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Audrey2

Summer Reading

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Nervous
Audrey2

What are you reading this summer?

 

Some of my recent favorites are:

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen by Hendrik Groen

Hendrik is in his eighties and lives in a retirement home. Some of his entries are funny, while others are sad. 

The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin

Tells the story of early Hollywood screen writer, Frances Marion and Mary Pickford. The book was fiction, but I found it fascinating.

Arabella of Mars by David Levine

Arabella was raised in the Mars Colony until she was sixteen, when her Mother decided she needed to return to England (and Earth) to become a lady. Left poor when her father dies, she poses as a boy to work on an air ship to Mars. This was very readable Science Fiction.

I'll add others...

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CTRLZero

I just finished Ken Lozito's enjoyable First Colony series (4 books).  These novels are about humans in stasis heading through space to colonize a new planet due to problems on earth.  Things take an unexpected turn, and they need to figure out what happened on earth and the upcoming consequences.  It looks like the series will continue, so while I am waiting for another installment to arrive, I am reading his Ascension series. 

The Ascension series is also enjoyable, but a little too bare bones.  In other words, a fairly decent plot (first contact, wormhole suckage, alien battles), but the character development is just not there and the story unfolds too quickly.  Plus, even though these are mostly older, veteran space-goers, there are a couple shipboard romances going on that would make the YA crowd groan.  I'll keep reading, since it's a quick read, and I'm interested in where the author is taking us.

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WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?

I'm starting out by reading my way through the stack of books I got at the library sale. (I posted this picture in the JinJer thread.)

Spoiler

15292218992452032518454.thumb.jpg.262be47b7dbe444bc15dedde5da8858f.jpg

I already finished rereading an Ellis Peters mystery that isn't in the picture, and now I'm rereading Gaudy Night. I guess next I'll reread Trio for Blunt Instruments (it's 3 Nero Wolfe short stories) and then everything else is new to me. The comedy books should be a nice, light tone for summer reading. I'll probably go to the library and check out the Steven Saylor book that comes before Empire and the 3 or 4 books by Maryjanice Davidson that come before Undead and Unforgiven. A friend recommended the Maryjanice Davidson books as being silly, funny vampire books; maybe kind of like Stephanie Plum books, but with vampires?

I also stopped reading the Bright Empires series by Stephen R. Lawhead in my nook on book 3 (or 4?) of 5. I want to get back to that sometime, but the style of the books makes it kind of hard to follow. He keeps switching locations and characters, and he even adds new important characters in book 3. It takes more work to keep track of what's going on than I want to bother with some days. Plus, FJ reading is always bumping it out of my mind. :my_biggrin:

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CTRLZero

I finished the Ken Lozito "Ascension" series.  It turned out to be not too bad, but he really needs an editor for the lame shipboard romance scenes.

In the summer, I tend to read lighter fiction, so I just finished "The Essex Serpent" by Sarah Perry.  This was very well written, and I enjoyed the historical setting of the plot, the character development, the topics [lightly] touched upon, etc. 

Now I'll probably pop back into sci fi.  :happy-sunny:

On 6/17/2018 at 11:51 PM, WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo? said:

A friend recommended the Maryjanice Davidson books as being silly, funny vampire books; maybe kind of like Stephanie Plum books, but with vampires?

I haven't heard of these books.  Let me know what you think when/if you've had a chance to read them.

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formergothardite
Posted (edited)

I just finished reading The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August.

I'm sort of meh about the first one. I thought it got boring in some parts. The second one I adored. I'm going to buy it because it is one of those books I'll read again. 

The Long Way is literally just the story of a long trip to a small angry planet. There are other things going on, but it is mostly about them traveling to this planet. 

The First Fifteen is the story of a person who, when he dies, goes back to his birth.  Except each time he is reborn he has all the knowledge of his previous lives. So he ends up knowing exactly how life will turn out and having to relive childhood with an adult mind. There is a whole group of people like him that he eventually discovers. 

Edited by formergothardite

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CTRLZero
6 hours ago, formergothardite said:

I just finished reading The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August.

I have considered reading both of these books, so thanks for the overview.

