I’m including audio books and movies in this report because I make the rules, so there. And I live in the stories no matter how I absorb them. So let’s begin, shall we?
The Labrinth Index by Charles Stross I’m a big fan of Mr. Stross’s writing and can’t believe there are those out there who have read the first book in the Laundry Files series and decided not to go on. My husband and I wait for those alerts we get when a new book is about to be published. The characters are wonderful and diverse, especially finding that one character I never much liked is now a lead in the story and I like her a lot. That’s talent. Also, there’s a chuckle in the story because an other-worldly conquering force has placed a geas on the population of the USA so that everyone forgets the President and even that we ever had one. That’s not an evil spell, that’s what the majority of us need right now. Where do I sign up? But the best part, as a romance writer, is the growing heat between two of the characters. Stross is amazing at setting characters up for love but adding elements that make being together impossible.
The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman The Invisible Library is another favorite series. This is Book 3 of 5 and pretty much my favorite so far. Irene is finally showing her feelings for one of the many men in her life. And we are getting hints about her parents and her connection to the rogue librarian. So much foreshadowing! A side note, since Irene needs to find a collection of books in order to move to her Library base, I now look at collections of books in pictures and peoples’ homes, and think, yes, Irene could work her magic here.
Artificial Conditions by Martha Wells The Murder Bot is out on her own and looking for answers. Did she go loopy and slaughter a crew of humans who had bought her? On the way to the place where she might find the answers, she meets up with a band of “geeks” who need her help. She also makes an unusual friend. Why are people giving this less than 5 stars on Goodreads? These stories grab at your heartstrings. Go read them!
California Bones by Greg van Eekhout This book is up next on my To Be Read list, thanks to my book club. It’s not a book I would have chosen and in fact not the one I voted for. I wanted to read The Natural History of Dragons. My loving husband gets all the books put up to vote on so I can read the ones I want, but I am running out of reading time. Yikes! I have to get back to the Invisible Library and the Expanse and the October Day series my husband is going on about. AND California Bones is only the first is a series, so if I like it, I’m in big trouble.
First Man This take on the working life of Neil Armstrong is beautiful and focused. Forget the uproar about the flag on the moon, that’s such an immature issue to bring up. This is about a man with a loving wife and family. The shadow of their only daughter’s death in childhood follows him through his years. Armstrong was reserved, one of the most introverted of the astronauts, and has been suspected of being on the Autism Disorder Spectrum. Knowing that made the movie much easier for me to watch. His wife has to force him to talk to his sons before his spacewalk mission. That’s a sign right there.
One of my favorite things about this movie is the tight point of view which is unusual in movies. For instance, when the astronauts are in a capsule, we don’t see the usual external shots of the rocket being launched. We only see the things they would see inside. That’s a great reminder of how sketchy the early days of space flight actually were.
Bohemian Rhapsody Can we all agree that this is a dramatic retelling of a man’s career and not a “historical document” or documentary? Good. Because once you get over that, this a wonderful, fun, thrilling movie. There are laughs, there are tears, and there is a realization that family often is made up of the people you choose to be with. Putting a bunch of misfits together can create wonderful things, the important item being the relationships they create and carry through their lives. Go see it without any preconceived notions of what it should be. If you don’t already love Freddy Mercury, I hope you will by the time the credits roll.
Marvel Cinematic Universe We had missed a few of the movies as they came out and now, waiting impatiently for the as yet untitled Avengers 4 movie, we ran through the whole set in order. The ones we hadn’t seen include Dr. Strange, which really amazed me and created a bit of excitement for the movies he’s in that I have seen. Also, gotta say Tilda Swinton is amazing every time I see her. That’s one reason why we named our terrier Tilda. And seeing the name on the screen brought a tiny wave of grief for my lost dog.
We also got to see Spider-Man: Homecoming, very enjoyable and certainly points out that the people in the costumes are only human. Next is Thor: Ragnarok, and even though we did see it in the theater, I can’t wait.
Playing for Pizza by John Grisham This audiobook is a lot of fun even if you aren’t a fan of football and pizza. It’s really in need of a sequel but there doesn’t appear to be one. Also, it seems a strange genre for Grisham, but it works. I did think more needed to be done with Gabriela, his first love interest, and where he and Libby end up a year or more down the road. The reviews are interesting, either a love or hate relationship, and compared frequently to Eat, Pray, Love.
Mansfield Park and Emma RandomlySomething changed in my phone where I keep the audiobooks. The whole bunch got mixed up so that I was listening (well, relistening) to Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, Chapter 10, then Chapter 17, then Chapter 14, Chapter 20, and so on. Very confusing and not really what I wanted. I had also uploaded a bunch of free audio books and hoped these would go on the phone in order. Nope. Another round of messed up chapters. I’m going to scream.
By the way, the free audio books are interesting, let’s say. They are not read by well-known voice people. But the young woman reading Emma is delightfully unskilled, so that it seems more like someone is reading the book to me. I haven’t decided if I like it or not.
In closing, my husband and I are waiting impatiently for the next Rivers of London book by Ben Aaronovitch. A great fun series with amazing characters and a real taste of modern London. Hope to have it up next month for review. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.