Friday, July 26, 2013

The Friday 56 (July 26th)


*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader.
*Find any sentence (or a few) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it to Freda's Voice.
*Add your (url) post to Linky on Freda’s post

This week the book is A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire. It is the second book in the October Daye urban fantasy series.

There was a brutal matter-of-factness to her tone. She was the Countess of a County balanced on the edge of disaster, and this was just the way things worked.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Owl Service Review

The Owl Service by Alan Garner

(from the back of the book)
The valley of myth and power where magic made a woman out of flowers, where a doomed warrior won vengeance from beyond the grave, where the power of sorcery built and built and sought release.

Then Alison found plates with owl patterns that vanished; Roger felt screams near an ancient stone, and Gwyn touched the force of a tragic Celtic legend – unknowing, they broke the seals that bound the sorcery.

Mythic forces, of love and damnation, lived again.  The magic was loose…

This is an odd little book.  I kept waiting for the moment when things would start to fall into place.  Unfortunately they never really did.  Maybe if I was familiar with the myth the book is based on I would have had a chance of following along.  As it was I had trouble understanding what was going on most of the time.  It did have a creepy feel to it that I think it was going for and made you want to know why things were happening and how it would turn out.  But I never found out.  It never made it clear why the characters were caught in this loop, or what the owl pattern plates were about or anything.  And the ending was just confusing and didn’t explain anything.  It was interesting to read but disappointing in the end because it never came together and ended up being a series of odd, unexplained events that happened for no apparent reason.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Wall Review

The Wall by Marlen Haushofer

One day a woman wakes up to find an invisible wall has cut her off from the rest of the world and everyone and everything on the other side is dead.  Now she has to find a way to go on with just a few animals the only other living things left.

In the beginning this book is interesting.  One woman, whose name you never learn, is cut off from the world by an invisible wall.  She is the only one left.  Just her and a couple of animals.  Everything and everyone outside the wall is dead and lost to her.  The concept caught my attention.  And the book did get me thinking about what I would do if I found myself in her situation.  I don't know how I would handle being all alone in the world.  Would I get up every morning?  Would I continue with the work that needed to be done?  Would I keep going, taking care of the animals and the crops?  Or would I give up?  Would I go insane?  I don't know.  But watching our narrator go through it makes me wonder.  And it is interesting to watch how she handles her new life: what becomes important to her, what she misses most, what she thinks about when she isn't busy, what she finds to fill her days.  Unfortunately my interest waned long before the book was over.  There is only so long I can watch someone pick berries and plant beans and milk cows before I don't care anymore.  The monotony of her life is part of the story I guess but reading about monotony isn't fun.  I was waiting for something to happen but after the wall appears the whole book is her going on and on about hay and potatoes.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Friday 56 (July 19th)


*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader.
*Find any sentence (or a few) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it to Freda's Voice.
*Add your (url) post to Linky on Freda’s post

This week the book it Sink the Bismarck! By C.S. Forester.  It is, of course, the story of battleship Bismarck and the Royal Navy’s attempt to sink her.  Forester does a good job of packing a story full of suspense and tension into 118 pages.

“The decision I have to take – the next words I say – can change the history of the world, can decide the fate of nations, can settle the destiny of Germany and of National Socialism and of our Fuhrer.  Ten thousand – twenty thousand – fifty thousand lives can be cut short by my next order.”

Talk about dramatic.  Forester knows how to tell a good story.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WWW Wednesdays (July 17th)

To play along just answer the following three (3) questions...

*What are you currently reading?
*What did you recently finish reading?
*What do you think you’ll read next?

Leave a link to your post (or the answers themselves if you do not have a blog) in the comments of Should Be Reading.

What are you currently reading?

Little travel stories.  Some of them might be slightly dated but I like Cahill’s style.

What did you recently finish reading?

No Footprints in the Bush by Arthur Upfield
Detective fiction that takes place in Australia.  It was an interesting change from most of the mysteries I’ve read.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Thunderball by Ian Fleming
I’m in the mood for some James Bond.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Black Friday Review

Black Friday by James Patterson

Terrorists have blown up Wall Street, no demands, no negotiations and no clues as to who is responsible.  Archer Carroll of the NYPD and Caitlin Dillion are tasked with stopping them before they bring about the financial collapse of the US.  The only problem is no one knows who they are or what they want.

It is a well-paced novel so it is quick reading.  There is enough character development that all the people feel real and you care about what happens to them.  It is a little dated now but not to the point that it is no longer interesting.  I wouldn’t call it heavy reading but it is entertaining.  It has action, suspense and even some romance.  There was a plot point added towards the end of the book that made the whole thing less believable to me but by then I was interested in knowing what was going to happen.  There was also some weird use of italics.  It put emphasis in some strange places and I didn’t know what the point of them was.  But even with the few not so great points it is a fun read to pass a day or two.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Electrified Sheep Review

Electrified Sheep by Alex Boese

(from the book jacket)
Benjamin Franklin was a pioneering scientist, leader of the Enlightenment, and a founding father of the United States.  But perhaps less well known is that he was also the first person to use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on an electric-shock victim.  Odder still, it was actually mouth-to-beak resuscitation on a hen that he himself had shocked.

Welcome to some of the weirdest and most wonderful experiments ever conducted in the name of science.  Filled with stories of science gone strange, Electrified Sheep is packed with eccentric characters, irrational obsessions, and extreme experiments.  Watch as scientists attempt to nuke the moon, wince at the doctor who performs a self-appendectomy, and catch the faint whiff of singed wool from electrified sheep.

Boese collects some very interesting experiments here.  And some that are less interesting than gross.  I liked the book and I found it fascinating in places but I squirmed a little in places too.  The experiments are grouped together in chapters so the similar ones are together but there are short little stories with headings every few pages or so, so it is a good book to sit down and read for a while or if you only have a few minutes at a time.  Everything here was done in the name of science and it seemed like the scientists truly had good intentions but their methods can get kind of rough.  Animals were hurt in the process here.  And you will see some dedicated scientists operate on themselves and expose themselves to disease (including eating vomit of fever victims).  It is interesting to see the scientific process as the men try to work out the unknown.  And it is interesting to see how thin the line between dedication and crazy is.  I learned about a lot of things I had never of heard of before and had a great time doing it.  But, like I said, it can get unpleasant at times so think carefully before you read this, especially if you are an animal lover or have a weak stomach.