The Sunday Salon – Long Books and Loot

For the second week in a row, I’ve been in a one week, one book relationship.  The first was a non-fiction book that I was having some issues with (I wasn’t liking it so much and found some of it annoying so it took me longer, even longer than my normal slow pace associated with non-fiction books because there were times I thought about winging it far from my being.) and the second week was consumed by an almost 800 page historical fiction tome that, well, it just took me a long time to read.  I did enjoy it though so there are no complaints.  🙂

So what book was it?  The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick.  Last year, I read her Arthurian legend trilogy, Pendragon’s Banner, loved it so much I knew I needed to read more and when I saw this one, I bought it.  Lately my restraint tactics which I practiced all last year in regard to buying books have been tossed casually into a black hole from which they will never ever return.  Although, the new books are all ebooks so they aren’t taking up any physical space which is probably why I’ve kept at the buying the last few days with little regard for anything other than how much money is left on my gift cards.  The answer to that is not much.  I also picked up A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin (can’t wait for it!) and Un Lun Dun by China Mieville.  I read two of his books last year and he’s becoming a favorite.

To show there’s more to me than just hitting the download button, I also stopped by the library (thanks honey for double parking and deftly avoiding a ticket) and picked up two books that I’m looking forward to reading.  OK, one I already started…

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach.  Mary Roach writes the funniest and most entertaining non-fiction books I’ve ever read and this is going to be the perfect one to get me back on the non-fiction wagon which I jumped off of in January.  My second book is A Conspiracy of Kings by Meghan Whalen Turner.  I thought, really believed, that I had finished this series last year but I didn’t and well, that needed to be fixed and now I have the final book and all is well.

I’m off now.  My husband has informed me there is football stuff to be watched.  Happy Sunday everyone and enjoy the game!

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Today’s Book with Extra Book Bits

I’m about to finish The Woman in Black by Susan Hill.  It’s a ghost story and while it has it’s conventional parts, it feels more like a slow moving thriller and it works wonderfully.  She dishes out details slowly, building a lot of tension for the ending I know is coming.  The best word to describe it would be atmospheric.  It has long, lush sentences that evoke a foreboding for the horrible ending.  It reminds me a lot of Shirley Jackson whose storytelling has the same feel.  In case, you’re wondering how I know what’s coming — I read the end already.

I haven’t done a library loot in forever so here goes.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (See above.)

Time Travelers Never Die by Jack McDevitt (On my list and it fits a challenge, a twofer book.)

Savage Kingdom: The True story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America by Benjamin Woolley (I read a book last year about Jamestown and loved it so I’m trying another.  We’ll see if my interest holds up through this one.)

Also new to me but not a library loaner is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.  I’ve been craving this one since it came through the door and it’s so my next book.  Admire that cover.  I love, love, love it.  Can’t really say why but the sapphire blue cover is working for me.

Library Loot – The last time I go without a list…

Last Friday, I decided to head over to the library and see what the stacks had to offer.  This will be the last time I do this — at least for the next few months that is.  I left when I couldn’t carry anything else and almost dropped what I was holding while standing in line because my circulation was being cut off by the books I was holding.  I over did it…but I have no regrets!

The Mosaic of Shadows by Tom Harper.  It’s a historical mystery, and even though mysteries are not my thing (I spend too much time trying to figure out who did it that I forget to enjoy the story.), this one looked really interesting and I love the back drop.  I started it today and so far so good.

Fire in the East by Harry Sidebottom.  This is the first book in the Warrior of Rome series and I’m a sucker for anything that promises Roman soldiers.

A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer.  I’ve never heard of this author before but I wanted some fantasy and this one was on the shelf.  It’s a series, so if it pleases, the second will be coming home as well.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach.  My husband loves watching the NASA channel.  Do know what happens on the NASA channel?  A whole lotta nothing.  BUT, he likes it so I endure.  Anyway, we both saw a review for Packing for Mars and we lucked out and managed to get it without having to wait eons for it.

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell.  I’m attempting to read every Cornwell book my library has which is a lot.  I took a break after reading a few of his books earlier this year but couldn’t pass this up — it’s the Saxon trilogy.  I cannot express how excited I am about this book!  🙂

The Burning Times by Jeanne Kalogridis.  I love Kalogridis’s writing but my library doesn’t have many on her backlist.  I’ve been trying to get a hold of this book for a while and it was there waiting for me this time.  It’s set in 14th Century France with Knights Templar, witchcraft, the Black Death, and the Hundred Years War all thrown in.