The way you describe The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August reminds me of one of my favorite books, "Replay" by Ken Grimwood.  I read Replay every so often.  I won't spoil it for you, but you might like it if you enjoy Groundhog's Day sorts of storylines.  It's a quick read, and very interesting.

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WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?

I finshed Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. They were both funny in a silly way. I mentioned them to my friend today, and she believes the movies are funnier. I'm not sure if I've watched the movies all the way through or just skimmed them. Anyway, $1 more of library sale books read.

I've barely started Cold Comfort Farm, but so far it's good. I also reserved the first Maryjanice Davidson book and the prequel to the Steven Saylor book at the library. The next time we go, I can just pick them up. That seems to work easiest on library trips with my kids along. 

The books with Groundhog's Day type plots sound interesting. Thank you, @formergothardite and @CTRLZero:)

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formergothardite
On 6/30/2018 at 6:15 PM, CTRLZero said:

Replay" by Ken Grimwood.  I read Replay every so often.  I won't spoil it for you, but you might like it if you enjoy Groundhog's Day sorts of storylines.  It's a quick read, and very interesting.

Thank you! I like those type of books. My library has it as an ebook so I'm going to check it out now. 

 

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CTRLZero

I  finished reading The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and thoroughly enjoyed it, @formergothardite.  It had some common elements to the book I recommended (Replay), but had a much more substantial plot.  Thanks for the recommendation!

Just before reading The First Fifteen Lives, I read "Infinite" by Jeremy Robinson.  That was a wild sci-fi ride!  This was another book that starts out with humans in stasis, heading to a new planet, when things go wrong.  (I seem to be stuck in a stasis rut, ha ha!)  This novel was well written, had lots of great plot twists, and gives the reader something to ponder on the nature of reality.  Vague - but I don't like to spoil things.  Another quick summer read, if anyone enjoys space exploration/virtual reality sci-fi.

@WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo? - I pulled my copy of Cold Comfort Farm down from the shelf.  Just flipping through the pages and reading random passages makes me laugh.  I read about Amos talking of preaching all over the country in "one o' they Ford vans."  Reminds me of certain traveling fundies we know!  Stella Gibbons created the most marvelous characters.  Hope you are enjoying it.

 

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WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?
14 minutes ago, CTRLZero said:

Hope you are enjoying it.

Thank you! I just finished it today. I did really enjoy it! The movie followed the plot closely enough that I didn't have any big surprises, but it was still very funny. :my_biggrin:

There were 2 or 3 little odd spots, where it seemed she was trying to indicate that it was set in the late 1940s, or maybe the early 50s. (Hard to do when it was published in 1930 something.) For example, one minor character was haunted by being the only one of his friends to survive a terrible war in Nicaragua in '46. (IIRC. It was somewhere in Central America.) I'm glad she didn't put in more things to indicate the later time, because the ones I noticed didn't fit well.

Next comes a book that wasn't in my library sale haul. My husband bought us a new Kathy Reichs book, Two Nights. He didn't realize that it isn't a Temperance Brennan novel until I pointed it out. As far as I remember, she has only solo written books with Tempe Brennan, and has co-written books with her son, featuring Temperance Brennan's great niece, Tori. It should be interesting to see how she does with this new protagonist, Sunday Night. (Kind of a silly name. Wonder where she'll go with it.)

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louisa05

I just finished Concussion which is the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu who basically discovered and named CTE in football players. It was interesting but the writing style was extremely flowery and odd considering the subject matter. Now I'm reading League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth because I felt like the first book left out a lot. Both books will make you question watching football at all if you are a fan and make you even less likely to ever be if you are not. 

A couple of fiction books I've read lately that were good were Nice Try, Jane Sinner a YA about a girl who ends up on a local reality show after leaving HS following a suicide attempt. She struggles with her family's probably evangelical faith among other things, but the book is still quite humorous. Author is Lianne Oelke. Before the football reads, I finished The Life Lucy Knew by Karma Brown about a woman who has memory issues after a head injury (basically a concussion...hmm...just realized that's a theme for three books in a row). It was a pretty good read but the main character was a little frustrating--she made a lot of stupid choices. 

