I love fantasy and science fiction and loved the references to various authors and books. I enjoyed the main character and the story but it felt unfinished to me. I wanted more clarity at the end. I liked the world that Jo Walton created and that you were unsure whether the faerie world was real or something created by our main characters mental instability. I wanted more of the faerie world and I felt the ending was quick and unsatifying. It could have been carried into another book. As it was it felt unfinished.
If you have not picked up 'The Rivers of London' series by Ben Aaronovitch. This is the fourth of a wonderful urban fantasy/detective series set in London and its surrounding areas. Aside from me, this series is recommended by Daniel O'Malley, author of the 'The Rook' and has some similarities. I also have learned that Dresden files fans also like this series. If you have read the previous three books you know they are fantastic fun and should be required reading for those with even a passing interest in fantasy, detective novels, and London.
'Broken Homes' narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is delightful. This is a case where the narrator has such a grasp on the novel that I look specifically to listen to it.
This book is primarily about Constable Peter Grant,his superior Nightengale, and his friend and fellow constable Leslie. They make up a very small special branch of the police that investigate the 'things that go bump in the night,' and they are a nightmare to work with as far as the rest of the police are concerned. There are few hard facts, actual evidence, and clear up rates when investigating the 'extraordinary.'
While this team is still tracking down "Little Crocodiles" (unlicensed wizards of the day who do not keep The Queens Peace,) Peter comes across several cases with strange facets that put them squarely in their jurisdiction. There is a stolen Grimoire of German origin, a city planner whose suicide by train is not on the up and up, and a mutilated body we believe has ties to The Faceless Man.
Aaronovitch ties all these plots together involving the fabulous Rivers of London Gods and Goddesses, Zach(our favorite connection to the Fey of the city,) and Peter's family including the wayward 13 year old aspiring wizard Abigail.
'Broken Homes' ties in the architecture of the city, previously unknown wizards, and insight into Nightingales' past. As with his other books, I was so drawn into the story I didn't notice if the writing was particularly good or not, but I can say it certainly did not detract. The novel is full of humor and if you are looking for a book that is enjoyable, and will allow you to keep your good spirits, this is for you. There is also a huge twist at the end I would not want to spoil. One warning, you do have to read the other three first, but I doubt you will complain if you do so.
This is Laurie King’s interpretation of Sherlock Holmes in his later life as a secondary character to his apprentice, Mary Russell. I was pleasantly surprised and I believe I am addicted to the Mary Russell series. I downloaded the second book of the series within moments of finishing this book.
I had misgivings about reading this. I love Doyle’s Sherlock and I was worried that King’s interpretation would make me unhappy. So, with trepidation and after recommendations from both my parents and my niece, I picked it up. My niece and I enjoy discussing some YA fiction and as a result I was expecting something on that level. I had made a terrible assumption based on this and forgot that she is an extremely precocious 13 year-old who loves and chooses to read Shakespeare…repeatedly. She sometimes speaks in old english and I have to ask for translations. This is not YA fiction. This is a PG adult mystery, and it is wonderful.
Laurie King did a very intelligent thing. She stated, as Mary Russell our first person point of view, that her interpretation of Holmes was likely to offend or upset a reader who is looking for Watson’s interpretation. Her view of Holmes is quite different, it is the view of an equal, and Watson never viewed himself as Holmes equal. This allowed me, as the reader, to let that go. Bravo Laurie King!
This is the story of how a young woman, recently orphaned and forced to live with a detestable distant Aunt, becomes the Apprentice of the great Sherlock Holmes. The book develops their friendship through her training. Holmes is still endearingly odd, but he is not seen from a pedestal. This is a coming of age story through several mysteries brought to Holmes and Russell while she is going to school at Oxford. Russell grows from the age of 16 to 18 during the span of the novel and Holmes is in his 50′s. Their relationship is not romantic.
The writing is beautiful and spoiled me. I picked up a distinctly YA paranormal romance after this and abandoned it promptly because I couldn’t read it. I couldn’t be fair. My expectations had been raised. King did a fabulous job of staying true to her characters voice, time frame, and local. In comparison, I kept seeing where this other author threw in a few words to try to make it authentic to the local and then would forget and dispense with them. It nearly drove me to madness and I had to remember this was a new author. I will try to read it again later.
