Author Archives: Bethany K. Warner

Q1 2017 Reading Stats

Reading seems to be right on track this year. I’m well-ahead on my goal to read 52 books for the year, but it’s still nice to not have a pressing goal, like I did last year.

Q1 Stats:

19 books

4248 pages

44 hours of audio

Interestingly, I’m right on track with where I was last year. In 2015, I was at 21 books in Q1 and in 2014, I was at 29 books. I read 11 of those in January 2014, including LOTR: Return of the King. Truth, I hadn’t quite yet met my now-husband in those days, so that accounts for a lot, along with the fact that I was in a groove then of reading graphic novels.

Since I began keeping this list 15 years ago now, the running total for number of books read is 1,288.

Book Banter: Moon over Soho

sohoTitle: Moon over Soho (Peter Grant #2)

Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Length: 375 pages

Genre: urban fantasy/police procedural

Where Bethany’s Copy Came From: IndyPL digital collection

Plot Basics: When a jazz musician suddenly drops dead, Peter Grant doesn’t seem to think it’s case that falls into his specialized (aka, magical) territory. But when the coroner realizes it’s the latest in a string of jazz musicians falling dead, Peter is on the case, while still trying to learn both policing and magic.

Banter Points: Sometimes, series suffer from the sophomore slump, but “Moon over Soho” is maybe even better than “Midnight Riot.” Peter is still learning what it means to be a magical wizard cop and dealing with the aftermath of what happened to Leslie and Nightingale in the first outing.

Because of the links to jazz, Peter turns to his dad, the famous “Lord Grant” and former jazzman to understand the players — and how they are being played — and it gives a nice insight into Peter’s background. The books is peppered with brilliant one-liners from Peter that are soaked in British thought. They might some of the best parts of the book.

Also — Aaronovitch clearly has a sense of how magic works in the book and while the reader gets small lessons it’s not overwhelming. The lack of long explanations helps to make it, well, magical.

Bummer Points: Because I’m discovering him for the first time, Peter is still possibly edging Harry Dresden off his perch.

Word Nerd Recommendation: Loving this series. If you are looking for a great read, this is it. The magic is subtle enough that if you’re mostly a mystery book reader, you can still like these. If you’re more of an urban fantasy person, these are great crime books with a solid police procedural core.

Book Banter: Generation V

generation vTitle: Generation V

Author: M. L. Brennan

Length: 312 pages

Genre: urban fantasy

Where Bethany’s copy came from: IndyPL Downloadable collection

Plot Basics: Fortitude Scott is a baby vampire, meaning he’s still mostly human, and trying to make a human go of it, barely making ends meet with a coffee shop job and a deadbeat roommate. When his mother accepts a vampire guest into their territory, Fort is stunned at the way that vampire behaves and is determined to do something about it. With his new bodyguard, the shape-shifting fox Suzume, Fort goes up against a menace and has to figure out how to use his family legacy to get the job done.

Banter Points: If I hadn’t already found Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant series, this might be in the running for Best Discovered Author. I haven’t picked up an urban fantasy in a while that entertained as much as Generation V.

While Brennan plays with the vampire mythos, her changes were good ones. She kept familiar items — such as their weakness with sunlight — but gave it a nice twist so that it’s an affectation that gets worse as the vampire gets older.

Fort and Suzume have a fun banter between the two of them, but it works both as sidekick material and ways to move the story forward and propel characters to action. Also, at least so far, the vampires are not sex symbols. More like Rachel Caine’s Morganville vampires, they are bad guys but trying to stay under the radar of humans.

Bummer Points: I got nuthin’.

Word Nerd Recommendation: I’m definitely going to keep going in this series of fun reads.

Book Banter: Faithful Place

faithfulTitle: Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad #3)

Author: Tana French

Genre: mystery

Length: 400 pages

Where Bethany’s copy came from: Personal collection via IndyPL used book sale

Plot Basics: Frank Mackey is a specialist at running undercover operations, but he’s determined to keep his family at arm’s length, or farther. When he gets a call that a suitcase is found that likely belonged to his first love — the girl who never showed on the day they were to run away together — Frank is forced back into his family’s broken dynamics. While he’s not officially allowed to work on the investigation, Frank knows that if anyone can uncover the truth, it’s him.

Banter Points: Tana French won my 2017 Best Discovered Author award… but I only managed to read two of her books last year. I was dawdling because I didn’t like Frank from his secondary character appearance in The Likeness. He was a manipulative jerk. On the whole, reading books about manipulative jerks isn’t something I prefer to do.

