Top Ten Tuesday: Quick Reads Under 250 Pages

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

March 21: Read In One Sitting Theme: ten of the shortest books I’ve read, top ten books I read in one sitting, ten books to read when you are short on time, top ten books that will make you read the whole day away, etc.

Back when I first got my Nook I was all hot and heavy into the free books offered on B&N.  Also, the first year blogging held a Novella November in a blatant effort to cheat at my reading goals for the year. Now I’m all about quality over quantity and have been reading fewer shorter books, but they are still over on my read shelf on Goodreads.  For the purpose of this week’s lists I am going to share with you 10 short stand-alone books I’ve read under 250 pages, perfect length for an afternoon read on a rainy spring day.

Ten short stand-alone reads under 250 pages.

  1. The Egg 4 Pages (go read it here): This is a very short story and I almost didn’t include it as it should only take you a few minutes to read.  The reason it is on this week’s list, however, is because it is so good.  I’ve included the link so you can go read it for yourself.  You won’t be disappointed.
  2. The Little Prince 83 Pages: This was a sweet little story that has definitely earned its place as a classic for a reason.  It is simply charming and everyone should take the time to read this at least once in their lives.
  3. The Diary of Adam and Eve 95 Pages: My first and only time ever reading Twain.  Absolutely loved it and this week’s list reminds me that I should try to fit in more of his work.
  4. The Illustrated Book of Sayings: Curious Expressions from Around the World 112 Pages: This is more of a coffee table book than an actual story.  Still, it is interesting and beautifully illustrated.
  5. Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi 142 Pages: This was such fun!  A book of short stories by Scalzi is sure to brighten your day and maybe even open you up to a new perspective.
  6. Einstein's Dreams 144 Pages: I actually read this book after the last one on this list, also by this author.  While it didn’t hold up to the level of the later work for me, it still was a fascinating read.
  7. Genesis 150 Pages: Don’t want to give anything away on this one but there is a major twist at the end.  I read it in a couple hours and I bet you could too.  Perfect for a plane ride or car trip.
  8. Yesterday's Kin 192 Pages: I don’t remember much about this one except for it was intriguing and I quite enjoyed it.
  9. The Alchemist 197 Pages: This was only a three star for me, still I see the value in having read it.  My husband actually requested it from the library and enjoyed it so much that I read it quickly before returning it.
  10. Mr G: A Novel About The Creation 225 Pages: This was bloody brilliant in my opinion.  So much fun and I’m sure quite scandalous to those who are uptight in their religion.  Made you think though about just who God might actually be though.

 

Well, there you have my list of ten short reads.  What short stories or books do you recommend?

 

2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

Book Review

 


2 A.M. at The Cat's PajamasBook Genre: Contemporary Fiction, audiobook

Book Series: N/A

Released: 8/5/14 by Crown

Pages: 272 Price: $25.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, precocious nine-year-old and an aspiring jazz singer. As she mourns the recent death of her mother, she doesn’t realize that on Christmas Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day—and night—of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia’s legendary jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat’s Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it.

As these three lost souls search for love, music and hope on the snow-covered streets of Philadelphia, together they will discover life’s endless possibilities over the course of one magical night. A vivacious, charming and moving debut, 2 Am At The Cat’s Pajamas will capture your heart and have you laughing out loud.

My Review:

This was an interesting little story.  Not quite sure what I thought of it.  It was an audiobook selection for me and those tend to be books I wouldn’t normally read due to limited selection through the library system. So I’m sitting here wondering how to review this story…

It was sweet and clever and sad and funny all at different parts.  It had me laughing at one moment and feeling awkward the next.  The story was difficult to follow at times thanks to flashbacks into the character’s past.  We follow Madeleine through much of the story but also delve into the history of supporting characters.

I like the idea of following a set of character’s over the span of a day and watch how their lives cross and intertwine but at times this one got to be a bit confusing as we would move back and forth in time throughout the day depending on who we were dealing with at the moment.  I think it might have been less confusing if I had been reading it instead of listening because I sometimes lose focus on the story as I concentrate on whatever chore I am working on.

Basically, it is a sweet story that I don’t regret listening to but never got terribly excited about. But then it isn’t a typical read for me.  If you are big into contemporary fiction revolving around music then this one will probably be one you enjoy.  If you like smart-ass characters then you might also enjoy this story.  That was the part that I enjoyed the most.

My Rating:3 Stars

Yesterday’s Son by A.C. Crispin

Book Review

 


Yesterday's Son (Star Trek: The Yesterday Saga, #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Star Trek, Fantasy, TV Tie-in

Book Series: Star Trek: The Original Series #11

Released: 8/1/1983 by Pocket Books

Pages: 192  Price: $4.99

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I own a copy of this book. 