Jenny Sterlin's narration is wonderful. Her voice perfectly matches the material. Her accents were wonderful and her character differentiation was superb. My preference will be to listen rather than read this series. I don’t think my internal voice could do it justice after listening to her interpretation.
As for ‘The Beekeepers Apprentice’, it was a wonderful period piece during and right after World War I. It allows the reader to enjoy Sherlock Holmes, Mrs. Hudson, and Watson with a fabulous addition of Mary Russell.
Blackbirds is the second Chuck Wendig book I have tried to read. The first was Blue Blazes but I abandoned it. Chuck Wendig, however, comes highly recommended from multiple sources I respect. Blackbirds is the story of a young woman who sees the way people die if she comes in skin to skin contact with them. She has tried to fight fate in the past to save people, but it has always knocked her down and put her in her place.The book is a paranormal thriller. What could you possibly not like…and what can you like?
Chuck is great at building a descriptive world. You can smell, see, hear, and unfortunately taste it. This world is one of dirty hotel rooms, dirtier dive bars, and hitchhiking a small town grimy America. You might not want to experience the taste that goes with that. The book hooks you and is action packed. You need to know what happens next.
That being said his characters are not lovable. They are psychopaths, sociopaths, con artists with attachment disorder, etc. I know a Miriam, she didn't see people’s deaths, but as I experienced Wendig’s crass scavenger that will do/did everything in her power to push people away, I cringed. I recognize I probably have some negative transference, but Miriam’s still hard to like. When I say she’s crass I don’t mean she uses some profanity, this isn't a common use of typical profanity. This is very creative thought out ignorant descriptions in an extremely ignorant and vulgar fashion. It, however, is purposeful and serves the storyline. But...this is not for children, or the faint of heart. It’s also rather violent.
Emily Beresford did not do a bad job, in fact, I think in many ways she may have captured Miriam's crass spirit a little to well. I had a literal negative physical reaction to the way she said some of Miriam's lines. Remember, Wendig created her this way. I did, however, end up getting this on whispersync and chose to read most of it.
I will again say it is a well written, good thriller. It has twists I didn't see and a luke warm uplifting ending. Maybe Wendig is saving that for a series finale but I just don’t quite think uplifting happy rainbows is his style. I haven’t decided if I’m reading the next book. I feel dirty. I think I will take a shower and decide later.
Ben Aaronovitch has not lost his touch and did a wonderful job with Whispers Under Ground. I finished this book and promptly listened to it a second time. I didn't think I could could do justice to my review, and let's be honest, I just wanted to listen to it a second time. Kobno Holdbrook-Smith, if you have already listened to the first two of the series, you know is an amazing narrator. He does remarkably with the characters, both with being able to do the accents but also with picking up on the personality, humor, and sarcasm Aaronovitch gave them. I wish every book and narrator were so well matched.
In Whispers under ground Peter, Leslie, and Nightengale are searching for the Little Crocodiles (ethically challenged magical practitioners that are rogue and not keeping the Queens Peace - Peter takes objection to Nightengale calling them black wizards.) They also are working with the murder squad to determine who murdered a young man with a bit of magically imbued pottery in the underground. This opens our team up to investigating the London Underground and sewers. Oh, how I want to now take a trip to London and take a tour of the underground! Leslie is back, and you get to experience Peter and Leslie develop their friendship after the tragic deformation of her face. Peter is far more sensitive than we would have believed in the past and its great to see these two characters grow, especially since Leslie is a perfect counter to Peter.
It does have profanity, but its situation appropriate. There isn't sex in this book unlike the last in the series. In my opinion, it wouldn't be an issue for a teenage crowd to read as long as you are comfortable with some profanity.
The book is delightful. I honestly don't know if it is the best written book, I really wasn't paying attention because I was so drawn into the book, but its one of my favorites. It's humorous, it has the necessary one liners of a police detective novel, and the brash characters needed with Sewall and Stefanopolis. It's delicious.
With the TV series set to come out the summer of 2014. I decided I wanted to read/listen to this book again because it had been some time since I had read it. I have read and listened to this book previously. Yes, it's that good, and now let me explain why this is a favorite and why I prefer to listen to Davina Porter narrate than for me to sit and read it.
