Top Ten Tuesday: Not Typical

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:

April 11: Top Ten Of The Most Unique Books I’ve Read 

I’m not really sure what they mean by unique books in this week’s topic.  So I’m going to share ten books, that I enjoyed, that were not typical reads for me.  Books that were outside of the normal genres that I tend to stick to.

Ten books that were not typical reads for me.

  1. Crack in the Curtain  This book made the list because it was written by my husband and if that isn’t unique or atypical I don’t know what is.  This is actually a good story set in Bulgaria of the 1980’s during the Name Change Campaign when the communist Bulgarian government attempted to systematically eliminate all Turks from their population.  While it is fiction it is based upon events my husband lived through as a member of the Turkish minority.  Plug over.
  2. Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet Not one to read much non-fiction or books about farming or lesbians this was a fun read about two women adapting to rural life.
  3. The Road While this book is in a genre I do enjoy from time to time, dystopian.  The way it was written is what makes it unique for me.  No punctuation and no chapter breaks it is written like it is a journal of someone living through the events of the book.
  4. The Cobra Event I’m not one to read scary stories and this is a truly frightening tale.  I read it quite some time ago, 20 years…. and it is not one I would pick up now.  I would be headed for the emergency room convinced I had this disease.
  5. Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography I’ve only read two biographies and this is one of them.  It is also pretty unique because the way it is formated as a choose your own adventure story.
  6. The Grownup This one is different for me because it is a horror story but also a story by one of the hot authors of the moment.  I’m not usually one to read who is in fashion at the moment.  Of course, if it is a story that sounds good I’ll read it, but I don’t need to read something because everyone else is reading them.
  7. The Diary of Adam and Eve  I’m one of those people who think reading classics sounds like a good idea, pick one up determine to read something good for me and then quickly give up.  This one I made it through and actually enjoyed.
  8. Stranger Here: How Weight-Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed with My Head Not really a reader of diet blogs or books written by bloggers.  This was alright.  Didn’t really inspire me to pick up others.
  9. Einstein's Dreams This was a fascinating read and unique because it is a book of short stories and a mix of science and philosophy.  Very interesting.
  10. Zoo  This is one here because it is a book by Patterson that I actually enjoyed.  Not a big fan of his writing style.  His chapter lengths drive me crazy.

Monday Morning Check-In: A Little Blog Excitement!

Opps.  I hit post instead of schedule…  So I’m a little early. Sorry.

Good Monday morning everyone!  I received a bit of exciting news last Friday that I am not going to share with you, yet.  Well, not all of it at least.  I was accepted to be part of a blog tour for an upcoming release that I am super excited about!  It is a series that I have read for some time now and the last book in the series is coming out this month.  You probably can figure it out yourself from all those clues, but I am going to hold the title and author until next week.  I have been working hard all weekend on my tour stop post and am SO EXCITED!!!  I don’t want to spoil the post or the book so I better stop here.

Since I have been working on the blog tour all weekend I haven’t gotten much reading done.  I’ve been sitting at under 100 pages in my current read for over a week… I should either scrap reading it right now or start over.  Tomorrow if I can sit down and have some time to myself I can probably get into it but I need some peace and quiet and to step away from the computer.  Well, that’s all for this week.  Sorry I didn’t post anything besides a review last week.  I had a stressful weekend and needed a break.  Fortunately, this blog tour has me super excited and I’m happy to be back!  Happy Reading

By Blood by Ellen Ullman

Book Review

 


By BloodBook Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery

Book Series: N/A

Released: 2/24/2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Pages: 378 Price: $16.00 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

San Francisco in the 1970s. Free love has given way to radical feminism, psychedelic ecstasy to hard-edged gloom. The Zodiac Killer stalks the streets. A disgraced professor takes an office in a downtown tower to plot his return. But the walls are thin and he’s distracted by voices from next door—his neighbor is a psychologist, and one of her patients dislikes the hum of the white-noise machine. And so he begins to hear about the patient’s troubles with her female lover, her conflicts with her adoptive, avowedly WASP family, and her quest to track down her birth mother. The professor is not just absorbed but enraptured. And the further he is pulled into the patient’s recounting of her dramas—and the most profound questions of her own identity—the more he needs the story to move forward.

