Saturday, December 9, 2017

December's bookish art...

Jessie Marion King -- The Magic Grammar
"And she read! ... not because someone advised her to, 
not even for self betterment, 
not so as to acquire more interesting conversation, 
but out of passion."
-- James J. Healey

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A bookish journey to Budapest...

Title: Katalin Street
Author:  Magda Szabo
Summary:  In prewar Budapest, the Elekes, Held and Biro families live side by side on gracious Katalin Street, their lives closely intertwined, their four children inseparable. Then, in 1944, during the German occupation, all their hopes and dreams for the future are shattered. Lives are lost. And those who survive are forever changed. They are haunted, not only by their own guilt and sorrow, but by their longing to return to their former lives on Katalin Street.

Adjectives that describe this novel:  introspective, poignant, and bleak

Favorite quotes from Katalin Street:
There were several ornaments and objects from her former home too, but none of them conjured up the magic he had been hoping for. Iren's new abode had turned out to be nothing like the one in Katalin Street, and even here he was haunted by the sense of being somewhere else. The marriage to Iren had showed him that she yearned and pined for Katalin Street just as much as he did, that she had not found it, and neither had her parents, who were locked in the same hopeless quest to recover it ... This tyranny of somewhere else was a cruel one. It stopped Balint from seeing both the reality that existed and what he would have liked that reality to be.
The people who were with me on that day were imprinted on my memory--some of them permanently, some for many years afterward--exactly as they were at the time...
It was the first time in my life that I had an inkling that the dead are not dead but continue living in this world, in one form or another, indestructibly...
It is not only facts that are irreversible, our past reactions and feelings are too. One can neither relive them not alter them.
This isn't exactly a happy read, but it is an interesting and thoughtful one. (It's also not very long.) I  like reading about Europe, and World War II, and the time period following it during the Soviet occupation; I think it's important for all of us to know and remember what those times were like for the people who had to endure them. So even though this novel is a little depressing and sad...

Happy Reading!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Wrapping up The Backlist Reader Challenge...

So the whole point of this challenge (hosted by Lark at The Bookwyrm's Hoard) was to finally read some of those older books that have been piling up on your TBR pile and TBR list. Which made it a great challenge for me 'cause I've got a pile of books in my room waiting to be read and an even longer TBR list of book titles I've been meaning to read for years. The best part of this challenge is that I got to set my own goals for it. So last January, I picked ten books from my TBR list that I wanted to read in 2017.

How did I do?

I read 8/10! And six of those were books from off my own TBR shelf. So not too bad. Here are the books I read:

Thanks, Lark, for hosting this challenge! I had a lot of fun...and I read some books this year that I probably wouldn't have read otherwise. 

My favorite of the eight:  The Radleys followed closely by Dance Night and Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand.
My least favorite:  We Hear the Dead

Happy Reading!

P.S. I should probably repeat this challenge again next year because I have a new stack of books piling up in my room and even more books I want to read on my TBR list. It's a neverending bookish mountain that I seem to be climbing. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A little YA fun...

They are the lost causes:  Sandra, Gabby, Justin, Z, and Andrew. Five teens struggling with drug addiction, OCD, anger issues, depression and hypochondria; five teens who everyone has given up on. Which makes them the perfect subjects to assist the FBI in tracking down a killer, all with a little help from a secret serum that unlocks an untapped psychic ability in each of them. Suddenly, Sandra can see ghosts, Gabby has visions of the past, Justin can move objects with his mind, Z can hear the thoughts of others, and Andrew 's brain can process information like some kind of genius. Which only leaves two questions:  Can they trust these newfound gifts?  And what isn't the FBI telling them?

This YA novel requires a little upfront suspension of disbelief in order to truly enjoy it. But if you can get past the absurdness of the FBI having an ESP-inducing serum that only works on teens and that they would recruit a bunch of misfit delinquents to help them solve one of their cases...this ends up being a very entertaining read. In The Lost Causes, authors Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz have created five quirky characters that are genuinely likeable. Seeing them bond as friends as well as try to solve the FBI's case on their own were some of my favorite parts. I also enjoyed the bits with them trying to figure out their new psychic abilities. I cared less about the whole FBI investigation, especially at the beginning of the book, but even that got more interesting and more suspenseful as the story went along. There was even a good twist at the end that made the initial premise more believable. All in all, I thought this was a fun read. And if the authors ever decide to write a sequel, I will be checking it out.

Happy Reading!

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad

  • Mandy Wilks, sixteen and missing
  • Frank Rath, current PI and former police detective with a teen-age daughter of his own.
  • Sonja Test, Canaan's "forensics team-of-one", mother & marathoner
  • Harland Grout, detective on the Canaan police force
  • Ned Preacher, the man who murdered Rath's sister and who's up for parole...and out for revenge
Where:  Rural Vermont

What:  Girls are going missing without a trace; beautiful Mandy Wilks is just the latest victim. And no one knows why...or who is taking them. But Rath is determined to find a connection and figure out the truth, while keeping his own daughter, Rachel, safe.
"Wherever there were girls, some would go missing, plucked like errant threads from the fabric of  everyday life and cast into a lurid nightmare of someone else's making. Movies created suspense out of a 'forty-eight-hour window' cops had to find a girl alive, as if kidnapped girls had a 'kill-by" date. The colder reality remained:  A girl gone missing against her will, nine times out of ten, was dead within three hours."
The Verdict:  I didn't love this book, but I did like it enough to want to read the sequel, and not just because of the cliffhanger ending in this one. Rath is a flawed, but dogged detective; I liked him more as the novel went on, but I think Sonja was my favorite character. I like the way she and Rath work together. Too bad she wasn't in this book more. The mystery surrounding Mandy's and the other girls' disappearances was good:  interesting and intense, but not necessarily mind-blowing. I'm hoping the next one, The Name of Dead Girls, is better. That's why I'm off to put it on hold.

Happy Reading!

Friday, November 24, 2017

My non-fiction reads of 2017:

The ones about famous people, past and present:

And the not-so-famous people who have important stories to tell:

Then there's the scary scenarios:

The one I just finished reading:

And the one I'm currently reading:

What non-fiction book do you think I should read next?

Happy Reading!