All posts by Bianca

Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

Lake Silence is the sixth book in the sixth book in Anne Bishop’s The Others series. However, unlike the previous five book this one isn’t about Meg, Simon and the other characters in Lakeside. It seems that their story is over (for now?) and a new setting and cast of characters is introduced. I didn’t know this before starting this book, at first I was a bit surprised and uncertain if I wanted to continue the book but in the end I really loved this new story line.

This new sub-series is set in Sproing, shortly after the Big Event described in previous books. The relation between the humans and the Others is strained, the Others having made sure that the humans realize that they are not the dominant species and that the Others have to be listened to. Where Lakeside was a big city and many humans living there had very little contact with the Others, it’s a different situation in Lake Silence. Which is on the edge of human civilization and only reachable through Others’ land.

The main character of the story is Vicki DeVine. She has recently divorced her husband, he found a more attractive and younger woman, Yorick Dane. As a settlement in the divorce Vicki got a vacation place on the edge of Lake Silence, The Jumble, that was once owned by Yorick’s aunt and nobody in his family had any use for it. It was run down, by the time the book start Vicki has started renovating the place with the money she also got in the divorce settlement. It turns out that Yorick’s aunt had and agreement with the Others, who owns the land of the Jumble, that it would not only serve as a vacation place for humans, but that it also is a place where Others who are interested in having contact with humans can get to know how to do so. One of those joining Vicki is Aggie Crowgard.

Aggie finds a dead body on the edge of The Jumble and the detectives on the case try to pin the murder on Vicki. She gets help from her lawyer, Ilya Sanguinati (a vampire). The temporary chief of police of Sproing Wayne Grimshaw and his former colleague, turned bookshop owner Julian Farrow also find it hard to believe that Vicki is responsible for the murder and try to figure out what is really going on.

Despite the new characters and setting I really liked this start of the new sub-series. Where the Lakeside books felt aimed more at young adults this book had a more adult feel. This is mainly due to the fact that Meg was very childlike, having to learn to live in both the human and Others’ world. Lake Silence also had more adult themes, mainly dealing with spousal abuse.

I liked how Vicki just takes the deal the aunt made with the Others in her stride. She doesn’t treat the Others staying at The Jumble and in Sproing any different than humans; with respect. As a result she earns their respect. Different Others are introduced in this book, there are the Pathergard and the Beargard and the Elementals have a more prominent role. Also, Sproingers are introduced. Which are a species only find in Sproing and comical, sometimes mischievous and protective of those humans they like.

As I said, I really enjoyed this book. It was hard to put down and quick to read. Vicki is a good main character, she and the other important characters have enough potential for good character development in subsequent books. The only drawback I can think of is that I now have to wait for the next book.

Reading Challenge Update

I haven’t been good at giving updates on my Reading Challenge this year. So one of the goals will be to be better at it. Also, I haven’t written a review yet, I had planned on writing reviews regularly. So another thing I need to start doing.

My other goals are doing better, slightly. For the 100 books challenge I doing okay, I’m either one book behind, on target, or one book ahead. In previous years I would have been several books ahead of schedule. It’s mostly due to me discovering a podcast I really liked (My Favorite Murder) and wanting to listen to all the episodes before the live show they’re doing in Amsterdam next week. I liked to listen at night, which is when I would normally read. I’m now caught up, so I’m back to reading before going to sleep. Also, in early April I got acute bronchitis and I didn’t read much for almost two weeks, that didn’t help.

To get back into reading and get caught up with the 100 books challenge I read shorter books the last couple of weeks. In the first three months of the year I was about on target with average page count. But last month I fell behind, due to the two week hiatus and shorter books. In previous years I went away for a couple of days to a week in May and got a lot of reading done. Although I am going away for a couple of days at the end of the month I don’t think I’ll be able to get extra reading time. We’re going to a theme park for three days and two nights, so the days are spend in the park (I might get some reading done waiting in line) and at night I expect to be too tired to be able to focus on reading.

I am doing well with my active series and I’m well on the way to finish the goals I’ve set myself. I’m mostly using my randomizer app to choose my next read.

To make matters slightly more difficult I’ve added an extra challenge, retroactively from the start of the year. It’s the ABC challenge, for each letter of the alphabet I need to read a book that starts with that letter. I’ll give myself a pass for the letter X, it’s hard to find anything I’m interested in starting with and X (unless I’m willing to read erotica, there are a bunch of them with titles starting with names as Xavier and Xander). For the X I have to read a book where any word starts with an X. I’ve only ten letters left to finish, for all I’ve got titles penciled in of books I was planning to (re)read anyway or books I’ve got on my To Be Read list that I can read. I think I might do this challenge again next year.

In short, I’m doing okay. I hope to be able to catch up on the pages read, but if not it’s not a big deal. I will need to put some effort into writing reviews. For that I need to remember to take notes when reading a book. I haven’t done that since university, and I find it hard to get into the habit again.

Review: Jeremy Logan series

Author: Lincoln Child

Books in series:
1. Deep Storm (2007)
2. Terminal Freeze (2008)
3. The Third Gate (2012)
4. The Forgotten Room (2015)
5. Full Wolf Moon (2017)

Lincoln Child is probably best know for his collaborations with Douglas Preston on both the Agent Pendergast series and the Gideon Crew series. The Jeremy Logan series is in the same vein as the other two series, though a little bit different. The Agent Pendergast series is a crime thriller with paranormal/supernatural elements. The Gideon Crew series is an action adventure thriller series with, again, paranormal and supernatural elements. The Jeremy Logan series is a mystery thriller with more paranormal and supernatural elements than the other two series. Although the story concludes with a race to solve the mystery and/or capture the bad guy is doesn’t feature as much action as the other two series.

Dr. Jeremy Logan is a history professor, but he is better known as an “enigmalogist”. He looks into cases that seemingly don’t have a normal solution but a paranormal or supernatural one. It is his job to prove or disprove the truth of these phenomena. He has gained some notoriety by working on some sensational cases such as proving, or disproving, the existence of the Loch Ness monster. He often signs a confidentiality agreement, so there are cases he can’t talk about. New clients are often hesitant to hire Logan because of those sensational cases.

Logan is a widower, his wife Karen died of cancer several years before the start of the series. Although he shows an interest in some of the female characters he meets during his adventures, nothing comes of it. Logan has some powers himself. He is an empath and a “sensitive”, which means that by touching people he can “read” them, not their thoughts but their feelings. He can get a sense of who a person is and often how he or she became that way. In rare cases he can read a location, especially if something bad has happened there.

I first came upon this series by reading the third book, The Third Gate, not knowing it was part of a series. When I found out is was part of a series I went back to the first book and started reading the series in order.

In the first book, Deep Storm, Logan only has a very minor part to play. Just like with the Pendergast series. The stories are set around the world in locations varying from Egyptian swamps to deep below the sea, but also more mundane settings as a research facility or a artist’s retreat in the Adirondacks.

Each story starts with Logan being asked to look into a strange happenings, often happening during a project, there is seemingly no normal explanation for these things to happen. Logan approaches the mystery with a open mind, but he will always try to go the scientific route first. Usually there is an explanation for the things going on that although they are not normal they are natural. Some mysteries have a more unusual explanation or are purely supernatural. Logan regularly reminds himself to keep an open mind or suspend his disbelieve. And by doing so he forces the reader to do the same.

The books are, for me, quick and easy reads and very entertaining. Although I like both the Agent Pendergast and Gideon Crew series I think I like this series better. Because it doesn’t depend on action and adventure to drive the story but it depend of the characters and their actions. Dr. Jeremy Logan is mild mannered and easy going and is a very likeable character.

Half way there

With half the year over it’s time to take stock of how I’m doing with my reading challenge that-isn’t-a-challenge this year.

So far, I’ve finished 59 books, of which I didn’t finish 1 (I did count the 112 I managed to read towards my total, hence I counted it as a book read). The total number of pages is 22052, with an average of 374 pages per book. I’ve read sixteen books by authors that were new to me and I’ve reread four books. I’ve read about 2000 pages more than I would on average in the first six months of the year. Mind you, that doesn’t mean anything, last year I read even more in the first half of the year and due to a reading slump later on I only managed to read just a little bit over my average for the year.

