Thursday, February 28, 2019

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

"I am old. That is the first thing to tell you. The thing you are least likely to believe. If you saw me you would probably think I was about forty, but you would be very wrong. I am old--old in the way that a tree, or a quahog clam, or a Renaissance painting is old .... You see, I have a condition."

Tom Hazard isn't immortal, he just doesn't age at the same rate as normal humans. He's lived through four centuries already and seen the world change. He's also lived through the deaths of the two people he loved most, making him wonder if his condition isn't a blessing, but a curse.
"It made me lonely. And when I say lonely, I mean the kind of loneliness that howls through you like a desert wind. It wasn't just the loss of people I had known but also the loss of myself. The loss of who I had been when I had been with them."
Then the Albatross Society finds him, a society made up of people just like him. And they offer the promise of safety, companionship, and purpose. There are just a few rules he as to follow:  never fall in love, never tell anyone about their secret, and never stay in one place longer than eight years. Oh, and he has to do something for them every eight years in return. And everything seems fine ... until he meets her.

My thoughts:  I love Matt Haig's novels. There's something about the way he writes, the lyricism of his prose, that makes me smile. His stories are always unexpected and quirky. And How To Stop Time is no exception. I liked Tom Hazard immediately, and I love how Haig wove together the pieces of his past and present. It makes for a poignant and thought-provoking novel. This was a 5-star read for me, and one that will for sure make my favorites list at the end of the year.

Happy Reading!

Also check out:

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme?  Places mentioned in books that I'd love to visit. (As you read my list, please remember my emphasis is on the word visit.)

1. The magical land of Oz

2. Diagon Alley....and Hogwarts, too, of course

3. Themyscira 

4. Le Cirque des Reves (the Night Circus)

5.  John Galt's Atlantis

6. The ever-changing Castle Glower (especially on a Tuesday)

7. Middle-earth, especially Lothlorien

8. Rose Red, the haunted Rimbauer Mansion

9. Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show (the carnival from Something Wicked This Way Comes.)

10. Nightingale Books (from Veronica Henry's How to Find Love in a Bookshop.)

Happy Reading!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

February's Bookish Art...

Henri Ottman
"She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live."
--Annie Dillard

Thursday, February 21, 2019

From my TBR shelf...

Title & Author:  Haven by Laury Falter

Why I bought it:  Have I mentioned how much I like disaster/survival novels? Including zombie apocalypse ones? Which is why I couldn't resist buying this particular book.

The premise:  Kennedy's at her high school when the zombie apocalypse beings. Only she and four other teens--Doc, Beverly, Mei and Harrison--manage to make it safely inside. At least Kennedy has some survival skills courtesy of her military father to help them survive. But the odds are against them. Then there's Harrison, who has a secret of his own. One that could affect ... or infect .... them all.

My thoughts:  I'd classify this YA novel as "survival lite". While there are several intense encounters with the Infected, the author spends more time focusing on Kennedy and Harrison, and their respective pasts and growing relationship. Which I actually didn't mind because I liked both of them. But it did lessen the suspense of whether or not they were going to survive. And Harrison's big secret was pretty obvious and easy to figure out. So no real tension there either. And being in the high school with food and shelter and safety meant the five teens' survival felt pretty easy at times. Despite these few flaws, I still enjoyed this one. It's well-written, and it reads fast, and it's also entertaining and fun. Will I read the sequel? Probably not. But I'm not sorry I read this one.

My rating:  3/5 stars.

Happy Reading!

P.S. This  one also counts as another book towards my Backlist Reader Challenge 2019 goal, a fun reading challenge that focuses on reading the books on your TBR shelf and on your TBR list. 

Similar read:
Virulent: The Release by Shelbi Wescott

Monday, February 18, 2019

Haiku Reviews...

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

Jobless, Calla heads to
Alaska to reconnect
with her dying father.

Romantic adventure .... 388 pages .... 3.5/5 stars.

Dragonshadow (Heartstone Novel #2) by Elle Katharine White

The Daireds battle
an ancient evil born of
shadow and vengeance.

Fantasy .... 381 pages .... 4/5 stars.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

The robot uprising
from beginning to end--humans
fight back...and win!

Science Fiction .... 347 pages .... 5/5 stars.

Happy Reading!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Urban Fantasy Fun!

5 Reasons to read Booke of the Hidden by Jeri Westerson: 
  • It's set in Moody Bog, Maine. (How great is that?) And it's full of magic...and it's funny, too!
  • The Booke of the Hidden.  Found bricked up in a wall, "It was at least twelve inches wide by eighteen inches tall. The cover was of ancient leather, worn at the edges. An ornate metal latch sealed the book ... I lifted the cover and opened the Booke. Tawny sheets of parchment crackled under my fingertips. It smelled musty, of old attics and forgotten memories. Eagerly, I turned the first few pages to discover its buried secrets. But no matter what page I turned to in this gigantic, ancient tome, I couldn't find a single word written in it...anywhere."
  • Kylie Strange.  She moved to Maine to open an herb and tea shop. What she found instead was the Booke of the Hidden. And what she loosed when she opened it....well, now it's up to her to hunt the evil down and put it back. At least she has a cool weapon to do it with:  a magical Cthonic Crossbow. (It came with the book...sort of.) Too bad she doesn't know how to use it. Yet.
  • Erasmus Dark.  The tall, dark, handsome demon with an English accent who's tied to the Booke and who's there to help Kylie with her task. At least, that's what he says. But can she trust him? He is a demon, after all.
  • Doc Boone, Nick, Seraphina, and Jolene. Moody Bog's own amateur Wiccan coven. They're game to help Kylie any way they can. Too bad they've never actually done any real magic. (Jolene, who's a computer savvy teenager, especially made me laugh.)
(The one minor flaw for me:  Kylie's excessive attraction to Erasmus, and his to her, and how fast it got physical between them. Especially when she was still supposedly suspicious of him and his motives. I could have done without this bit of romance so early in the series. But at least it didn't overwhelm the plot.)