The Clouds Beneath the Sun by Mackenzie Ford.  This is set in Kenya in 1961.  I have to admit that the cover got me and that’s why it came home but the story sounds very intriguing as well.

Enchanted Ground by Sarah Woodhouse.  I’m not sure how I ended up with this book but it promises a lot of family drama and looks sad and wonderful all at the same time.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a cover for this book.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Marg and Claire that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Library Loot – August 20th Edition

This week’s library loot is an odd mix of books — Anglo-Saxons, French medieval history, time travel, Greek mythology, and the Jamestown settlement.  I’m at a bit of a loss to explain how I ended up with this lot, sooo, instead of waiting for me to come up with something witty, let’s just get to the loot.

The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America by Lorri Glover and Daniel Blake Smith.  I was doing a general history search since I’ve been feeling a little historically deficient lately and found this.  I started it earlier in the week and so far it’s very interesting.

Achilles by Elizabeth Cook.  This one’s fiction and looks like a tasty little bit of reading.

The House on the Strand by Daphne Du Maurier.  Time travel, 14th Century France — there is nothing more that I want in a book.

Life in Medieval France by E.R. Chamberlin.  This is sort of a reference book and doesn’t have any cover art so enjoy the red little beauty I found as a place holder.  Oddly, for a book with no cover artwork, there are a ton of photos inside.

The Anglo-Saxons by James Campbell, Eric John, and Patrick Wormald.  I picked this one up for A Tournament of Reading Challenge.  Again, amazed by the amount of pictures in this one too.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Marg and Claire that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

The Sunday Salon – Birthday Wishes, Library Loot, and an Excellent Read This Week

First — HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

I had to take a moment to wish my Mom a great day today. Love you Mom!

Now, the library loot. I was planning to do this post yesterday but got hung up running a million and one errands yesterday and didn’t find time to sit so today it is.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I put this one on hold in the hopes that I would have it for Jenny’s Books’s Diana Wynne Jones Week but it didn’t arrive in time. I’m a few chapters in and enjoying it. This book has been on my list for so long and I was worried that I would be disappointed by it (you know that whole books living up to expectations complex) but it’s good and funny. I thought the main character was going to bother me but once I got to understand her a bit, she’s grown on me and now I find myself happily following her along on the strange little journey she’s taken to find her fortune.

The Thieves of Manhattan by Adam Langer. I will admit that I know nothing about this book. I took it home with me without even checking what it was about but I have a feeling I am going to love it. I read the first few sentences and was completely taken in. When I dropped the books on the table my husband picked it up and asked if he could read it too. Maybe it’s the stark cover or the title, I don’t know, but I can’t wait.

The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. Oh yes, now I get to found out what happens to Gen. You see, Gen is a Queen’s thief for a neighboring country and he’s managed to fall in love with the Queen of Attolia. Now, in the name of not giving it all away, I’ll stop there but I’m so looking forward to this one.

Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch. I browse the new arrivals shelf when I have time and this one was there with its intriguing cover. It looks sad, depressing, and I’m not sure there is a happy or even a little less depressing end to the story but there was something that made me want to read it. It’s about brothers who live together on a crumbling upstate New York farm. When one dies the other two are suspected of murder.

I had a good week of reading last week. Here’s the wrap-up:

The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

The Queen of Attolia was good and I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

The Road. What do I say about this book other than it was probably one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It’s about a post-apocalyptic world where the only survivors are left to fend for themselves in world with nothing left to give. The stark writing mirrors the situation of the characters. It’s sad, disturbing, disgusting, and honestly scared me more than anything I think I may have ever read. At one point I thought I might have to pull a Joey and put the book in the freezer but decided to push on, mostly because I couldn’t put it down. I don’t know if I will ever be able to read another McCarthy book, we have No Country for Old Men on the shelf, and while my husband assures me that it’s not as violent or disturbing, I don’t think I can do it. There is one scene in this book that actually made me put the book down and walk away from it and the hubby seeing this, the following conversation occurred:

“The basement scene.”

“What?”

“The basement scene. That’s what you just read wasn’t it?”

“Uh, yeah. How did you know? I thought you said you didn’t read this one.”

“I didn’t but that scene is legendary.”

“Legendary. Legendary! I don’t think I want to read anymore today. I’m freaked. I think I’ll go watch Shark Week in the bedroom for a while.”

Yes, the basement scene. I plan to include it in my review so I will say no more. Let’s just say I was so glad to pick up Harry Potter after that book. I needed a safe place after that. I still stand by what I said though — fabulous book and one of the best I’ve read.

