Khadaji's Whatcha Readin' - March 2014

I really liked that book. Serena reminded me of the Gene Tierney character in Leave Her to Heaven – another obsessive, sociopathic woman, but someone you almost admire for single-mindedness and strength (sort of).

I’ve meant to check out Ron Rash’s other books but haven’t gotten around to it.

I’m reading The Here and Now, a time travel/romance by Ann Brashares, who wrote Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. And I just realized that a name like “brashares” might have been the inspiration for a novel about sharing an item of clothing.

It’s YA in tone, and it’s about a young woman who with a few hundred others have traveled back to 2014 from a future where mankind has been devastated by plague. It’s better than expected (so far).

I need some help with Lolita, I’m sure most of you have read it, hopefully someone remembers it.
For the sake of anyone who hasn’t read it, I’ll spoil it.

When HH catches back up with Lolita at the end and asks her who kidnapped her she said “Waterproof” and that was all he needed to know exactly what was going on. My question is, why would she know to say that. I went back and checked. When “waterproof” was first spoken back at Hourglass lake, she was off at Camp Q, she never heard the word. I feel like I must be missing something. This book was written so well, I’m sure I didn’t just find a gaping plot hole, right? One that would be pretty easy to close.
It is possible I missed something, I do tend to read while tired. Also as I went flipping around trying to find the first time they used that word I was surprised at how many clues were dropped throughout the book, of course, like many whodunits, without THE clue, it’s not really possible to solve.

I finished A Death in Vienna by Daniel Silva on Thursday, I’ve just been too distracted to report in here :smiley:

Overall I think the series is getting better, I suspect that many of my complaints have to with a lack of famliiarity with the tropes of the espionage genre. It was interesting and perhaps evil of him to make the former Nazi a somewhat sympathetic character. Not entirely but some…

I am nearly half way through the new Jonathan Kellerman mystery Killer. As usual it is a page turner, and to see Alex and Milo angry at each other is a big departure for the usual. It is fueling my desire to get to the end of the book even more than the murder itself. I need to see them make up!

City of Diamond was good, recommended if you like 90’s soft sci-fi. It’s long, loosely plotted and character-driven.

I’m watching season two of *Vikings *on the History Channel, and it has put me in the mood to pick up another of Cornwell’s Saxon stories: Sword Song. King Alfred of Wessex has ordered Uhtred to drive the Danes and Norsemen out of London (since they wouldn’t accept Alfred’s bribe to leave). As always, Uhtred seriously mulls his options, which include reneging on his oath to a king whom he doesn’t like very much and who fervently practices a religion he doesn’t believe in.

Finished The Gods of Guilt, by Michael Connelly, who really is in top form with this latest installment in the Lincoln Lawyer series. Micky Haller takes the case of a pimp accused of killing a prostitute whom Haller tried to help leave the profession in the past. In this series’ universe, the movie The Lincoln Lawyer exists, and Haller has made mention of the movie in subsequent novels, the movie being inspired by his “real life” exploits. In this one, Haller says due to the success of the movie, he now sees several Lincoln Town Cars with drivers parked near the courthouse, all belonging to attorneys all claiming to be the actual inspiration for the film. So many that he often jumps in the backseat of the wrong one.

Now it’s back to George RR Martin and his series A Song of Ice and Fire. I will this week start the fifth and last novel to date, A Dance with Dragons. At least two more novels are planned for the series, but I don’t know when they’ll be released.

I’m working my way there… I want to READ a few of the books I have stacked up here before I run out and buy more.:smiley: But I’ll start the 4th Harry Bosch book sometime next week.

Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch are half-brothers. They share the same father. You’ll see some overlap in the two series. (That’s not a spoiler.)

Finished The Here and Now by Ann Brashares. YA time travel with a side of romance. Maybe I’m showing my age and my distance from adolescence, but I could have done without the sexual tension. Prenna and Ethan want to do it but the cause of the future plague is unknown, and Prenna’s worried that she’ll pass something on to Ethan. Ethan doesn’t care – having sex with Prenna is worth dying for.

I made it sound worse than it is, because it turns out that another traveler who had sex with several “time natives” may indeed have started the plague so I guess it was a necessary plot point. But it made me wonder if it’s a requirement to have sexual tension in a YA novel.

Anyway, it was an okay read, and the book would be fine for young teens. Sequels are possible, but I won’t bother to read them.

I’m reading The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope. It’s interesting to see the workings of a Ponzi scheme are basically timeless. My favourite quote:

The next time I get someone into a headlock, I’ll say: “I’ve got your head in chancery, old fellow!”

Yeah, I’ve discovered that. I’m planning to read them pretty much in order, so Lincoln Lawyer before The Brass Verdict and so on…

No one does, alas! At least another year, it looks like:

Finished Killer by Johnathan Kellerman, for my money one of his best. A page turner and twisty wthout being too twisty. Good use of a mcguffin too.

Next up is The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly. From the blurb I read, it sounds like this one may be emotional.