The patient’s questions about her birth family have led her to a Catholic charity that trafficked freshly baptized orphans out of Germany after World War II. But confronted with this new self— “I have no idea what it means to say ‘I’m a Jew’”—the patient finds her search stalled. Armed with the few details he’s gleaned, the professor takes up the quest and quickly finds the patient’s mother in records from a German displaced-persons camp. But he can’t let on that he’s been eavesdropping, so he mocks up a reply from an adoption agency the patient has contacted and drops it in the mail. Through the wall, he hears how his dear patient is energized by the news, and so is he. He unearths more clues and invests more and more in this secret, fraught, triangular relationship: himself, the patient, and her therapist, who is herself German. His research leads them deep into the history of displaced-persons camps, of postwar Zionism, and—most troubling of all—of the Nazi Lebensborn program.With ferocious intelligence and an enthralling, magnetic prose, Ellen Ullman weaves a dark and brilliant, intensely personal novel that feels as big and timeless as it is sharp and timely. It is an ambitious work that establishes her as a major writer.

My Review:

Another full disclosure time. I picked this book because the author’s last name began with a U.  I only need an author with an X to have read a book by an author of every letter in the alphabet.  Feel free to give me your recommendations below.   Now for the review.

I’m not usually a fan of historical fiction.  I’m also not usually one to read about the Holocaust.  Not that I am a denier or have anything but the deepest respect for the suffering that people went through.  I simply tend to be a sensitive person and I have trouble separating myself from the fiction I read.  I get emotionally distraught and it affects my mood and how I behave towards those around me.  So I tend to stay away from topics that could upset me.  Not the correct behavior I know but it is the approach I take in reading.  Life sucks why would I want to read about more suffering.  Still, I selected this book from my library because it sounded interesting and filled a reading requirement I needed.

I’m so glad I did.  This book captivated me.  Much like the narrator of the story, I became obsessed with the life the patient was revealing to her therapist.   I guess I am a bit of a voyeur too.  It was a bit of a strange read, however, and I get some of the criticism that has been posted in other reviews.  I almost find myself dividing the book into two different plots.  One plot thread revolved around the therapist and her patient and the other was the professor and his odd circumstance.    The eavesdropping on the therapist and patient being the more compelling plot.

So let’s deal with the professor first.  He needs help.  Serious help.  I can see why he was put on leave and was described as creepy.  It is exactly what he is, creepy.  Some say that his purpose was not well-defined but I disagree.  I think he probably got in trouble for sexually harassing a student and the institution he works for wanted him to disappear for a few months in hopes that the drama he stirred up would be forgotten or blow over.  While I did find him creepy I have to say I did not totally despise him.  I almost feel bad for him as I truly feel he needs help before he hurts someone.  Or it could be that I feel a tad guilty knowing I have become as obsessed with the patient’s story as he has.

Now for the therapist and her client.  This was a moving story and the sole reason I’m glad I listen to this book.  The patient’s story is that of a young woman in search of her identity.  Like many of us, she did not feel like she fit in and desperately needed to connect with her origins to make sense of the life she now leads.  What she learns is not pleasant and logically speaking should hold no reflection on who she is as a person but I can not say I would feel differently if I was in her shoes.  This part of the story is so worth wading through the creepy professor parts.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Week off…

In case you haven’t noticed I didn’t post a Monday check in or a Top Ten Tuesday.  I had a stressful weekend.  So stressful that I burst a blood vessel in my eye…  So I’m taking a week off from posting.  If I have a book review I’ll share that because it is now my ritual that I have to write-up a review before moving on to a new read.  I just need a break from something this week and the blog is it.  Sure as hell isn’t like any of my other responsibilities can be put on hold dammit.  Anyway.  Sorry if you noticed my absence and I’ll be back next week.  Happy reading.