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WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?

I finished Two Nights and Undead and UnwedTwo Nights was good and the author managed to surprise me a few times with plot twists, and the characters seemed believable. It was fun to read a Kathy Reich's book that wasn't based on forensic Anthropology.  I hope she writes some more books with these characters. 

Undead and Unwed was a fast read once I started it. It was a bit zany and silly like a Stephanie Plum novel, but I don't think I laughed out loud as much. (Stephanie and Lula crack me up!) It also had more sex scenes, or maybe more detailed scenes. I guess vampire fiction requires extra steamy sex scenes. Not a book for my 9 year old, anyway. :pb_rollseyes: I reserved the next 2 books from the library, so I guess I liked it. :pb_mrgreen:

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formergothardite

I just finished reading Day Four by Sarah Lotz. It is about a cruise where everything goes to hell on the fourth day. I didn't realize till I finished it that it was sort of a sequel to her other book The Three, but I didn't have any trouble understanding it. I'm going to read the first book now. It is a fairly quick, fun read.

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CTRLZero

Another hot day, another space opera.  This time I am reading the five-part* "Renegade" series by J.N. Chaney.  It's a quick, fun read about a space smuggler who ultimately heads back to the legendary planet Earth.  The only thing I didn't like:  Apparently some of his readers asked for more back story on the main character.  In book five, he alternates chapters with some earlier history, which distracts from the fast-moving action.  Just a personal preference.  I don't like to slow down and overthink things in the summer, lol.

I bought a Kindle book of one of my very favorite time travel novels, "Dooms Day Book" by Connie Willis.  So I'll be reading this while awaiting another installment of "Renegade."  Hope the author writes quick!

*Will probably be further installments.

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formergothardite

I just finished reading The Three by Sarah Lotz. It is supposed to be the book before Day Four, but IMO, The Three made more sense having read Day Four first. 

The Three is about four planes that crashed on the same day and the four people who survived. Three are children and one is a woman who lived long enough to leave a message on her phone mostly instructions on caring for her dog, but also saying something that could be construed as being  a warning.

Parts of this book scared me. Spoilerish stuff to follow.

Spoiler

So evangelical Christians in America decide that the three children are actually part of the four horsemen from Revelation and that there was really a fourth surviving child that the government kept quiet. What starts as a fringe movement gains mainstream followers and there is all this talk about how America needs to get right with God because the rapture is coming. Politicians jump into the fray and an extremist no one thought would win wins as president. Then Congress rolls over and basically lets him start pushing the evangelical dream of America on everyone. When the book ends the First Amendment is being repealed so people won't have the right to protest this new government. 

This book was published in 2014 so the writer wasn't basing this off our current disaster of a presidency and  congress. Before Trump I wouldn't have found this scary, now I could see this happening. And it is scary. 

 

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SilverBeach
Posted (edited)

Just read Until the Twelfth of Never, about the infamous Betty Broderick murders. Although it's been nearly thirty years, it is still a fascinating case and the book is far more in-depth than the movies. The book is very well written and the situation was worse than I thought, particularly with respect to how both parents mistreated their children, Betty more so than Dan. She had zero empathy for her children. Betty will never leave prison, she is 70 and her next parole hearing isn't for 15 years after being denied in 2017. All because she thought she was the first woman to get traded in for a younger model by a successful man who she thought she owned and could not develop a separate identity from. Pathetic.

Edited by SilverBeach

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CTRLZero
3 hours ago, formergothardite said:

I just finished reading The Three by Sarah Lotz. It is supposed to be the book before Day Four, but IMO, The Three made more sense having read Day Four first. 

Thanks, @formergothardite, I'm going to check into reading this series. 

After reading what I consider a classic (Connie Willis' "Dooms Day Book"), I have started a series by Nathan Van Coops (an adventure courtesy of Kindle Unlimited), "In Times Like These," which involves more of the nitty gritty of time travel than I can wrap my little brain around.  Not the worst novel I've read about time travel, but as with a lot of Kindle Unlimited outputs, it needs the help of an editor.  But, decent storyline and characters, and I appreciate the ideas the author generates.

