Tuesday Top Ten

topten2013

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week’s challenge was to list the top ten list of books that I’ve read so far in 2013 – I am just limiting myself to those for which I’ve written reviews, so these are actually my favorites since I started my blog in February (and in no particular order)!

  1. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys – Funny and touching story set in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950.
  2. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – A fun and quirky adventure melding the ancient with the latest technology.
  3. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger – A mystery and a coming-of-age story set in 1960s small town Minnesota.
  4. With or Without You by Domenica RutaA searing memoir of the author’s relationship with her drug-addled and irresponsible mother and her own struggles with addiction.
  5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – A touching and endearing story of young love between two unique individuals.
  6. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham – An amazing story of this founding father, a complex and fascinating man.
  7. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson Unique storytelling style combined with an up-close look at life in England during the two world wars.
  8. Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra – A difficult yet beautiful novel set during the wars in Chechnya.
  9. Screwed by Eoin Colfer – A well-told story – gritty, violent, and raunchy – but great characters and a lot of fun!
  10. Onion Street by Reed Farrel Coleman – Another installment in this wonderful detective series!
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Deeply Odd

deeply odd

Deeply Odd is the seventh book in the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz.  What I love about this series is the character of Odd Thomas – the story lines are odd as well – demons, time travel, dark spirits, anything unbelievable and strange can find its way into these books.  They might not be the type of books that would hold my attention if it was not for Odd Thomas himself.  A fry cook who can see the spirits of the dead and helps them to move on – he is quirky, witty, humorous, trusting, humble, frightened and courageous.   In Deeply Odd he is still the character I have come to love.

In this latest installment of the series, Odd has a vision of children being killed and is on a quest to find the culprits and stop their nefarious deeds.  It will take him down a path of alternate realities with demons and dark spirits, but he will have the assistance of the dearly departed Alfred Hitchcock and his ghost dog, Boo, when things start to go wrong.  Along the way he is joined by a new character to the series – Edie – and she is a fresh addition – an elderly woman who is smart and brave, funny and supportive and kind – and she knows where to get some high-powered weapons when all else fails!  Annemarie, the enigmatic young pregnant woman from previous novels, plays a very small role, a relief to me since I find her vagueness annoying.

The story line does fall into the larger story arc of the series, seemingly heading towards a cataclysmic event, as Odd begins to discover and understand the greater forces of good and evil that are at work.  All in all, it was nice to spend some time with Odd again, and I look forward to our next meeting.

Title:  Deeply Odd: An Odd Thomas Novel
Author: Dean Koontz
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 352
Publication: Bantam, May 2013

Tuesday Top Ten

toptensummertbr

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week’s challenge was to list the top ten list of books that I want to read this summer.  There are WAY more than ten, there are always way more than ten books on my TBR list, and I am probably forgetting some or there are some that will hop to the top of the list later this summer when I realize they are coming out, but here’s what I’m looking forward to right now…

  1. How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny – Most anticipated book for me is definitely this one, I cannot say enough wonderful things about her Inspector Gamache series of books and have even managed to hook my husband!  The last book left me hanging and I have waited nearly a year and can hardly wait any longer!
  2. Deeply Odd by Dean Koontz – I’m a big fan of the Odd Thomas series and just getting started on the latest installment!
  3. Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – I love Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book was one of my family’s favorites for story time, and I am looking forward to his latest adult novel.
  4. In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods by Matt BellNext in my Indiespensables subscription!  They haven’t steered me wrong yet!
  5. The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth Silver – This thriller is getting a lot of positive press, and I’m hoping it will live up to the hype.
  6. The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story by Lily Koppel – Behind every great man… I just can’t imagine sending my husband into space (of course, there ARE days…), and I think it’s fascinating to get a glimpse of these women who share that bond.
  7. Silver Starr by Jeanette Walls I really enjoyed her memoir and the novel based on her grandmother’s life.  I’m hoping that her fiction work is as engrossing!
  8. City of Hope by Kate Kerrigan – Having read and enjoyed Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan, I am looking forward to reading this follow-up story of the characters.
  9. Cozy Mysteries – A bunch of my favorite mystery series have new books coming out this summer –  Angora Alibi by Sally Goldenbaum, Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate Carlisle, Body in the Piazza by Katherine Hall Page, …  easy, quick, fun summer reading!
  10. Summer Reads! – There are a bunch of authors who come out with books each summer that are perfect quick reads for sitting on the back deck or the beach with an iced tea – Ladies’ Night by Mary Kay Andrews, The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan, The Last Original Wifeby Dorothea Benton Frank, Island Girls by Nancy Thayer, Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand, …

