Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Reading Challenges Update: March 2015

Here is where I stand with the challenges I have joined after the month of January (only challenges that I read books for this month are featured here):

Graphic Novels (3/12)
3. The Graveyard Book, Vol. 2 by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell

Witches and Witchcraft (1/10)
1. Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire

Author Alphabet (15/26)
15. Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Elsewhere Online: March 2015

As you know from my Stacking the Shelves posts, I review for another website (bookloons.com). As I cannot post my reviews there and here, but I would still like to count the books I read for the challenges, I am going to have a post like this at the end of the every month listing the books I reviewed and what challenges the went towards.

Title: The Graveyard Book Vol. 2
Author: Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell
Challenges: Graphic Novel

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Stacking the Shelves: 3/22-3/28

For possible review (on Bookloons):
Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin
Exquisite Corpse by Penelope Bagieu

First Reads from Goodreads:
Adeline by Norah Vincent
House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

Bought on Amazon:
Prophecy by Ellen Oh

Friday, March 27, 2015

Son of a Witch

Title: Son of a Witch
Author: Gregory Maguire
Publisher: Regan
ISBN: 978-0-06-074722-0
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: Witches and Witchcraft

Thoughts:  Not quite as good as Wicked, but still a decent sequel.  It ends on a very satisfying note.

Rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Title: Abandon
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Recorded Books
ISBN: 9781449811785
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts:  I enjoyed the story, but did not like the narration - too "woe is me", and it was more in the acting than the written word.  Otherwise, a very exciting take on the Persephone myth with plenty of cliffhangers for the rest of the trilogy.

Rating: 4 stars

A Rogue by Any Other Name

Title: A Rogue by Any Other Name
Author: Sarah MacLean
Publisher: Avon
ISBN: 978-0-06-206852-1
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts:  This book was very bipolar for me.  Parts of the story were fun and intriguing, and I loved the characters; at other times, I hated both of them and things dragged.

Rating: 3 stars

Monday, March 23, 2015

Due for Discard

Due for Discard
by Sharon St. George
published by Camel
ISBN 978-1-60381-224-5
Why read? Review
Challenges: n/a

Due for Discard is a refreshing cozy aimed at a new generation of mystery writers.  Sharon St. George has written a fun story that keeps professional librarian and amateur sleuth Aimee Machado very busy.

After a bad breakup and having to move into an old ranch hand’s apartment on her grandparent’s llama form, Aimee is very excited to start a new job as the forensics librarian at the Timbergate Medical Center.  However, on her first day there, her boss’s wife, Bonnie Beardsley, goes missing.  All of Timbergate finds out the next morning that Bonnie Beardsley was found dead in a dumpster behind the center.  Not only is her new boss a possible suspect, but so is her brother.  Aimee will do whatever it takes to clear her brother’s name, but is she willing to pay the cost?

Not quite New Adult, Due for Discard is definitely aimed at a younger audience than typical cozies.  Aimee Machado is a fresh sleuth who is passionate about her work but has the myriad of relationship issues common to her peers.  St. George has penned a fun and filling mystery, but the info dumps – that tend to be too much information (not in a TMI way, just an overload of unnecessariness) – really slow things down at parts.

Due for Discard is an entertaining read.  I hope Sharon St. George has more planned for Aimee Machado.  Now that her character is established, that should also tighten up future stories.

Rating 3/5

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Stacking the Shelves: 3/15-3/21

First Reads from Goodreads:
Trancing the Tiger by Rachael Slate

Bought on Amazon:
The Forgotten by Bishop O'Connell

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Stacking the Shelves: 3/8-3/14

For possible review (on Bookloons):
Whiskers of the Lion by P. L Gaus

First Reads from Goodreads:
Flower Girl by David Marshall Hunt
Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway

LibraryThing Early Review:
The Amazing Mr. Howard by Kenneth W. Harmon
Tangled Ribbons by Carren Strock

Received in Book Riot Quarterly:
Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande


by Chris Karlsen
published by Books to Go Now
December 2014
ISBN n/a
Why read? Review
Challenges: n/a

With Silk, Chris Karlsen has done an excellent job combining police procedural with Victorian historical fiction.  Aside from having the most notorious serial killer on their hands, the Victorian era was an exciting time for London police detectives because forensics was just starting to be understood, and Karlsen shows this perfectly in Silk.

