Sunday, July 5, 2020

Left Fur Dead

This was a different style cozy by J M Griffin than those I normally read.   In this case the main character, Jules, has the ability to telepathically communicate with her rabbit, Bun.   Bun is an active participant is trying to solve the mysterious death of an acquaintance of Jules.  He is also an active player in discovering who is behind some unexplained activities at Jules' Rabbit Farm.   I enjoyed the book more than I expected because I am not generally a fan of the supernatural style cozy mysteries.  I think I would continue to read the series to see what further adventures the two amateur detectives find themselves involved in going forward.

Left Fur Dead (Jules & Bun Mystery #1)Left Fur Dead by J.M. Griffin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I did end up enjoying this cozy mystery, I did have a hard time getting engaged in the story. I found the beginning a bit slow and at times the dialogue between Jules and Bun felt forced. It created an unnatural flow to the story telling at times. That being said it was a nice cozy set among the rabbit farm in a small town in New Hampshire. The characters were endearing and the plot twists were unique even if you figured out the who the why provex to be an interesting component.

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Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #70
  2. Literary Escapes-  NH
  3. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #55
  4. Cruising through cozies -  paranormal #2
  5. Medical Examiner-  1 Toe Tag 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

All Systems Red

This is the first in the Murderbot books by Martha Wells.  I was pleasantly surprised by this novella.   I selected it for a challenge prompt to read a book in a genre you don't normally read.  I am definitely not a science fiction reader but I think I will be trying to read more of this series.  The main character is a non human but definitely seems to show some human like traits at times.  The book actually points our some of the idiosyncrasies of human behaviors at times.  I think I found this book enjoyable because it had elements of a mystery and suspense novel and wasn't just a science fiction story.   I definitely found myself liking and disliking characters based on their actions and behaviors toward the SecBot aka murderbot.  The ending definitely leaves opportunities for furture installments in the series and I am curious to see if they are about the same Bot or different ones of its kind.

If you are looking to try science fiction without a huge commitment this novella is a great choice.

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)All Systems Red by Martha Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t usually read sci fi but I really enjoyed this book. It’s a great length for getting a feel for the genre without a huge commitment. It had a bit of a mystery/suspense angle to the plot as well. The character interaction was very well done and kept your interest as the reader. Definitely going to check into more of the series

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Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #69
  2. Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #54
  3. 52 Books in 52 weeks  #9 set in space
  4. While I was Reading #8   with a non-human narrator
  5. Monthly Book Award-   #GXOAwardReadingChallenge  Locus Award Best Novella 2018

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Holdout

This was the second novel I have read by Graham Moore.  It is very different from The Sherlockian which was the first one I had read.  I am glad I read this one.  One of the underlying topics of the book is racism and what constitutes it.  The author represents the discussion from multiple perspectives and I found it to be a well rounded, thought provoking approach to discuss the topic within the context of a fiction work.   He does a great job of taking different approaches to the topic and different perspectives without it being an in your face black vs white issue.  At the heart of it he has a black character state it isn't about the color of the accused, rather whether you can see the good in the person.   I firmly believe this is at the core of what is wrong in our society today.  We need to treat each other with respect and assume that we are all good people.  I try to hold this to heart until someone proves otherwise to me. 

We can always find the bad or guilt in everyone if we look for it or look at a single aspect in an isolated vacuum.  This is another theme that Moore hits on in the novel in the context of whether someone is guilty or innocent in a court case.   He points out the media plays a role in the story as well, especially if they only report the piece of information that fits the dialogue they are looking to express.

All in all this was an excellent book that left me thinking about many of the topics that surround our legal system today.  I can highly recommend the book.  It has plenty of action and substories to keep the reader engaged and a big twist that makes it an interesting finish til the end.

The HoldoutThe Holdout by Graham Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book does a wonderful job of balancing a thriller with a twist will including discussion of many perspectives relative to current events. I enjoyed the fact the story bounces between the trial 10years earlier and present day. The reflection in the past alternates between different jurors as the narrator. This was a very good story that approached a sensitive topic from different perspectives while being respectful and well rounded. The characters represent many perspectives and are developed in a manner such that the reader has emotional responses to them while also absorbing their perspectives to the same events. The twists to the story are very unexpected and make a great bonus to the novel

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Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #67
  2. Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #53
  3. Medical Examiner-  2 Toe Tags 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

You've been volunteered

This is the 2nd in the series of Class Mom books by Laurie Gelman.  It was as funny and realistic as the first book.  As a stay at home mom who has volunteered in the PTA and other organizations I can truly relate to how the protagonist gets dragged into doing an additional role within the PTA.  My emails to my class parents were definitely not as snarky as Jen Dixon's were but I can surely relate to the different personalities she encounters and how getting people to show up to do the things they signed up for   isn't always easy as it would seem.  If you enjoy humorous realistic fiction then you should enjoy this book.