Month in Review: March 2017

Month in Review

Read this month: 9 Books, 2,207 Pages 

Read this year: 23  Books, 7,164 Pages 

Bottomland The Flicker Men The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend Yesterday's Son (Star Trek: The Yesterday Saga, #1) Time for Yesterday (Star Trek: The Yesterday Saga, #2)

Spock Vs. Q (Star Trek: Spock Vs. Q, #1) Spock Vs Q: The Sequel (Star Trek: Spock Vs. Q, #2) Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel, #1) Aurora: CV-01 (The Frontiers Saga #1)

Looking Back:

Not too bad. Not too bad at all, even if six of the books were audiobooks with two of them only being an hour-long.  I did return to work this month and with trying to reintegrate exercise into my week I’d still say this was a prosperous month of reading.  Especially since I only DNF one book!  The highlight of the month has been my venture into Star Trek fiction.  So far it has gone over pretty well and I’ve enjoyed what I read.  The book I DNF was a Trek book set in the Next Generation Universe so we will have to see if I can find something written by another author that works for me in that series.  The TOS series, however, has been so much fun that I am going to seek out other adventures to read.  Two books that are out of my typical reading taste one was an All Iowa Reads selection and the other a book I picked up at BEA, both highly enjoyable.  Overall a good month of reading.

Looking Ahead:

While I have had fun in the Star Trek universe I am going to take a bit of a break from Science Fiction.  I am going to see if I can continue to get caught up in a few of the series I follow then I might be on the hunt for a new series to get lost in.  I have a few books on my to-read bookcase that are nearly complete and I have been itching to find a new series to enjoy.  Not that I don’t enjoy my current ones it is just that I want something new and exciting to read.  Not sure quite what I’m in the mood for but I’m leaning towards urban fantasy with a smart mouth kick-ass heroine.  Feel free to offer suggestions!

Happy Reading ~Amy

Aurora CV-01 by Ryk Brown

Book Review

 


Aurora: CV-01 (The Frontiers Saga #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Audiobook

Book Series: The Frontiers Saga #1:Part 1

Released: 12/19/2011 by Tantor Media

Pages: 301 Price: $29.99 Audiobook

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A world recovering from a devastating plague…
A brutal enemy threatening invasion…
A young man seeking to escape the shadow of his father…
A ship manned by a crew of fresh academy graduates…
A top-secret experimental propulsion system…
A questionable alliance with a mysterious green-eyed woman…

What destiny has in store for the crew of the UES Aurora, is far greater than any of them could ever imagine. And this is only the beginning…

“Aurora: CV-01” is 77,000 word novel, and is Episode 1 of The Frontiers Saga.

My Review:

This was a fun audiobook that I borrowed from my library.  After reading some of the other reviews I have to agree with some of the criticism that yes, it is pretty much a Star Trek rip-off.  Maybe not blatantly but the similarities are hard to deny.  But so what.  It is still an action-packed well plotted read that brought me several hours of enjoyment.

Took me a moment to realize this book was set in the extreme far future after most of humanity had been wiped from existence.  After I caught on to that it surprised me just how familiar this society felt to our own, with the exception of space travel that is.  While entertaining the plot was pretty convenient at times as the author set all his characters into place for the longer story arch.  For me it was easy to overlook because when hasn’t a character been in the right place at the right time in works of fiction.

The characters were diverse and likable I would have enjoyed seeing where some of the relationships led towards.  I would have also liked to learn more about what happen to Earth in the past as well as the other colonies that were talked about.  But I’m afraid this is where I leave this universe.

While I truly enjoyed this book it is the only one available through my library so I will not be continuing on because with so many parts out (19), and yet to come (75 total!), this series is simply too expensive for me to continue with… I have suggested my library purchase the next three parts but it is highly unlikely that will happen.  Makes me kind of wish I had looked into the series availability before I borrowed it. I would have skipped it had I know how difficult and costly getting my hands on future parts would be.  Oh, well.  Live and learn.

