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text 2017-02-06 19:39
The Best Laid Plans-February Edition
Martyr - Rory Clements
Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles - Margaret George
Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey - Nicola Tallis
A Perilous Undertaking - Deanna Raybourn
The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith
The Flame Bearer (Saxon Tales) - Bernard Cornwell

I had planned on writing out my reading plans for February last week. Then the flu decided to rear its ugly head and tear through my house like my four olds tore threw Christmas presents. Of course the one time a year I happen to get sick also happens to be the time the other adult in my house decided to have dental work done. If I'm praying to the porcelain god and he's delirious from the pain medication, who exactly is watching our children? A Kindle and some Legos watched my oldest. Twin B was worshiping next to me. Twin A was hanging out outside of the bathroom door crying because we put her twin in quarantine. Where's a grandma when you need one? 

 

Anyway enough about my problems. Let's talk about my books! I am off to a great start this year. My personal reading goal for the year is 75. That's a bit under last year's goal of 175 but last year I was at home all day, every day with my kids until I decided to start working again in December. I've also recently become part of a crusade to get a referendum passed so my children can go to school in a building that doesn't have condemned classrooms and fungal issues. I've been spending a lot of my spare time consuming massive amounts of wine after explaining to people why they should care about the future of their children's education. Apparently around here we are suppose to care more about the future of old bricks and concrete than the flesh and blood and brains inside said bricks and concrete. Ugh. 

 

Seriously, I ramble. I can't help it. Those of you who take the time out of your day to stop and read this are the closest thing I get to adult interaction sometimes. I work at an elementary school. Sure there are adults there but who has time to talk to them? 

 

Anyway. Really this time, I'm going to tell you what I want to read in February.

 

At the beginning of the month I wanted to finish Martyr by Rory Clements. By the time I've gotten around to writing this post, I've finished. It checks of one of my Monopoly spaces.

-Side note: Over at Goodreads, I'm a member of a Historical Mysteries group. For 2017 we are playing Historical Mystery Monopoly. Want to join us? Come on over! 

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18382705-historical-mystery-monopoly-2017---rules-questions

 

This month I also desperately want to finish Mary Queen of Scotland and The Isles by Margaret George. I have been reading this book since the end of August 2016. It's not that I don't like George's work. I loved her novel about Henry VIII. It's just that I have such a hard time with Mary, Queen of Scots. She is just not very bright. I spend a lot of time wanting to throw my books. It's a pretty big book so I should probably avoid throwing it. 

 

Carrying on with the theme of finishing things, I am also looking to finish Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey by Nicola Tallis. So far it is excellent. At times, I have to remind myself I'm reading non-fiction. I'm pleasantly surprised by the author who is said to have honed her craft at the feet of Alison Weir. 

 

Finally, I want to finish The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey and The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley.

 

Hopefully by the time I am done finishing books I will have time for some new books. 

Some of those books I hope to read include:

The Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters (my next Monopoly square)

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

A Perilous Undertaking by Deana Raybourn

The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell

 

 

 

 

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text 2017-01-06 13:04
7 "Gotta-Get" Books
The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies - John Langan
Tigana - Guy Gavriel Kay
Assassin's Apprentice - Robin Hobb
The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction - Neil Gaiman
Invisible Ink: How 100 Great Authors Disappeared - Christopher Fowler
The Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune - Stuart Galbraith,Stuart Galbraith IV
The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

Thus far, I've been talking about books I already own that I need to read. As much as I want to focus on that, there are quite a few books out there that I very much want to get and read this year. These aren't new releases, rather books I just haven't gotten to yet. Some are from legends in their respective fields, some are from fave authors, and some just seem nifty.

 

1.The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies - John Langan  The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies - John Langan  

 

    Just recently, I read Langan's The Fisherman, and was quite fond. Though I liked the book as a whole, the centerpiece story-within-a-story just floored me. As well, Langan's "Red Death" riff that I read in a Poe-inspired anthology was fantastic. As such,I want to get into more of his shorter works.

 

2. Tigana - Guy Gavriel Kay  Tigana - Guy Gavriel Kay  

 

    I read two of Kay's novels last year, and adored them. So I'm going to pick up at least this one in '17, possibly another as well.

 

3. Assassin's Apprentice - Robin Hobb  Assassin's Apprentice - Robin Hobb  

 

    Hobb is well-known and loved in the fantasy scene, and this is the first book in the trilogy that launched her over-arching world. I have a love-hate relationship with high fantasy, but this just sounds fun.

 

4. The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction - Neil Gaiman  The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction - Neil Gaiman  

 

I am a massive fan of Gaiman, have been since reading American Gods far too many years ago. Also, I dig pop-cult essays a la Hornby and Vowell. So this is a no-brainer.

 

5. Invisible Ink: How 100 Great Authors Disappeared - Christopher Fowler  Invisible Ink: How 100 Great Authors Disappeared - Christopher Fowler  

 

    I dig books about books, and stories of near-success are often more fascinating than either pure success or failure. And, I like history.