You've Been Volunteered: A Class Mom NovelYou've Been Volunteered: A Class Mom Novel by Laurie Gelman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A funny book anyone who has volunteered at school can relate to readily. The story is the second in the series of Class Mom books. It is a fun structure combining emails from the class mom with her first person narration. Her snarky sense of humor is often misunderstood and leads to many comical confrontations. The author creates a novel that has you laughing along with her protagonist's antics and relating to her struggles to balance helping at her son's school with her home and personal life. She makes plenty of mistakes which makes her relatable to any parents who struggle with similar concerns.

All in all a fun book that keeps you smiling.

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  1. Challenge Prompts

    The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
    1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #66

The Twenty-Ninth Day

This memoir by Alex Messenger is intense and not for the faint of heart.  I could not put it down and read it in an afternoon.  The author describes in great detail his month long journey into the Northern tundra of Canada in 2005.   He ventured out with 5 other young men, including a guide to canoe the tundra within the Northwest Territories and Nanuchak 1000 miles from the US border. 
His description of the landscape, wildlife and journey are wonderful.  It is not hard to imagine you are in the canoe and tent right alongside these intrepid young men.   The story of his attack by the grizzly goes into great detail.  It is amazing he survived the attack and the subsequent journey to get back to civilization. 

This is an example of the amazing ability to persevere  and overcome obstacles.  This book helped me to appreciate the growth my son experienced when he hiked the Appalachian Trail the other year with his Scout troop.     I must admit the story makes me a bit nervous to send him off on his next high adventure but that part of letting him grow and find himself. 

This is an amazing memoir that reads like a novel and I recommend it highly especially if you have an adventurer in your family. 

The Twenty-Ninth DayThe Twenty-Ninth Day by Alex Messenger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an amazing story. Cannot believe this is a true story. What an experience Alex Messenger endured. The book does an amazing job of describing a life changing adventure journey over the Canadian tundra. He does a great job of describing how the experience transforms him even before the grizzly attack. The details of the attack and the subsequent care plan is amazing and demonstrates his internal strength

Amazing memoir full of description of the tundra and the experience

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Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:

Possible prompts

I will decide as the year goes along which prompts I use it for on several challenges since it meets multiple criteria within the challenge.
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #68
  2. Literary Escapes-  Canada- Northwest Territories
  3. 20 in 20 #Read20in2020 #8 a humor book 
  4. Memoir  #14 author under 40
  5. Wizarding World Tour  
    • Mahoutokoro: with an exquisite cover

Monday, June 29, 2020

All Fudged Up

Chocolate and Bichon's what's not to love in this first book in the Candy Coated mysteries by Nancy CoCo.   Allie has come to Mackinaw Island to run her family's McMurphy hotel and fudge shop.  She never learned how to address finding a murder victim in your hotel when she was studying hospitality in school.  The characters are a diverse bunch and it isn't hard to imagine them as real characters on the small island.  I enjoyed the twists in the story and look forward to reading more about Allie and her hotel.

This book was extra interesting to me as I have heard about Mackinaw Island for years and it is on my list of places to visit.   Now I am really intrigued to go after reading the stories of the horse drawn transportation and the flashes to bygone eras. 

This is a fun cozy that was an easy read while still keeping me guessing on who the guilty party was and what the true mystery the McMurphy hotel was hiding.

All Fudged Up (Candy-Coated, #1)All Fudged Up by Nancy CoCo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun cozy mystery for those looking to see a strong female character that is determined to follow her dreams. CoCo sets the story on iconic Mackinaw Island and does a wonderful job of describing the charm of the island and its residents. The characters are easy to relate to and a touch of romantic tension is thrown in for good measure. This is the first in the series and I look forward to reading more.

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Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #64
  2. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book #52 
  3. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice #12
  4. Medical Examiner-  1 Toe Tag 
  5. Six Shooter- new target- 1st shot
  6. Mystery Bingo
    • Clues:  well oiled hinge

Class Mom

This debut novel by Laurie Gelman is laugh out loud funny at many times.   If you have ever been a class parent and dealt with the other class parents then you will definitely find stories you can relate to in this book.   Jen Dixon finds herself drawn back into the PTA and class mom after years  of absence when her son, Max, enters Kindergarten.   Her challenges getting volunteers, trying to get timely responses and controlling expectations is absolutely relatable.   The term heding cats comes to mind at times and many of the personalities that she encounters are very realistic.

I'm glad a read this first book in the series and promptly started the next chapter in the story.  It is a fun book that is written in a different structure,  combining snarky emails with a first person narrative.  All in all a great book.

Class Mom (Class Mom, #1)Class Mom by Laurie Gelman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A laugh out loud book that any volunteer in a modern PTA can relate to. Gelman does a wonderful job at creating a protagonist that is easily misunderstood. Not everyone gets Jen Dixon's approach to the job of class mom. Being older than many of her son's classmates' mothers makes her stand out as it is but then her humor is often misconstrued. Gelman does a great job of developing her character and letting the reader get a glimpse at what is underneath the surface of Jen's attitude. In reality, she is just like many of us, trying to get everything done and be liked. This book is great for someone looking to read a book that has laugh out loud moments but you can still see glimpses of your own life in the story

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Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are: