Ink Me by Richard Scrimger

Ink MeInk Me by Richard Scrimger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I almost put this book down a few pages in because I struggle with books riten lik this, and the entire book was narrated by the main character, who appears to have a mild intellectual disability. But I trust Richard Scrimger so I stayed with it. Miraculously that aspect disappeared and I became riveted by the story. It’s hard not to give too much away in a review of a short book, but essentially this tells the story of Bunny, a 15-year-old boy who, in fulfilling a task left to him by his grandfather finds himself, arguably, in the wrong place at the wrong time, complicated by his new tattoo. This is a sweet story of a trusting boy who doesn’t know his own strengths. Although he becomes wrapped up in something he cannot understand, he also finds community, something that had been lacking in his regular life. This book is part of the Seven series by Orca Publishing– seven grandsons left quests or tasks in their grandfather’s will, each book written by a prominent Canadian author.

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Watching the Dark (Extra Feature)

I mentioned in my review of Watching the Dark by Peter Robinson that I wanted to go through and note the music that he plays. I decided to do that before I moved on to another book, so here’s DCI Alan Banks’s playlist:

1. Bach’s sonatas and partitas for violin

2. Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony (4th movement)

3. Kate Royal – A Lesson in Love

4. Martin Carthy – Essential

5. Treme (1st Season) – TV

6. Anna Calvi – Baby It’s You

7. June Tabor – Finisterre

8. June Tabor – The Grey Funnel Line

9. June Tabor – The Oggie Man

10. Pulp – Common People

11. Peter and Gordon – A World Without Love

12. Jimi Hendrix – Gypsy Eyes

13. Richard Thompson – Watching the Dark

14. Arvo Pärt – Fratres

15. Erkki-Sven Tüür – Awakening

16. Coldplay – Fix You

 

Watching the Dark by Peter Robinson

Watching The Dark (Inspector Banks, #20)Watching The Dark by Peter Robinson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Peter Robinson’s books rarely disappoint, and this one was no different; in fact, it’s one of the best I’ve read in a while. Topical evil in human smuggling, the return of Annie Cabbott in full form, Banks at his snarkiest, and the setting of Estonia are just some of the highlights. On of the things I love about this character is his devotion to music, and I need to go back through the book and make a playlist, reconstruct Banks’s musical journey, so to speak. I’m familiar with some of the works he mentions but not all. This book would make a good subject for a Book Notes post on Largehearted Boy.

About mid-way through the book I started to notice corrections made by a previous library patron, which was entertaining. Some were correct if not fussy, some arbitrary, some objections to what I would consider Britishisms, and some just plain wrong. Rather than detract from the book, though, they added another layer; they made me think of other readers of the series and wonder that someone would do that close a reading.

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Best of the Year: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


Code Name VerityCode Name Verity
by Elizabeth Wein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know those books you fall so hard into that you resent every minute spent away from them? Code Name Verity was one of those for me. I was not prepared for it; the book was passed to me with a simple, “This is the latest recommendation from Michele Landsberg,” which was good enough for me. I didn’t anticipate the rush of adrenaline and the genuine anxiety for the characters that occurred every time I was away from them.

Code Name Verity tells the story of two young women, one a civilian pilot and one a wireless operator/special agent in the Second World War. I’ve been reading a mystery series recently by Charles Todd that features a nurse on the front lines in World War I, and this was a nice segue into something more substantial. Written as YA it is most definitely a crossover book.

The story begins with a plane crash in occupied France, one young woman captured by the Nazis, the other’s fate unknown. With no papers to prove who she is, Verity (code name) avoids death by writing out what she knows for the Nazis. But does she? Through her notes we learn of her friendship with pilot Maddie and their exploits in the war to that point. Her strength and resilience see her through episodes of torture and humiliation (recounted with few details) and her account of the Nazis who interrogate her and keep her prisoner is humorous and insightful and poignant. Though she insists throughout her report ,“I am telling the truth,” the reader is not so sure.

I did not see this story coming and was blindsided by the plot twists. I haven’t been able to leave this behind. Quite easily the best thing I’ve read this year.

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The Wild Ways

The Wild WaysThe Wild Ways by Tanya Huff

I have read many books by Tanya Huff that I have enjoyed. This is not one of them.

It was wordy in the extreme (how many adjectives and adverbs can we find?) and the relationships between the characters were hard to keep up with. And, yes, I read the one that came before. But it’s been a while. Although I don’t like books that fall over themselves to fill in details from previous books I felt like I was floundering. The typo on the first page (Lauren Harris painting) didn’t help set my mood.

It’s too bad, because I was looking forward to it, having always enjoyed her books in the past.

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A Pale Horse

A Pale Horse (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #10)A Pale Horse by Charles Todd

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this one well enough, but I found the resolution of the mystery unsatisfying. I usually like to have at least some clue where the author is going, but this seemed to come out of the blue and wrapped things up in the last few pages of the book. But aside from that, I enjoy these characters and their continuing story — the mysteries are secondary to me.

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A Question of Identity

A Question of IdentityA Question of Identity by Susan Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the best of the Simon Serrailler series, I thought, after a couple of mediocre ones. I was actually completely surprised by the resolution (without it being implausible), which I like in a story.

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