aimeeerickson

Thoughts about books... when I get around to it.

I finally did it!

2001: A Space Odyssey  - Arthur C. Clarke

It took three tries but I actually made it through this book. I watched the movie oh so many years ago and only remember tiny random bits, not even a full scene. The book is going to be similar for me. I like what I disliked most is that two thirds or so of the book seem to be written in the passive voice. There's very little actually conversations or interactions between characters, just extensive descriptions of what this piece of machinery or that space maneuver is doing. Boring! But I wanted to make sure that I finished this book before going on to the next. Since the very end of 2001 with the Star Child was interesting I'm hoping that the next book is a little more active voice and action. Fingers crossed.

Ooooh, shiny!

Apollo: The Brilliant One (Olympians) - George O'Connor

I love how O'Connor takes a different approach to telling each god's stories. Using the Muses to retell Apollo's is brilliant, because they are directly inspired by him. Once again, O'Connor has managed to give understandable motivations to the stories and people. He also does a great job at subtly interweaving other narratives. I like that at the end of each book there's some discussion questions that could be used in a study or classroom setting. They are fairly thoughtful and fun to consider. I have to admit, I like the fact that I now have a reasonable explanation for why Apollo attacks the Python and takes over Delphi. 

War? What war?

Ares: Bringer of War (Olympians) - George O'Connor, George O'Connor

Well, for Ares it's any war. I like how O'Connor illustrates the difference in Ares and Athena's approach to war, and when one will override the other. Seeing his take on Ares involvement (or lack of) in the Trojan war makes a more realistic and understandable reasoning than most. If Zeus hadn't gone all scary lightening, Ares would probably have ignored him like he frequently does and gotten all up in the war anyway. Watching how each Olympian sticks their fingers into the pie, and the turning point for when they stop enjoying the conflict is also illuminating. Who knew Ares would get so upset about the death of a son he had no real contact with?

And the prettiest one is

Aphrodite: Goddess of Love - George O'Connor

Aphrodite, according to Paris. I love this graphic novel series because it's well written in addition to having beautiful artwork. I like that O'Connor digs really deep into each character's stories and presents things from a newer angle. Not just in how they speak, but in the motivations themselves. Despite having read the Greeks myths many times from multiple sources, I never stopped to truly consider the reason Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus instead of anyone else, and how she truly came to be born of sea foam instead of living beings. O'Connor definitely adds new facets to each deity.

Maybe kinda sorta not really sure okay whatever

Double-Sided Magic (Legacy Series Book 1) - McKenzie Hunter

I've got a pretty mixed response to this book. I tried it because it was free to borrow from Amazon Prime and I liked the cover. Not sure I actually read the blurb before I downloaded it. I guess I was thinking it would be something along the lines of the Twenty Sided Sorceress books. Not even close. I will admit that having vampires and werewolves and witches and mages and fae all be diluted magic holders is intriguing, since they are so frequently portrayed as immensely powerful. What I had trouble with was the repetition. I got that a Legacy was someone who everyone hated and feared because they weren't diluted and had attempted to destroy all other supernaturals so they could reign supreme. I got that by the second reference, so having it beaten into the story every chapter and a half was annoying. The main characters predominate states were anger that she was hunted, fear that she'd be outed, and lust for the shifter. I'm hoping the range increases as the story goes along. It's a good basic book but doesn't live up to its full potential, which is too bad. It could have been amazing.

Similar cat, different heroine

The Whole Cat and Caboodle: Second Chance Cat Mystery - Sofie Ryan

The first thing I noticed about this book? It's in a totally different state than her Magical Cats mystery series. I love that. So many authors get stuck writing in the same general location over and over. Stephen King is the first that comes to mind, since the majority of his works are set in Maine. It adds continuity to the overall body of work for an author, if they intend to interweave different stories. It's repetitious for those authors that don't. It's a big world, people. Spread out.

That being said, I also enjoy that while there are definite similarities, each series is unique enough that it's easy to tell the apart. Here you have a rescue cat who's intelligent but not magical. Everything he does falls within the parameters of most people's reality. The heroine is in a place that she spent her childhood in, rather than a mostly foreign area. In this one there is a very large group of core people who interact and have distinct personalities and histories with each other. The only ones that kinda blended were Rosa and Charlotte. Hopefully that's corrected as this goes on.

Here kitty kitty

Curiosity Thrilled the Cat (Magical Cats, #1) - Sofie Kelly

And bring the book with you. I enjoyed the fact that the main character was a skeptic who wouldn't believe her cats were magical even after witnessing one walk through a door. How cats have the patience to put up with people I directly attribute to catnip and scritches. Eventually the cats convince her, she follows their hints and the killer is revealed. I was close but not completely on the mark, so kudos for good clues but not too obvious. The writing was easy to read and humorous. "If I emptied my mind where would I put everything?"

