Saturday, May 26, 2018

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling and Jack Thorne

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Author: J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany
Series: Harry Potter (Book 8)
Publication: Arthur A. Levine Books; Special Rehearsal Script ed. edition (July 31, 2016)

Description: The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places."

My Thoughts: This is the eighth Harry Potter story. It takes place nineteen years after HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. Harry has grown up, married Ginny Weasley, and has three children. The main character in this play is Harry's youngest son Albus Severus.

Albus is having a hard time being Harry Potter's son. He feels that he can't measure up to the legacy his father created. When he gets to Hogwarts, the Sorting Hat puts him in Slytherin along with Draco Malfoy's son Scorpius who has his own burdens to face including a persistent rumor that his father is really Voldemort. The two become fast friends because neither one is popular or happy with their life.

Albus overhears Cedric Diggory's father beg Harry to use a time turner to save his son's life. Most of the time turners have been destroyed and no one thinks it is a good idea to mess around with time. But, at the urging of Amos Diggory's niece Delphi, Albus steals the time turner in order to go back in time and save Cedric.

Albus and Scorpius have some adventures in time when they learn that small changes in the past can make large changes in the future. They also learn that Delphi has a plan that she hasn't shared with the boys. It takes everyone working together to solve the problems and make the right decisions.

I liked this story. I thought it was a pretty realistic possible future for the characters we came to love in the seven books of the Harry Potter series.

Favorite Quote:
HARRY: I'd do anything for him.

GINNY: Harry, you'd do anything for anybody. You were pretty happy to sacrifice yourself for the world. He needs to feel specific love. It'll make him stronger, and you stronger too.
I bought this one August 2, 2016. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Friday Memes: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling and Jack Thorne

Happy Friday everybody!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City ReaderThe Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
King's Cross

A busy and crowded station. Full of people trying to go somewhere. Amongst the hustle and bustle, two large cages rattle on top of two laden trolleys. They're being pushed by two boys, JAMES POTTER and ALBUS POTTER, their mother, GINNY, follows after. A thirty-seven-year-old man, HARRY, has his daughter, LILY, on his shoulders.
Friday 56: 
ALBUS: You were right, Scorpius. This train is magical.

SCORPIUS: At this precise moment in time, I take no pleasure in being right.
This week I chose Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling and Jack Thorne from my TBR mountain. It has been sitting there since August 2, 2016. Here is the description from Amazon:
"The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places."

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Book Review: Willnot by James Sallis

Willnot
Author: James Sallis
Publication: Bloomsbury USA (June 21, 2016)

Description: In his celebrated career, James Sallis has created some of the most finely drawn protagonists in crime fiction, all of them thoughtful observers of the human condition: Lew Griffin, the black New Orleans private investigator; retired detective John Turner; the unnamed wheelman in Drive. Dr. Lamar Hale will now join the ranks of Sallis's finest characters.

In the woods outside the town of Willnot, the remains of several people have suddenly been discovered, unnerving the community and unsettling Hale, the town's all-purpose general practitioner, surgeon, and town conscience. At the same time, Bobby Lowndes--his military records disappeared, being followed by the FBI--mysteriously reappears in his hometown, at Hale's door. Over the ensuing months, the daily dramas Hale faces as he tends to his town and to his partner, Richard, collide with the inexplicable vagaries of life in Willnot. And when a gunshot aimed at Lowndes critically wounds Richard, Hale's world is truly upended.

In his inimitably spare style, James Sallis conjures indelible characters and scenes that resonate long after they appear. "You live with someone year after year, you think you've heard all the stories," Lamar observes, "but you never have."

My Thoughts: Dr. Lamar Hale is a general practitioner and surgeon in the small town of Willnot - home to a variety of eccentrics. Lamar knows all the secrets and accepts everyone for who they are. When a gravesite containing a number of remains is discovered, the town and Lamar are unnerved. The return of Bobbly Lowndes from the Marines also is unsettling. Lamar has known him since he was a child. Then the FBI comes looking for Bobby.

While all these things are happening, Lamar goes about his daily business taking care of the people in the town and just living life with his partner Richard. Lamar's father was an author who hung around with many of the stars of the 50s and 60s and Lamar shares stories about them with Richard. I liked some of the stories about authors I grew up reading.

This was an engaging story but very literary and quite the opposite of action-packed. It was a thoughtful of about a year in Lamar and Richard's life. The beginning mystery of the discovered bodies was never resolved. Neither was Bobby's story.

Read this one for the language and descriptions and the relationships within the town and with Lamar.