Outlander is the story of a English war nurse who after World War II returns to Scotland where she and her husband first got married. They are there on vacation and while Frank, her husband she has not seen in 7 years, is a wonderful loving man he is also a history professor and much obsessed with researching his family tree. She stumbles across a stone circle in a new desire to study botany (a hobby to keep her busy now she does not have many wounded men to care for) This stone circle pulls her back in time before the Scottish rebellion with Prince Charlie. She is clearly an outsider and gets pulled into a political web between the Scottish and British. You see Claire, an amazingly strong female character, deal with the time she has been brought back to and how she deals with the small amount of knowledge of the time she has, and what the reality compared to the history is.
This is a wonderful book. It brings the rawness of the history to life. It is not sugar coated. It is well researched. You can rely on the history drawn in this book, the details are accurate, and you can smell and taste Scotland from Diana Gabaldon's descriptions.
A bit of a warning. This is definitely a romance. The sexual material is described in as much detail as the rest of the book. This is not simple period erotica because there is a well researched and well formed story but it is explicit. It also does deal with sexual violence towards both men and women. It is not biased. Sex is both positive and negative in the book and is not a tool to degrade women but it is a reality of the time and handles situations that would have been dealt with in the historical time. Likewise, there is a lot of violence and some profanity. There is a reason the TV show is being produced by Starz and not another network like FOX or NBC.
It is a wonderful book and Davina Porter handles the varied accents and character differentiation with ease. I love listening to her read this book. I can not create the beautiful accents she does in my own head. She does a masterful job that heightens the overall experience. Enjoy this book.
I truly enjoyed this book. Our quirky, magical Deputy Constable becomes the Jazz Police in the sequel to Midnight Riot. Peter Grant, self believed ladies man, humorously navigates some rather awkward romantic relationships with magical creatures amongst his regular police work duties. His conclusion, he creates a new rule for himself, don't date anyone with more magic than yourself.
While Peter does seem to get easily sidetracked by the ladies, he has two cases that intersect. One is of Jazz musicians that seem to be dying of an unheard of, until now, magical cause. This takes him and the healing Nightingale into discovering there may be more wizards in London than Nightingale knew of. This is of some surprise since Nightingale thought he was the last. We get the pleasure of exploring Nightingale's past, schooling, his time during World War II, and his recovery from it.
There are some fantastic jazz references in this book, although, Peter does have an unfair advantage since his father is the somewhat famous Lord Grant of the London Jazz scene. In this version with Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as the narrator you even get to hear some snippets of the pieces mentioned. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is a fantastic narrator, a favorite of mine. I recommend listening to it if you have a chance.
I mentioned there is a bit of romance in this book. There is some profanity and some sexually explicit material but it is not the focus of the story nor the bulk of it. If you read the first book, it has more than the last but I wouldn't shelve it under erotic fiction by any stretch of the imagination.
Oh so good! This is police drama with urban fantasy done right. Peter Grant is a recently made constable that starts to see ghosts. This suprise has some down sides but has the decidedly great advantage of saving him from being a paperwork monkey that fills out other constable's and detectives paperwork for them. While that would be a "valuable service," it is not the service he signed up for. He wants to be a proper thief taker.
Ben Aaronovitch creates a fabulously Brittish view of London. It's modern, funny, and has the perfect and accurate pop culture references. I picked it up because I was trolling Daniel O'Malley's blog, hoping to find out when the sequel to "The Rook" was coming,and he recommended The Peter Grant series for those of us needing anything similar to satisfy our impatience.
This is a quick but fun read that will make you laugh. Make sure you have the sequel because you will not want to wait. It has some light sexual content and profanity but nothing extreme a slightly worldly teenager can't handle. Have your parents ever slipped up and sworn in front of you? Yes? You can handle this.
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith does a fabulous narration! It enhanced the book for me. The accents were fantastic and the characters were differentiated well. The entirety is in a strong Brittish accent but as it is set in London this was perfect. I will listen to anything he narrates and intend to listen rather than read the rest of this series.