My Rating:4 Stars

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

Book Review

 


Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel, #1)Book Genre: Mystery, Paranormal, Humor, Fantasy, Audiobook

Book Series: Lizzy & Diesel #1

Released: 9/14/10 by St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 313  Price: $27.99 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

For centuries, treasure hunters have been eager to possess the stones, undeterred by their corrupting nature. The list is long — Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, to name a few. Now the Stones have found their way to Salem, Massachusetts, and so has Gerwulf Grimoire, adding himself to this rogues’ gallery of power seekers. He’s an uncommonly dangerous man, with a hunger for the forbidden, and a set of abilities that are way beyond ordinary. Abilities that he feels entitle him to possess anything he might desire.

That would include Elizabeth Tucker, the woman he needs to find the Stones. She’s freshly transplanted from New York City to Boston’s North Shore. With a new job as pastry chef at Dazzle’s bakery and an old house inherited from her Aunt Ophelia, her life is pretty much on track …until it’s suddenly derailed by a guy named Diesel, a rude monkey, and a ninja cat.

Lizzy can handle the monkey and the cat. She’s not sure about Diesel. He’s offering up his own set of unusual talents, promising to protect her from Grimoire. The kind of protection that Lizzy suspects might involve guarding her body day and night.

The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy wrath, sloth and gluttony. That pretty much covers everything that is wicked. Diesel thinks it also pretty much covers everything that’s fun. And Lizzy thinks Diesel and the Seven Deadly Sins cover everything her mother warned her about.

My Review:

Full disclosure, I only checked this book out so that there would be an E author on my reviewed index page on my blog.  I only need a U and an X author now.  For some reason, I’m not a big fan of Ms. Evanovich.  I know people love her and we have library patrons that loyally check out and devour each new release in her Stephanie Pulm series.

This wasn’t bad, I enjoyed listening to it more than the other series, probably because of the supernatural element to the story.  There are moments of humor but on the whole, I found the female lead kind of annoying. Diesel was an alright male lead but he just lacked chemistry in my opinion.  The monkey was over the top but I loved the one-eyed cat.

Basically, this story is the beginning of a supernatural series full of immature humor and low-level sexual tension.  If I am ever desperate for another audiobook I might listen to the next book but probably not.  There are far better, far funnier paranormal mystery series out there and I would suggest trying the Charley Davidson series instead.

My Rating: 2 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Author Bucket List

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 28: Top Ten Authors I’m Dying To Meet / Ten Authors I Can’t Believe I’ve Met  (some other “meeting authors” type spin you want to do)

So for this week’s list I am going to do some shameless bragging.  Only a little bit though as I’ve not actually met that many authors.  So this week I am going to split the list between met and want to meet.

Five authors I’ve met and five authors I want to meet!

  1.  Sherrilyn Kenyon- Met & Want to Meet:  Yes, that is right folks I have actually met my favorite author and made a complete fool of myself… It was so cool though and she was such a nice person!  I would also love to go to another signing if she ever comes back to the area.
  2. Deborah Harkness Deborah Harkness – Want to Meet:  I loved the All Souls Trilogy.  Absolutely some of my favorite books hands down.  It would be so cool to actually get to meet her in person.

  3. John Scalzi John Scalzi – Met: No picture with this author because when I met him I had only read one of his books and was not as big of a fan as I am now…  Stupid Amy…  So I guess Mr. Scalzi should also be added to the list of authors I would like to meet again.  Such a big fan now.  Also another really nice author!
  4. J.R. Ward J.R. Ward – Want to Meet: I basically want to meet this author to hear her swear like a sailor.  It cracks me up that she uses such foul language.  Also, I love her books.
  5.  Sylvia Day – Met!: Got to meet Ms. Day at BEA last year.  She is such a sweet woman and took the time to speak with everyone in line and take pictures with them.  Truly a stand-up author!
  6. Jacqueline Rhoades Jaqueline Rhoades – Want to Meet: This is my favorite indie author and friend on Facebook.  Someday I hope to meet Jackie in person!
  7.  Justin Cronin – Met:  What an awesome man this is!  Not a great picture but I did catch him in a booth at BEA.  It was amazing to get the opportunity to meet Mr. Cronin.
  8. Darynda Jones Darynda Jones – Want to Meet:  Sigh, someday… I am friends with her on Facebook if that counts for anything and have interacted with her there.
  9. Katarina Bivald Katarina Bivald – Met:  Not a widely known author but I think I should receive bonus points as she is from Sweeden.  Another sweet woman who I met at BEA last year.  Just recently got around to reading her only book The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend.
  10. Andy Weir Andy Weir – Want to Meet: How could the author of The Martian not be on my list?  I’ve pimped his book enough! I love his story as to how his book came to being published.  I also follow him online and he just seems like a cool guy.  I would love to meet him someday.

