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Reading Through The World

Reading Through The World

Journey with me as my books take me around the world and beyond.

 

Currently reading

The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde, Camille Cauti
The Way of Kings
Brandon Sanderson
Reblogged from Karen's books:

I don't even feel bad.  Sorry, not sorry.

Junkyard Dogs

Junkyard Dogs  - Craig Johnson This is one of my favorite series. I love Walt and Henry so much! Both are great characters: complex, loyal, and funny.

This one keeps us close to home, with Walt investigating an accident, family conflicts, and murders. Absaroka County is a tough place to live, for sure. All of our favorites are back in this one: Sancho, Lucien, Vic, and Dog. What starts out as a family feud quickly escalates into a much larger conspiracy, and I had no idea whodunnit until it was spelled out to me, in typical Johnson fashion. He's the master of the plot twist. I never figure it out, but once he tells us who and why, everything makes sense. He seems to be channeling Agatha Christie.

Another really great installment. Read this series!

I Am Malala

I Am Malala - Malala Yousafzai It is a miracle that Malala is alive to tell her tale. She shares her story, from growing up in Pakistan, living through the Taliban, and her life now in England.

Talk about a reality check. This book really helped me to realize how much I take for granted in America. I can't imagine living in a world where so many things are dictated to me: how I dress, who I leave the house with, even my education. I found myself shaking my head as I read, unwilling to believe the world I was having described.

Stay in school, kids. Appreciate your precious freedoms. Argue, explore, and live life!

Liv, Forever

Liv, Forever - Amy Talkington Insta-love and paranormal all rolled into a ball at boarding school. I nearly broke something with the strength of my eye rolling, but it was ok overall. The main character is annoying and unrealistic--a Mary Sue of an artist who got into a prestigious boarding school based on her extreme talent in--get this, COLLAGES. Really? She has bad grades but they want the collage maker to come as a scholarship student? Ok, sure. I'll overlook it, but I'm subtracting a star. Spoiler alert: she doesn't get less annoying in death. The two male main characters are stereotypical, but I liked them both by the end.

Ok but definitely not great. Overall 2 stars of "meh".

A Little Fruitcake: A Childhood in Holidays

A Little Fruitcake: A Childhood in Holidays - David Valdes Greenwood Cute little holiday vignettes from his childhood, each one covering a different year.

Ruth's First Christmas Tree

Ruth's First Christmas Tree - Elly Griffiths A short story about Ruth and Kate's first Christmas together.

Ghost at Work

Ghost at Work - Carolyn Hart The unlikeable main character killed anything I liked about this book. Vain, self-centered, and all-around annoying. It's unfortunate because I thought it was a cute concept.

Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories

Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories - Craig Johnson A collection of short stories written around the holidays. Always fun to visit Absaroka County with Walt, Henry, and the gang. But mainly I visit for Walt and Henry.

Red Rising

Red Rising  - Pierce Brown Caste systems on Mars. Teenagers playing war games at Command School with life or death consequences. Deception, disguises, and subterfuge. Welcome to Red Rising.

The first part of the book was slow, and I almost gave up on it. I did not get attached to Darrow or Eo, and did not care about their harsh life under the surface of Mars. But I found myself enjoying the story much more from Part 2 on, although the book was plodding at times and I never did get attached to Darrow. He's just too perfect. He was better at everything and it was tiring to read. But I enjoyed the politics of the story and the world building was solid. I will eventually read book 2. 3 stars.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See This book is lovely. Simply lovely.

We follow Snow Flower and Lily, pledged in a lifelong laotong friendship from the early days of their foot binding. Through growing up, betrothal, marriage, children, love, war, and loss they share their lives and their secrets, until misunderstanding and pride tear them apart. It's a novel about friendship, but it's also so much more. It's a reflection from an old woman on her life and the decisions she has made along the way. Did I mention it is beautifully written? Because it is. And sad, and happy, and moving. Just like life.

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin I adore books about books! Once a bookseller, always a bookseller.

I'm not even sure what to say about this book because I don't want to give away too much of the plot. A.J. Fikry is a widowed bookstore owner on Alice Island, living a lonely existence above his shop and drinking too much in the evenings, until something happens in his shop that changes his life. Peppered with literary references, smart dialogue, and interesting characters, the community of Alice Island, Massachusetts comes alive (and yes, it's a real place, and yes, I would like to visit it, but only in the summer).

