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March 2013 Book Challenge - Page 2

post #21 of 23

Okay, it's almost the end of March and I don't think I'm going to finish another book before the month is out. 


I listened to:

Stardust by Neil Gaiman as read by Neil Gaiman

Starred Review. Tristran Thorn falls in love with the prettiest girl in town and makes her a foolish promise: he says that he'll go find the falling star they both watched streak across the night sky. She says she'll marry him if he finds it, so he sets off, leaving his home of Wall, and heads out into the perilous land of faerie, where not everything is what it appears. Gaiman is known for his fanciful wit, sterling prose and wildly imaginative plots, and Stardust is no exception. Gaiman's silver-tongued narration vividly brings this production to life. Like the bards of old, Gaiman is equally proficient at telling tales as he is at writing them, and his pleasant British accent feels like a perfect match to the material. Gaiman's performance is an extraordinary achievement—if only all authors could read their own work so well. The audiobook also includes a brief, informative and enjoyable interview with Gaiman about the writing of the novel and his work in the audiobook studio.

It was quite fantastic. Love Neil's reading. It's a little more of a classic Fairy Tale for adults than Neverwhere which is the whole contemporary ordinary guy gets sucked into something extraordinary/magical trope (and done quite well, of course). Stardust doesn't have any contemporary ordinary to it. It just jumps in feet first into Faeryland. Loved it.


I read:

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

In this collection of stories (and a few poems), storytellers and the act of storytelling have prominent roles. The anthropomorphized months of the year swap tales at their annual board meeting: a half-eaten man recounts how he made the acquaintance of his beloved cannibal; and even Scheherazade, surely the greatest storyteller of all, receives a tribute with a poem. The stories are by turns horrifying and fanciful, often blending the two with a little sex, violence, and humor. An introduction offers the genesis of each selection, itself a stealthy way of initiating teens into the art of writing short stories, and to some of the important authors of the genre. Gaiman cites his influences, and readers may readily see the inflection of H. P. Lovecraft and Ray Bradbury in many of the tales. Horror and fantasy are forms of literature wrought with clichés, but Gaiman usually comes up with an interesting new angle. This collection is more poetic and more restrained than Stephen King's short stories and more expertly written than China Mieville's Looking for Jake(Ballantine, 2005). Gaiman skips along the edge of many adolescent fascinations-life, death, the living dead, and the occult-and teens with a taste for the weird will enjoy this book.

I really liked the intro, which was quite long, and gave the background on each story or poem. I kept going back to it time and time again. I don't know where I head read "How To Talk To Girls" before, but I definitely had although it was supposed to be previously unpublished. Maybe I picked up the book before or maybe it's since been published elsewhere. I enjoyed this, definitely, but not quite as much as the novels which give me more to sink my teeth into.



The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid

In The Grave Tattoo, suspense master Val McDermid spins a psychological thriller in which a present-day murder has its roots in the eighteenth century and the mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty

After summer rains uncover a corpse bearing tattoos like those of eighteenth-century seafarers, many residents of the English Lake District can’t help but wonder whether it’s the body of one of the town’s most legendary fugitives.

Scholar and native Lakelander Jane Gresham feels compelled to finally discover the truth about the myths and buried secrets rooted in her hometown. What she never expected was to find herself at the heart of a 200-year-old mystery that still has the power to put lives on the line. And with each new lead she pursues, death follows hard on her heels….

I quite liked this. I've gotten into mysteries/crime especially British and especially Scottish over the past several years. I've read some others of Val McDermid's series with Carol Jordan and Tony Hill and they were pretty good, but didn't grab me as much as this one did which is not part of that series. I've got another of her Tony Hill novels to try, too.



Wide Open by Deborah Coates


Wide Open by Deborah Coates is the first book in a series of “startlingly original” (Booklist) contemporary dark fantasy novels set against the sweeping prairies and desolate byways of the American Midwest, creating “a rural backwater where the normal and paranormal seamlessly merge.” (Publishers Weekly)

When Sergeant Hallie Michaels comes back to South Dakota from Afghanistan on ten days' compassionate leave, her sister Dell's ghost is waiting at the airport to greet her.

The sheriff says that Dell's death was suicide, but Hallie doesn't believe it. The one person who seems willing to listen is the deputy sheriff, Boyd Davies, who shows up everywhere and helps when he doesn't have to.  

I enjoyed this. It had a nice quick pace to it. It wasn't heavy despite the subject matter. I thought it was an interesting combo of mystery and supernatural with more emphasis on the mystery part. There were some plot holes and I didn't understand all the motivations, but the pacing kept it moving along and made it enjoyable.

post #22 of 23

Hi- sorry I've been MIA for months.  I haven't been reading.  I haven't been able to focus on much of anything this year.  

I just read 2 books this week and will post them 

Jan- nothing

Feb- nothing



1.A Bright Red Scream - M Strong

2. Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse - G. Jantz

post #23 of 23
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