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It's Monday – What Are You Reading? April 30, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk.
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This Monday meme is held by the Book Journey. Feel free to join in and tell us what you’re reading!

The Moonlit Mind

by Dean Koontz

In this chilling original stand-alone novella, available exclusively as an eBook, Dean Koontz offers a taste of what’s to come in his new novel, 77 Shadow Street, with a mesmerizing tale of a homeless boy at large in a city fraught with threats … both human and otherwise. Includes the first chapter of 77 Shadow Street.Twelve-year-old Crispin has lived on the streets since he was nine – with only his wits and his daring to sustain him, and only his silent dog, Harley, to call his friend. He is always on the move, never lingering in any one place long enough to risk being discovered.Still, there are certain places he returns to, like the hushed environs of St. Mary Salome Cemetery, a place where Crispin can feel at peace – safe, at least for a while, from the fearsome memories that plague him … and seep into his darkest nightmares.But not only his dreams are haunted. Crispin has seen ghosts in the dead of night, and sensed dimensions beyond reason in broad daylight.Alone, drifting, and scavenging to survive is no life for a boy. But the life Crispin has left behind, and is still running scared from, is an unspeakable alternative … that may yet catch up with him.There is more to Crispin’s world, and its darkest corners have yet to be encountered, in this eBook’s special bonus: a spine-tingling excerpt from Dean Koontz’s forthcoming novel, 77 Shadow Street.

Some of you might be wondering why it’s taking me so long to read this novella. It’s because I only read this on my phone when I don’t have a book with me when I’m out and about! Since this happens so rarely I hardly ever read this particular story. I might have to bite the bullet and just finish it on my Kindle.  I do love my Dean Koontz!

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

by Laurie Viera Rigler

After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up to find herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?

Not only is Courtney stuck inside another woman’s life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. For her borrowed body knows how to speak without slaying the King’s English, dance without maiming her partner, and embroider as if possessed by actual domestic skill.

But not even Courtney’s level of Austen mania has prepared her for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condom-less seducers, and marriages of convenience. Enter the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, a suitor who may turn out not to be a familiar species of philanderer after all.

I just started this book so I haven’t gotten a real feel for it. I bought a used paperback version since the Kindle edition was so expensive. (*cough*overpriced!*cough*)

I’m looking forward to getting into this book. Not only because it involves a Jane Austen fan like myself but because it involves the question of “what if I were transported back in time?”  The whole “what would a modern woman do?” in that situation has always aroused my curiosity so I’m anxious to see where this author goes with it.

Shade of Milk and Honey

by Mary Robinette Kowal

Shades of Milk and Honey is what we might expect from Jane Austen if she had lived in a world with magic; Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality.

As you can see I’m on a “Jane Austen” kick. I heard about this book on the blog She-Wolf Reads. Kowal is coming out with a sequel soon and I thought I’d check out the first one before it came out. I just started the book so I haven’t really formed much of an opinion but so far I like the prose. Here’s hoping for a good plot!

That rounds out what I’m currently reading. What’s do you have on your nightstand?

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It’s Monday – What Are You Reading? April 30, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk.
Tags: , ,
2 comments

This Monday meme is held by the Book Journey. Feel free to join in and tell us what you’re reading!

The Moonlit Mind

by Dean Koontz

In this chilling original stand-alone novella, available exclusively as an eBook, Dean Koontz offers a taste of what’s to come in his new novel, 77 Shadow Street, with a mesmerizing tale of a homeless boy at large in a city fraught with threats … both human and otherwise. Includes the first chapter of 77 Shadow Street.Twelve-year-old Crispin has lived on the streets since he was nine – with only his wits and his daring to sustain him, and only his silent dog, Harley, to call his friend. He is always on the move, never lingering in any one place long enough to risk being discovered.Still, there are certain places he returns to, like the hushed environs of St. Mary Salome Cemetery, a place where Crispin can feel at peace – safe, at least for a while, from the fearsome memories that plague him … and seep into his darkest nightmares.But not only his dreams are haunted. Crispin has seen ghosts in the dead of night, and sensed dimensions beyond reason in broad daylight.Alone, drifting, and scavenging to survive is no life for a boy. But the life Crispin has left behind, and is still running scared from, is an unspeakable alternative … that may yet catch up with him.There is more to Crispin’s world, and its darkest corners have yet to be encountered, in this eBook’s special bonus: a spine-tingling excerpt from Dean Koontz’s forthcoming novel, 77 Shadow Street.

Some of you might be wondering why it’s taking me so long to read this novella. It’s because I only read this on my phone when I don’t have a book with me when I’m out and about! Since this happens so rarely I hardly ever read this particular story. I might have to bite the bullet and just finish it on my Kindle.  I do love my Dean Koontz!

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

by Laurie Viera Rigler

After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up to find herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?

Not only is Courtney stuck inside another woman’s life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. For her borrowed body knows how to speak without slaying the King’s English, dance without maiming her partner, and embroider as if possessed by actual domestic skill.

