Percy is a twelve-year-old dyslexic boy who doesn’t fit in, his mother lives with an abusive stepfather, and he has just been expelled from his sixth school in six years. Life is frustrating, and the future seems bleak, when he suddenly learns the truth: his father is one of the Greek Gods! This, of course, means that Percy is half a God, and it opens up a whole new world full of danger, but also hope. The Lightning Thief is the first book in Rick Riordan’s young adult series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and it will make you wish you paid attention more in high school when you were studying mythology. This is a fun book with a Herculean quest, prophecies, and plenty of action.
I enjoy listening to relaxing stories when I lay down at night and Beverly Lewis’ novels as audiobooks are just right for that purpose. These books might be called an Amish soap opera, but one where every character cares about others in the family and community. Of course there are some very troubling secrets from the past that cause a mother to first wander about the fields at night and then leave home without telling her husband or children. The oldest daughter, Grace sees her leave with the community taxi driver. Suspicion and gossip pervade the community and Grace with her new friend Heather search for Grace’s mother in out of state communities where cousins reside. Heather is an interesting character too as she, an outsider to the Amish community, has been diagnosed with cancer and elects to ignore her doctor’s advice and seek traditional cures.
This novel which at first appears to be an elegant comedy of manners takes a turn for the better to become a ghost story. The story takes place in a manor house somewhere near Manchester, England, in April 1912 on the eve of Emerald Torrington’s 20th birthday. Preparations are being made, guests invited, and but for The Great Central Railway everything would have gone on as planned. A dreadful accident throws the household into confusion and misbehavior.
Seriously…I’m Kidding is a great memoir covering topics that range from DeGeneres’s life as a talk show host, her life at home, and anything else that pops into her head. No topic is too mundane for Ellen DeGeneres, no doubt due to her humorous outlook on all aspects of life. The audiobook in particular is a great listen, as DeGeneres draws attention to and pokes fun at the format, using audiobooks to their full advantage in a way no other author does.
Haunted Ground is the first title in the Nora Gavin/Cormac Maguire mystery series by Erin Hart. The stories are set in modern Ireland, but often weave in Irish history. Nora is an American pathologist who travels to Ireland to study “bog bodies”—dead bodies from hundreds of years ago that are preserved in the peat.
Nora and archaeologist Cormac Maguire are thrown together as they investigate the decapitated head of a woman whose body is found in a peat bog. Soon they find themselves involved in solving a recent crime involving the disappearance of a wealthy landowner’s wife and son. Could these bodies also be buried in the bog?
This short story is one of my favorites. Written in the style of a tall tale, it follows the football team at Siwash College and the daring exploits of star player Ole Skjarsen, a lad built of sturdy Scandinavian stock. He could dismantle most teams single-handedly, until the day he decided not to play anymore, leaving the entire university in turmoil. Find out how the fans cope with this great calamity. The Big Strike at Siwash by George Fitch is free at books.google.com.
I loved Graeme Simsion’s debut novel The Rosie Project. The characters are loveable, the writing witty, and the plot quirky. When genetics professor Don Tillman decides that it’s time to get married, he devises a complex questionnaire dubbed “The Wife Project” to find the right woman. Instead, he meets Rosie Jarman, who fits none of his requirements.
While there is a romance at the center of this story, it’s more about characters growing and changing, and about human interaction. Don’s behavior presents a classic case of Asperger’s, but he is oblivious to any social challenges. You’ll fall in love with Don and Rosie, and frantically turn the pages to follow along on their journey.
Robin Sloan’s book has all of the elements of wonderful and unforgettable story. There are a quirky set of characters led by the clerk of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Clay Jannon. With help from his roommates, childhood friend, and new girlfriend, Clay attempts to figure out what is really going on at the unusual bookstore. He unknowingly stumbles on a 500 year mystery and embarks on an epic journey. Humorous and well written with a great narrator, this is wonderful novel to listen to.
In Rainbow Rowell’s newest book, we meet Cath, a freshman in college whose greatest pleasure in life is writing fanfiction about Simon Snow—an 8-book popular fantasy series (think Harry Potter). While Cath is famous online for her fanfiction, in real life she’s the shy half of twins, who prefers staying in most nights, and now has to adjust to college life, making friends, and writing her own fiction, not to mention starting her first real relationship. Fangirl is a fun read, full of witty dialogue, wonderful characters, and a sweet, innocent romance. When you’ve reached the end, you’ll wish there was more to read.
In Inferno Dan Brown and Robert Langdon again take us on a tour of Renaissance art and literature while spinning a thrilling tale of danger and escape. One should see Amazon.com for pictures of some of the classic sights described along the way. Also current issues like overpopulation and bioterrorism appear with some suggested solutions you may not like but you may be startled by the stark predictions.
I enjoyed this run around from Harvard to Florence to Venice to Istanbul with interludes on a large sea vessel named Mendacium. Although at first I could hardly put my tablet reader down, towards the end I became weary of the game and wanted it to end.