 

 

Book Synopsis:

With the help of the Vulcan leader T’Pau, Spock gets permission to use the Guardian of Forever, a portal through time constructed by a long-vanished race, to venture into the past. On another trip into history, on the planet Sarpeidon, Spock had loved a woman who could not return with him to the future, and now Spock wishes to see the son she bore him, 5,000 years earlier. But a Romulan attack on the Guardian’s planet could interfere, unless the Enterprise can keep the Guardian out of their hands.

My Review:

This is the first Star Trek book I ever read.  It must have been my early teen years, maybe 30 years ago, when I picked this one up at the bookstore.  Much of the plot was forgotten, only a few parts stuck in my memory.  I’m not sure what ever happen to that copy but when I picked up the sequel through a book exchange site I decided to read it again.  I also recently watched the tv episode that the events this book are based upon.  So the timing was perfect to revisit a piece of my childhood and my love of all things Trek.

This was such a good book.  I am probably bias here but I loved this book it is by far my favorite Trek book that I’ve read.  Ms. Crispin does an excellent job of capturing the chemistry and personalities of the characters it was exactly like reading an episode from the original series, only better!  Better because you get to be in the head of Spock, Kirk, and Bones,  you get to read the internal dialog of the characters.

As to the plot of this book I was totally engrossed I have never wanted to sit two characters down for a talking to as I did while reading this book.  Maybe even smack them upside the head…  I’m glad there is a second book because while I am satisfied with the ending it was so bitter-sweet, I wanted more for these two. Like I said the book read much like the tv series so if you enjoyed the show you should like this book.  If you were a fan of Spock then you are really going to love this one!  Looking forward to the next.

My Rating:5 Stars

Monday Morning Check-In: Tired…

Good Monday…afternoon…  Sorry, I’m late and that I didn’t even manage to make a Check-In post last week.  Haven’t got a good excuse except for life.  I’m trying to figure out how this new exercise routine works into my schedule.  I am finding that I tolerate my hour-a-day of movement if I get it over first thing in the morning.  Which is about the same time I should be writing this post each week on Monday’s at least.  So that might mean I need to change the graphic to Monday Check-In and get to the post when I can.  Have to say the walking is paying off!  My blood pressure is back to normal.  Now hopefully exercising for the rest of my life will keep it that way.  My goal is to avoid medication.

Life has also gotten in the way of reading.  The past week I have been dealing with planning activities at work, a day full of appointments and the loss of all my chickens.  Yesterday we caught and killed the raccoon that killed all my birds and worked to shore up the coop for when I bring home new birds.  I hope to finish up possibly two books for you today and maybe even another one or two later this week.  I’m so close to finishing several books I just need to find some uninterrupted time to sit and read.

Speaking of reading this is where I leave you.  Happy spring everyone!  We made it through another winter!

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Book Review

 


The Readers of Broken Wheel RecommendBook Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Book Series: N/A

Released: 1/19/16 by Sourcebooks Landmark

Pages:394  Price:$16.99 by Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy from the publisher for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory.

All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.

My Review:

This was such a charming little read.  I wish life had not gotten in the way and I could have read it without interruption.  I picked this book up at BEA last May although it was already on my radar.  We had it at the library where I work and I was already planning on reading it.  When I had the opportunity to meet the author and get a personalized copy I simply could not pass it up.  I’m so glad I did because this book has earned a permanent spot on my shelves.

This book is set in Iowa, and if a blog post I read about it is correct the town that the town it is based upon is two towns over from where I live!  I have to say for someone who had never been to Iowa before writing this book she captured small town Iowa pretty damn accurately.  I could totally picture this story playing out upon the streets of that small town.  Ms. Bivald also did an excellent job of recreating characters you might find in a small Iowa town.  Oh sure, there were some missing, but overall well done.

Much of this story is a fun fluffy tale about a woman from afar coming to a strange town and falling in love.  Another side, however, is a peek into the reality of a small dying Iowa town.  I am sorry to say that she also portrayed this side of Iowa pretty accurately as well.  The author also delved into topics like homosexuality and racism which should challenge some readers like it challenged the citizens of Broken Wheel, and I for one think that’s a good thing.

Then there are the books.  It was such a delight to see the literary world become almost a supporting character in this story.  And to be portrayed so accurately.  After all is not the truest purpose of a book none other than to bring people together like it did for the people of Broken Wheel?

Great read that I look forward to recommending to many of my patrons.

My Rating:5 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR 2017

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

March 14: Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR

I don’t really put much planning into what I want to read next.  I have reverted back to my mood reading ways.  Lately, I seem to be in a science fiction mood but there are a couple of my favorite paranormal authors that I would like to get caught up on as well as a couple of books I picked up at BEA that I have been meaning to read.  So for my list, you probably won’t find any new or upcoming releases but a list of books I hope to read soon.

Ten books that I hope to read this spring (or soon…)

  1. Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4) I have actually ordered this book but to get free shipping I ordered it with the next book that doesn’t come out until May… So I should get this one after May 6th.  That’s alright as I have lots of other titles I can read while I wait.
  2. Deadmen Walking (Deadman's Cross, #1) This book I’m pretty excited about as it is a brand new series by my favorite author.  I look forward to reading it once it shows up in my mailbox!
  3. Immortal Unchained (Argeneau, #25) Even though I didn’t care that much for the last book in this series I still plan on reading the next release that comes out later this month!
  4. Born of Vengeance (The League, #10) I bought this book the week it released then I had to read the mammoth one before it and decided I needed a break.  I might read this one yet this spring or I might wait until the next book is released.  Who knows with a mood reader.
  5. Blood Vow (Black Dagger Legacy, #2) I had hoped to read this one while I recovered from surgery but it just didn’t happen.  Now that the next book in the BDB is going to release soon I need to make time for this one or put them both off…
  6. IQ This book has such a pretty cover.  I picked it up at BEA last May and I’ve been seeing it around the inter-webs and thought it might be a good book to read when I need something different.
  7. Dragonmark (Dark-Hunter, #26; Dragons Rising, #1; Lords of Avalon, #5) I know, I know, Ms. Kenyon is one this list three times!  What can I say I love her books but also putting off reading them too.
  8. Yesterday's Son (Star Trek: The Yesterday Saga, #1) & Time for Yesterday (Star Trek: The Yesterday Saga, #2) I have been in a Star Trek kick lately, looking for collectables, watching the old shows, etc.  I have also been picking up the books whenever they cross my path.  The first one is actually my very first Star Trek book ever read.  When I saw that the second book is considered its sequel I ordered Yesterday’s Son off Ebay and decided to read them both together.  This is the next book I plan to read.
  9. Q-Squared (Star Trek) My two favorite characters from Star Trek are Spock and Q so if I am in the mood to give my Trek book collection a go I am going to start with my favorites!
  10. Q-Space (Star Trek: The Next Generation #47; The Q Continuum, #1) & Q-Zone (Star Trek: The Next Generation #48; The Q Continuum, #2)  & Q-Strike (Star Trek: The Next Generation #49; The Q Continuum, #3) I have been looking at this trilogy sitting on my shelves for some time now and always thought I should read those.  This spring I might actually make that happen!

There you have my upcoming reads for Spring 2017,  what books are you planning to pick up next?

The Flicker Men by Ted Kosmatka

Book Review

 


The Flicker MenBook Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Audio

Book Series: N/A

Released: 7/21/15 by Henry Holt and Co

Pages:352  Price:$25.66 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Eric Argus is a washout. His prodigious early work clouded his reputation and strained his sanity. But an old friend gives him another chance, an opportunity to step back into the light.

With three months to produce new research, Eric replicates the paradoxical double-slit experiment to see for himself the mysterious dual nature of light and matter. A simple but unprecedented inference blooms into a staggering discovery about human consciousness and the structure of the universe.

His findings are celebrated and condemned in equal measure. But no one can predict where the truth will lead. And as Eric seeks to understand the unfolding revelations, he must evade shadowy pursuers who believe he knows entirely too much already.

My Review:

I’m not exactly sure why I stuck this book out.  I’m also not exactly sure what the book was about in all actuality…  Some of it might be that I wasn’t paying close enough attention, some might be the book was plotted well, some might be the science going over my head.  I didn’t hate the book, I finished it after all but this book left me feeling eh.

There were parts I found intriguing and other simply annoying.  I did like the science and found the experiment the story revolves around interesting.  The delving into politics a little less so…  I almost turned it off when it started venturing down a religious path but being in the middle of an exercise session and nothing else to listen to decided to press on for at least the rest of the hour.  I eventually decided the author wasn’t trying to convert me into any sort of thinking and chose to stick the book out to the end.

The book has a vastly different feel at the end than it did in the beginning and I think that is what hurt it for me.  I didn’t really care for the shift.  I’m still not entirely sure how the book ended as by the last hour or two it was simply background noise and I was only half listening. I appreciated some of the questions the author brought up in the plot but I struggled to find a character to connect with.

It wasn’t a bad book just not a terribly good one in my opinion.  I probably should have stopped listening after the first part.  The middle I did enjoy and probably the reason for the second star I am giving it.  I’m not quite sure what type of reader this book is meant for just that it most likely isn’t me.

My Rating:2 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Reading Rules

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

March 7: On hiatus so I made my own again.

Top Ten Tuesday continues to be on hiatus this week so I have decided to think up my own again this week.