But not even Courtney’s level of Austen mania has prepared her for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condom-less seducers, and marriages of convenience. Enter the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, a suitor who may turn out not to be a familiar species of philanderer after all.

I just started this book so I haven’t gotten a real feel for it. I bought a used paperback version since the Kindle edition was so expensive. (*cough*overpriced!*cough*)

I’m looking forward to getting into this book. Not only because it involves a Jane Austen fan like myself but because it involves the question of “what if I were transported back in time?”  The whole “what would a modern woman do?” in that situation has always aroused my curiosity so I’m anxious to see where this author goes with it.

Shade of Milk and Honey

by Mary Robinette Kowal

Shades of Milk and Honey is what we might expect from Jane Austen if she had lived in a world with magic; Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality.

As you can see I’m on a “Jane Austen” kick. I heard about this book on the blog She-Wolf Reads. Kowal is coming out with a sequel soon and I thought I’d check out the first one before it came out. I just started the book so I haven’t really formed much of an opinion but so far I like the prose. Here’s hoping for a good plot!

That rounds out what I’m currently reading. What’s do you have on your nightstand?

On My Wishlist (10) April 28, 2012

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On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It’s where we list all the books we desperately want but haven’t actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. It’s also an event that you can join in with too – Mr Linky is always at the ready for you to link your own ‘On My Wishlist’ post. If you want to know more click here.

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Mr. Darcy’s Diary

by Amanda Grange

Darcy, hero of “Pride and Prejudice,” is created as a romantic hero of depth and distinction. Historically accurate and psychologically astute, Grange’s exploration of Darcy’s view of the world is a fascinating glimpse into the heart of a truly noble man.

Much to my enjoyment, I just finished “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. To my surprise  and delight, there are a lot of sequels and alternate view books out there now.

I’ve picked up a few, but this one looks particularly good. To view the events of the story through the eyes of Fitzwilliam Darcy would be very interesting.  He’s one of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever read about. Getting into his mind would not only be a challenge for the author, but if done well, would be a delight for the reader!

What are some classics you wished would continue on in sequels?

Review – Remote control April 25, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Foreign, Mystery/Thriller.
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Remote Control

by Kotaro Isaka

Masaharu Aoyagi, a former delivery-truck driver in the city of Sendai, is unemployed. Two years ago he achieved brief notoriety for rescuing a local actress from a robbery attempt while making a delivery to her apartment. Now he is back in the spotlight – this time as the main suspect in the assassination of a newly elected prime minster who had come to Sendai for a hometown victory parade.

Set in a near-future Japan modeled on the United States, Remote Control follows Aoyagi on a forty-eight-hour chase, in a dramatic retelling of the Kennedy killing with Aoyagi in the role of a framed Lee Harvey Oswald. A massive manhunt is underway. As Aoyagi runs, he must negotiate trigger-happy law enforcement and Security Pods set up throughout the city to monitor cell-phone and email transmissions and keep a photo record of street traffic. Can he discover why he has been set up and who is responsible? Can he find the real assassin and prove to the world his innocence – amidst media pronouncements of his guilt – before the conspirators take him out?

This book started out slow but the pace picked up a fourth of  the way in. Once the pace picks up you become completely engaged as you wonder what happens next.

The ingenuity of the plot is cunning. Each twist and turn has you guessing at what exactly is going to happen next. I thought I knew how the book ended, but I was wrong.

The way the author presents things as “all is not as it seems” is masterful. I began doubting what I knew about halfway through the book. The first fourth of the book is devoted to the chase as seen through the eyes of the media. The rest of the book is the actual chase as lived by Masaharu Aoyagi.  If anything else, this story proves that the media doesn’t always portray the truth.

This was a very enjoyable cat and mouse romp.

In My Mailbox (8) April 23, 2012

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 Mailbox Monday is created by  The Story Siren. ) 

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The Secret Piano

by Zhu Xiao-Mei

Zhu Xiao-Mei was born to middle-class parents in post-war China, and her musical proficiency became clear at an early age. Taught to play the piano by her mother, she developed quickly into a prodigy, immersing herself in the work of classical masters like Bach and Brahms. She was just ten years old when she began a rigorous course of study at the Beijing Conservatory, laying the groundwork for what was sure to be an extraordinary career. But in 1966, when Xiao-Mei was seventeen, the Cultural Revolution began, and life as she knew it changed forever. One by one, her family members were scattered, sentenced to prison or labor camps. By 1969, the art schools had closed, and Xiao-Mei was on her way to a work camp in Mongolia, where she would spend the next five years. Life in the camp was nearly unbearable, thanks to horrific living conditions and intensive brainwashing campaigns. Yet through it all Xiao-Mei clung to her passion for music and her sense of humor. And when the Revolution ended, it was the piano that helped her to heal.

I don’t often get memoirs or true stories, but when this was offered up as a Kindle Daily Deal I had to grab it.  I’m half Chinese and the opportunity to read more about the Cultural Revolution was too good to pass up. Luckily my family had immigrated by the time the Revolution had come to pass, but it’s still a subject of interest to me.

