Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Thursday, October 23, 2014

"The Fur Person" by May Sarton, Illustrations by Barbara Knox

This lovely book, written in 1957, is told from the point of view of a gray and white gentleman cat.  He begins as "Cat About Town," looking for a home after a couple of years of adventures.  He ends up with two ladies, known as "Gentle Voice" and "Brusque Voice," who give him a meal of haddock and a place to stay in a cozy house with a garden and trees and name him "Tom Jones."  Tom does Yoga (which I was surprised to see mentioned in a book from 1957), composes poems, and is even a philosopher with his "Ten Commandments of the Gentleman Cat."  This is not a children's book but one for adults who appreciate the nuances of our feline friends.  Knox's line drawings are wonderful and add to the book's appeal.  Sarton gives us a charming look at life through the eyes of a thoughtful and eloquent "fur person."  Highly recommended for cat lovers.  106 pages.

"Five Dates" by Amy Jo Cousins

Devin has lost a bet with his sister, Lucy, and must go out on five dates with whomever she picks from the responses she gets to his profile on an online dating site.  Unfortunately, she's posted a 13-year-old picture of him, so he's practically guaranteed to disappoint whomever he meets.  This was a well-paced and charming story about finding love when one least expects it.  91 pages (Kindle edition).

"Collide" by Riley Hart

Noah and Cooper were best friends from the time they collided trying to catch a football when they were both 10 until Noah and his family mysteriously disappeared when they were 13.  Seventeen years later, Noah has returned to the small Colorado town where Cooper still lives and works as a firefighter.  As they resume their relationship, secrets are revealed that test the boundaries of their friendship.  I enjoyed this story, its two main characters, and the way they dealt with the adversities in their lives.  332 pages.

The Poisoned Pilgrim: A Hangman’s Daughter Tale by Oliver Potzsch

This is the fourth and last book in the Hangman’s Daughter series, set in Bavaria in the Seventeenth Century. They all feature the Hangman of Schongau, Jakob Kuisl, his daughter Magdalena, and her husband,  medicus Simon Fronweiser.
In this book, Simon and Magdalena go on a religious pilgrimage to a monastery at Andechs. Upon their arrival, they are confronted with a drowned novitiate whose death is declared an accident – until Simon notices signs of violence on the body.  Brother Johannes, one of the monks, is arrested for his death, but as it turns out, Johannes is an old friend of Jakob Kuisl. Johannes begs  Magdalena to send for her father, because he, Johannes, is innocent and needs his old friend to help him prove it.
What follows is an convoluted story of intrigue, torture, thievery, murder most foul, scientific experimentation, and automata.  The monks and villagers view the latter as witchcraft, so Jakob and family must contend with superstition and fear as they try to find out who is behind all the plots and twists and turns they uncover.

Magdalena’s children are kidnapped and used as leverage in an unholy scheme, but in the end Jakob Kuisl, aided by Magdalena and Simon, solves the mystery and rescues brother Johannes and the children, although not before he is tortured, and the cathedral is burned to the ground.

I enjoyed this series, but it has some grisly, unsavory scenes, being true to an era when every town in Bavaria had its own hangman, whose job it was to determine those responsible for crimes by torturing them until they confessed.

 512 pages

Joplin's Ghost by Tananarive Due

Joplin’s Ghost was inspired by the legend of a ghost at the Scott Joplin house museum in St. Louis.  It is well known that the gifted ragtime composer led a tragic life, which author Tananarive Due translates into a fine story with supernatural elements.  No mere ghost story, the well-researched, finely crafted plot focuses on Phoenix Smalls, a contemporary R & B performer who has a connection Joplin’s ghost stemming from her childhood encounter with a piano that had once belonged to the composer, which forges the unique bond between them.  The story moves between Phoenix’s life and career in the early 21st century and Joplin’s in the early 20th.  The reader is treated to a primer on various forms of black music and their impact, social history, including the challenges of being black during some of the worst of Jim Crow racism, and a fine mystery.  Tananarive Due has credited Octavia Butler as an influence and I believe Ms. Butler would be proud.

