Review: Curious Minds (Knight and Moon#1)

Curious Minds (Knight and Moon #1)

By Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

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YES!  A new series from JE and it is great!  OK, I will stop with the exclamation points.  But it really is that good.  I flew through it in just 2 days and I can’t wait for the next one.

While I enjoy the madcap antics of Stephanie Plum, sometimes I wish she would stop making her own life so challenging.  Riley Moon is adventurous and funny like Stephanie, but also really clever and insightful.  Her partner in all of the adventures is Emerson Knight, a reclusive billionaire with all sorts of handy skills.

if this first book is anything to go by, it’s going to be a fun ride with these two!

 

Source:  ARC from publisher

Audience:  adults

 

Review: Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell

 

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What a dark and lyrical book.  I didn’t think those two went together until I read this book.  Parts of the prose seem like poems and the descriptions of the raw lifestyle of the Dolly clan and absolutely visceral.

Keening blue wind was bringing weather back into the sky, dark clouds gathering at the far edge of sight, carrying frosty wet for later.

 

I read this book for the Read Harder 2016 challenge task:  Read a book that was made into a move.  Compare.  I don’t think I am going to watch the movie.  This was a tough story and I don’t really need the visual.  Instead I read this great article by Tina Estlin Page on Lit Review.  It’s got spoilers, so don’t go there if you haven’t read the book!

 

I have a feeling that this is an excellent audiobook.

 

 

Source:  Well-worn paperback from the public library

Audience:  Adults

Devil In A Blue Dress by Walter Mosely

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I picked this book up to satisfy a task on my Read Harder Challenge.  The task:  Read the first book in a series by a person of color.  I have to say, I am likely to pick up the next one!  I really enjoy series reading.  I like the idea of meeting a character and then learning more about them and seeing them become more real in book after book.  Characters like Spenser and Kinsey Milhone are familiar friends I enjoy spending time with.  Time to add Easy Rawlins to the list.

Things to like about reading this series:

  1.  There are at least 12 books already published and the wait at the library is sure to be short.
  2. The Post WWII setting is a bit out of my comfort zone – always a good idea I think.
  3. Easy has lots of neat side characters to interact with.  This creates  a realistic feel to a series.  They supporting cast helps the reader to understand the main character so much more.
  4. The story was complicated and hard to follow which is good for me as I can be a lazy reader.

What series do you enjoy?  Please comment so I can add to my massive TBR list!

Source:  A very old and decrepit public library book

Audience:  adults

Book Review: The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths

 

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Another excellent outing with Ruth and her quirky supporting cast.  I love the way Elly Griffiths works religion and mysticism into her stories without disrespecting any point of view.  This particular mystery is set in the season of Lent and the ideas of Lent and Easter are touched on by each character in some way.  I found the increased focus on Michelle and Harry to be a good game changer, keeping the series fresh and interesting.

 

Source:  A hardcover from the public library (and I was the first reader to check it out!  I love that.)

Audience:  Intended for adults, but no reason why teens could not enjoy it too.

Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich

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I’ve been a longtime fan of this series, through thick and thin.  Books 19-21  were definitely on the thin side.

This was much better than 21, I’m hoping JE is back on track with this series.  Unlike many readers, I don’t  mind the Morelli-Ranger flip flopping.  I think it adds to the light- hearted nature of the books.

Audience:  Adults

Source:  Public Library

X by Sue Grafton

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One thing I really like about this series is that Kinsey is aging in real time. It’s still the 80s and technology has little place in the detective’s work. So much more thinking and doing.

This book did have too many storylines for me.  They were not as connected as I would have liked.

Source:  Public Library

Audience:  Adults, mystery fans

 

Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

 

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Just what I love in a mystery: a wise cracking lead, a complicated puzzle to solve, and a sense of setting that adds to the plot. It took some getting used to, but I also really enjoyed the narrator’s near-constant use of similes: “She was tall and blond and white as marble, with clothes that matched her skin and a face like a cemetery angel.” 
Excellent pick for grades 7-12
This review is based on an ARC provided to me by the publisher

Jackaby by William Ritter

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Cool cover, huh?

Superwholockians (fans of Supernatural, Dr. Who, Sherlock)  are going to love this series.  This is a smart, complicated series with a solid set of characters.  It’s so well-written that you the reader can truly believe the magic amid the historical setting.

If you have enjoyed the Flavia deLuce series, this would be a great follow up.

 

Source:  ebook from the public library

Audience:  middle school, high school, even adults

My Year In Books 2015

Some nice stats, courtesy of Goodreads

110 books

32,006 pages

Shortest book:  The Julian Chapter by RJ Palacio (84 pages)

Longest book:  Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz (560 pages)

The most popular book I read was Girl on the Train by  Paula Hawkins (733K people on Goodreads read it too.)

My least popular book seems unfair – it was just published on 12/27 and I flew through it.  And it was so good!  Get out there and download it so the stats go up!    Unhappy Families by Oliver Tidy.

My own conclusions:

Favorite YA:  I’ll Give You the Sun  by Jandy Nelson

Favorite Audio: Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Favorite Graphic Novel:  Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Favorite Non Fiction:  The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin

Favorite Memoir:   Raising Ryland by Hillary Whittington

Favorite Mystery:  Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Favorite Literary Fiction:  The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Favorite Supernatural Thriller-ish:  Saint Odd by Dean Koontz

And special mentions to:

Elly GriffithsThe Zig Zag Girl  looks like a great new series.

Jennifer Latham:  Scarlett Undercover was so fun and dark all at once.

Gary D. Schmidt:  Orbiting Jupiter had some of the loveliest language I read all year.

Oliver Tidy:   You had three great books on my list and kept me well-entertained with your blog.  (He Made Me, Particular Stupidities and Unhappy Families)

Sophie Kinsella:  Finding Audrey was funny and informative. Anxious people everywhere thank you.  And maybe you should be friends with Jenny Lawson.  Just saying.

 

commentWhat were your best books in 2015?  Any plans to read one that I’ve listed?  Please leave a comment.

 

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2016!

Unhappy Families by Oliver Tidy

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The Romney and Marsh files are a must read for fans of police procedurals.  Another excellent twisty mystery for the Dover CID.  As usual, the setting is detailed so well you will think you are in Dover,  cold and wet.  The characters are developing nicely.  I liked the extra focus on Superintendent Vine and the quick check in with March’s boyfriend.

 

Source: I bought it.  I seldom buy books, preferring the public library over just about any source.  That should tell you something about this series.