 My rating:  3.5/5 stars.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Favorite Bookish Couples...

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's theme?

Favorite bookish couples!

Here are nine of mine:

1. Mina and Jonathan 
(Dracula by Bram Stoker)

2. George and Lucy
(A Room With A View by E.M. Forster)

3. Jean and Joe
(A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute)

4. Laura and Almanzo
(These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder)

5. Raederle and Morgan
(Harpist in the Wind by Patricia A. McKillip)

6. Mercy and Adam
(Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs)

7. John and Sig
(Charmed by Elliott James)

8. Hero and Devlin
(Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series by C.S. Harris)

9. Kiera and Sebastian
(Lady Darby mystery series by Anna Lee Huber)

I love all of these bookish couples! What about you?
Who do you love?

Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Future Shock!

Elena Martinez, a "tatted-up Mexican girl" with a penchant for fighting is about to age out of the foster care system. Which is why she's so desperate to find a job. She's smart and has an eidetic memory, but with her checkered past no one wants to hire her. Until the Aether Corporation comes along offering her a big chunk of change to do one job for them. They want her to participate in a research project with four other teens. It'll only take twenty-four hours to complete. But she'll have to venture 10 years into the future to do it. Aether says there's no risk to her and the others, but Elena suspects they're not telling her the truth. Still, what other choice does she have?

Elizabeth Briggs has written one fun page-turner. Elena's a great narrator, flawed yet personable; Adam, Chris, Trent, and Zoe, the other four teens who travel into the future with her, are good secondary characters with their own unique abilities. I liked them all. This YA novel is a very compelling read--from the first page to the last I couldn't put it down. Especially when Elena & Co. step 30 years into the future instead of 10 and things start to go wrong; then they begin to uncover the first of Aether's lies and the guessing game of who's telling the truth and who they can trust begins. As with any time travel novel, a little suspension of belief is required. But all in all, this turned out to be a very fun and entertaining read.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A classic from my TBR shelf...

I can't remember where I first heard about Angela Thirkell, but it was on someone's blog several years ago. And not just one person's blog. For awhile, it seemed like every other blog I followed was posting a review of one of Thirkell's novels. So, when I saw a copy of Growing Up in a used bookstore, I couldn't resist; I snapped it up, brought it home, promptly put it on a shelf .... and never got around to reading it. Until now.

Title:  Growing Up
Year:  1942
Place:  Barsetshire (Anthony Trollope's fictional English county)

Plot:  Sir Harry and Lady Waring's home is being used as a convalescent hospital for soldiers while they themselves live downstairs in the servant's quarters. A young military couple, Noel and Lydia Merton, come to lodge with them for a few months as does their niece, Leslie. And soon life at the Priory gets a little more complicated...and a little more fun. With wit and humor, Thirkell captures the struggle and uncertainty of the war years and deftly mixes it with the resilience and British good cheer of her main characters. There's even a little romance thrown in for good measure.

My thoughts:  This novel started off a little slow for me, but then I relaxed into the rhythm of Thirkell's writing and really started to enjoy her characters and their day-to-day happenings at Winter Overcotes. Lydia is delightfully charming; I loved the interaction between Sir Harry and his wife; and the uncertain romance between Leslie and Colonel Winter added another layer of fun. There were a few other characters I didn't love, but they only added to the eccentricities of life in a small English town. Growing Up reminded me a lot of a Barbara Pym novel with a hint of Elizabeth Gaskell added in.

Happy Reading!

P.S.  Since it was published in 1943, Growing Up fulfills the 20th Century Classic category in Karen's Back to the Classics Challenge. And since it came from my own TBR shelf, it also counts as a read for Lark's Backlist Reader Challenge. One book; two challenges. Gotta love that!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Bookish anticipation...

"....anticipation is an important part of're 
cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what's coming."
--Nicholas Sparks. 

I have a lot of favorite authors with new books coming out this year ... books that I am eagerly awaiting! Here are just a few:

Coming March 5th ... the new Patricia Briggs! 

Then, on April 2nd, I have two books to look forward to...
one by Anna Lee Huber and one by C.S. Harris:

And on April 30th there's a new Victoria Thompson:

June's looking good because of this new Benedict Jacka coming out on the 6th:

Then, on July 16th there's this new one by Linda Castillo:

Last, but not least, Christina Henry has a new book coming out on August 13th:

Isn't bookish anticipation the best?
What books are you eagerly awaiting?

Happy Reading!