496 pages/21 hours, 27 minutes (I switch between listening and reading) 

Image result for joplin's ghost

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Spell Bound is the third book in the Hex Hall series, and I am not sure if it will be the last. While I loved the first two books in the series, Spell Bound left me feeling disappointed and wanting more. It was not a satisfying ending for many of my favorite characters, so I'm hoping that this is not the last of Sophie Mercer's story. You get to meet more of Sophie's world, and see what happens when the opposing forces in her world clash. Not everyone is who they say they are and not everything is as it seems. 

327 pages

“The Black-Eyed Blond: A Philip Marlowe Novel” by Benjamin Black

Move over Raymond Chandler, Benjamin Black is the new master of the crime-noir novel. If you are a Chandler fan, you are likely to think Philip Marlowe has come back from the grave. Black takes over where Chandler left off with this true-to-form mystery featuring the famous gumshoe. A lot of the appeal of this genre is the setting and tone. This book vividly conjures the mean streets of Bay City, California in the early 1950s. Deft handling by Black brings to life Marlowe’s “gimlet eye for the ladies and the delicately ominous foreshadowing” (Tampa Bay Times) hard-boiled crime fans have come to love. One of the classic characteristics of Marlowe is his “world-weary bemusement,” which Black skillfully incorporates into this serious murder investigation involving a beautiful blonde and her missing shady lover. I listened to this book in audio format (7 hours, 53 minutes), which is well delivered by Dennis Boutsikaris in his sensual, smoky voice. Hang up your fedora, pour yourself a stiff drink, and hear sultry jazz in the background as you settle in for an enjoyable trip down memory lane. (304 pages.)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary

Title:Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary
Pages: 159
Audio: 3 Hours


Title: Dry
Author: Augusten Burroughs
Pages: 293 pages
Audio: 12 hours 30 min

Inside cover blurb: From the bestselling author of Running with Scissors comes Dry the hilarious, moving, and no less bizarre account of what happened next.

You may not know it, but you've met Augusten Burroughs. You've seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls, and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten landed in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey, Jr., are immediately dashed by the grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click, and that's when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that's as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is real. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a higher power.

My take: I really like Augusten Burroughs, I think there is only one book of his that I wasn't too keen on. He is funny and honest. This book is no different from his other works. Read this book, read his other books as well.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a crazy,  suspenseful, emotional roller coaster ride. It is mostly based in Carthage, Missouri. On their 5th anniversary, Nick finds out that his wife Amy has gone missing. Of course the husband did it, correct? Yes? No? Maybe? You find out more than you would ever want to on the psyche of the couple, and you hope these types of people do not exist! I have never felt so much emotion (mainly anger) for a book before. I will wait for the movie to come out on DVD before I see it.
I read this book as an audio book.
Narrator: Mare Trevathan and Erik Sandvold
Time: 17 hours, 55 minutes
ISBN: 9780307588364
Pages (Per ISBN connected with the book used to create audio book):432

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. It is hard to fully describe what goes on in Cress without providing spoilers, but here it goes. Cress is based on the fairy tale "Rapunzel." Cress (Rapunzel) was placed in a satellite at the age of 10. She has been spying on Earth for the Queen Levana. Cress is torn between helping the queen, who she does not want to help, and helping Cinder and her gang overthrow Queen Levana. A lot of different and exciting things happen. Cress has fallen for Thorne, Cinder is still in love with Emperor Kai, and Scarlet is Wolf's Alpha Female. At the very end, we learn who Winter is, the princess of Lunar. Winter seems to be on the heroes' side, but we will have to wait until November 2015 to find out! :-(
I read this book as an audio book.
Narrator: Mare Trevathan
Time: 13 hours, 42 minutes
ISBN: 9780312642976
Pages (Per ISBN connected with the book used to create audio book): 560

The Lunar Chronicles:
Prequel-Fairest (Coming January 2015)
#4-Winter (Coming November 2015)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Summary: "After learning that she is capable of dangerous magic, Sophie Mercer goes to England with her father, friend Jenna, and Cal hoping to have her powers removed, but soon learns that she is being hunted by the Eye--and haunted by [spoiler]." 

Demonglass continues Sophie Mercer's story from Hex Hall. Sophie's world and the world of the Prodigium expand greatly in this sequel. I can't talk too much without giving away spoilers, but it ends on a major cliffhanger, and I will be anxiously starting the next book soon! 

359 pages