This series has been enjoyable since the beginning but Twilight Watch delves deeper into what real differences there are between the Day Watch and the Night Watch. It explores the true reasons as to why they exist, and with this knowledge how it effects Anton and Svetlana's family. A little bit of knowledge can turn a persons world upside down. This was written very well and my favorite of the series.
The book is divided into three stories as is the case with both Day Watch and Night Watch. The stories are interconnected and tie in information from the previous books that previously may have seemed to be tangents.
If you read the other two and were thinking of giving up - don't. This book pays off. I personally enjoyed the first two but wouldn't categorize them in my favorites. This book I do. Read this series. The books are very philosophical...with vampires, werewolves, and magicians. All our favorite others from past books are present. This is the mature version of urban fantasy. There is minimal profanity and little to no sexual material.
Paul Michael narrates and does a wonderful job. He narrates the entire series. He has the right inflection and dry humor needed to deliver the material.
The title of this book could lead one to believe that the author was implying having children is a bad thing, but that is not the aim of the book or the author. Jessica Valenti, a new mom and writer, looks at the societal views of why we have kids, what society says a parent should look like, the rights and roles of parents and non parents. It is a captivating book. I am a reader who tends to not stray from fiction frequently but this book was on the list that should be better known and I decided to give it a try. As a result, my opinion is I wholeheartedly agree.
Jessica Valenti states at the beginning of her book that her research and the ideas brought up in the book are controversial and she expects people to have strong reactions to it. She in fact believes they should, not so that they have to agree with her, but that they think about the material and form their own opinions. This sat well with me. Parenting, to have kids, to not have kids, to be a stay at home parent, to be a working parent, how to financially support a child, US business leave policies, and government contraception law all are stratifying choices that can elicit defensive stances. This book breaks down why there is so much defensiveness for any decision and how raising children in todays culture has changed so much. We no longer have children as a labor source for the farm, and we don't view them as mini adults as we once did. Children now are seen as a source of love and completion of self for parents. The book discusses this search for fulfillment, but also how once we view parenting as a job instead of a relationship it is then seen as something that we either pass or fail at. I have only mentioned a few topics discussed.
What I enjoyed so much about this book is that is was well researched and did not include a lot of conjecture. She does relate some of her own stories and personal accounts but I did not find it to be agenda driven except for maybe pushing parents/moms to not be so judgmental of one another. For a topic I thought I had a decent handle on she challenged some of my beliefs and the reasons behind why I thought the way I did.
Emily Beresford narrated it well. At no time did I find myself irritated with her voice, she did not overdramatize the material, and she kept me engaged to the point I was finding excuses to do activities I could continue listening to the book.
Charles de Lint explores the boundaries between what is real and what is not on multiple levels in this book. It had many twists and I enjoyed it immensely. Memory and Dream is part of the Newford series, but like the other books in this series it can stand on its own and it is not necessary for it to be read in order. If you have not read any de Lint before; this is a good book to start with. De Lint explores urban fantasy meshing a modern day alternate 1980's America with the fey and Native American spiritualism. Memory and Dream delves into this but not as deeply as some of his other books.
The book is centered around Isabelle. She is a talented artist with an ability to create engaging pieces, but she also has a gift to bring to life what she paints. This was taught to her by her mentor, the acclaimed reclusive artist, Rushkin. Rushkin insists she must protect the world by destroying these creatures, but Isabelle has difficulty believing this. She wonders if she and Rushkin are crazy, and if she truly did create these creatures, why do they need to be destroyed?
Isabelle's relationship to Rushkin isn't healthy. He is a mad artist with mood swings, anger issues, and mental instability. Aside from questioning the reality of bringing life into the world by painting, Isabelle isn't sure she can trust Rushkin, or John - her boyfriend she doesn't know if she created or not.
De Lint often explores the effect of abuse with his characters. Isabelle is the product of a neglectful and verbally abusive childhood. The level of abuse is not as extreme as in some of his other books, but it does have a big impact on how Isabelle relates and deals with her life. While issues of abuse, suicide, and drug abuse are part of this book they are dealt with realistically and respectfully. There is minimal profanity and descriptions of sex, drug abuse, etc. are not explicit or graphic
Kate Reading's narration is very good. She has done all of the de Lint books I have read and enjoy the consistency. She does a fabulous job of distinguishing between her characters.
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