Someone is killing young women in the museum gardens, and the case has Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone baffled.  Things take an even more interesting turn when one of the bodies turns out to be the work of a copycat.  That particular murder takes Bloodstone and his partner down a twisted path that leads to a psychotic nobleman and more bureaucratic red tape than they want.  However, there are two murderers, and Bloodstone is determined to solve the case, his love life be damned.

Karlsen does some very interesting and fine things with Silk.  First, we really get to know Bloodstone as a person, not just a detective.  His personal life is a major part of the book, and while it does not further the plot, it is needed to make him a well-rounded and thoroughly likeable character.  Karlsen also, as some mystery and thriller writers do, gives us a look at the killer as he descends on his path to madness.  However, she only shows us one killer, still leaving plenty of mystery to keep the reader guessing until the very end.

If you love police procedurals or the Victorian era, Silk is a must read.  I hope Chris Kalsen has more planned for Bloodstone, both professionally and personally.

Rating 4/5

Monday, March 9, 2015


Title: Found
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Publisher: Recorded Books
ISBN: 9781456104979
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: Author Alphabet

Thoughts:  This starts out as a typical MG novel, then turns into a mystery, then into a full out sci-fi.  The twist towards the end is amazing, and props to Haddix for thinking of it.

Rating: 4 stars

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Stacking the Shelves: 3/1-3/7

First Reads from Goodreads:
Mapmaker by Mark Bomback & Galaxy Craze
Burn Me Up Fast by BT Rockwell
Barnacle Brat by Adrian Baldwin

Friday, March 6, 2015

Seeing America

Title: Seeing America
Author: Nancy Crocker
Publisher: Recorded Books
ISBN: 9781449897376
Why Read?: Early Review
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts:  Seeing America has so many connotations within this rich story of a blind boy and his friends taking a road trip at the beginning of the 20th century. This historical coming-of-age tale is deep, insightful, and really makes you think.  

Rating: 4 stars

Sunday, March 1, 2015

In the Box: February 2015 Awesome Pack Big Kid Box

While this month's Awesome Pack Big Kid Pack was not as chockful of items as last months, what was inside were some very high-quality games, all of which arrived at an amazing priceThe subscription is $44.99 a month and you can choose the Big Kid option (for those without kids - like me), or the Family option.  Their site does not have referral links set up yet, nor can you log into your account yet, but they do have a referral program, so if you do decide after reading my review to try it, I would very much appreciate if you told them you heard about it from me, rickimc [at] aol [dot] com.
The big game this month was Kairo (a $59.99 value).  This comes from Queen Games who publishes some great Euros.  This looks like a fun and intense game of trying to lure buyers to your market stall.  Aside from games, Awesome Pack also includes little collectibles, and this month it was an adorable chibi DC keychain (a $4.99 value).  I was lucky enough to receive this adorable Harley Quinn who immediately went onto my keys.
In addition to a "big" game, smaller games are also included in the Big Kid pack.  One of the ones this month, Love Letter (a $9.99 value), has been on my wish list for a while (and what better month than February to receive it).  The version included was actually the Kanai Factory Edition which contains two exclusive cards.  The other game, Fairy Tale (a $19.99 value), I have never heard of, but reading about this card game, it is totally me and I cannot wait to play it!  (Please note: I have linked to the Z-Man Games version who is the US publisher of the game, but the copy I received was from What's Your Game? which is a European publisher).
All told, my February Awesome pack had an estimated retail value of $94.96 and I got it all for $44.95, which included shipping.  If you would like to subscribe, once again, I ask that you say you heard it from me, rickimc [at] aol [dot] com.  (Please note: as games and collectibles can vary in price based on demand, I tried to take the price from the manufacturers site whenever possible.)