All posts by Twincor

Artemis Fowl: Book Review

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

I love this book! I bought it a long time ago on Audible and I’ve listened to it numerous times. I re-listened to it just recently and enjoyed it all over again.

This book is geared towards a young adult audience. It follows the life of a young criminal mastermind named Artemis Fowl. It is the first in a series of books about the young mastermind.

Artemis Fowl is a young man with a goal. To steal gold from the fairy folk. Yes, fairies are real. And Artemis has caught one. A Leprechaun. But what is a Leprechaun? It’s not quite what you think. Eoin Colfer has put a fun twist on the fairy realm; and once Artemis has found out about the world of fairies, chaos is about to ensue.

Now in all fairness I do have to say that some people have said that they had a difficult time getting into this book. I didn’t really have that problem, I was interested from the beginning and enjoyed all of it.

The fireball throwing goblins, the flatulent dwarves, the sassy elves, the un-flappable Butler, and the young genius pulling the strings on all of them. What’s not to like?

Now I did listen to the book and I really liked the narrator: Nathaniel Parker. If you choose to listen to it, you’re in for a treat. (I especially like how he does the voice of Butler.)

I’ll leave it to you to read and find out if Artemis succeeds in his goal. Seriously, read this book!

Kindle: Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, Book One) (Artemis Fowl series 1)

Paperback: Artemis Fowl

Audiobook: Artemis Fowl: Artemis Fowl, Book 1

ibook: Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer

Blood and Circuses: Book Review

Blood and Circuses by Kerry Greenwood

This is book six in a series with Phryne Fisher is the protagonist. To be honest, I have not read the first five books. The only reason I got this is because Audible had a sale, this book was on sale, I enjoy the Australian TV production based on these books and thought it would be nice to listen to a book the show was based on.

First off, I am giving this book and Explicit rating. There are Explicit sex scenes and extremely strong language throughout the book.

As stated previously, I found the TV show before I found the book. I was struck by what I felt was a rather big difference between the Phryne Fisher of the book and the Phryne Fisher of the TV show.

Book Phryne seems a bit more unsure of herself. She pushes herself past her fears but she seemed to lack the confidence that I had come to expect based on the TV show. She is a “modern” woman of the 1920’s, independent, smart, uses birth control (*gasp* scandalous! for the time), and uses her skills as an amateur detective.

She is asked by a former lover to help solve a mystery at the circus. To gain entrance she becomes a performer. I found this portion a stretch to believe since it meant that she had to learn to be a trick rider in a very short period of time. Being the amazing Phryne she is able to do it. My cynical side doubts that it would actually be possible to learn as quickly as that. It’s trick riding for crying out loud!

Once in the circus she delves into the mystery of who killed Christopher/Christine, the Hermaphrodite in the show. Along the way the reader is introduced to the life of the traveling circus in the 1920’s. The side show “freaks” who feel accepted in the circus when they are rejected elsewhere. The social structure of the circus (it’s not acceptable to consort with clowns). And other aspects of circus life.

The book brings up social issues that are still alive today. Open relationships, Homosexuality, prostitution, drug addiction, bigotry, to name a few.

Add to this a mix of Australian street crime and gang activity that is somehow tied to the circus. But how?! Well, read the book. ;D

If, like me, you’ve seen the TV series first, just know that the books will be different than the shows. While the books are apparently stand alone mysteries that can be read in any order, it would help to start at the beginning and read them in the order they were written. At least, that’s how others seem to feel.

For me, Blood and Circuses was interesting for the historical aspect. I know very little about Australian history, or even Australia really, so it was fun to read this book. I can’t testify that the book was well researched since I don’t know that, but it does feel real in the way that it was written.

While I enjoyed the story, the prude in me does wish that the language and sex scenes weren’t there. If those things don’t bother you then you might enjoy Blood and Circuses.

Kindle: Blood and Circuses: Phryne Fisher #6 (Phryne Fisher Mysteries)

Paperback: Blood and Circuses

ibook: Blood and Circuses – Kerry Greenwood

The Thin Man: Book Review

The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

Audible recently had a $4.95 sale and I was browsing through it and found The Thin Man on sale. I was intrigued since I really enjoyed the Thin Man movies starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. So I went ahead and bought it.

The book was originally published in 1934. I naively assumed that the content would be “clean” given the time it was written in. Lol, WRONG!

While there were no explicit adult situations, there are men cheating on their wives, possible incest hinted at, and abuse. the language was also quite strong. There was also a short passage about cannibalism which, though not grotesquely described, I still found rather disturbing.