Next week will be all about whales and kraken so I need to get writing and editing a few reviews.

Enjoy your Sunday fellow readers. 🙂

Sunday Salon – A Little Library Loot & A Little of This and That

I skipped last week’s Sunday Salon to sleep late. I had a Friday Library Loot post in the works and decided to again sleep late. See a pattern? Yes, I like my sleep. This Sunday, I thought I’d clear up two posts in one so off we go.

First, the library loot.

The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. I read The Thief a few months back and enjoyed it so on the library wait list I went for next two books in the series, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia. Unfortunately, The King arrived before the Queen so I took it off my list and waited patiently for the Queen to arrive which she finally did this week. The thief, Gen, is back and this time he’ll be stealing a man, a queen, and some peace to make it a hat trick.

Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones. This is for the Diana Wynne Jones Week being hosted by Jenny at Jenny’s Books. It takes place August 1 – 7. I know I’m a bit early with my book but considering my luck with the library holds system, which is pretty much nada, I thought it best to put my request in early. I was planning to read Howl’s Moving Castle since that one has been on my list for eons but this one really caught my eye. Kids, boarding school, witchcraft…yes, it’s for me. I’m looking forward to cracking this one open.

Now, the this and that.

I tend to browse NPR online, mostly I listen in the car, but when I need a break I like to check out the books section and see what’s being talked about. Last week I found this – Killer Thrillers: Vote for the 100 Best Ever.

I’m not a thriller person. I do read them everyone once in a while but it’s not my genre of choice. I’m a historical fiction and fantasy type but I have a co-worker who is a fan and he’s been gracious enough to lend me a few. And I’ll admit that I have on my own gone out and bought a few because I find them to be great reads for plane rides since they have a tendency to suck you in which is a fabulous way to ignore the person clutching the seat next to you and asking the flight attendant for anything with vodka in it. (Is it just me or do other people have to sit next to people like this on planes? I have trouble thinking it’s just me…) Anyway, I thought some out there might find the list interesting. I haven’t read many on the list but did find a few to add to the list.

I Write Like. This is a website that analyses your writing style and tells you who you write like. I put in a few samples but haven’t had the chance yet to explore further. So who did it tell me I write like? Drum roll please…

James Joyce

David Foster Wallace

H.P. Lovecraft

Cory Doctrow

Ha! Yes, I laughed too. It’s good clean internet fun so have at it folks.

Well, that’s all for me this week. But one final thing — this week’s wrap-up. I read:

The Scarlet Contessa by Jeanne Kalogridis

The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea by Philip Hoare

I’m currently reading Kraken by China Miéville and it’s strange, downright weird, funny, and lovingly sarcastic. I have to admit that I might have found a new author to faun over.

Happy Sunday! If you’re in the Mid-Atlantic enjoy the air-conditioning.

Library Loot – Giving Up on Holds and Browsing the Stacks

Usually, I make liberal use of the holds system at my library. Lately, it hasn’t been working to my advantage. This week, I had some extra time and several books to return, so I thought, why not just browse. With a list of authors and books I’d like in hand, I set off for the stacks. I limited myself to three books since I also did a quick peruse of the at home shelves and picked out a few forgotten books that are longing to be read.

Here’s what I came home with.

The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn. I came across this one a few weeks ago and was thrilled to see it on the shelf. I’ve not read any of Raybourn’s books and I’ve read a few reviews that said this wasn’t as good as her other books but since I haven’t read them, I’m not worried. Ignorance can sometimes be a good thing when it comes to a new author. This one is about a woman named Theodora who abandons her life and heads to Rumania where rumors of vampires still run rampant. There are castles and counts and brooding noblemen and I’m guessing from the cover pic, some romance and heavy breathing as well. Not sure how I feel about that yet but we’ll see.

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti. I’ve been wanting to read this one for so long but never got around to adding it to the hold pile. I thought I’d take a shot and see if it might be available and, poof, there is was. It’s supposed to be gothic and spooky and richly imagined — OK, so that’s what the cover says and, yes, I fell for it. Abandoned as a small child, twelve year old Ren is missing his left hand, has no idea how he lost it, and has no idea who his family is. When a man appears at the orphanage claiming to be his brother, he convinces the monks to let him go with the man in the hopes that he will solve the mystery that is his life.

The Rosetta Key by William Dietrich. I was hoping for Napoleon’s Pyramids but this was all they had of Dietrich’s books so off the shelf it came. Thieves, sea voyages, armies, mysterious medallions, Egyptian scrolls…not sure what more can be added here but it sounds like a good summer read on a hot day by a lake.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!