Ten Reading Rules I Follow

  1. Challenges: At first challenges sounded like fun.  I found a couple that I wanted to participate in and discovered that for me they suck the fun right out of reading as I am a mood reader and need to be in the mood for what I am reading.
  2. DNF: My standard rule for did not finishing a book is 50 pages. If I am not into a story by page 50 I move on.  I have recently decided that I need a DNF rule for audio books and for that format I will give it an hour to catch me.
  3. Audio: I have decided that I will use audio books to explore books outside my usual reading taste.  I have also decided to listen to audio books when I exercise and do chores instead of music.
  4. Shelving: There is only one way to properly shelve books.  Pay attention.  Left to right, top to bottom, alphabetized by author’s last name keeping series in reading order.  Don’t make me come and reorganize your stacks.
  5. Environment: I am easily distracted so I need silence when reading.  I have banished ticking clocks, noisy animals, and have been known to wear ear plugs when my husband is home to shut the world out so I can read.
  6. Buying: If a book is under a dollar then I will pick it up guilt free, most of the books on my to-read case at home are cheap books I picked up while thrifting or at library book sales.  I do make the effort to buy the latest releases from my favorite authors, however, even if I don’t always read them until the next year’s release…
  7. Rereading: In effort to justify my full price book purchases I make and keep I have the rule to reread a book or series each year.
  8. Weeding: Every once in a while we need to reevaluate the books in our home libraries.  Sometimes a series finishes or our taste change or we simply move on.  When that happens we need to weed those books from our shelves to make room for new titles we love.
  9. ARCS: When I started this blog I went a little ARC crazy over at Net Galley and requested way more than I should have.  I have a feeling this is something every new blogger does.  After a while, like point one with challenges, it sucked all the fun out of reading and I decided to make some rules.  I try to keep my ARC requests to authors I already read or those few titles that are simply too hard to resist.
  10. Current Read: Some people can read multiple books at once.  I am not one of those people.  I don’t like to start a new story when I am reading another.  The only exception I make is for audio books or NF titles.  Otherwise I stick to one book at a time.

There you have some of my reading rules.  What rules or habits do you have when it comes to reading?

ARC Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Book Review

 


Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10)Book Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Book Series: Mercy Thompson #10

Released: 3/7/17 by Ace Books

Pages: 352 Price: $27.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

My Review:

I must confess I did not care much for the last book in this series, nor did I the last release in the spin-off series Alpha and Omega…  So while I knew I wanted to read the next book, after all, many of the books in these two series I have adored, I was a little hesitant when I dove into this one worried that I would not enjoy it as I had earlier books.

That is why I am thrilled to report back that this current release delivered big time for me!  I LOVED this book!  It might be the pain meds talking or the fact that I am trapped at home recovering from major surgery but this book was exactly what I needed right now.  An action-packed roller-coaster ride full of danger, drama, and justice.  There was little missing from this book and I had such fun as I watched my favorite little coyote work her magic on a whole new continent.

This book is set up a little different from previous books but the author gives us plenty of warning and help to figure things out as the story jumps not only back and forth between Mercy and Adam but in the timeline as well.  Personally, I don’t think it would have been that hard to follow without the notations at the beginning of each chapter but it was nice to have the reminder of what sequence the following action fell in.

After all the drama with the Fae it is the Vampire’s turn to create havoc for the supernatural creatures of the world and of course, Mercy and Adam’s pack seems to have a big old bullseye painted on their back.  Perhaps they were cursed at some point in time to receive all the attention from other species looking to control the world.  I loved this peek into the complex vampire social structure with all the polite power plays.  I also enjoyed seeing Mercy mess up all their well-laid plans.

This was a phenomenal addition to this series and it left me wanting more.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

My Rating:5 Stars

Monday Morning Check-In: Returning from Recovery

Monday Morning Check-In

Good Monday morning everyone.  I am typing this up on Sunday night while enjoying Dr. Strange with my husband.  Basically, I am trying to stay awake until the end of the movie.  If I multi-task I might just make it.  This week I return to my normal life and work.  I am still drifting between books.  My Star Trek books that I ordered last week have arrived and I will probably read some of them next. I have also picked up audio books again.  I am struggling with a bit of high pressure and have decided to start walking again. Audio books are a great option when you are starting an exercise program after recovery from surgery.  I need to start slow and a book being read to me lets me keep a slower pace.

In case you missed my post on my other blog or Instagram I now know my cancer staging.  It was Grade one Stage one and I have no further cancer treatment.  I am so immensely relieved but feel a bit strange returning to normal life.  I am a bit frustrated with how much I have regressed fitness wise.  I feel like I am starting all over again.

Anyway,  have a great week everyone and happy reading!