It had been a long time since I had seen the movie so I couldn’t remember who the murderer was. It was fun to listen to the book and see if I could figure out who done it… I did. =D

The story is told through the eyes of Nick Charles, a former NY detective who has returned to NY after several years absence with his socialite wife. He is reluctantly pulled into the mystery of who killed the secretary of one of Nick’s former clients. A client who is consistently absent. It doesn’t help that the main family involved is touched by the god of craziness and they seem to have no ability to tell the truth.

I enjoyed listening to the book though I was rather taken aback by the language and the attitudes of the characters. But that was just the result of my own incorrect presumptions going into the reading.

The style of exposition is more conversation based rather than descriptive based. This lends itself to a more seemingly simplistic story-telling. I think this works very well for this story and helps to create the character of the narrator, Nick Charles.

Those who enjoy gritty detective stories will probably enjoy The Thin Man.

Kindle: The Thin Man

Physical Book: The Thin Man

ibook:  The Thin Man – Dashiell Hammett

Grammar Rebel: Ain’t

I think I have always been a bit of a grammar rebel.

When I was a kid, we always had fun giggling and laughing about the word, “ain’t”. The Grownups were always saying it wasn’t a real word because it wasn’t in the dictionary.  Ha haaaaa, it was a great day in my life when it made an appearance in the dictionary. I even clipped out the article about how “ain’t” was now a word in the English Dictionary.

Anyone ever go around singing the “Ain’t” song? It went something like this:

“Ain’t ain’t a word and you ain’t supposed to say it, say ain’t five times and you ain’t       gonna get it!”

Of course the best thing about the song was that by the end of it you had said ain’t five times, and since there was no real definition of what the “it” was that we wouldn’t get, we didn’t care that we weren’t going to get “it”.

I still use ain’t. Why? I ain’t got no idea. I just know I like it!

Is anyone else out there an “Ain’t” grammar rebel like me?

The House at Riverton: Book Review

The House at Riverton, by Kate Morton.

I recently finished re-listening to this book. It had been a long time since I had listened to it before and I enjoyed re-listening to it since I couldn’t remember everything that had happened.

I really enjoyed The House at Riverton. The author, Kate Morton, chose in interesting way to tell the story. Most books start at the beginning, get to the climax, then end. The House at Riverton is unusual in that you get the beginning and the end of the book first, and it ends with the climax. Whaaaaaaaat?!

It took me a bit to get used to how the book was written, but by the end I really enjoyed it. It uses first person narration to tell the story, and it is written as flashbacks, and current thoughts of an old woman.

I think it was very clever of Kate Morton to tell the story the way she did. It reflects the mind processing of the aged main character. She is in her late nineties and her thoughts often shift from the present to the past. It is her thoughts that give us the story.

The story itself is reminiscent of the tv shows: Upstairs Downstairs, and Downton Abbey. We follow the life of a serving girl, her relationship with the family she works for. We learn about the mystery of a poet’s death at the Riverton house. We learn about the life of the serving girl after she left service. How her life was affected by the family served and how it shaped her future.

There is not a lot of action if that is what you are looking for, it is more a study in human behavior woven around a mystery.

If you enjoy historical fiction I think you will really like this book. I personally give it 5 stars.

If you would like to purchase it here are some links:

Kindle Book: The House at Riverton: A Novel

Apple:  ibook

Physical Book: The House at Riverton: A Novel

Free ebooks, are they worth it?

A few months ago I was skimming through Twitter and noticed a link someone had posted about how to get a ton of free ebooks. The person tweeting it was not a fan of the post. Mainly because they were an author.

While I can’t remember specifically what was said, I believe the big beef is that authors spend a lot of time working on their books, and sites that give books away for free cheat the authors out of their income. Either by not charging for their books, or by creating a mindset in people that they shouldn’t have to pay for books.

Not every author is a J.K. Rowling, raking in the millions; many are writers on the side and pulling in a very small revenue from their books. To have a reading public accustomed to free books, could have an adverse effect on an author’s bottom line.

I can understand this persons point of view. If I were an author and had worked really hard on a book, I would appreciate receiving something back.

Now, as a “consumer” of books, I do appreciate getting books on sale. I have even downloaded the free offers of books. And frankly, I don’t know why. I never read them. However, when I actually spend money on a book, I read it!

So is it possible to get a library of over 1,000 books? Yes. Is it worth it? For me, No. I’d probably never read most of the books, and that would be a lot of books to sift through to try and find the books that I have boughten and really want to read.

And so dear reader, what is your opinion? Free ebooks, a good thing? Not a good thing?

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Readers Block

So I’m sure most people have heard of writer’s block. But what about reader’s block?