Favorite Quote:
The site suggested a cross between a spectacularly disorganized Boy Scout campout, a sweat-your-way-to-glory religious revival, and a tent sale for big-box electronics. As though all three had mistakenly rented out the same space for the weekend and each refused to budge.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Book Review: Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn

Silent on the Moor
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Series: A Lady Julia Grey Mystery (Book 3)
Publication: MIRA; Original edition (August 17, 2015)

Description: Despite his admonitions to stay away, Lady Julia arrives in Yorkshire to find Brisbane as remote and maddeningly attractive as ever. Cloistered together, they share the moldering house with the proud but impoverished remnants of an ancient family—the sort that keeps their bloodline pure and their secrets close. Lady Allenby and her daughters, dependent upon Brisbane and devastated by their fall in society, seem adrift on the moor winds, powerless to change their fortunes. But poison does not discriminate between classes….

A mystery unfolds from the rotten heart of Grimsgrave, one Lady Julia may have to solve alone, as Brisbane appears inextricably tangled in its heinous twists and turns. But blood will out, and before spring touches the craggy northern landscape, Lady Julia will have uncovered a Gypsy witch, a dark rider and a long-buried legacy of malevolence and evil.

My Thoughts: In this episode of the Lady Jane Grey mysteries Jane has invited herself to Nicholas Brisbane's new home in the isolated depths of Yorkshire. There she finds a spooky old home, mysterious people, and pieces of Nicholas's past.

Nicholas is his mysterious self. He alternately pulls her in and pushes her away. She is just about ready to give up on him when he is poisoned and almost dies. With the help of a local gypsy healer, Nicholas recovers and Jane realizes that she can't leave him despite the obstructions he throws into her path.

This story had a very Gothic feel. It had an old family holding on to an illustrious past but having dwindled to an old woman and her two daughters left penniless by the death of her disgraced Egyptologist son. It had madness and gypsy curses all set in the wilds of the moors in Yorkshire. It has revenge and betrayal.

Jane learns about Nicholas's childhood in this one and his connections to the area and to the family. All in all it was an excellent entry into an intriguing historical mystery series. 

Favorite Quote:
"Remember, lady. If you would know a person, stop your ears to their words, but mark their actions. Think on what I have said, and you will know what to do.
I bought this one on June 18, 2014. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

First Paragraph/Teaser Tuesday: Willnot by James Sallis

Every Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posted the first paragraph of a book she is reading or planning to read. In 2018, Vicki from I'd Rather Be at the Beach is taking over this meme.

Here's mine:
We found the bodies two miles outside town, near the old gravel pit. Tom Bales was out on an early-morning hunt when his dog Mattie dropped the quail she was retrieving, sprinted to a stretch of worried earth, and wouldn't budge. He'd call, she'd start toward him and circle right back, barking. It was the smell that got him finally, when he walked over. Mushroomy, dark. Cellarlike.
 

Link up here. It is very easy to play along:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.
Here's mine:
"Man administers to the sick and needy and cooks too."

"Let's not talk about success rates at either. Is there something I can do for you, Sheriff?"
This week I am reading Willnot by James Sallis. This was recommended on a blog I follow but had to wait for a gap in my calendar for me to read it. Here is the description from Amazon:
In his celebrated career, James Sallis has created some of the most finely drawn protagonists in crime fiction, all of them thoughtful observers of the human condition: Lew Griffin, the black New Orleans private investigator; retired detective John Turner; the unnamed wheelman in Drive. Dr. Lamar Hale will now join the ranks of Sallis's finest characters.

In the woods outside the town of Willnot, the remains of several people have suddenly been discovered, unnerving the community and unsettling Hale, the town's all-purpose general practitioner, surgeon, and town conscience. At the same time, Bobby Lowndes--his military records disappeared, being followed by the FBI--mysteriously reappears in his hometown, at Hale's door. Over the ensuing months, the daily dramas Hale faces as he tends to his town and to his partner, Richard, collide with the inexplicable vagaries of life in Willnot. And when a gunshot aimed at Lowndes critically wounds Richard, Hale's world is truly upended.

In his inimitably spare style, James Sallis conjures indelible characters and scenes that resonate long after they appear. "You live with someone year after year, you think you've heard all the stories," Lamar observes, "but you never have."

Monday, May 21, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 21, 2018)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I will be combining my YA and adult reading and purchases on this one weekly roundup. YA and middle grade reviews will still be posted on  Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my other blog.

Other Than Reading... 

It is a misty, gloomy Saturday morning here in Duluth but I'm stoked. I've been up since 4AM watching the Royal Wedding and basking in British sunshine and pageantry. What a lovely ceremony! Of course, now I could use a nap and, having nothing else on my calendar for the day, may just take one.

Otherwise I've had a quiet week with some reading, some walking and some baseball watching. We broke our temperature record for the date on Monday with a high of 88 degrees but then the next day the high didn't get out of the lower 50s. Only the heartiest trees are showing a blush of new green leaves here in the Northland but I have hopes of warmer temperatures soon.

