Tuesday, January 1, 2013

D.O.A.'s Reading Liste 2012

I did a poor job keeping track of my reading in 2012.  I don't do New Year's Resolutions anymore but I think it is high time I designate one of my many notebooks as a reading notebook again so I can keep track of my adventures in the pages of books. 

I still buy physical books because I love them but I have also become enamored of the quick and easy acquisition of books for my iPod Touch.  Always having a book at hand has never been easier.  These are some of the books I read and enjoyed last year.  Not in any order, just as they popped into my head.

Murder of a Beauty Shop Queen by Bill Crider

Sheriff Dan Rhoades investigates the bludgeoning death of a local hairdresser.  Things apparently got too hot under the dryer for someone!  I love these books for the easy going sheriff and his cast of fellow citizens who sort of mosey through the story.  I really loved the scene where Dan's wife Ivy shows her mettle and love for Dan.  She has sort of been in the background, and I think she has the stuff to help him a bit more in his investigations.  Always well plotted and a pleasure to read, I highly recommend the series.

Theodosia and the Last Pharoah by R. L. LaFevers

The fourth book in the Theodosia series brings us to Egypt and the search for a missing pharoah.  Smart, resourceful, evil curse seeing Theodosia finds herself equal to challenges thrown at her by The Serpents of Chaos and agents of ancient times.  She has allies but the essentially lonely girl fights her battles alone, making you love her and want to comfort her as well.  The best adventure of the series.

Rage of the Dragon by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

The third book in the Dragonships of Vindras is a rich tale of mortals working for and against the Gods for survival.  Skylan Ivorson, who has come a long way since book one The Bones of the Dragon still has much to learn about being a true and humble hero.  His journey in this book alone is amazing.   Aylaen is a wonderful, brave complex heroine.  Two villains of the piece who were totally unlikeable (as a good villain should be) but fascinating were Skylan's cousin Raeger and Aylaen's sick and twisted, but oddly sympathetic sister Treia.   A wonderful Norse inspired world, incredible sword fights and battles with living dragonships, this was one of my favorite books of the year.

Scrivener's Moon by Philip Reeve

Although I love the Fever Crumb character I suspect this is the final book in the series.  Fever Crumb, a girl raised by logical and scientific Engineers, seeks answers to her origins and the reason for the disaster that changed the world into the undisciplined dangerous place it is today.  She ventures north in the company of her mother and is soon captured by barbarians as chaos rages back in London.  The City of London is being made mobile, and though a year's worth of work remains before it can begin  to roam the countryside, forces are at work to make an immediate move.  Although the Mortal Engines series came first, I have enjoyed this series more for its warm and charming characters and a glimpse of the world on the verge of great change.

The Fear by Charlie Higson

Number three in the Enemies series by Charlie Higson.  I wasn't as fond of this as I was of the first two books in the series.  I think it is because Dog Nut is the lead character and he isn't interesting enough to be featured.  Also this revisits events from the other books just from a different point of view, which is ok sometimes but here it doesn't add enough to the created world.  Still, I read it in a sitting or two and am eyeing buying The Sacrifice from Amazon UK which has been out in Britain for awhile but won't be available here till sometime this spring or summer is my guess.  Why don't they just publish simultaneously like nice peeps?

Flesh and Bone by Jonathan Maberry

Nothing like a good zombie, I say.   Jonathan Maberry's third book in the Benny Imura series has our travelers going east to find the plane they spotted near the end of Dust and Decay.   He puts these kids through the mill, with implacable enemies everywhere.  I'm not even talking about the zombies.  Apparently out in the larger world there are power struggles not imaginable to our kids who once had a home in a small safe enclave.  Whereas Charlie Higson has his characters in a sort of kill em all off slavering zombie fest, with your favorites in any given book unlikely to survive, Maberry kills off some but lets others survive and suffer in a zombie infested world.

Hush Now, Don't You Cry by Rhys Bowen

The eleventh Molly Murphy mystery finds our girl married to her beloved Daniel and off on a honeymoon finally.  An alderman has given them use of a cottage on his country estate as a returned favor and he has also asked Daniel to be there in a semi-official capacity to investigate something he suspects is happening in his family.  Unfortunately, the alderman is killed on the estate before anyone even knows he has arrived and Daniel becomes almost deathly ill as a result of time spent drenched in the rain awaiting entrance to the estate.   Luckily Molly, that wonderful Irish woman with a great heart and brilliant mind for detection is able to take on caring for a dear husband who she just can't lose so soon, and she manages to unravel the twists of a family who could all be guilty. 