I can’t be the only one who goes through periods of time where I just don’t feel like reading. And I don’t get it. I looooooooooved reading as a kid.

I think I had more book friends than real friends. I could always be counted on to have a book with me wherever I went.

Now… well, I seem to have lost my oomph for reading. I still enjoy reading, don’t get me wrong. However, I don’t always carry books around with me. (Unless you count the book apps I have on my phone.)

Sometimes I wonder if my attention span has gotten shorter as I have gotten older. Sheesh, that makes me sound ancient. I ain’t ancient. Just so you know.

I think this is just a temporary thing. I seem to go through bouts of reading, and not reading.

I do enjoy listening to books. Probably because I have more time to do so. I can listen/read at work. Once I’m home I like to play. 🙂

I think I started re-reading some of the books I enjoyed as a kid was so that I could get back into the reading groove. It was going pretty good until I read the “Alien” book. (See previous post.)

That kind of knocked me off my reading game. Weird how strongly that affected me. But, I shall persevere! I will read again!

Imagine me wearing my glasses, fist held stoically in the air, and marching off to the library to find the next great adventure to read. 😉

The Alien Feeling Book

No this blog post isn’t about Aliens. Sorry if some of you feel misled. It’s about a book I was reading that felt alien to me.

So I recently got a book from the library that I wanted to read. A Nostalgia thing, I’d read this book as a kid and I was excited because I liked this book a lot. It is a funny book and I thought, “well it’ll be fun to reread this,” so I sat down and started to read and realized that there was something different about the book.

It had been updated!! Now I understand why they (publisher and author) updated it; they want to update the book to appeal to a newer audience. But for me, it was like I was holding a dear treasure in my hand that had something just a little bit off about it.

It felt like a little alien had taken over my book. It looked the same and is felt the same, but there’s just something different. And that unexpected difference makes you realize that it isn’t the same at all.

While I understand why it was updated. I felt a big let down as I read the book; because, part of the fun for me in reading older books is reading about how different things were then as compared to how they are now. It’s a small window to the past.

I also think it’s kind of pointless to update books because in about about five years the updates are going to be obsolete. In this book references to technology and dance moves were updated. Those references are already starting to be out of date for a younger audience. Unless the author and publisher want to keep updating the book every few years, they should have just left it the way it was.

And that’s my rant for the day. And my plea, Author’s please don’t update your books. Just let them be what they are, a window to the time in which they were first written.

The Three Investigators

Just recently I decided to take a stroll down memory lane. Mainly because I was feeling stressed and wanted to read something that wasn’t all serious.

So I went to the library and found some of the books that I loved to read as a kid. As you can see from the title, what I chose to check out and read were books about The Three Investigators.

Who are they? Well they are three boys, early teens, who formed a little group to solve mysteries. Jupiter Jones is the leader (hyper-intelligent), Pete Crenshaw is the athletic one (the muscles), and Bob Andrews is the researcher (the book-worm).

It’s been fun re-reading some of these books. They are geared for younger children so they aren’t too wordy. It’s pretty straight forward writing, which I like since I’ve been reading a lot of wordy, convoluted stuff lately.

This is a series of books and each book is its own adventure. You don’t have to have read the previous books to understand the later books, (although it helps). Some of the adventures delve into the (seemingly) supernatural. Some are plain everyday crimes of theft, robbery, blackmail.

The book I’m currently reading is about a kidnapped whale. The investigators find a whale washed up on the beach, they do what they can as a temporary fix, then they leave, planning to come back and help the little whale back into the ocean. However, when they get back they find that the whale is … GONE! (duhn duhn duuuuhn.) No the tide didn’t wash it back out into the ocean, it had been whale-napped! *Gasp!*

Oddly, I don’t remember  reading this book when I was a kid, and I thought I had read all the books in the series that my library had. This makes it even more fun. A whole undiscovered adventure for me to read. Sweeeeeet!

I loved these books when I was a kid. I wanted to be an investigator, and have a secret head- quarters, a limo at my command, and the brains to outwit all nefarious evil-doers. To be fair, I wanted to be just like the hero/heroine of whatever book I happened to be reading when I was a kid. 🙂

One of the things that I think is pretty cool, is that the books are written by different authors. It originally started out as Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators.” The original author/creator wanted to associate a well-known name with the book to help boost its popularity. I know that when I was young I thought it was pretty awesome that the three investigators had “met” Alfred Hitchcock.

If you want more info about the history of the books, Wikipedia has a nice little article that goes into more depth about The Three Investigators series. Link is here.

If you’ve never read any of these books and are looking for good chapter books for your younger kids. I recommend this series. I loved the books, still love them, and hope you love them too.