Book Banter: Broken Harbor

Broken-HarborTitle: Broken Harbor (Dublin Murder Squad #4)

Author: Tana French

Genre: mystery

Length: 450 pages

Where Bethany’s Copy Came From: IndyPL

Plot Basics: Detective Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy has a brilliant solve-rate, always playing by the book (save for the fracas in “Faithful Place.”) He and his new young partner, Richie Curran, get the call about a brutal, apparent murder-suicide of two children and their parents in the town of Broken Harbor, a place that’s burned into Scorcher’s memory for past reasons. The case should have been open-and-shut, but as Scorcher and Richie look into it the case gets strange — a deleted computer records, weird holes in the walls of the victims’ house and Scorcher and Richie soon find the case isn’t what they thought.

Banter Points: Tana French delivers again. Each one of these books keeps delivering a great story, even though the formula is set now. I was telling a friend about these — how you know that the lead detective will do something career-ending through the investigation — but how compelling it is anyway.

Bummer Points: As much as I love these books, they are kind of emotionally exhausting. After I finished this one, I turned to my husband and said, “let’s watch something nice now” because I needed a palate-cleanser. Watching people make humungo mistakes (especially when that is one of my great fears in life) is hard. Cathartic because it was them and not me, but hard.

Word Nerd Recommendation: This series is great, but you might need some space in between each. Past books are reference, but you don’t have to read them in order to know what’s happening.

Book Banter — Afterlife

afterlifeTitle: Afterlife

Author: Marcus Sakey

Genre: suspense/sci-fi

Length: 320 pages

Where Bethany’s copy came from: ARC from NetGalley; releases on July 18.

Plot Basics: FBI agent Will Brody has found the woman of his dream, his boss, Claire McCoy. But they are caught up in a manhunt for a sniper who’s terrorizing Chicago. But when Will gets caught in a bomb blast, he wakes up, in an alternate Chicago, utterly alone. Or so he thinks, until he finds others in the echo. The manhunt spans life and death and not even that will stop Will from reuniting with Claire.

Banter Points: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While I tagged it as suspense/sci-fi, it’s really a love story (sort of like Passengers, in that regard). Yes, it’s set in a cop-plot with crazy, big worlds and elder gods, but ultimately, the story is about how far Will and Claire will go to be with each other.

Sakey mentioned in his afterward that he kicked this idea around for years. I’m glad he did. This plot in the hands of a younger writer — even a younger Sakey — would probably have come off as corny as heck. Sakey’s always had suspense chops, but in the last few years as evidenced in his Brilliance trilogy, he’s developed a finer emotional edge that makes a story like this work.

Bummer Points: Certain readers will not be able to handle the theology of this book. For me, it was still an enjoyable read even if it didn’t align at all with what I believe happens after death. For potential readers with strong views about Heaven/Hell, this isn’t the book for them.

Word Nerd Recommendation: If you haven’t read any of Sakey’s work, this is a fine place to start. Afterlife is going to be a movie, but like with most adaptations, it’s probably best to do the book first.

Etymology + Physics

Velociraptor

This must be true, right?

Vacation Reading List and Other Priorities

It’s official, I have too many potential books to read for my upcoming vacation and now I don’t know which to read.

I’d read the whole time except I get to meet this fluffy-face while I’m away.

reggie

This is my new dog-brother, Reggie, and I’m sure playing with puppy might actually beat out reading books.

Imagine It

Hey Indianapolis readers in particular —

You know what would make me REALLY happy? If you bought a ticket to the Library Foundation’s new Imagine It! event.

Here’s the deal: For $30, you get to join us for a fun evening at Ash & Elm Cider Co. You Imagine It Cider Logoget some drink tickets, some refreshments and you get to vote on a new Library program that will be funded by YOUR ticket proceeds. That’s right, you pick. It’s like American Idol meets Library programs.

If you read just one adult book/month from your public Library, that’s approximately an annual value of $204. If you read more, or listen more, or download more, you save more by using the awesome free resource that is the Library.

Which means, for all the things you love about the Library, a $30 ticket is a bargain compared to all that the Library gives you. I know the last time the hubby and I did dinner and movie, we spent nearly that on an evening’s entertainment. And trust me — as funny as Guardians of the Galaxy might be — it won’t make you feel as good as supporting a Library program. (Seriously, they’ve done brain scans. Making a philanthropic gift lights up the same part of your brain as when you eat chocolate or have sex. It feels that good.)

The projects you’ll get to hear about are amazing. The librarians involved have busted their tails for these awesome ideas.

They just need you — the Library needs you — to help implement their idea.

Buy your ticket here.

Trust me. If you don’t love it, find me, and I’ll buy you a Snickers bar to make your brain feel better a different way instead.

 

Hello again

Hi again! So that was an unintended two-week Word Nerd hiatus, but hello again world!

helloWe’ve been reading, but nothing super exciting. I, Bethany, spent a good chunk of yesterday reading the last 200 pages of “East of Eden” for book club. I’m actually looking forward to the meeting to see what others thought. That is 600 dense pages, but I know exactly what the Salinas Valley in California looked like at the turn of the 20th century.

We’ll be back with more regular posts, we promise.

 

Book Banter: Miranda and Caliban

mirandaTitle: Miranda and Caliban

Author: Jacqueline Carey

Genre: fantasy

Length: 348 pages

Where Bethany’s Copy Came From: IndyPL

Plot Basics: Miranda knows only life on the island with her Papa, though she has fragments of memory from before. When Papa binds the wild boy — Caliban — to serve him, Caliban and Miranda become good friends. But their friendship stands in the way of Papa’s magical plans and it could threaten to destroy them.

Banter Points: If you haven’t guessed, “Miranda and Caliban” is a retelling of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” I think I saw a live production of the Tempest when I was in high school, but my memory is foggy at best.

I think not knowing the play actually increased my enjoyment of Carey’s retelling because I didn’t know what was coming. My recollection is that Carey’s book spends a ton of time before the Shakespeare story actually starts and the part that’s the play takes up just a fraction of the book.

Carey’s story is a beautiful picture of the innocence of early friendship and how the world can taint it. Miranda is lovely, Caliban is loyal, Prospero is deceiving, Ariel is tricksy — just as expected, but the way she tells the story, it’s all rich. I just sank into this book and wish I could go back.

Bummer Points: I don’t have much here, other than I wish it could have ended differently for the characters.

Word Nerd Recommendation: This is a strong, strong contender for a top 10 book of the year.

Bonus: Also, my May Reading Challenge Book! While I didn’t quite find it on the new book shelf, I had it on hold from Wowbrary from before it was released.