This week I skipped around on my calendar to choose what I'd read rather than reading them in order of date I plan to review them. I started out with the idea of reading all the review books on the calendar first but got hung up on My Plain Jane which is going to be read in chunks around other books. I read a July release from Penguin's First to Read program because I get paranoid that the book will expire before I get to it if I don't read it immediately. It was also a book I've been really anticipating. I also wanted to clear the way to read the Divergent trilogy back to back.

Read Last Week

If you can't wait until the review shows up on my blog, reviews are posted to LibraryThing and Goodreads as soon as I write them (usually right after I finish reading a book.)
  • Death and a Pot of Chowder by Cornelia Kidd - A cozy mystery set in Maine. My review will be posted on June 9.
  • Override by Heather Anastasiu - middle book in a YA dystopian trilogy that has been on my TBR pile since Feb. 14, 2013. My review will be posted on June 8.
  • Ruthless Magic by Megan Crewe - a new YA that begins an urban fantasy series. My review will be posted on May 28.
  • A Merciful Silence by Kendra Elliot - the latest in her Merci Kilpatrick mystery series. My review will be posted on June 14.
  • Girl with a Gun by Kari Bovee - new historical mystery starring Annie Oakley. My review will be posted on June 16.
  • The Flowers of Vashnoi by Lois McMaster Bujold - new novella in the Vorkosigan series. I don't plan to review this one on my blog but recommend it for fans of the series.
Currently
  • I hope this is the week I binge read the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.
  • I am also reading My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows because, while I am enjoying it, the constant use of parentheses is getting on my nerves and pulling me out of the story.
Next Week
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth - TBR since Dec. 12, 2012
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth - TBR since Sept. 8, 2013
  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth - TBR since Oct. 22, 2013
  • A Rumor of Bones by Beverly Connor - TBR since Oct. 26, 2010
  • Foolproof by Barbara D'Amato, Jeanne M. Dams, and Mark Zubro - TBR since Dec. 3, 2010
Reviews Posted

On Inside of a Dog:
On Ms. Martin Teaches Media:
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

Bought:
New Review (All from NetGalley this week):
What was your week like?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Book Review: Triple Crown by Felix Francis

Triple Crown
Author: Felix Francis
Series: Dick Francis (Book 6)
Publication: G.P. Putnam's Sons; 1st Edition edition (October 11, 2016)

Description: Jefferson Hinkley is back in the newest thriller in the Dick Francis tradition, this time on a special mission to the United States to investigate a conspiracy involving the biggest horse races in the country.

Jeff Hinkley, investigator for the British Horseracing Authority, has been seconded to the US Federal Anti-Corruption in Sports Agency (FACSA) where he has been asked to find a mole in their organization—an informant who is passing on confidential information to those under suspicion in American racing.  At the Kentucky Derby, Jeff joins the FACSA team in a raid on a horse trainer’s barn at Churchill Downs, but the bust is a disaster, and someone ends up dead.  Then, on the morning of the Derby itself, three of the most favored horses in the field fall sick. 

These suspicious events can be no coincidence. In search of answers, Jeff goes undercover as a groom on the backstretch at Belmont Park racetrack in New York. But he discovers far more than he was bargaining for: corrupt individuals who will stop at nothing—including murder—to capture the most elusive prize in world sport, the Triple Crown.

My Thoughts: Jeff Hinkley is on leave from the BHA to assist the US Federal Anti-Corruption in Sports Agency to try to track down a mole. Someone is horse racing division is tipping off the trainers that a raid is coming leaving FACSA unsuccessful and looking bad too. He begins a secret investigation of the special agents in the horse racing division. Then Jeff tags along on a raid which results in a dead trainer. Clearly the trainer was tipped off.

When three of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby become sick and are withdrawn, Jeff needs to solve another mystery. He goes undercover in the stables of the trainer of the winning horse and works as a groom as they are preparing the horse for the Preakness. Besides his investigation, he attracts the enmity of one of the other grooms and his gang. This just adds more pressure to Jeff as he tries to find out what is going on. He has to find out if the illnesses to the horses was planned or coincidental and has to find a way to get the mole to make a mistake and be revealed.

This was a fast-paced mystery with lots of details about thoroughbred racing in the United States. I liked seeing the Triple Crown races through the eyes of someone from Great Britain. Jeff is a man who is burning out on his job now that he is becoming known and cannot go undercover anymore. The case in the United States comes at just the right time to throw some excitement and danger back into his life. However, he isn't particularly excited to go up against heavily armed special agents and makes some pointed comments about US gun policy.

This was an enjoyable mystery.

Favorite Quote:
"It is amazing how it can be tracked in real time," Tony said. "If x--- were a terrorist, they could call in  a drone strike to take him out."

He'd been watching too many movies, I thought. A drone strike directed at a vehicle on home soil might have raised a few awkward questions in the U. S. Congress.
I bought this one April 18, 2017. You can buy your copy here.