I will admit, I got a little teary-eyed at the end. Don't tell anyone, but I'm sometimes sappy about love, life, and books. And this novel has all three.

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel - Gabrielle Zevin I adore books about books! Once a bookseller, always a bookseller.

I'm not even sure what to say about this book because I don't want to give away too much of the plot. A.J. Fikry is a widowed bookstore owner on Alice Island, living a lonely existence above his shop and drinking too much in the evenings, until something happens in his shop that changes his life. Peppered with literary references, smart dialogue, and interesting characters, the community of Alice Island, Massachusetts comes alive (and yes, it's a real place, and yes, I would like to visit it, but only in the summer).

I will admit, I got a little teary-eyed at the end. Don't tell anyone, but I'm sometimes sappy about love, life, and books. And this novel has all three.

Valkyrie Rising

Valkyrie Rising - Ingrid Paulson Elsa, Warrior Princess, finds herself in Norway. Who doesn't love a Norse mythology book? Apparently me.

You are looking at an average teen drama. Romance, eye-rolling dialogue, angst and self-doubt. Elsa is spending the summer with her kick-ass grandmother in Norway. Conveniently, her crush is tagging along by way of her big brother. Can you feel the tension? I know I could. When she arrives she begins to discover the power within her. Elsa is a Valkyrie, and a pretty powerful one, just like her grandmother. When the town is in trouble, she and her grandmother team up to save the world. Lots of potential here to tell an interesting story but it got lost in the teen angst. A pity, because I saw glimpses of a good story along the way. But Ellie's character was too whiny and meek for me, and her transformation fell flat. Loki and her grandmother were interesting, but the rest just missed the mark.

In the end, it was just ok. 2 stars.

A Room Full of Bones: A Ruth Galloway Mystery

A Room Full of Bones: A Ruth Galloway Mystery - Elly Griffiths Definitely my least favorite book of the series so far.

This time around, Ruth finds herself called to a museum for the opening of a medieval bishop's coffin, and stumbles onto murder. But the archaeology and forensics this time around are barely a part of the plot. We spend nearly half of the book with motherhood and relationship dramas and get very little time with the actual crimes occurring. Since we barely get into the crime part of the part, I found myself not caring about the outcome either way.
Ruth is continues her path of self-sabotage and ignores a true chance at happiness while forever pining away for Nelson. Ruth, you can do much, much better. I want to love this series, I really do, but I'm not sure I will continue on past book 5. Last chance, Ruth.

P.S. Why drop a bombshell about the bishop's bones and barely dig into it? Why put that in there at all? Seemed like it was for shock value and then dropped. Not necessary, and also not realistic to "diagnose" at a glance.

The House at Sea's End

The House at Sea's End - Elly Griffiths I don't know why I keep reading these books. They make me so mad. I guess my love of archaeology, mysteries, and Cathbad outweigh my frustrations with Ruth and Nelson, who I equally want to box upside the head, but for different reasons.

This mystery was set in the more recent past than the first two books, but followed much of the same formula. A murder in the past, Ruth called in to assist with the bone identification (forensic archaeology has to be one of the coolest jobs), Nelson running around being a big bore while Ruth drowns in self doubt and loathing. Then Ruth is in danger, naturally, and the crime is solved.

None of the characters, save Cathbad and Irish Ted, are particularly likable, and the rampant infidelity at every turn is grinding on my last nerve. Seriously, people, grow up and think about how your actions impact others. All of you. Now. I'm giving you one last chance in book 4.

The Winter Sea

The Winter Sea  - Susanna Kearsley I loved this book! My mom and sister both read it and recommended it to me. Gorgeous writing, gorgeous setting, and a unique plot winding historical fiction and the present into one beautiful package, with some romance thrown in to make the past come alive.

Carrie is a writer (I just love books about books, don't you?) and she finds herself drawn to the ruins of a castle in Scotland. She decides her book should be set there, and as she writes she finds her story becoming reality. Is she dealing with ancestral memories guiding her story? And will she be able to handle the truth she is uncovering?

Smartly plotted, I really enjoyed exploring a part of history not often written about in historical novels. I will definitely read the next book in the series.