Monday, August 29, 2016

67:120 Lovecraft Country by Mark Ruff

Set in 1954, this is the story of a man and his family and how sometimes the past really should remain buried.  Atticus's father had always been proud of his family's history so the fact that his wife knew very little about her's had always bothered him so after her death, he started poking around only to find out that her great-grandmother had been a servant in the home of a wealthy and eccentric white man who was also a cult leader and had run away before the house had burned down.  Now Atticus is the only direct line heir of that madman and the current members of the cult would love to have him in their clutches for a ritual that does not bear contemplation.  Atticus escapes but Caleb, the last remaining member is playing a long game and it will involve many members of Atticus's family before it's over.

So this is supposed to be more like a series of short stories that also tell a full story.  One by one, we get stories of how the other family members are dragged into the nightmare.  All have some sort of supernatural element although not all are for horrific effect.  Honestly, the Lovecraftian influences in the book were the least scary things about it.  I found the cult members and what they could do scarier but by far the scariest things were watching how the white people were treating the main characters who were black.  The things they had to deal with and endure was heartbreaking and I frequently found myself hoping that the noise in the wood or whatever supernatural thing was going on would hurry up and eat those a$$hats.  Elder gods seem more merciful compared to the sheriff and other people.  An excellent book and highly recommended.

Page count: 432p/18,780p ytd/267,930p lifetime

Thursday, August 25, 2016

66:120 Daring by Elliot James

The 2nd book in the Pax Arcana series.  John is still being chased by the Knights and knows the only way to keep his friends safe, now that he has some, is to give himself up and try to make a deal with them.  However, his plan runs into problems when Sig contacts the new Werewolf pack in North America that has made itself well known to the Knights and not in a good way.  In exchange for their help, Sig has promised that John will undergo their initiation and give a good try at joining the pack.   The Knights love the idea of John being on the inside and John must decide where his loyalties actually lie.

John continues to stay basically true to his own moral code which is confusing but somehow fairly consistent even in the midst of some truly crazy stuff.  Of course, Sig comes back in the 3rd act after telling John she needed time to get her head on straight.  It's not but it was thoroughly predictable that she would be back.  On the whole, it was trying to do twists and turns but they were pretty well telegraphed and nothing really surprised me.  I do like the characters and it wasn't a bad story but I felt like it suffered from trying too hard with no success.

Page count: 400p/18,348p ytd/267,498p lifetime

Monday, August 22, 2016

65:120 Flight from Mayhem by Yasmine Galenorn

The 2nd book in the Fly by Night series by Yasmine Galenorn.  Shimmer and Alex are exploring their relationship but that is made more complicated by his ex, Glenda, stirring up trouble everywhere she can.  Then there is the haunted house across the street from her that is calling to her.  But what is really on everyone's mind is the murder of several elderly local fae.  With suspicions mounting that they are dealing with a doppleganger of some sort, Betty volunteers to put herself up as a bait and then everything goes wrong...

I felt that this book flowed better than the first and while the sex scenes felt less forced, I still rolled my eyes at some of the placements (in the office with a client waiting...really?!).  I get that it's paranormal romance but I also feel that it should enhance and serve the story and not be thrown in haphazardly and there were definitely a time or two that I felt that was the case.  In the good, there was more character growth and learning backstories which I always want more of.  I'm looking forward to the next book and hope to see more of that.

Page count: 321p/17,948p ytd/267,908p lifetime

Friday, August 5, 2016

64:120 Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body by Jo Marchant

Jo Marchant goes around the world exploring the concept of just how much influence over our body the mind actually has and the results are incredible.  It's long been established that stress and anxiety have a detrimental effect on our bodies but now research is finally catching up that healing thoughts, placebos, and most of all human connection can have incredibly beneficial results on not only our mental well being but our physical well being as well.  It may be that homeopathy doesn't work because of the memory of some chemical compound but rather that it's the fact that the practitioner takes the time to sit and talk with the patient, something that is lacking more and more in the Western medical culture where it's how many people can you get in and out with a pill.  Studies are even finding that placebos can have amazing affects on the mind and body even when the patient knows that they are taking a placebo but that simply the act of doing something can cause the brain to release it's own cures.  I found it interesting that as I was reading the book the neurological/immune system link that was talked about having to exist but not yet found was discovered.  The whole book was a fascinating read about what our minds are capable of.

Page count: 320p/17,627p ytd/267,587p lifetime

Thursday, August 4, 2016

63:120 Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger

The fourth and final book in the Finishing School series.  The Picklemen plot is coming to a head and Sophronia must use all her training to try and figure out how to keep herself and her friends safe.  A dinner party at Lord Akeldama's with the Dewan may lead to some answers but what do they really know and how much will they share?

Sophronia is definitely growing up and having to figure out how to navigate men better than she has previously as Lord Mersey and Soap are both vying for her affection in much more obvious ways that even SHE can't miss.  She must always contemplate what her future will hold depending on which way she should chose to turn for she has many choices before her.

I found this to be a satisfying conclusion to the series.  Most things were tied up with a very pretty, if deadly, little bow and those that weren't have more to do with some of the side characters and may be answered in time.  In all, a fun series that was exactly what my overworked brain needed this summer.

Page count: 326p/17,307p ytd/267,267p lifetime