Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll) wrote,
Stevie Carroll
stevie_carroll

Books Read and Listened To Part One

I'm way behind on reviewing, so there'll be at least three big batches coming up. Possibly four. Here's the first...

Life After Life
by Kate Atkinson
Published by Doubleday
Print book
ISBN 9780385618670

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Life-After-Life-Kate-Atkinson/9780385618670

Blurb:
This is the winner costa novel award. What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right? During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath. During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale. What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to? Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, Kate Atkinson finds warmth even in life's bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here she is at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/899557367

I'd almost given up on Kate Atkinson, but this book restored my faith to some extent. An excellent concept, well executed, as Ursula slowly becomes aware that everything she's experiencing has happened to her before. If she tries hard enough, she might just be able to make events unfold in the best way for everyone, even if that means getting close enough to Hitler to prevent his rise to power. Actually I preferred the small changes that young Ursula makes in trying to keep her family intact earlier in the century and the resultant trips to psychiatrists, but the Second World War parts are almost as gripping (the English-set versions slightly more so than those taking place on mainland Europe).


Queen Elizabeth's Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth I
by Anne Clinard Barnhill
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
eBook
ISBN 9781466840744

http://us.macmillan.com/queenelizabethsdaughter/AnneBarnhill

Blurb:
From Anne Barnhill, the author of At the Mercy of the Queen, comes the gripping tale of Mary Shelton, Elizabeth I’s young cousin and ward, set against the glittering backdrop of the Elizabethan court

Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery. No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses.

Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children. Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/903409236

Reviewed on The Good, The Bad, & The Unread.


The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate
Published by Harper Collins Children's Books
Print book
ISBN 9780007455331

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/One-Only-Ivan-Katherine-Applegate/9780007455331

Blurb:
Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he's seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home--and his own art--through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it's up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan's unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/902444969

This is a lovely book, and Ivan is a totally engaging narrator. Brought up by humans, he hasn't quite lost what it means to be a gorilla – and a silverback at that. However, he's stuck in a tiny run-down circus at the side of a decrepit mall and his life seems unlikely to change for the better, in spite of the friendships he's made with the other animals, and with the humans who come to see him after the mall has closed – often bringing him art supplies to keep him occupied. Everything changes when Stella the elephant falls ill and baby Ruby is brought in to replace her. Ivan has seen big zoos with much better conditions on the television in his cage, and he hatches a plan to get Ruby a place at one. A book I really should buy my own copy of at some point.


The Art of Floating
by Kristin Bair O'Keeffe
Published by Berkley Trade
eBook
ISBN 9780425271483

http://www.bookdepository.com/Art-Floating-Kristin-Bair-OKeeffe/9780425271483

Blurb:
At a time when nothing seems real, it takes something truly unusual to put your life into focus.

When her beloved husband Jackson disappeared without a trace, popular novelist Sia Dane stopped writing, closed down her house, stuffed her heart into a cage, and started floating. It wasn’t the normal response to heartache, but Sia rarely did things the normal way.

Exactly one year, one month, and six days after Jackson’s disappearance, Sia discovers a mysterious man on the beach. He’s mute, unresponsive, and looks as if he has just walked out of the sea. It’s the sort of situation Jackson would have solved with a simple call to the police. But Jackson is gone.

As unreal as he seems, Sia is determined to help this man. Perhaps she can return him to his place in the world—to whoever lost him and loves him. Perhaps she can answer their questions the way no one could answer hers.

But as her friends and family help her winnow her way to the truth, Sia comes to realize that the unfathomable leap between sorrow and healing begins with a single step.

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/915223084

Reviewed on The Good, The Bad, & The Unread.


The Bride Says Maybe
by Cathy Maxwell
Published by Avon
eBook
ISBN 9780062219282

http://www.avonromance.com/book/cathy-maxwell-the-bride-says-maybe

Blurb:
What happens when a bride says maybe?

She'd once been the toast of London, but now scandal has brought her down. Still, pretty, petted Lady Tara Davidson can't believe her new fate. She had wanted to marry for love . . . but her profligate father has promised her hand to none other than Breccan Campbell, the "Beast of Aberfeldy" and laird of the valley's most despised clan! Well, Tara may have to marry him, but Breccan can't make her love him—can he?

What happens when the groom insists?

Breccan Campbell is nobody's fool. He knows that Tara is trouble. Yet he's determined to reform the Campbell name even if it means forging an alliance with the arrogant beauty. There's no doubt that Tara is a challenge, and Breccan loves nothing more. For he's vowed to thoroughly seduce Tara—and make her his in more than name alone.

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/915238904

To be reviewed on The Good, The Bad, & The Unread.


The Tropic of Serpents (Memoir by Lady Trent #2)
by Marie Brennan
Published by Tor Books
Print book
ISBN 9780765331977

http://us.macmillan.com/thetropicofserpents/MarieBrennan

Blurb:
The thrilling adventure of Lady Trent continues in Marie Brennan's The Tropic of Serpents...

Attentive readers of Lady Trent’s earlier memoir, A Natural History of Dragons, are already familiar with how a bookish and determined young woman named Isabella first set out on the historic course that would one day lead her to becoming the world’s premier dragon naturalist. Now, in this remarkably candid second volume, Lady Trent looks back at the next stage of her illustrious (and occasionally scandalous) career.

Three years after her fateful journeys through the forbidding mountains of Vystrana, Mrs. Camherst defies family and convention to embark on an expedition to the war-torn continent of Eriga, home of such exotic draconian species as the grass-dwelling snakes of the savannah, arboreal tree snakes, and, most elusive of all, the legendary swamp-wyrms of the tropics.


The expedition is not an easy one. Accompanied by both an old associate and a runaway heiress, Isabella must brave oppressive heat, merciless fevers, palace intrigues, gossip, and other hazards in order to satisfy her boundless fascination with all things draconian, even if it means venturing deep into the forbidden jungle known as the Green Hell... where her courage, resourcefulness, and scientific curiosity will be tested as never before.

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/903377892

Reviewed on The Good, The Bad, & The Unread.


Best Kind of Broken
by Chelsea Fine
Published by Forever
eBook
ISBN 9781455583133

http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/chelsea-fine/best-kind-of-broken/9781455583133/

Blurb:
Pixie and Levi haven't spoken in nearly a year when they find themselves working―and living―at the same inn in the middle of nowhere. Once upon a time, they were childhood friends. But that was before everything went to hell. And now things are... awkward.

All they want to do is avoid each other, and their past, for as long as possible. But now that they're forced to share a bathroom, and therefore a shower, keeping their distance from one another becomes less difficult than keeping their hands off each other. Welcome to the hallway of awkward tension and sexual frustration, folks. Get comfy. It’s going to be a long summer.

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/916096089

Reviewed on The Good, The Bad, & The Unread.
Tags: audio books, ebooks, good-bad-unread, goodreads, print books, reviews
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