April Reading Log

I read 10 books in the month of April, which is a pretty healthy sum. I had a goal of 60 books read this year, and including April’s books, I’m at 34. I think I should have set the bar higher.

Vengeance in Death – JD Robb
One of my goals this year, in addition to 60 books, was to read the first 10 books in trhe In Death series. So I’ve been plugging away at them via audiobook. This is book 6 of the series, and one I’ve read before.
In this book, Eve Dallas investigates a series of murders, in which Irish men and women are killed in a manner shockingly similar to the deaths of several Irish men many years before. There’s a tie in to Even’s husband Rourke, who was instrumental in the first series of murders.
I did enjoy this one, because it gave us more of Summerset and Rourke’s backstories. This was a re-read, so I remember the killer from before, but it was still enjoyable. And unlike some of these novels, Eve manages to home in on the killer before the end. I find that more enjoyable than her wandering about without a real lead until the last moment. And this one’s an interesting killer, not just in the forms of murder, but the reasoning, and the parts of the chapters told from his point of view.

Holiday in Death – JD Robb
Book 7 in the In Death series deals with Christmas, and people being murdered that used a dating service called Personally Yours. I didn’t much care for the murder aspect of this novel, because I felt the killer was pretty flimsy. The way they tied him to the dating service was almost too weak to be a plot.
What I did like was the non murder stuff. We get more of Peabody, who’s my favorite character, and we get a healthy dose of McNab, who’s also a character I like. We also get to see how Eve deals with suddenly having friends and family to care for, and to buy gifts for. I loved seeing her try and sort out the feelings for her friends. Pity the murder wasn’t too great.
Conspiracy in Death – JD Robb
Of all the In Deaths I read this month, this is my favorite. A homeless man is found dead, his heart surgically removed with a surgeon’s skill. The cop that finds him hates Eve with a passion that doesn’t just border on crazy, it goes right over the edge into lunacy.
From there, Eve has to investigate skilled surgeons, which causes waves. The surgeons are a close knit group, and are unwilling to turn over information on someone who might be one of their own, and they use their clout to try and get Eve taken off the case. Eve pushes back, and they up the stakes and really try and take her off the case.
I love the conspiracy behind this, the sheer number of people involved. It’s a complicated plot, and results in a lot of people being involved with the murders. While it’s not as fascinating as the Icove plot, which comes in a later book, it’s sufficiently complicated, with Eve homing in on the killers, and not leaving it until the very last minute.
Also, Louise diMatto is introduced, and she’s one of my favorite really minor characters.

Loyalty in Death – JD Robb
This is a complicated book, which I enjoyed. The Stakes are high, and there’s a high body count. It’s the only In Death I can think of where the body count is over a handful. It’s also the only one I’ve read with a terrorist group.
There’s a terrorist group called Cassandra, an offshoot of the terrorist group from 30 years before called Apollo. Apollo took out many targets, including the Pentagon. The government took out the terrorist group, and now Cassandra seems related. So not only is Eve battling Cassandra, she’s having to figure out Apollo in the process.
The plot’s busy, and introduces Peabody’s brother, Zeke. Not only is he a fun addition, we get to see more of Peabody Peabody is my favorite character, so I approve. Plus, there’s some McNab, and we get to see things play out between the two of them. So, complicated, interesting plot and extra Peabody. I’m sold 🙂

Article 5 – Kristen Simmons
Set 20 minutes into the future, where the United States has flipped out and changed to a very conservative, military state. Instead of the bill of rights, there are the Moral Statutes of the United States of America.

Article 5: Children are considered valid citizens only when conceived by a married man and wife.

Article 5 deals with, you guessed it, Article 5. Ember Miller lives with her mother, just the two of them. Ember goes to school, her mother volunteers in a soup kitchen.The military guys come to arrest Ember’s mother in violation of Article 5, and take Ember away to reform school. One of the guys that arrests Ember’s mother is Ember’s former boyfriend, Chase. Once at reform school, Ember tries to escape and get back to her mother.
This book was okay, but nothing special. It’s yet another teen dystopian, where the teens fight against the system and try and return the world to the “right way.” We don’t get a lot of background about why the United States has gone all nuts. We just see the world as it changed into, and then we see Ember’s world shaken up.
The biggest problem I had with Ember is she begins the book towing the line, and living the status quo. She keeps her head down, does what she’s told, hides things her mother likes that would get them fined, and pretty much tries to not be noticeable. She speaks of a girl whose family was arrested in violation of Article 1, and wonders what happens to her, but beyond that, she just tries to keep her head down.
Once her mom is arrested, Ember gets a total personality switch. She freaks out at the military that comes to take her and her mother away, scratches one of them, and fights like a wildcat. This isn’t the kind of person that goes through life keeping her head down. Then, once she’s stuck at reform school, rather than trying to blend in and behave, she’s constantly getting in trouble, or getting picked on by teachers and administration and soldiers. I suppose it’s so we feel sorry for her, but it seems like she does things stupidly.