Overall, I’m happy with what I’ve read so far this year. I’ve decided that this summer I will focus on my series. To help me choose which one to read I’ve downloaded a randomizer app, added the list of my active series and let the app choose what I read next. I can let the app choose again if it picks a series I’ve just read.

I’ve also been able to keep my Kindle neat and tidy. I have a folder for the next-in-series book of my active series, when I finish a book I add the next one. It also contains new releases of series I was up to date with. I also have a folder which contains the first books of series I’m interested in. I haven’t done much with this folder, but at least I haven’t added to it in a while. The stand alone books I haven’t in a folder and these seem to get away from me easily, by me adding more and more books, but not reading them and ending up deleting them after a while. I’ve been doing well with my stand alone books, I try to keep them down to one page, at the moment there is the danger of it getting too long. Which means I will have to read some stand alone books soon.

For the summer I have planned another couple of rereads, including Stephen King’s It. There are a couple of active series I only need to read two or three books to get up to date, hopefully I can manage that this summer and get my possible series list down.

Seasonal Reads

To me Stephen King’s It is a summer read. One summer I got the English paperback as an end of school year present. I had already read the Dutch translation but I also wanted to read the original version. It took me two weeks to read, which isn’t bad since it wasn’t in my first language. For years I reread It every summer (also occasionally at other times of the year). After years of not having read It I reread it last summer, and still loved it.

Summer has arrived again and I found myself thinking of rereading It again, or something similar. After some researching I settled on Dan Simmons’ Season of Horror trilogy and having read almost 100 pages of the first book it seems the right choice. Though I still might end up rereading It.

Recently I watched the 2011 version of Jane Eyre, with Michael Fassbender. Afterwards I thought it might be a good idea to reread the book. However, I dismissed it almost immediately, because, to me, it’s an autumn or winter read. I first read this book in autumn or winter for university (actually I listened to the abridged audiobook whilst working on other assignments for uni).

I hadn’t realized that I had any other seasonal reads besides It. I thought of other books I reread and it seems that some books are seasonal in my mind, like The Secret Garden (again an autumn read) and The Shining (a winter read). But some books, like The Stand and The Lord of the Rings have no seasonal link to me.

Looking at it now it seems that those books that I link to a specific season is because of the either the time of year the story is set in (It and The Shining) or because of the atmosphere (both Jane Eyre and The Secret Garden have a gloomy atmosphere and feel).

It also made me think of other weird links I have with reading. I don’t have seasonal genres. In my mind summer is the time of both quick and easy read but also of long books (800+ pages), though I also tend to read a long book at the end of the year. Another strange link I have is with vacations. One of my favourite genres is horror, but when I go on vacation, no matter how short, I have to read at least one horror book.

March Update Reading Challenge

Just over two months in and I’m ahead of schedule. I’m now reading my 23rd book, of the 100 books that are my unofficial target. I’m a little bit ahead schedule with page count, too, compared to the previous years (except for 2013, which was my best year so far). Which means I’m doing well.

My ongoing series list was long at the start of the year. I did manage to finish a couple of them, mostly those where I had to read the latest release which had been published in the last couple of months. Last month I noticed there were four series that I had almost finished, three had only one book left to read and one series had two books left. So I devised a mini challenge to get these four series out of the way. I made a reading list, allowing for a free choice read after finishing two books from the reading list. At the moment I’m working on the last book of the list. After finishing it I only have four active series on my list, five if you count the Commonwealth Saga.

After finishing the challenge I’ve decided to focus on reading more stand alone books. I’ve got a lot of those on my Kindle at the moment and because I’ve been focussing on series so far this year that list is growing. I also want to tackle my “interesting series” list. Which is over 20 books long, consisting of first books of series that I might possibly like. My aim is to have an active series list that has about 7 series on it and I want to make it more diverse than it has been, where most series were either crime or mystery series (often combined with other genres). I know from experience that I won’t be continuing with those series on the list after the first book, in recent years I’ve become more more selective about what I want to read.