But WOW — French made me care about this manipulative jerk. A lot. Which is pretty amazing as I was sure I wasn’t going to like him going in. I was probably more hooked by wondering how Frank would fare through the events than the actual mystery itself.

Bummer Points: The case isn’t as compelling as the first two. It’s a good, seemingly unsolvable mystery, but this one is the least police-procedural-y of the bunch so far. Frank was involved in the case, but it’s much more of a character books than a crime book. Her first two involved more of cops being cops. The story has reasons for it, but as a police procedural fan it was a change.

Word Nerd Recommendation: I’ve got book 4 on hold already after wondering why I was waiting so long.

New toy

kindle

I finally caved and bought myself an actual eReader. For years now, I’ve done eBooks on my iPad. But not very often, because that perpetual reading on a computer-like screen would do my eyes in. Last week, Amazon was offering a deal for Prime members and so I did it: one new KindlePaperwhite.

In other news, the hubz and I did the Amazon Household thing too. It’s like we’re grown-ups or something.

Book Banter: Midnight Riot

midnightTitle: Midnight Riot

Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Genre: urban fantasy

Length: 298 pages

Where Bethany’s copy came from: IndyPL

Plot Basics: Rookie constable Peter Grant is hoping to be a detective, but it seems like he’s doomed to a life of paperwork. Lucky (or unluckily) for him, a gristly murder case brings him face to face with the crimes only witness, who just happens to be a ghost. Peter is reassigned to DCI Thomas Nightingale, the Metropolitan police’s only wizard/detective. As the crimes spread over the city, Peter and Nightingale must take on feuding river gods and the ghosts of London long-past to bring order back to the city.

Banter Points: If anyone has the power to even jostle Harry Dresden in his number one spot for favorite crime-fighting-wizard, Peter Grant may be that contender. “Midnight Riot” is a mash-up of Dresden, Harry Potter and Endeavour, with a less-mopey Brit detective. It’s straight-up English police procedural, with all the slang (like nick, copper, guv’nor, etc.) and sorting out the crime over a pint at the local that you’d expect.

Aaronovitch has given Grant just enough of a cheeky first-person narrative voice to make him entirely endearing. Likewise, Nightingale, is so stingy with details about the relationship between magic and the police and how long he’s been a part of both that it makes him enigmatically endearing.

Bummer Points: I can’t really say much without giving anything away, but I will say the ending felt very abrupt for all the build up through the book.

Word Nerd Recommendation: It’s only March, but it’s highly likely I’ve already found my 2017 winner for “Best Discovered Author” for the Word Nerd awards this year. There are five or six more of these and you can bet they are going in my TBR pile!

Inequality

2013-07-29-coffeepic

All coffee is not created equal, according to this Huffington Post article showing the amount of caffeine per fluid ounce.

Perhaps

A little music Monday for you…

Book Banter: The Glittering Court

Books-Richelle MeadTitle: The Glittering Court

Author: Richelle Mead

Length: 13 hours/audio

Genre: YA

Plot Basics: Elizabeth Whitmore can’t stand the idea of her arranged marriage to keep her title of Countess. So she takes her maid’s place in a firm that trains common born girls to be wives for the growing upper class in a new colony. As she becomes Adelaide, she’s drawn to one of the firm’s workers and ends up on an adventure for love in the new colony.

Banter Points: Mead has done quite a bit of world building for this book that flows together nicely in the story.

Bummer Points: I can’t believe I actually made it through all 13 hours of this audiobook. First, a confession: I mean to look for Rachel Vincent, got my author names confused and ended up with Richelle Mead. At first, I was expecting this to be a Prince and the Pauper type swap story, but instead it became a rambling YA romance.

Adelaide goes through all the machinations of pretending she’s common while learning how to be noble. Meanwhile, she’s nursing a big crush for Cedric, the son of the owner of the bride-procuring company she’s working for. She’s dealing with new friendships with her two roommates.

Then the book traipses off to the colony where the girls have to go through suitors and get married off. The whole premise is thinly-disguised gold-digging so Mead throws in real gold-digging too, along with some religious freedom issues and pirates.

I kept listening thinking that at some point the book would get good. But it never materialized into a solid story. I kept trying to care about the characters, but there was too much description of clothing and not enough description of anything else. The romance felt contrived and unbelievable; if Adelaide was as pragmatic as she was made out to be, she wouldn’t have gone through everything she did. She would have packed it up, gone home and been a boring lady.

Word Nerd Recommendation: I’m not going on with the rest of this series.