SPOILER ALERT!

A new sleuth

Booked 4 Murder - J.C. Eaton

*SPOILERS TO FOLLOW*

 

I love this book. Mostly because of the main character, who is pretty much the antithesis of current cozy mystery heroines. She has to be badgered into checking into the murders to begin with, she constantly misses/misreads clues, and she only manages to get one out of four right when figuring out who did what. I also really liked that it was a murder mystery with no murderer.

Poems

Bilbo's Last Song - J.R.R. Tolkien

Are usually not able to fill a full book alone. However, the illustrations add more to the volume and make it a complete work. They are beautifully done. Now I need to go re-read the end of Return of the KIng to track down this poem there, cause I don't remember it at all.

Book, movie, book, movie

The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Richard Howard

I remember watching The Little Prince on VHS when I was young. The boa constrictor stuck with me, as well as the adults responses to the picture. It's one of the reasons I may have to grow older, but I refuse to grow up. I'm sure that I've read the book before, but it's been nearly as long as when I watched the movie. Reading this copy I decided that the book and the movie complement each other. Mostly, books tend to be richer than the movies derived from them, simply because they have more details. The fact that the whole book is made up almost completely of details instead of plot means that it translated well to the screen. I love the story, no matter the format, and I have to agree with the prince. Grown-ups are so strange.

Improving

One Grave at a Time - Jeaniene Frost

Cat and Bones are actually communicating, which adds to the action better than random reactions based on guesses and assumptions. I like that the villain of the piece, Kramer, was someone most people would have hated if he was still alive today. Having most of the characters decry Kramer's actions but some applauding him (well, just one but I don't see how more could have been shoved in without making it top heavy) makes it just more relatable. Some attitudes never change, despite the overall progress of humanity.

And to round out the day

Wonder Woman, Vol. 4: War - Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, Tony Akins, Goran Sudžuka, Dan Green

Is one graphic novel. Wonder Woman is my absolute favorite superhero (and yes, the movie rocked). I've read some of the novels in this series, but it would probably be better if I read them all, and in order. I haven't managed that accomplishment yet. Still, it's nice to finally know HOW she became the God of War. 

And for my second book of the day

Fudge Cupcake Murder - Joanne Fluke

We have another cozy mystery. This series tickles me because my grandmother lives in Eden Valley and other family in the surrounding area. Even though Lake Eden is fictional, the actual area of Minnesota is one I'd visit for holidays and summers as a kid. I actually was just there last week for a family reunion so it was fun to pick this series back up, as I'd drifted off a couple years ago. The conversations sound so much like what I hear when I'm visiting that it really enhances the book for me. I love how there are multiple things Hannah has to juggle, but I really think her partner is just being used as a convenient reason for Hannah to not be in her store. Some times she's making deliveries or doing events and that's understandable. The rest of the time? "Would you do my job and yours while I go play detective?" Not endearing. I've never tried any of the recipes, because I suck at cooking and my baking is nearly as bad, but many of them sound tasty, so kudos for the extras.

Formulas

Prose and Cons - Amanda Flower

Gotta love when they work. Yes, this is a cozy mystery, yes it is formulaic, yes it is a book I'd recommend. As I've said before I don't mind formula books if the details are interesting. I enjoy the fact that the main character's home/business has a giant birch tree going through the middle of it. Quick, easy and entertaining, I would recommend reading book 1 Crime and Poetry first, as some things referenced in this book hinge on that one.

Late nights

Joyland - Stephen King

I finished this at 2:30 this morning. I'm not sure if I was up late because it was a good book, or if it was a good book because I was up late. Either way, it's a good book. There's only a touch of the supernatural, a ghost only certain people can see and two characters with "the Sight". The rest is murder and coming of age. Having read some of King's other non-horror books, I will say that the man is a great storyteller no matter the medium, even though he's had a couple missteps (Gerald's Game and the Talisman, I'm looking at you).

All in all, standard King fare. Readable, relatable, engrossing and engaging. Not sure I can come up with much more alliteration so I'll just leave this right here.

A little light romance

Bliss - Lynsay Sands

I enjoy Lynsay Sands for one overwhelming reason. She's easy and enjoyable to read. I gravitate towards medium to lightweight stories for 75% of my reading materials, and Sands is always dependable for this. Her books do tend to be formulaic but knowing that going in lets me enjoy the minor details more. The best detail in this one is the dyslexic character. It made me stop and contemplate that dyslexia is not necessarily a modern problem, it may have just been interpreted as something else 99% of the time. Well done for formulaic fluff.