4 stars out of 5
Another great addition to the Akashic Noir series, and thank you for the copy in exchange for an honest review!
Whenever I read a short story collection, I expect a few to be underwhelming. This was not the case with Sydney Noir. There was a wide variety of themes, ranging from apparent daddy issues (“Birthday Present” by Mandy Sayer) to prison justice (“In Court of the Lion King” by Mark Dapin). And after reading “The Razor” by Robert Drewe I can honestly say that my husband and I are thankful we aren’t that close to our family members!
If you haven’t picked up one of these books, Sydney Noir is a great place to start.
I received this book from librarything’s early reviewer giveaway.
A new year is almost here; time to think of some reading goals for 2019!
I decided to look through my unread book piles (I am a bit of a book hoarder, I believe I currently own 549 unread books, give or take 20 or so!!) and pick twelve fiction and twelve non-fiction. Some of these have been on my to-read shelves for years, others are classics I’ve wanted to tackle but just never put them at the front of the line. So after much consideration, these are my 2019 to-read choices.
I think The Shelters of Stone has been on my shelf for 18 years. Time for me to find out what Ayla and Jondalar are up to now!!
History, memoirs, travelogues……a little bit of everything!
Now the difficult decision of where to start?!?!
WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
Not my son nor my spouse.
The stockings were hung,
The tree was well-lit.
Now it's time to relax
And read for a bit.
So many choices,
What should I pick?
The birth of a babe,
Or Jolly Saint Nick?
Perhaps something different
Like a nice cozy thriller,
A memoir, some poems,
Or a spine-tingling chiller.
Maybe some stories
From Arabian Nights?
Annie Proulx or Sue Grafton?
Stephen King for some frights?
No matter the choice,
There's one wish indeed---
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL
AND TO ALL A GREAT READ!!
This year marked one of my more successful reading years ever. I can honestly say I read a bit of everything: from Ayn Rand to Colm Toibin, Ruth Rendell to Ruth Ware……well, you get the idea. The following titles are my personal picks from the 170+ books I read this year. I hope it inspires you to try a new genre or author in 2019!
I read a lot of great books this year, but these five have stayed with me long after finishing them. In no particular order:
- All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood — The subject matter is pretty tough to read, but I could not put this book down.
- Swan Song by Robert McCammon — This one gets a lot of comparisons to Stephen King’s The Stand but it definitely stands out on it’s own. A true classic in the post-apocalyptic fiction genre.
- Summit by Harry Farthing — The past and the present meet near the summit of Mount Everest. Incredible adventure story.
- You by Caroline Kepnes — I felt like some perverted peeping tom while reading this…and I loved it! Does that make me a bad person?!?
- There There by Tommy Orange — Incredible debut novel by an author I will be following in the future.
- Tracks by Robyn Davidson — Davidson travels across the Australian desert with just a few ornery camels for company. I’m a big fan of solo excursions across great distances and this one is now up there among my favorites.
- You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie — Alexie explores his childhood through poetry and a stream of consciousness style of writing. If you have not read any of Alexie’s works, I do recommend checking out some of his short stories or poetry before reading this very personal memoir to get a better feel for his style.
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot — Science meets ethics and puts a real face on one of the greatest breakthroughs in modern medicine. However, it will make you wonder what exactly you are signing away the next time you have to fill out a hospital consent form.
- No Better Friend by Robert Weintraub — A WWII survival story of man and man’s best friend. Very inspirational.
- Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century by Peter Graham — I knew a bit about this notorious murder from the movie Heavenly Creatures. Graham offers more details on the trial, the mental health of the girls, and the aftermath.
There’s a first time for everything, and I’ve been working on reading classics that I’ve missed out on over the years. My favorites this year:
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
- The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
I’ve been reading more YA recently. These were some that really stood above the rest.
- The Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu — A great start to a new-to-me trilogy. Demons, magic, action and adventure…..what more could you ask for?
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline — Destined to become a YA classic.
- The Good Demon by Jimmy Cajoleas — An unexpected surprise, and a great addition to the YA fantasy genre.
favorite new authors
Keep an eye on these authors, I predict more great books from them in the future!
- Tommy Orange — Author of There There
- Tomi Adeyemi — Author of Children of Blood and Bone
- Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero — As a Scooby Doo fan, I thought the storyline sounded fun. Who could say no to a grown-up version of the classic cartoon? Well, I should have. While there were a few good moments, a lot of it felt forced and rambling.
- Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings — I watched the series earlier this year and was excited to find out it was based on a book (since the book is always better than the show, right?). Sadly, I thought the book was rather boring and I can honestly say if I had read it first I probably wouldn’t have bothered with the show.
just plain bad
I was taught if I couldn’t say anything nice to just not say anything. So I will simply share these titles and acknowledge all three as entering my Top 20 All-Time Worst Books Read
- The Beach by Alex Garland
- The Breakdown by B. A. Paris
- The Leaving by Tara Altebrando
and the bizarre…..but in a good way!