On My Wishlist (9) April 21, 2012

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On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It’s where we list all the books we desperately want but haven’t actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. It’s also an event that you can join in with too – Mr Linky is always at the ready for you to link your own ‘On My Wishlist’ post. If you want to know more click here.

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Boneshaker

by Cherie Priest

Maternal love faces formidable challenges in this stellar steampunk tale. In an alternate 1880s America, mad inventor Leviticus Blue is blamed for destroying Civil War–era Seattle. When Zeke Wilkes, Blue’s son, goes into the walled wreck of a city to clear his father’s name, Zeke’s mother, Briar Wilkes, follows him in an airship, determined to rescue her son from the toxic gas that turns people into zombies (called rotters and described in gut-churning detail). When Briar learns that Seattle still has a mad inventor, Dr. Minnericht, who eerily resembles her dead husband, a simple rescue quickly turns into a thrilling race to save Zeke from the man who may be his father.

Boneshaker is the first in the series Clockwork Century. I heard about this series on the blog Bloody Murder Books.

I’ve always had a soft spot for steampunk books and supernatural books. Take Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate Series, which is a favorite of mine. Hopefully Boneshaker will prove to be an equal favorite.

Review – Naoko April 19, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 5 stars, Foreign, Literature.
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Naoko

by Keigo Higashino

Heisuke faces a terrible tragedy when his wife is killed in a ski bus accident and his daughter is left in a coma. Only when his daughter Monami wakes up she seems to think she’s his wife Naoko.

This book was described as a black comedy and it was certainly black. There are moments your heart aches for the couple as they try to navigate their way through life in their different roles. Not as wife and husband but as father and daughter. This isn’t your typical Freaky Friday novel with comical twists and turns, there are very serious moments with very serious “what if’s”.

The story is bound for a sad end and you know it. You just don’t know exactly how it ends. The way it did end surprised me though. In fact, this book surprised me all the way through. I was surprised at how well it was written. I was surprised at the life-like turn of events. I was also surprised at how realistically the characters reacted to each chain of events.

As an American debut novel to his much loved The Devotion of Suspect X , this book does not disappoint. It made me take a second look at how I look at love and devotion. I can unequivocally say I loved this book.

Review – Beauty and Sadness April 11, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Foreign, Literature.
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Beauty and Sadness

by Yasunari Kawabata

 The successful writer Oki has reached middle age and is filled with regrets. He returns to Kyoto to find Otoko, a young woman with whom he had a terrible affair many years before, and discovers that she is now a painter, living with a younger woman as her lover. Otoko has continued to love Oki and has never forgotten him, but his return unsettles not only her but also her young lover.

This story permeates with sadness. Like a Greek tragedy, it’s sadness is beautiful in of itself.

The characters are poised with bittersweet longings and with bitterness that seems to poison their very souls. You feel like they want to move on, yet there’s a decided inertia which is a part of the tragedy.

The young Keiko is hell bent on revenge for the sake of her love Otoko. This is despite Otoko’s protestations. This becomes a tragedy as well.

The book was so extremely well written it was easy to get wrapped up in the tale, but it was also pretty intense. I had to put it down every chapter or so to absorb what I had read and let it soak in. This was definitely not a light beach going read.

Mailbox Monday #7 April 9, 2012

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 Mailbox Monday is created by  The Story Siren. )

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Hell

by Yasutaka TsuTsui

Fifty-seven-year-old Takeshi has just been involved in a traffic accident. When he wakes up, he is in a strange bar and is no longer crippled as he has been for most of his life, but able to walk without crutches in his everyday business suit. Looking around, he sees a number of familiar faces—Izumi, a colleague who had died in a plane crash five years before; his childhood friend Yuzo, who had become a yakuza and had been killed by a rival gang member; and Sasaki, who had frozen to death as a homeless vagrant. This is Hell—a place where three days last as long as 10 years on Earth, and people are able to see events in both the future and the past. Yuzo can now see the yakuza that killed him as he harasses a friend of his. The actress Mayumi and the writer Torigai are chased by the paparazzi into an elevator that drops to floor 666 beneath ground level.

This book sounds particularly intriguing. I’ve always found the concept of “hell” fascinating even though I’m Buddhist. I also think the vast array of characters will be most entertaining.

“Hell” is high up on my TBR pile!

On My Wishlist (8) April 7, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk.
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On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It’s where we list all the books we desperately want but haven’t actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. It’s also an event that you can join in with too – Mr Linky is always at the ready for you to link your own ‘On My Wishlist’ post. If you want to know more click here.

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Written over the course of 1904-6, Soseki’s comic masterpiece, I Am a Cat, satirizes the follies of upper-middle-class Japanese society during the Meiji era. With acerbic wit and sardonic perspective, it follows the whimsical adventures of a world-weary stray kitten who comments on the follies and foibles of the people around him.

I’m an inveterate cat lover so this book sounds like it’s right up my alley. I’m also a great lover of satires. I can’t wait to get my hand on this one!