Looking for Me

lookingforme

Looking for Me is the newest novel from Beth Hoffman, the author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, a fantastic Southern novel with great characters and intricately drawn relationships.

Teddi runs an antique and custom furniture refinishing shop in Charleston, having left her home in Kentucky after graduating from high school to pursue her dream, leaving behind her solid, hardworking, war-veteran father, her perpetually disappointed and angry mother, and her brother, Josh.  Josh is her companion, her confidante, and she is his big sister, his protector and friend.  Josh is unusual, quiet, and thoughtful, with a strong connection to nature.  When Josh disappears one Thanksgiving, Teddi spends years believing that he is still alive somewhere.  After her parents pass away Teddi is forced to go back home and face the realities of her family.

The characters, their interactions, and the souls of their relationships are what made this such a special story.  Teddi’s relationships and interactions were real and written gracefully, always seeming believable and familiar.  If you are looking for a mystery, a good Southern whodunit, this isn’t it, but I encourage you to give it a try.  The story is not about what happened to Josh, and how it happened.  It is a story about relationships, family, love, friendship, forgiveness, acceptance, and happiness.

Title:  Looking for Me
Author: Beth Hoffman
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 368
Publication: Pamela Dorman Books, May 2013

Invisibility

invisibility

Having just finished A Constellation of Vital Phenomena it was definitely time for me to find an easy read, something light and fun, and Invisibility fit the bill.

Stephen is invisible, he was born invisible due to a curse that was put on his mother, and he has always been invisible.  His dad couldn’t take it and left and his mother has died, leaving Stephen to walk the streets of NYC alone and unseen.

Elizabeth is moving to NYC with her brother Laurie and her mom.  They are starting a new life, minus dad, after a horrific event occurred in their old life in Minnesota.  Elizabeth is angry and bitter and wants nothing more than to disappear into the anonymity of the city.

Everything changes for them both on the day Elizabeth moves into Stephen’s apartment building and actually sees him, even though he remains invisible to everyone else.  Of course they fall in love, and he has to eventually explain to Elizabeth why no one else can see him.  Turns out that his grandfather is a cursecaster, an evil guy who curses people for fun, including his own daughter, Stephen’s mom.  And wouldn’t you know it?  Elizabeth is a spellseeker, destined to help control cursecasters and able to see curses placed on others.  With the help of another spellseeker, Millie, Elizabeth begins to learn about her powers on a quest to help Stephen.

Will they be able to find Stephen’s grandfather and reverse the curse?  Will Stephen become visible to others?  Will Elizabeth’s powers get strong enough in time?

The ending was not as predictable as I thought it might be, and there are many out there clamoring for a sequel and it has not been ruled out by the authors, but I say leave it as it is – not everything needs to get tied up in a neat package at the end of every book.

OK- Elizabeth can be a little annoying and well, dull, at times and there were moments when I wanted to strangle Stephen into being more engaged in the fight for his own well-being, but overall I enjoyed the story and the characters.  I loved Laurie and would’ve liked to see even more of him – he brings great humor and humanity into the story.  Overall, a fun quick read to throw into your beach-read pile of books!

“Every fight for survival is really a fight to return to the inconsequential concerns of the mundane.” 

Title:  Invisibility
Author: Andrea Cremer and David Levithan
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Publication: Philomel, May 2013