Author Archives: Bethany K. Warner

Book Banter: Broken Homes

brokenTitle: Broken Homes (Rivers of London #4)

Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Length: 324 pages

Genre: urban fantasy

Where Bethany’s Copy Came From: IndyPL

Plot Basics: Police Constable Peter Grant has his hands full… a body burned from the inside out, a strange traffic accident, a rogue killer on the loose and his ongoing studies to become a wizard. Even as he tries to solve these crimes, more fall on him, including a set of weird rumors about a housing project that may or may not have magical ties that might be attracting Peter’s arch-nemesis, the unknown wizard he calls the Faceless Man.

Banter Points: I love the Rivers of London series. The cover blurbs it as a blend of CSI and Harry Potter and whoever wrote that nailed the best description possible. Peter does respectable “copper” work as any fictional British police officer should. But his wizarding (and his mentor Nightingale) provide a wonderful dose of the mystical to add to a modern reality.

Bummer Points: I think this series is going to take a re-read to really follow all the twists and turns. Not that I mind rereading, but I wish it was just a smidge less convoluted. Also, I didn’t know in book one that the series was so linked from book-to-book.

Word Nerd Recommendation: Still really enjoying this series. For anyone waiting for the next Dresden Files, bide your time with these and you won’t be disappointed.

2017 Q2 Reading Stats

I crunched my Q2 stats a while back, but somehow July was not conducive to blogging in the slightest.

Better late than never on the numbers:

21 books
5329 pages
54.6 hours of audio

YTD, I’m at 40 books, which is three less than 2016. Adding in July, I’m nearly to my 52 books for the year/Goodreads goal. Guess I set that too low…

For this year though, I am doing really well in audio. I’ve listened to nearly 100 hours total, when at this point in 2016 I was at just over 62.

Don’t tell work, but sometimes I listen to audiobooks there.

Book Banter: Finding My Badass Self

findingTitle: Finding my Badass Self (ARC)

Author: Sherry Stanfa-Stanley

Length: 225 pages

Genre: humor/memoir

Plot Basics: Writer Sherry Stanfa-Stanley takes her readers through a year-long humorous journey of 52 new experiences — from a Brazillian wax to going ghost-hunting — as she decides that her 52nd year will be one of testing herself and saying “yes” to new opportunities.

Banter Points: Memoirs typically aren’t my thing, but Sherry’s book is laugh-out-loud funny and manages to also be insightful, a feat that I think is probably easier said than done. I met Sherry several years ago at the Midwest Writers Fellowship and since we weren’t in the same small workshop group, I didn’t really see her writing at that time. But when she announced her 52/52 Project on Facebook, I happily followed along.

I’d read many of her adventures in the book as she blogged about them on Facebook, but in the book, they were refined and even better. I made the mistake of reading about her bug-eating adventure as I was microwaving my lunch, felt my hands get sweaty too as she described the high-ropes course and decided from her adventures in a float tank, that that is an experience I can safely say is not from me because I learned from her.

If you need some inspiration to get out of the ruts in your life and try something, this is your guidebook.

Bummer Points: My TBR pile has been so stacked up lately, that I had to read Sherry’s book in big gulps, more like a novel. I think the wisdom would seep out more if a reader could read one of two of her adventures, put it down, and come back the next time they needed a laugh.

Word Nerd Recommendation: If your reading soul needs some chicken soup without the schmaltz, this is the book for you. Sherry really is funny and her willingness to be honestly self-deprecating is refreshing… because she finds the places she learns. Sure, she might get lost on a Segway in Italy, but she also triumphs and successfully figures out how to navigate herself back to safety. It’s the fact that she wins (mostly) that makes the book so rewarding to read.

 

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.