 

6. The Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune - Stuart Galbraith,Stuart Galbraith IV  The Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune - Stuart Galbraith,Stuart Galbraith IV  

 

    I love movies, how they're made, who makes them, the whole shebang. Also, I like exploring unfamiliar cultures. Mix two strong personalities with long, interesting careers, post-war economics and fears, and various technical and creative challenges... Dude, I am so there.

 

7. The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith  The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith  

 

    Like many people, I read and loved the Harry Potter series. Combine that with the fact that I am a long-time mystery fan, especially P.I. novels, as well as the general praise heaped upon this series, and it's surprising I haven't read  this yet. That changes this year.

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review 2016-11-03 15:53
Wciągało? To za mało
Żniwa zła - Robert Galbraith,Anna Gralak

Moje odczucia co do tej książki zmieniały się chyba kilka razy w czasie jej czytania. Najpierw brakowało mi jakiegoś mocnego rozpoczęcia, które wciągnęłoby mnie w dalsze czytanie. No, ale dobra, to żaden zarzut, zdarza się tak z wieloma książkami, z których część potrafi potem pozytywnie zaskoczyć. Czytałem więc dalej i rzeczywiście, całe to śledztwo nawet mnie wciągnęło. To już duży postęp w stosunku do poprzedniej części, "Jedwabnika", gdzie właśnie powolny progres dochodzenia do prawdy w końcu mnie zamęczył.

 

Dla mnie jednak czytanie kryminału jest trochę jak zawieranie umowy z autorem. Ja będę brnął razem z bohaterami w powolne, pełne ślepych uliczek i niezauważalnych tropów dociekanie prawdy. W zamian jednak zostanę uraczony finałem, który z nawiązką wynagrodzi mi te trudy. Tutaj finał trwał – ile? – może z kilkanaście stron. Najpierw dowiedziałem się, że Strike już wie, kto jest mordercą, potem musiałem poczekać, aż zastawi na niego pułapkę, szast, prast i koniec. Nie dane mi było zbyt długo podelektować się sprytnym skądinąd (choć troszkę przeze mnie przewidzianym, a raczej "podejrzewanym") rozwiązaniem fabularnym.

 

Z ciekawości przejrzałem recenzje innych czytelników. Często powtarza się w nich określanie uczuciowo-emocjonalnych perypetii głównych bohaterów "operą mydlaną". I niestety, pomimo pewnej sympatii do tych postaci, muszę się z tym zgodzić. Nie należę wcale do tych, którzy w kryminale akceptują jedynie historię kryminalną i na wszelkie próby wprowadzenia pobocznych wątków skupiających się na prywatnym życiu bohaterów reagują odruchami wymiotnymi. Ba, wręcz oczekuję, że między parą bohaterów w końcu coś zaiskrzy. Jednak taki wątek trzeba umieć prowadzić, a w "Żniwach zła" jest on poprowadzony tak sztampowo, że aż przecierałem oczy ze zdumienia, czy nie trafiłem na plan jakiegoś odcinka telenoweli. Ostatnie zaś zdania powieści chyba mocno przyczyniły się do obniżenia mojej oceny.

 

Oczywiście, znowu za dużo się czepiam, książka nie była tak zła, jak może się wydawać z tej recenzji. Jednak tak to bywa z książkami ze "środka tabeli", że czasem skupiam się na ich pozytywnych aspektach, a czasem wręcz przeciwnie. Autorka wspomniała gdzieś, że książki o Cormoranie pisze głównie dla własnej frajdy. I to właśnie widać. Żałuję tylko, że jej frajda coraz mniej pokrywa się z moją.

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review 2016-10-30 05:53
Book Review: The Cuckoo's Calling
The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

Book: The Cuckoo’s Calling

 

Author: Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling

 

Genre: Fiction/Mystery

 

Summary: After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to just one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man. You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this. Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. - Little, Brown and Company, 2013.

 

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review 2016-08-27 17:55
The Silkworm
The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith

It took me only 3 days to finish this book with its 600 pages, so the term "compulsive reading" surely applies to The Silkworm (or The Cuckoo´s Calling for that matter). Unfortunately the Cormoran Stike novels never manage to be more than an enjoyable read for me with some flaws.

 

The biggest problem I have with the series is that J.K. Rowling heavily relies on Deus Ex Machina moments. Strike has to solve a mysterious death and he doesn´t have an awful lot to work with (there isn´t any incriminating evidence at the murder scene). There are a lot of suspects, everyone could be the murderer and the only thing Strike does throughout the novel is to interrogate the suspects. And then, towards the end, this is happening:

 

All of a sudden Strike has a revelation, he remembers something he has heard in a conversation or read in magazine, and suddenly he just knows who the murderer is. Not in a million years could I come up with such a farfetched solution to the case, but Strike just pulls it of.

(spoiler show)

 

Another thing I haven´t been particularly fond of in this book is the relationship between Strike, Robin and her fiance Matthew (I could perfectly do without all the jealousy). I would prefer a platonic friendship between Strike and Robin and that they just team up in a professional manner. I just can´t stand unnecessary relationsship drama.

 

Despite its flaws I´m looking forward to the next installment in the series. The Cormoran Strike novels are my guilty pleasure reads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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