So Many Books...So Little Time!

Reading is my first love. I'll read almost anything. If I make it past the first 50 pages, it's all good. If not, no problem, Mount TBR looms large and I work constantly to keep it in check! I am first and foremost a READER. I enjoy sharing my thoughts on books.I am not a professional reviewer, nor am I any kind of literary critic. Just honest opinions, that's what I'm about. If I liked what I read, I'll let you know what I liked. If I didn't like what I read, I will also let you know why not. Please send me recommendations and let me know what you've been reading. I love to hear from fellow book lovers!

The Eleventh Plague - Jeff Hirsch Why do I love these post-apocalyptic books so much? And the zombies... I love zombies. This book doesn't have zombies but the world is in ruins after a world war and killer flu virus called P11, the Eleventh Plague. Stephen and his dad and grandpa have been surviving as salvagers, traversing the US from South to North and back again, collecting anything they can sell at the big camps in Canada and Florida. Things take a dramatic turn for the worse when grandpa dies suddenly and then dad gets hurt so badly that he falls into a coma. Luck finds Stephen and his father in the bottom of a ravine when some other survivors are searching the area. It turns out these people are from a place called Settlers' Landing where they have created a sanctuary of pre-Collapse America. They live in actual houses, go to school, have parks and playgrounds, and even celebrate Thanksgiving. Stephen is utterly dumb-founded and completely lost. He has never experienced life pre-Collapse and he longs to stay there and take the opportunity at a normal life. But the world is not what it was, and the sanctuary is not as safe as he thought.

I really hope there is a second book. The character of Jenny needs her own story.
Lady Susan - Jane Austen, R.W. Chapman Holy Cow, this read like an episode of Dynasty! Lady Susan (Joan Collins) is such an unqualified b*tch! Her manipulations were hilarious and appalling at the same time. And her sister-in-law, Catherine Vernon (Linda Whatshername), was as nice and honest as Lady Susan was deceitful and vicious. Ceridwen described Lady Susan as a sociopath and on this we are agreed. What a nutter! But it does have a happy ending and I was glad to know that it all worked out.
Wonder - R.J. Palacio Wonderful, touching story of a young boy with a disfigured face who faces life in the real world when his parents decide to send him to middle school after being home schooled his whole life. Middle school is hard enough without having something like a physical handicap to add to the mix but August (Auggie) is up to the challenge due to the love an support his family have given him up to this point.

Great story, very moving, almost as awesome as "Sorta Like A Rock Star". Five stars, recommended!
Warm Bodies - Isaac Marion Another zombie apocalypse story, but this one is a little different...

R is our hero, a zombie with a good heart but a horrible appetite. R is living in a hive of other zombies out at the airport. He tries to get along with everyone and has been given a wife and a couple of kids to take care of. Kids are not natural at the zombie life and have to be taught to hunt and how to kill. They go to zombie school and learn the basics. Anyhow, R is a deep thinker, often pondering on what life is supposed to be like for the Dead. One day he goes to the nearby city to hunt and ends up taking a Living girl, Julie, back to the hive with him. He doesn't really know why he does this, he only knows that he must keep Julie safe. As he gets to know Julie, and she him, R begins to change. He starts to dream again. He begins to have some memories, and he begins to speak in full sentences. Is it something about the relationship he has begun with Julie that has caused this change? Will it affect other zombies the same way?

Yeah, yeah, I know. I read a lot of zombie books, but this one was really good. It sort of reminded me of "Raising Stony Mayhall" in that the zombies are humanized instead of just being monsters. I liked R and was rooting for him and Julie. And M, R's friend at the airport, was funny, at total douchebag, but very funny. Loved the ending! Recommended!
Medicus - Ruth Downie Historical mystery set in Britain during the Roman occupation. Gaius Petreius Ruso is a "medicus" for the 20th regiment, stationed in Deva (now Chester, England). Upon his arrival, he has to deal with the body of a young woman found floating in the river, and then manages to become the accidental owner of a young female slave who he rescues from a disreputable slave trader.

This was interesting and I enjoyed getting to know Ruso and his slave girl, Tilla. I will definitely look for the next in the series.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms - N.K. Jemisin First in The Inheritance Trilogy, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is based on an ancient war between three gods. One of the gods has killed another and enslaved the remaining god by binding him and his three godling children to human form and has given control of these hobbled gods to the Arameri, the ruling family of the The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Thousands of years pass while these gods have been trapped and under the control of the Arameri. Another succession in the Arameri is about to take place and a family outcast, Yeine, has been called to Sky, the family home, to be recognized as a potential heir. All sorts of political intrigue should follow this event. However, the story takes a turn and the focus changes to the plight of the enslaved gods and their efforts to free themselves. As it turns out, Yeine isn't just a barbarian warrior from the north. She is actually the key to freeing the gods.

This was a very interesting world. I did find myself getting bogged down about half-way through but the last quarter really picked up and the ending was pretty good. I am sort of scratching my head about what happened and am curious to see what will happen next. So, yes, I will be reading the next book! I'm kind of a sucker for a series...
Zone One: A Novel - Colson Whitehead Another zombie apocalypse but with a literary bent. The format was basically three days in the life of "Mark Spitz". "Mark Spitz" (we never learn his real name) is a sweeper on the Omega team, working through Manhattan, block by block, clearing out straggler zombies and removing bodies for the Disposal unit to pick and burn. The story of the plague is told in flashbacks and we are given glimpses of the current situation of life in camps and a little bit on the state of the planet now that monsters have become the majority.

