29 July 2011

4 Hercule Poirot

over the last week i've finished four Agatha Christie audiobooks starring Hercule Poirot.

Death in the Clouds: a French woman is murdered, in front of a dozen witnesses who don't notice a thing, in an airplane as it crosses the Channel to England. Hercule Poirot happens to be on the plane and, as he didn't notice the killing either, launches himself into the investigation. I was pretty proud of myself as i actually figured out the murderer! a 6.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles: I have definitely read this one before, probably a few times. By the time all the major characters were introduced I had remembered who was killed, who the murderer was and the major plot twists. still, it was fun to listen to. 6.

The Big Four: sorta like a James Bond plot. Four criminal masterminds try in various ways to get rid of Poirot so he cannot stop their devious plans. It was the sort of thing i had to keep reminding myself that, at the time it came out, the plot devices probably weren't cliches yet. a 5.

The Labours of Hercules: I liked this one the least. It really was 12 short stories, threaded by the fact that Poirot feels there needs to be a new series of the Labours of Hercules for intelligent, modern people. only a 4 but i must admit that the dog kidnapping scheme is bloody brilliant!

So there it is, 3 for the Vintage Mystery challenge as I am not counting the reread.

22 July 2011

American Vampire 2

I took a break from Westeros to get through American Vampire 2 by Scott Snyder and Raphael Albuquerque. The story jumps to the 1930s and most of the story is in Las Vegas, where Skinner Sweet has a brothel/casino, with a bit of a side trip to find out about how Pearl and her man are. There's a new, interesting character in Cash, the sheriff of Las Vegas, and i'm quite intrigued by his story and to find out what happens to him. a 6.

On a totally different note, I'm an aunt again! My brother and sister in law had a baby girl this morning, Lily!
She is their third child and they had decided not to find out, not succumbing to outside pressures. It was kind of grand getting the call this morning from my mom telling me all about her. Everyone is fine! I can't wait to go back down to Louisiana for Labor Day.

14 July 2011

2 Different Books

The day A Dance With Dragons came out i finished A Storm of Swords. No, i didn't get my full reread in but i did check in with tor.com's handy cheat sheet. I plunged into Dragons, after which i think i will take a few book break then reread A Feast for Crows. of course, i give Swords a 6.

The other book i got through, on audio, was The Commodore by Patrick O'Brian, book 17 of the series. We get back to England, to the Real World and Real Time, which you will understand if you've read the books. We finally meet Maturin's little daughter Brigid, catch up with Clarissa Oakes, and find that Diana has run off because she couldn't handle being a mother to a child who might be mentally slow. Maturin starts looking for Diana as Padeen begins to help Brigid talk. Then the Navy give Aubrey a squadron with which he is to first hassle slavers then prevent the French from invading Ireland. Lots of action but lots of personal stuff as well. a 6.

08 July 2011

Ship Breaker

B and i both listen to audio books and have rather similar tastes. Even so, i didn't find any physical audio books at the library when i looked that jumped out at me. B also didn't see any at the library he works at. As we were driving, i found that i had previously downloaded Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi onto my mp3 player so we decided to listen to it.

It takes place in the future, where resources are scarce and cheap oil is gone. Nailer and his friends are ship breakers on light crew, scavenging small and light materials, like wire, off old oil tankers and other ships. Their dream is to hit a lucky strike and get rich enough to not work on the crews anymore. Barring that, they just hope to get enough to eat that one day they will be big enough for heavy crew. After a huge mega-hurricane, Nailer and his friend Pima make a strike; they find a wrecked boat, a clipper, inside which they find a "swank" survivor. Pima wants to kill her so the wreck will be their salvage but Nailer doesn't. He's had a near death experience himself and his new-found empathy forces him to help the girl.

I liked it but it was really, really repetitive. there were at least 6 different mental or actual conversations that basically went "we should sell out/kill this girl...but she's a person...who thinks we are crap...we don't owe her anything...it might be worth more to help her...we should get what we can now... I am not my father!" arg. Two, even three times I can understand but it really went on too long. The action sequences were pretty good and Bacigalupi has a definite gift for description. The parts with Nailer working inside the oil ship were vivid and claustrophobic. I can really recommend this for young adults but more experienced readers may find the moral back and forth annoying. a 5.

This book counts for the 2011 Challenge in the YA category. gotta work on these challenges!

07 July 2011

News and Vacation

News before pictures I think. I was accepted to UT's Master's of Information Science program!
I'm nervous and excited at the same time. It has been so long since I've been in school; can you forget how to study? I gotta get funds, and register for classes, and buy books, and get some speakers for the computer as the classes are all online. EEK! It was a nice birthday present though.

For the July 4th weekend, B and I took a vacation to Louisiana to visit my family. The drive went great and we listened to Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (review to follow another day). Enjoy some pictures!

B on Bourbon St.
Taking a picture of the river boat.

My brother and his daughter

B and my nephew

He's concerned about the ball.

She wanted to bounce it on her head like B did.
Is it fair that he's better at games? i mean my nephew, not B!

B at the swamp. We saw 3 gators!

One of the gators

My dad and the kids
We had a great time except the trip was too short! I will be heading back for a quick trip in September and i will probably be surprised how much bigger the kids are. Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!

03 July 2011

Tally 2!

as of 6/30/11

Total Books: 65
Library Books: 43
Graphic Novels: 8
Non-Fiction: 11
Audio books: 18

Vintage Mystery Challenge: 2
Science Book Challenge: 3
Once Upon a Time 5: 4
2011 Challenge: 6
Shakepeare Challenge: 4
Off the Shelf Challenge: 4