Some stories just break all the rules. For me, these three stood out for their sheer originality.
- Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalus Child by S. Craig Zahler — This story was small yet powerful, just like Hug. This one combined the fantastical with the heartwarming with amazing results.
- The Edge of the Known Bus Line by James R. Gapinski — Nothing like getting on the wrong bus and winding up in some alternate version of today, and not in a good way!
- The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott — Psychotic clowns are just a part of the bizarre circus that exists next to our own reality. Weird, wicked, and wonderful!
Nothing says Happy Birthday more than a trip to the bookstore!
Now the difficult decision of which one to read first!!
Akashic Books must have known my birthday is coming up on the 14th as I received their latest addition to the Noir series today! Thank you to librarything giveaways and Akashic Books, really looking forward to this one! Review coming soon!
4 stars out of 5
Edited by Jason Y. Ng
Hong Kong Noir offers a little bit of everything dark and disturbing. From a new version of a standard ghost story (Ghost of Yulan Past by Jason Y. Ng) to a one-night stand gone wrong (A View to Die For by Christina Liang), I was entertained and, with the exception of a couple of stories that fell under my 2 star category, enjoyed this latest collection from Akashic Books.
I received this book from librarything giveaways in exchange for an honest review
As many of you know, I do a yearly reading challenge on goodreads. Yesterday, I hit my goal of 165 books read for 2018!! Yay me! 😀 No kindle or audio here, all were actual physical books….I guess I’m a bit old-fashioned that way.
I’ve been asked how I find time to read so much, and I’ve been told I have no life in order to read so much. Well, there is a one word answer for both: INSOMNIA!!
All kidding aside, I really don’t know how I read this many books over the past year and still fed my growing teen son and vacuumed the house on a sporadic basis. But I did it and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Except for when I read The Breakdown, but that’s a different post for another day.
Coming soon— AllDragonsRead’s first ever best and worst list of the year!!
I know I’m a bit late for the official “Small Business Saturday” shoutout that happened November 24. Hey, I’m new to the blog-o-sphere so please be patient with me. But I did not want to pass up the opportunity to share with the world my favorite small business, a local bookstore called Book n Brush in Chehalis, Washington.
For me, a drive to the nearest town means at least 45 miles to anything resembling civilization (more about that in the future). Approximately 48 miles away is a small, locally owned store called Book n Brush. This intriguing little store was first started in 1969, then moved a few blocks up and added art supplies to their inventory. Today they specialize in local authors and publishers, while still offering a wide array of popular titles. And if you are looking for local artistry in soaps, jewelry, and handmade textiles, as well as the best art supplies in the area, look no further than Book n Brush the next time you are in the Chehalis, Washington area.
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2016
4 stars out of 5
I first came across this addition to the Best American series a couple of years ago (other titles in the series cover mysteries, short stories, true crime, sports, etc.). I always look forward to the latest editions, and was excited to find a nearly new copy at a favorite thrift store for only $1, quite the steal!
The 2016 version offers 25 articles and essays covering a wide array of topics; from global warming and the illegal ivory trade to the dangers of working in a nail salon and the science behind the perfect sports bra. There is the story of Dame Janet Vaughan whose research and dedication helped create national blood banks in London (A Very Naughty Little Girl by Rose George). The Really Big One by Kathryn Schulz takes us into earthquake zones and is not necessarily pleasant reading for those of us living on large fault lines along the western U.S. coastline (I live in the Cascadia subduction zone in western Washington and thanks to Ms. Schulz I can now visualize the destruction a long-overdue 9.0 quake will produce, not something good dreams are made of).
As with any collection I’ve read over the years, there are always a few that I just can’t connect with (The Modern Moose by Amy Leach comes to mind), but several stories really stood out for me, including:
Rotten Ice by Gretel Ehrlich–A look at the effects of the melting Arctic ice on the native hunters of nothern Greenland.
They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia. Now Liberia is Erasing Them by Helene Cooper–The shunning of the men who burned the bodies of Ebola victims.
The Lost Girls by Apoorva Mandavilli–How autism affects girls differently than boys and the need for further studies.
My Periodic Table by Oliver Sacks–Perhaps my favorite piece. In one of his final essays before his death in 2015, Sacks shares his thoughts on taking comfort in science even with the spectre of cancer nearby.
If you’ve ever enjoyed reading magazines like National Geographic and Discover, or you just like to explore something new, be sure to check out The Best American Science and Nature Writing. 2016 was a very good year indeed.