I enjoyed the book and the little flashback vignettes giving us Mark Spitz's back story. I laughed at how he had to spend a few days looking for a dictionary so he could find out where his nickname came from. I will look for other books from Colson Whitehead, too.
In the Woods - Tana French This is the first in the Dublin Murder squad series by Tana French. I almost gave up on it, in spite of all the rave reviews, but I persevered and finished it. It's not that it was bad, it wasn't bad at all. It was Adam "Rob" Ryan that drove me nuts, but I guess he was supposed to? Anyway, I finished it and I rated it at three stars just because I almost DNF'd it several times though I am sure with out this irritation on my part, it would have been a four star story. I think the problem was I became impatient with Rob (and Cassie) and the fact that the older mystery goes unsolved. I will be looking for the one in the series though, just in case something changes...
Invisible - Lorena McCourtney A good old-fashioned mystery with a LOL protagonist, LOL being Little Old Lady. There were a few LOL (laugh out loud) moments, too. The mystery is not too difficult to follow, the crime is gruesome but not described graphically, and there is no cursing or sex. The potential love interests for our LOL, Ivy, are both very "grandpa next-door" kind of guys. There was a little too much religion in this for my tastes but Ivy is a Christian lady who's faith in God guides her through solving this mystery. Not bad, will probably look for the next in the series.
Dead and Gone - Jonathan Maberry Short story, introduction of a new character, Riot. I guess she will have a part in the next book, Flesh & Bone.
Open Season - Archer Mayor Good mystery, cheesy forensics, interesting setting. The publication date for this one is the mid-eighties and you could tell. The forensics used and the DNA testing were really primitive compared to what we are used to these days. However, I did like Joe Gunther and the Brattleboro PD. I can see how this became such a successful series. I will look for the next one at the library.
Monsters of Men: Chaos Walking: Book Three - Patrick Ness Wow. Just wow. That was rough... I was crying so hard at the end of this my husband had to come check on me. I don't want to spoil anything so I won't say too much more about it but this has to be one of my favorite series ever...

Briefly, this is the third and final volume of the Chaos Walking series. At the end of volume two, The Ask and The Answer, three armies were converging on New Prentisstown and Todd and Viola were trying to prevent all out war between the settlers and the Spackle (the indigenous people of the planet). In this volume, the settlers come to an uneasy truce to unite against the Spackle army. But the Spackle army is huge, numbering in the thousands, while there are less that a thousand settlers left, due to fighting amongst themselves. Todd is keeping an eye on the Mayor after letting him go at the end of TAaTA to lead the fight against the Spackle. Viola is in the Answer's camp, keeping a wary eye on Mistress Coyle, and trying to convince the people on the newly landed scout ship, to side with her, and not listen to Mistress Coyle.

Much recommended! Read this series, it is really good!
In The Land Of The Dead (Benny Imura, #1.5) - Jonathan Maberry This is a favorite series for me and I am so happy to hear that there will be third and fourth books coming.
Froi of the Exiles - Melina Marchetta There is so much to say about this book, this series! I just don't think I can adequately describe how this book makes me feel. It was wonderful and it was terrible. The story of Quintana broke my heart and the heroics of Froi stole my breath. I'm getting all choked up just writing this.

Wonderful, heart-breaking, and the end is yet to come. Please Ms. Marchetta, please tell us what happens soon! I can't stand not knowing.
The Ask and the Answer  - Patrick Ness WOW! The Ask and the Answer is the second book of the Chaos Walking trilogy. All I have to say is "Where is the third book!?"

At the end of Book One, The Knife of Never Letting Go, Todd and Viola have made it to Haven, though it is definitely NOT a haven. Evil Mayor Prentiss has beaten them there, his idiot son Davy has shot Viola, Todd's adoptive father Ben has been murdered, and Todd is half-dead himself from having made the trip. The Ask and The Answer picks right up from where TKoNLG left off.

Todd wakes up with Mayor Prentiss, who now calls himself President Prentiss. Prentiss has tended to Todd's wounds and then proceeds to explain himself and his plan for the town formerly called Haven, now called New Prentisstown. The former mayor had surrendered the town without a fight and all the townspeople were to submit to Prentiss' army. The women have been separated from the men and the town is under strict martial law. And Viola is nowhere to be found. Todd finds himself being given a position in the army and under the supervision of Davy Prentiss, his most hated enemy. All Todd wants to do is find Viola and escape this nightmare.

Meanwhile Viola finds herself in the care of healers, separated from the men of the town, and recovering from her gun-shot wound. She has asked about Todd but gets no answers until the Mayor shows up and questions her. Viola knows how evil he is and wants nothing from him but to find Todd.

The story is told in alternating chapters from Todd and then from Viola. It was a fast read and the ending, well, I can't go get the next book fast enough! I just checked my library and it there!!! Yea!
Bad Monkeys - Matt Ruff Bad Monkeys was really good but I am stuck on how to classify it other than to say it was really good! I have no idea how much of the story was real and how much was the delusional ramblings of the main character.

Jane Charlotte is in a mental hospital and is being interviewed by a doctor. Bad Monkeys is her story. It is a strange tale of a secret organization that fights evil. Jane is recruited to join the Bad Monkeys division of this organization but she has a penchant for drugs and a bad habit of not sticking to the plan. Many of her assignments go terribly wrong and she ends making some bad decisions and choosing the wrong side.

I can't really describe this is more detail. It was sort of on the bizzarro side of things but on re-examining the story as I write this, there was more to it than just the weird. I do recommend, if you see it, give it a try!

Currently reading

The Curse of the Mistwraith (Wars of Light & Shadow, #1; Arc 1, #1)
Janny Wurts