The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
The book is narrated by Hazel, a teen girl who has stage IV thyroid cancer. A medicine has bought her a few years by keeping her tumors from growing, but she’s going to die. She knows she’s going to die. Her mother makes her attend a support group for children/teens with cancer. There, SHE meets Augustus, a boy who’s in remission and has a prosthetic leg. Augustus thinks Hazel’s beautiful, and Hazel thinks he’s gorgeous.
Hazel’s favorite book is about a girl who has cancer, and she desperately wants to know what happens after the book. All her letters to the author have gone unanswered, and she mentions it the Augustus. Augustus manages to get her to Amsterdam to meet with the author. Along the way, they fall in live.It’s hard to describe this book, because it’s been done to death. This is “THE” book this year, and it seems like everyone seems to know about it.
Funny story about this story: right at the time I was going to read it, one of our cows had a calf. The calf survived, but the cow didn’t. So, we have a bottle baby. I named him Tuesday, because that’s when he was born. He’s lonely, having no mom and no herd to play with.
So I took my nook down once day when I was giving him a bottle. I decided I’d read to him. The Fault in Our stars was downloaded and on my nook, so I decided I’d kill 2 birds with one stone: read my book club book, and entertain Tuesday.
You wouldn’t think a calf would be an appreciative audience, but he laid down near me, and listened to the book for a while. I managed to read out loud for about 45 minutes before I left, and he listened for a lot of that. I think the company helped.
The book is… ok. I finished it pretty quickly after reading part of it out loud. It didn’t affect me like I thought it should. Hazel is a terminal cancer patient. No matter how the book ends, it’s not a happy ending. A book where your main character is terminal means no happy ending. And there’s a couple of real tear jerker moments. I won’t spoil them for you in case you haven’t read the book, but I should have been in tears. I wasn’t.

The White Mountains – John Christopher
When I was in the 5th grade, our teacher read this book to us. What stuck with me were 2 things: William seeing a sign reading “Elec city” and thinking it was a town, and a description of a gun, if you’d never seen a gun before. I was thinking about these books, and decided to pick them up. I had nearly $30 in nook credit from the class action suit, so I splurged on these books.
It’s set in the future, probably 100 years or more. People live in societies that are much like medieval times: no electricity, no combustion engines. Simply built homes, mills running on water power, and knights doing good deeds. And, at 14, everyone is “Capped” where they are taken up into a tripod, their heads are shaved, and they’re fitted with a silver mesh cap that makes them docile and obedient to the will of the Tripods.
No one really knows what the Tripods are, other than the planet’s masters. They know that before the tripods, people were constantly at war, disease and famine were rampart, and the tripods saved them all. People abandoned the large cities, to settle in small towns and live a simpler life.
Will isn’t convinced he wants to be capped, and when he meets a man who tells him about a resistance movement, he leave his town in England and heads to The White Mountains. His cousin goes with him, and they pick up Beanpole along the way, in France. They head south on a journey, meeting people and having adventures, including trying to avoid the tripods themselves.
That’s kind of a long synopsis, but it sets up the series pretty well. I found myself remembering a lot of things about the novel as I read it, and since it’s a juvenile fiction novel, I chewed through it pretty quickly. I enjoyed it, maybe more now that I’m an adult.

The City of Gold and Lead – John Christopher
Book two of the Tripod series, Will, Beanpole, and a guy named Fritz compete to go serve the Tripods in their city. Will and Fritz get to go, and find out a lot about the tripods, like they’re a mechanical shell for the actual aliens, called The Masters.
I don’t care for this book as much, because while I really liked the portion of the novel where Will is in the city, I didn’t like that nearly half the book was taken up with him trying to get to the city. Will, being Will, is impulsive and a big idiot, so he screws up getting to the competition he needs to be at, and we have to ride along with him until he gets it together. Not the weakest book of the series, but certainly not as good as The White Mountains.

The Pool of Fire – John Christopher
In this book the resistance is planning a way to defeat the tripods once and for all, before they terraform the planet into something bad. They’re coming a long way with technology, but still have a ways go. And they need a master to study. Will is involved in a bunch of stuff, and things plod along.
Weakest book in the trilogy. Really not that good. They do stuff, Will does stuff, and it’s all interesting enough, but not that good. First, Will doesn’t change much. He’s impulsive and rash, and doesn’t listen to orders. He’s only 16 or so, so I could understand this, if he was a boy living in our world. Instead, he’s a boy brought up to believe he becomes a man 14, and later realizes that the tripods are going to destroy humanity. You’d think he’d be more focused on obliterating the tripods. Nope, he’s a kid.
Also, at the end of the book, when the tripods are vanquished, all the countries in the world meet, to work out a council and ensure that humanity doesn’t manage to get themselves in the same predicament again. Guess what? They fight and bicker and go their own ways. You finish the book feeling like everything they did was for nothing, and ultimately, the tripods should have destroyed the entire planet, because humans are too stupid to get along.

When the Tripods Came – John Christopher
This is the prequel to the series, written some 15 or more years after the series. It involves the world as it was in the 80s, there’s computer games and modern conviniences. And it tells the story through a boy who sees the first tripod land and get destroyed. Later, there’s a show about the tripods, painting them as saviors and awesome beings, and it brainwashes people. Then more tripods show, and the world starts getting taken over. The boy’s family escapes to Switzerland, and starts the resistance movement that Will is headed for in The White Mountains.
This one’s okay. Better than The Pool of Fire or The City of Gold and Lead, but not as good as The White Mountains. I can tell you specifics, but not the boy’s name, or his family’s, because they don’t leave that much of an impression. The idea that aliens could take over the planet through a children’s tv show is both thought provoking, and terrifying.