Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Teaser Tuesdays: Nightbird


This week my teaser lines come from Nightbird, Alice Hoffman's lovely new novel for young readers. It's a quote about magic, from a truly magical tale:
That was when it happened. Magic always sneaks up on you that way, when you least expect it, when the time is absolutely right. (p.192)
This one really surprised me -- I generally like Hoffman's writing, but this was even better than I expected.




Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Jenn at A Daily Rhythm. If you'd like to read more teasers, or take part yourself, just head on over to her blog.

And please feel free to leave me a link to your Teaser Tuesday post in your comment here.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Reading Update

I haven't done an update post for quite a while. Mostly because I'm the laziest person in the world, and also have trouble sticking with any one project for longer than a minute and a half. Adult ADHD? No, probably just what my mother would have called "scatter-brained."

Anyhoo.  I've done pretty well with my reading lately, just haven't managed to do much reviewing. Hoping to correct that, this week.

Last month, I read four books which is a good number for me. Of course, two of those were for young people (well, I'm young at heart, right?):


Elidor, by Alan Garner. This has been on my TBR list for several decades, and I'm really glad the Once Upon A Time challenge finally gave me a reason to get around to it.


Nightbird, by Alice Hoffman. Her first novel specifically aimed at young readers, and a wonderful read.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, by Rita Mae Brown. Number nine in Brown's "Sister" Jane series.


The Book of Speculation, by Erika Swyler. A librarian who's just lost his job begins tracking down his mysterious family with the help of an antique book sent to him by a stranger.

So far, in April, I've finished two books:

The Witch of Painted Sorrows, by M.J. Rose.  Mesmerizing gothic novel set in 19th Century Paris.


The Fifth Gospel, by Ian Caldwell.  Disappointingly slow-moving thriller with an inside-the-Vatican setting.

And at the moment, I'm reading A Fine Summer's Day, one of the Inspector Rutledge mysteries by Charles Todd.


Liking it, so far; but it concentrates a little more on Rutledge's personal saga and a little less on the actual crime-solving than I'd like.

OK, that's the lot. As I said, that's a pretty good showing for me. So far, my reading for this year has been coming along at a fairly nice pace. How's your reading life going? Are you meeting your goals? Are you lagging behind?  Have you discovered any amazing new authors? I'd love to hear about it.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Book Beginnings: The Angel Court Affair


The Angel Court Affair (Ballantine Books) is the most recent installment in Anne Perry's popular series of historical novels set in Victorian England, and featuring Charlotte and Thomas Pitt. (I believe there's a new book coming out sometime later this year.)

Opening lines:
Pitt stared at the Home Office minister with disbelief. They were standing in a quiet, sunlit room in Whitehall, the traffic outside inaudible.
"A Spanish saint?" he said, struggling to keep his voice more or less level.
"She's not Spanish, she's English," Sir Walter replied patiently. "She merely lives in Spain. Toledo, I'm told. She is here to visit her family."

Initial thoughts:

Well, so far, the first page isn't what I'd call a "grabber." But then, I suppose it's written with long-time series readers in mind. No need for a lot of literary pyrotechnics if you've got a dedicated following. Saving the good stuff for further along.

I've been wanting to read something by Anne Perry, so I put in a request when this showed up among the Early Reviewer offerings at Library Thing. Probably not the best choice I could have made, what with this being the 30th book in the series. (!!!) And I'm not really sure how comfortable I'm going to be with the novel if the emphasis on religion is as heavy as it sounds -- for some reason, I've read several books lately with religious themes and really think I'm ready to move on. So, we'll see.... Haven't started reading this one yet, but it's coming up very soon.



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Friday, April 03, 2015

Reading Notes

"I love bookstores. I love independent bookstores. I think heaven is an independent bookstore, or I hope it is." 
--Aline Ohanesian, author of Orhan's Inheritance 
(reported in today's Shelf Awareness newsletter)


Thursday, April 02, 2015

Book Beginnings: The Witch of Painted Sorrows


The Witch of Painted Sorrows, by M.J. Rose (Atria Books, March 2015).  First chapter, opening lines:
Paris France
April 1894
I did not cause the madness, the deaths, or the rest of the tragedies any more than I painted the paintings. I had help, her help. Or perhaps I should say she forced her help on me. And so this story....

Initial Thoughts:

OK, right away I'm wondering who "she" is and why she's been forcing her help on the narrator. Help with the painting? Or something else? And what about all that madness, death and tragedy?  Sounds like this one's right down my street!  I've read several other books by M.J. Rose and really enjoyed them -- her writing can be absolutely mesmerizing. So I have high hopes for this one.



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Teaser Tuesdays: Shadow Ritual


This week my teaser lines come from Shadow Ritual, by Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne (translated by Anne Trager). A thriller involving Freemasons and Nazis, it's a little outside my usual comfort zone. I'm reading this on the Kindle, so I'm not sure about page numbers, but this snippet is at Loc.541 of the e-book edition.
When he was younger, Bashir had been partial to throat slitting. Then one September night in Beirut, when he was executing a contract at a private party, a spurt of blood had stained his Armani suit -- a superb three piece he had bought in Rome.... He had used guns and rope ever since.
Okey-dokey. Like I said -- not exactly a comfy read. But it's had some really positive reviews, so I'm hoping I'll love it.

Oh, and you know, I bet a really good dry cleaner could have removed that bloodstain with no problems at all.



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Jenn at A Daily Rhythm. If you'd like to read more teasers, or take part yourself, just head on over to her blog.

And please feel free to leave me a link to your Teaser Tuesday post in your comment here.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Reading Notes

According to an article in today's Shelf Awareness newsletter, readers between the ages of 18 and 34 (the so-called "Millennials") prefer print books to e-books, and still value the bookstore experience. That bit of info is based on a Publishing Technology survey of 1000 millennials in the U.S.

The Shelf Awareness report goes on to say:
Millennials prefer to acquire print books from physical bookstores: 52% of respondents said they preferred to buy from chain bookstores, while 45% said they preferred used bookstores, and 53% said they preferred to check out books from libraries. Only 40% of respondents, meanwhile, said they preferred online retailers.
I've read that other studies have found e-book preference is rising in the group of readers who are over 55. Not sure this means anything, but I think it's interesting and encouraging that the younger generations still seem to love libraries and book stores.