Firesale by Sara Paretsky

I love strong women detectives, and waited far too long to try a book in the V.I. Warshawski series by Sara Paretsky.  Firesale has V.I. back in her old South Chicago neighborhood volunteer coaching basketball to help a dying friend.   I wouldn't have thought from the plot I would enjoy this so much, but we had just visited Chicago in August and I loved the city.  This book puts you right there, on the streets, with one of the most likeable and realistic female detectives I've encountered.   The girls on the team with their personal and basketball issues were just so well imagined.  Everyone in the neighborhood just stepped off of the page.  The wealthy Walmart like villains were also interesting people.  The scene at the junkyard was so painful, ouch!  It could be you struggling to stay alive in that sequence.  Paretsky puts you side by side with her very human heroine.

The Pirate King by Laurie King

Mary Russell's eleventh adventure has Mary going undercover with a silent film company.  She organizes everything for the company and tries to keep squabbles to a minimum, all the while solving a mystery.  Mary is a wonderful scholar who is married to Sherlock Holmes and has learned all of his tricks of disguise and detection.  More humorous than many of the entries, Laurie King clearly had a wonderful time writing this one.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Evie is able to learn something about a person by holding an object that they give her.  She uses this as a party trick but goes too far one day exposing the affair of a local wealthy boy.  It is the 1920s and she is sent off to New York City to live with her uncle.  He owns a museum of folklore and the supernatural but takes it all very seriously, rather dashing her hopes she might have found someone who understands her problems.
New York City suits Evie well, as she sneaks out with a friend and has all sorts of adventures as a free stylin' flapper girl.  Evie is shallow, and I found it hard to like her at some points but you had to admire her.
She isn't alone in her powers.  Others also find unusual gifts awakening.  The power to heal, the power to make someone just disappear, the power to see a bit into the future.
Also awakening is an old evil being who has been a dark serial killer.  He finds new life and victims as some greater evil arises.
Wonderfully atmospheric and scary, but just a blast in its depiction of gin joints and speakeasys and the colorful language of the day. 
First in a series, the story wraps up satisfyingly making you want more but not leaving you hanging.

Safe from the sea by Peter Geye

A young man visits his dying father at the North Shore.  The father and son have never gotten along, but the father hopes for some last reconciliation or at least that his son will understand him.  The father is the sole survivor of an Edmund Fitzgerald type ship wreck in the lakes.  He has never talked about his experience, why he alone survived or how he feels about any of it.
A vivid story of love, forgiveness and reconciliation, the North Shore setting complements the tale perfectly.   Highly recommended to anyone who likes tales of the sea, adventure stories or the north woods.

Dark Lie by Nancy Springer

I read this suspenseful tale in one sitting one evening.  It was so intense I had to see what happened, as it seemed anything might.  Dorrie is about 35, overweight, and suffering from Lupus.  She was once thin, beautiful and brilliant.   She seems a typical suburban housewife, but we soon find her stalking quite openly a teenage girl at a mall. 
Our young matron had a baby out of wedlock and her grim ultra religious parents had the baby taken away and the past buried.  Recently Dorrie found out that her baby was right in town, and the adopted daughter of a well to do couple.  She fantasizes about the girl all the time and having a conversation with her. 
As she follows the girl out to the parking lot, she notes that a man with a limp asks for her daughter's help getting something into his car.  To Dorrie's amazement and horror, the man gives up the ruse and knocks the girl out and tosses her into the car.

Parked nearby, Dorrie gives chase, trying to find a way to overcome her own fears and physical limitations to free the girl from her captor.   The story of how she faces down a serial killer and her own past alters this bored suburbanite into a terrified mom who will do anything on earth to save her child.

Among Others by Jo Walton

The story of a quintissential bookworm away at boarding school, Walton celebrates the books she grew up reading.  A who's who of great science fiction reading recommendations. 

I'll add more in as I remember what I read!  I am on the job for 2013 with a Hello Kitty Reading Notebook to keep track.  Happy reading to all!    Librarian D.O.A.

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