There you have this week’s list.  How about you?  What authors have you met or would like to meet?

Time for Yesterday by A.C. Crispin

Book Review

 


Time for Yesterday (Star Trek: The Yesterday Saga, #2)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Media Tie-In, Fantasy,

Book Series: Star Trek: The Original Series #39 (Sequel to Yesterday’s Son)

Released: 5/1/1986 Pocket Books

Pages: 303 Price: $3.95 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I own a copy of this book.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

When the Guardian of Forever malfunctions, the course of time runs amok, and the Star Trek crew undertakes a desperate mission to contact the Guardian, five thousand years in the past, and to bring Spock’s son, Zar, forward in time.

My Review:

While Yesterday’s Son read like one of the original Star Trek TV episodes the follow-up book read more like one of the movies.  The crew of the Enterprise had all moved on and needed to be rounded up for this adventure to save the universe.  Again greater stakes lent to the feeling of a movie rather than a quick hour-long show with a single plot to resolve. While I didn’t enjoy this as much as the last book I’m still glad to have read it as it resolved a lot left-over from Yesterday’s Son.

In this book, Spock and Zar are about 20 years older and thankfully over themselves.  This led to a much more satisfying relationship between father and son for the reader.  There was an interesting mix of tone or genre to this story.  At times it felt more like a historical romance almost in the parts we spent in the past on Zar’s world.  Contrast that with the high-tech future when were in Spock’s world and at times the book almost felt like two different stories.

There was supposed to be a third book, making this a trilogy, that was abandoned by the publisher and as a result of the author’s death.  I have conflicting emotions on this.  While I would love to revisit the Zar character and see what becomes of his later life I am satisfied with how this ended.  I can’t really see where they would have gone with another book but I’m sure it would have been some catastrophic event that only Kirk, Bones, and Spock could solve with the help of Zar of course.

Highly enjoyable and recommended if you have read the first book.

My Rating:4 Stars

Spock Vs Q: The Sequel by Cecilia Fannon

Book Review

 


Spock Vs Q: The Sequel (Star Trek: Spock Vs. Q, #2)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Audiobook, Media Tie-In

Book Series: Star Trek

Released: 12/1/2000 by Simon & Schuster Audio

Pages: 1 Hour Price: Unknown

Links:  Goodreads,

Source: I borrowed this from my library

Book Synopsis:

Following their debate over the fate of mankind, Spock and Q have continued their discussions over a meal. After dining, the two return to the stage to recount their repast, which included encounters with several of Spock’s former shipmates.
However, at the moment the two verbal sparring partners shake hands, a power surge places them in total darkness. Suddenly, Spock and Q are no longer on stage, but somewhere in deep space.
As they struggle to determine what has happened, a curious personality change takes hold. Spock is overcome with giddy delight. Q is much more serious, even…logical.
Masterfully performed by Leonard Nimoy and John de Lancie, Star Trek® Spock vs. Q: The Sequel is a fascinating and often hilarious role reversal that reveals previously unknown sides of Spock and Q. It is a program so original it could only come from Alien Voices®

My Review:

Another fun recording featuring my two favorite Star Trek characters.  This one takes a bit of a twist in that they must now answer for their actions in the previous recording.  Their punishment is to switch personalities. While it was fascinating and highly entertaining to listen to a straight-laced Q and  a flippant Spock I have to say the first performance was better.  This one made me uncomfortable at times but it was still worth a listen.  If you are a Trekkie and love these two as much as I do then you should most definitely give this one a listen. It still managed to make me laugh out loud and had me smiling for the entire hour.  I just wish I could have been there to see this performed I bet it was out of this world.  LLAP

My Rating:3 Stars