back the dancing girls!

304AHS-Wolfy
Dec 28, 2012, 3:33am Top

Yay! for the dancing girls. And btw, congrats for completing your challenge, Eva.

305mathgirl40
Dec 28, 2012, 7:35am Top

Congratulations on finishing, Eva!

306cbl_tn
Dec 28, 2012, 7:35am Top

Congratulations Eva!

307dudes22
Dec 28, 2012, 2:18pm Top

Congratulations on finishing! I'm at work and can't see the dancing girls but I think I remember them from last year. Will check when I get home. And going over to make sure you are starred for next year. See you there!

308cammykitty
Dec 28, 2012, 4:04pm Top

Congrats!!! Love the girls!

309IrishHolger
Dec 28, 2012, 4:45pm Top

297: Glad to hear you're enjoying the OSS 117 films. You are talking about the recent ones, don't you? I heard great things about them and plan to watch them soon.

310GingerbreadMan
Dec 28, 2012, 7:07pm Top

>297 -Eva-: Ooh, I've missed the ladies for a year. Great to see them again! Congratulations on finishing, and hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I'm sticking around here for a few more days before eading over to the 2013 group. Looking forward to seeing you there! Smooch!

311LauraBrook
Dec 29, 2012, 11:10pm Top

Congratulations, Eva! See you on your (already impressively long) 2013 thread!!!!

312-Eva-
Dec 30, 2012, 12:53pm Top

Thank you all!! The dancing girls have become a staple by now, so they'll have to be brought back every year. :)

->309 IrishHolger:
Yes, the recent ones! They are so hilariously politically incorrect and Dujardin does a fantastic version of smooth secret agent. :)
vs.

->311 LauraBrook:
LOL! Yes, trust me to be chatty... :)

I'll be watching movies and reading comic books for the rest of the year and then I'll head over and start my 13-in-13 challenge as well! See you there!

313christina_reads
Jan 1, 2013, 6:53pm Top

Belated congrats from me too, Eva. See you at the 2013 challenge!

314clfisha
Jan 2, 2013, 5:20am Top

Congrats & belated Happy New Year. Now over to the 2013 thread.

315psutto
Jan 7, 2013, 9:45am Top

just catching up to say congrats & see you over on the 2013 thread

I got the David Mitchell back story book as a present so will definitely read it now ;-)

316-Eva-
Jan 7, 2013, 5:15pm Top

Thanks all!

->315 psutto:
Looking forward to seeing what you think of it!!

Group: The 12 in 12 Category Challenge

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