So Far So Good

So far this year I’ve managed to finish four series. Which is good, but I want to do better. With just five more books I can finish four more series. So I’ve devised a mini-challenge to finish them before the end of March. I’ll start with book 9 in the Body Farm series, followed by the latest Sigma Force book, then I’m allowed to choose a non-series book (or try out a first book in a new to me series). I’ve chosen to read the third Cormoran Strike book next, followed by the latest Body Farm book and then I have another free choice book. I end my series marathon with the final book in the Bill Hodges trilogy.

I still have the second book in the Commonwealth Saga duology to read, but that’s a 1200+ page book, and I know I need to be in the mood for both the sci-fi genre and a long book to be able to get on with it, which is why I didn’t include it in my marathon.

By choosing this order and allowing a free read every two books I hope I’ve mixed it up well enough not to burn out. All books are either crime or thriller or both but in different styles.

The next challenge will be to select new series to read. I’ve noticed that it has become a lot harder for me to find series I want to continue with. I did discover the PC Peter Grant series, the first book was very good, so that’s been added. I’ve got 20 other first-in-series on my Kindle. My aim will be to get a good mix of different genres and styles, because I think I got stuck in a rut last year because I had (and still have) series ongoing that were very similar in genre, style or setting.

Reading Challenge – January

The first month of the year has passed and I made great progress with my reading challenge. Mostly thanks to a vacation of a week, it was too cold to go out much, plus I had the flu, so I didn’t have the energy to do much than potter about in my apartment.

With just 20 minutes to spare I manage to finish 12 books, with a total of 3933 pages. Which is over 400 pages over average for January. I manage to finish 3 series, which is great. I only read 2 stand alone book, but I need to take care I don’t burn out on series. I started three new series; one I’m not going to continue with, another one is a graphic novel series, but the second book hasn’t been released yet and the third was the first book in the PC Peter Grant series, Rivers of London, which was my favourite book of January and it’s been added to my ongoing series list.

In February I usually read a lot less, but looking into more detail I see that is because I often start a really long book during the second half of the month, which I don’t finish until March (where my average page count is quite high). I do have one 1200+ page book on my soon to be read list, I’m now curious to see if I’m in the mood to start that in February. Otherwise I hope to finish another two series (Cormoran Strike and Sigma Force) this month, but I’ll see what I’m in the mood for to read.

Reading challenge 2017

Another year, another reading challenge. Last year I did the theme challenge, but I noticed that towards the end of the year I was getting burned out on that challenge. So I’ve decided that this year’s challenge will consist of only two things: have fun and get some longer ongoing series finished. On Goodreads I’ve entered a reading goal of 100 books, but that’s more for the fun of keeping track.

I’ve got several series where I need to read only one or two books to finish them, I will focus on those first. Then I can start some new series. Last year I’ve read a lot of first books in series, but only few I found good enough to continue with. So I’m expecting that finding new series will be harder than in the past.

Mid January I’m going on vacation for a week. It’s going to be a lazy vacation; I’ve booked an apartment at a vacation park and have not much more planned than to read, watch films, bake cookies and play some games on my new laptop. Hopefully the gaming doesn’t distract me too much from my reading and I can get my reading of to a good start.

Reading challenge 2016: results

Another year has ended, which means that another reading challenge has also ended.

For 2016 my reading challenge was to read more than 40000 pages, each month pick a theme from a pre-made list and read at least 4 books related to that theme and, as always, do not forget my ongoing series.

Statistics for 2016:
Books read: 119
Pages read: 41904
Themes finished: 13
Books abandoned: 2
Series finished: 23
New authors: 46

Not bad. However, the series finished statistic is a bit misleading. I also counted series as finished when a new book came out in a series I was already up to date on. I didn’t do too well with series that were already ongoing at the start of 2016.

I liked the theme challenge, but I found that over the course of the year I felt it kept me from reading what I really wanted to read. Because I managed to cross off two themes in one month multiple times I was able to take both September and December off from this challenge, which was a good thing.

I was surprised at the number of new authors, I think the theme challenge encouraged me to find new authors. Some were okay, but I also found a couple of new favourite authors. Such as Tamara Thorne, Alistair Cross, Amy Cross, Jussi Adler-Olsen and Michael Richan. Not bad for a just one year.