30 January 2014

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: The Polar Vortex Edition

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts are my random notes about books I've read, movies I've watched, books I'm looking forward to, and events I hope to get to.

Freezing temperatures have kept me inside and away from my walks. Although I'm getting cabin fever, I've had plenty of time to listen to books, tackle some house projects, watch some teleision, and do some baking. Here's what caught my attention . . . or not.

Audiobooks

Although I'm picky about the quality of my audiobooks, I usually have pretty good luck in my choices. Of course, luck usually doesn't have much to do with it, I know the narrators and the genres that will hold my attention. Unfortunately, I abandoned two audios this month. The good news is that I finally found a good one and could barely stop listening.


The Lion and the Rose by Kate Quinn (Penguin Audio) is historical fiction about the Borgias, a family and time period that I like. The plot and the writing, however, didn't hold my attention, despite the multiple viewpoints and cast of narrators (Leila Birch, Maria Elena Infantino, Ronan Vibert). I had high hopes for The Savage Fortress, by Sarwat Chadda (Listening Library), which is set in India and involves ancient legends coming to life in modern times. Sadly, I didn't connect to the brother and sister protagonists and felt that the plot was going to be predictable (read by Bruce Mann). Thank goodness I decided to switch from print to audio for North of Boston by Elizabeth Elo (Pamela Dorman Books), which kept me glued to the page and then to my earbuds (I'm giving away a copy of this novel). A lot of action and contemporary environmental issues to boot (Blackstone Audio, read by Marguerite Gavin).

Print

I'm falling a bit behind on my print reading because I have declared 2014 to be my year of decluttering the house. So while I sift through drawers and closets and bookshelves, I'm listening to an audio instead of reading in print. Nevertheless, here are three books I finished recently.


After completing all the Jack of Fables spin-off books, I gave the Fables series a rest. Now I'm back to what's left of Fabletown and the Fable farm. Fables: The Great Fables Crossover, by Bill Willingham (Vertigo) and a host of artists, was not my favorite in the series. I'm glad that the Literals seem to be dealt with and Jack is no longer the star. I can't wait to get back to more of Bigby and Snow. I loved Karen Perry's The Innocent Sleep (Henry Holt), a mystery/thriller that will keep you guessing about the reliability of the narrators and the nature of a marriage. The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson is another winner from Amy Einhorn. It's set in the South after World War II; the world is not necessarily a pretty place for returning black veterans. Look for an upcoming Imprint Friday about this one.

Movies and TV

I have a ton of movies to review because we went on a marathon earlier this month and watched about a half dozen good ones. We have also been watching some great television. The first two we streamed, the third we're watching weekly


We were late to jump on the Longmire (A&E) bandwagon, but once it became available for streaming, we were hooked. We raced through season one and are looking forward to the day that season two is released for streaming. The setting, the story lines, the characters, the actors: all will draw you in. We just finished season one of The Vikings (History Channel). Wow! We love everything about this show. Fortunately we have to wait only a couple of weeks before season two starts up live. Finally, if you haven't been watching True Detective (HBO), then you've been missing out on some of the best television there is. I can't begin to summarize this mesmerizing miniseries (a mystery within a mystery set in the South), but Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are simply outstanding.

In the Stacks

The first quarter of the year is filled with so many great books, I hope I can put aside my decluttering for some quiet reading time. Here are just three that are near the top of my list.


Elizabeth Blackwell's While Beauty Slept is a fairy tale retelling, one of my favorite genres. It's gotten nothing but rave reviews and I can't wait to see for myself. Because it's an Amy Einhorn book, you'll see this in an Imprint Friday. This Dark Road to Mercy is Wiley Cash's latest (William Morrow) and involves children, hard times, and a questionable father. What I Had before I Had You by Sarah Cornwell (Harper) is about families and loss and is set on the Jersey Shore. I have the audiobook of this all set to go.


What's on your read, watch, listen, or review list?

14 comments:

Tanya Patrice 1/30/14, 7:37 AM  

It's been an audiobook kind of year for me so far as well. I've had good luck with not having to abandon anything. Print - ahh - I'm soldiering on in a book that's just not for me.

Tanya Patrice
Girlxoxo.com

Beth Hoffman 1/30/14, 11:32 AM  

I need to be more aware of what television has to offer. During the past few years I've all but abandoned the TV, but you piqued my interest with Longmire. So I looked it up online and will definitely check it out!

Kailana 1/30/14, 11:53 AM  

I really must listen to audiobooks when I clean and such. I just never think of it! I would get through them quicker if I did. :)

(Diane) bookchickdi 1/30/14, 1:00 PM  

My younger son has been begging to me watch True Detective- I hope to catch up next week.

Daryl 1/30/14, 1:30 PM  

i am a big Longmire fan .. its such a good series as for True Detective .. i am not completely in love with it .. i almost gave up after the first episode but i think i may end up liking it .. both actors are really good

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 1/30/14, 5:37 PM  

I'm missing my walks too. Walking outdoors and gardening are my therapy. If this cold, ice and snow doesn't leave soon I may have to {shudder} take up mall walking!

Glad to see that North of Boston is good in audio. I can usually pick out the right audios too but I have one now that I'm considering abandoning even though I'm halfway through. I just don't care what happens to any of these characters. Sad.

Anita LeBeau 1/30/14, 6:04 PM  

I loved The Secret of Magic and This Dark Road to Mercy. I'm planning on reading While Beauty Sleeps, and I've just recently been made aware of the book by Sarah Cornwell....I have entered to win the audio, if not a winner...audible it is!
My husband and I are watching Dexter on netflix, we are on season 3 now, and loving it!

Vasilly 1/30/14, 7:48 PM  

That volume of Fables (#13?) is probably the worst book in the series. I'm glad that experience is over for you.

Right now I'm in the middle of three interesting non-fiction reads: An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Col. Chris Hadfield, The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller (for homeschooling), and The Disappering Spoon by Sam Kean.

Carrie 1/30/14, 11:45 PM  

Oh, man - I had The Secret of Magic in my hand at Barnes & Noble last weekend, but put it back down. I hope my library has a copy!

grammajudyb 1/31/14, 8:56 AM  

We've listened to a 3 David Baldacci books on audio as we are in our respective hobby rooms.( the player sits in the hallway) I have not read or watched the Longmire series, though you think I would have, being a Wyomingite. We don't have HBO or Netflix, but we are watching season 4 of Downton Abbey. Maybe we can check out Longmire at the library. Thanks for your insight.

Kristin 1/31/14, 9:42 AM  

Glad to hear the audio of North of Boston is good. I am hoping my library gets a copy of it otherwise I'll be using one of my audible credits for it.

Nise' 1/31/14, 4:27 PM  

I need to declutter my office. I did good job on the rooms we remodeled last year before the wedding, but some of it did get pushed into the office! My bedroom closet needs it in the worst way too. Listening to audios is the way to go while tackling the job! The Innocent Sleep is going on my TBR list.

Laura Pond 2/2/14, 11:22 AM  

I am also cutting down on buying fiction books because my house is a mess. I use my Nook as a substitute.

thecuecard 2/3/14, 7:03 PM  

Oh I want to hear if that North of Boston is really good once you finish it. I will likely go for the print version. I've had that one on my radar. thanks
http://www.thecuecard.com/

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