Finished This House is Haunted, by John Boyle. As advertised on the label, a haunted house story. It was shallow, but I enjoyed passing the time with it this week.

Next up, Only Forward, a sci-fi novel by Michael Marshall Smith. I’m not sure I’ll like the tale, but I’m digging the writing already. At one point, the protagonist makes a mental note to tell someone something next time he sees them, but he’s safe because he always loses his mental notes. :smiley:

Spotted Dreams of the Golden Age on the “New Books” shelf at the library & recalled enjoying its predecessor After the Golden Age, which I read back in August of last year.

This novel picks up some 15-20 years later with the teenaged Anna West, daughter of Celia West and not only heir (along with her sister, Bethy) to the West Corp business fortune, but also granddaughter of two of the members of the Olympiad, the former superhero team of Commerce City. Anna seems to be following in their footsteps, as she and her friends have superpowers and are itching to use them; sneaking out of their homes at night and meeting to practice their moves.

But Celia’s not as in the dark as it might seem; in fact, she helped bring together potential superpowered kids (based on research she started in the first book) and is keeping a watchful eye over them while is holding a rather powerful secret of her own.

Even though I don’t remember thinking After the Golden Age needed a sequel; this novel builds nicely on the events of the first book. Celia’s experiences from her young adulthood have served her well as she works to protect her city the best way she knows how, despite having no superpowers. She and Arthur have a good marriage, she has reconciled with her mother and has remained friends with Analise and Mark. Anna has somewhat of her mother’s rebellious streak, and her superpower is an interesting adaptation of telepathy: she knows where people are. Mostly just family and friends; but her talent develops over the course of the novel.

The book switches between Anna and Celia’s points of view, making it semi-omniscient third person, I suppose. While the focus is on these two women and their relationship; the supporting characters are well rounded and IMHO, get sufficient arcs of their own. The plot developed a little slowly perhaps, lacking a Big Bad until near the end; but that worked for this novel, which is as much about accepting yourself and your friends/family for who they are as it is about the superhero stuff. Vaughn’s worldbuilding is very well done, looking beyond the capes and masks into what a world (or at least a city) where superheroes existed might be like - and what happens to those people once the adventuring is over (as well as before it starts.)
I enjoyed both these novels and would recommend them to fans of The Incredibles, another human relationships story that just happened to have superheroes in it.

Cees Nooteboom’s All Soul’s Day is indeed a book to be tossed aside lightly. I figured if the characters in the book couldn’t be bothered to look up from their navels and take the bold step of doing something, I couldn’t be arsed to fling it across the room.

I am currently reading The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.

I am also reading Notes from Underground, which I have been planning on reading for years but just recently picked up after a sudden gust of motivation.

I just finished Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. It’s a tale of espionage during World War II, where two girls, best friends, crash a spy plane in Nazi Occupied France. From the start of the book, one of them is captured by the Gestapo. I thought it was an excellent story about resolve and friendship. I highly recommend it.

I just finished The Goldfinch and despite about a hundred pages of gratuitous philosophising at the end, I thought the book was excellent. If anyone can recommend another smart absorbing doorstopper to follow this one, I’d be grateful.

I just finished Barry Eisler’s Graveyard of Memories, a prequel to his series about Japanese-American assassin John Rain. A very good read, and one of the few action novels where the sex scenes weren’t so awkwardly written that I just skipped over them.

Thanks to Tapiotar’s recommendation in the “Top Ten Books of 2013” thread, I checked out the audiobook version of The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Agra Deedy. While I missed out on the illustrations by Randall Wright, I did quite enjoy the narration by Katharine Kellgren (she could read the phone book and I’d listen!) with Robin Sachs contributing the Charles Dickens interludes.

Skilley, a street cat living in Victorian London schemes his way into a mousing job at the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese inn, despite not actually wanting to eat mice at all. He finds an ally in Pip, a mouse residing at the inn who has some unusual talents. Together, they deal with a missing “person” whose disappearance has potential foreign relation repercussions. They must also cope with a cranky cook and a an evil tomcat bent on exposing their friendship as well as the secrets of the mice of the inn. Charles Dickens makes a cameo appearance as a frequenter of the inn and an astute observer of the animals’ interactions.

It is a middle grade book - aimed at 8-10 year olds, so the story isn’t terribly complex, but still quite charming. Adults will get the references to Dickens and Wilkie Collins, while kids will enjoy the story of the friendship between the mouse and the cat, which develops organically with some bumps along the way. There are some moments of peril and a couple of minor characters die, but it’s handled well and there’s some good lessons to be learned.

Recommended to fans of animal fantasies and stories for all ages.

Finished Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto. The main character is a violent man who works for other violent men. He has to go on the run from his boss, gets involved with a troubled young woman. It sounds so typical, but Pizzolatto makes it all seem new. It’s very dark and very well-written, the imagery, dialogue, setting, pace – just brilliant.

Started Fennel and Rue by William Dean Howells. Not sure what it’s about, exactly. A writer of serials is pissed off at a woman who tried to trick him into revealing the end of a series he’s writing. I have no clue where it’s going but it’s a fun read.