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formergothardite

I also just read The White Road by Sarah Lotz(they had a stack of her books on display so I just got them all). It was kind of meh. I'm not really sure where she was going with that book but it fell rather flat. The idea was good, but she just couldn't pull it off. It is about these guys who are running a website about creepy things and decide that one of them will climb into this cave where people have died and make videos of the bodies that couldn't be removed. They do, and their website takes off so they decide to climb Everest and get videos of the bodies left on there and things start getting weird on the mountain. 

I'm currently reading the Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. It is about a teen girl who is the last survivor on this ship that was sent to colonize a new planet. She is stuck by herself for years until one day she hears that NASA has built a faster ship and there is someone coming to meet up with her ship and help her. I just started it. It is very YA and the writing is okay so far, not the best, but not terrible. 

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CTRLZero
3 hours ago, formergothardite said:

I'm currently reading the Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. It is about a teen girl who is the last survivor on this ship that was sent to colonize a new planet. She is stuck by herself for years until one day she hears that NASA has built a faster ship and there is someone coming to meet up with her ship and help her.

I watched a movie with a similar plot, and it's driving me crazy that I can't think of the name (might have been subtitled).  Anyway, the girl was traveling with her parents and there was an oxygen malfunction, so the parents sacrificed themselves to allow their daughter to live.  She spends her youth alone on the ship.  Years later, the young woman meets up with a repair ship.  Cue raging hormones and a handsome repairman.  Was this similar to what happens in the book?  (Now I'm interested in reading this novel.  So many books, so little time!)

If anyone remembers the name of the movie...

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RabbitKM

I am currently reading a non-fiction about child welfare in NYC. It is called "The Lost Children of Wilder."  It is about a lawsuit that changed how child welfare was run in NYC. 

I am also reading a YA Romcom called "When Dimple Met Rishi" about a college-aged Indian-American couple who have been set up for an arranged marriage. 

I am kinda so-so on both of them. Neither is grabbing me entirely.

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formergothardite
On 8/4/2018 at 11:42 PM, CTRLZero said:

Years later, the young woman meets up with a repair ship.  Cue raging hormones and a handsome repairman.  Was this similar to what happens in the book? 

Sort of. Parts of the book are romantic fan fiction the girl writes because she is bored and desperate for romance. She falls in love with the guy on the repair ship just reading his messages. 

Spoilerish stuff followers.

Spoiler

The plot changes abruptly from teen simpering over the only guy she has ever spoken to near the end of the book, though.But yeah, a lot of the book is her her lusting after the man coming to assist her. One major plot hole for me is that no way NASA would send a hot young guy alone to rescue a hot young teen girl. This guy is like 22 and he is the one they decide to send out into space to rescue the teen girl? No way that is realistic. 

 

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formergothardite

Just finished Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. It is a pretty short book and didn't take long to read. It is about a school for children who have traveled to other worlds and then struggle to adjust once they arrive back in this world. I enjoyed it, but I would have liked it more if the ending was a bit different. 

I'm now switching gears from science fiction and reading Bad Girls at Samarcand by Karin l. Zipf.  It a story about the horrifically abusive juvenile reformatory for girls in NC that opened in the early 1900's. I had not heard of this dark part of my local history.  

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CTRLZero

I'm finishing up my summer by re-reading some of my old favorites.  Jack McDevitt has a couple of series that I like, and I just read the following from the Alex Benedict novels:

*A Talent for War (a little convoluted, but sets the stage)

*Polaris    *Seeker     *The Devil's Eye     *Echo

A warning on McDevitt's work:  in my opinion some of his later works are pretty bad, so I stick to his earlier standalone and serial novels.

I also re-read The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.  Time travel can be a difficult concept, but I like how she treats the time jumps and the effects on the family.

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WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?

I treated myself to a Harry Potter boxed set, because we had a hodgepodge of covers (and no Order of the Phoenix). So I've been rereading Harry Potter in between zipping through the Betsy the Vampire Queen series. (First book: Undead and Unwed.) The vampire books are very quick reads. Kind of like cotton candy--fun, but no substance. 

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