TBR Friday: Over My Dead Body…

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TBR Friday

Following hot on the heels of last week’s TBR Friday, I have another contribution for my Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2017 climb! I’ve snuck in a sneakily short read that’s been sitting on my TBR shelf for ages.  It wasn’t on my list to get through this year but because it was so quick to read, and I’m behind on my review schedule, I thought I’d knock it over and at least feel like I was making progress toward some kind of reading goal.  This week it’s book two in Kate and Sarah Klise’s 43 Old Cemetery Road middle grade series, Over My Dead Body.

Ten Second Synopsis:

Following on from the events of book one of the series, 43 Old Cemetery Road, abandoned child Seymour Hope, cranky writer Ignatius Grumply and ghostly Olive C. Spence are dwelling happily at Spence Mansion, when nasty sort Dick Tater investigates the living arrangements, and throws Seymour in an orphanage and Ignatius in an asylum.  Determined to reunite, Olive must put her ghostly skills into action to defy Tater and bring her boys home.

Time on the TBR Shelf:

Three years less a month.  Bought in July 2014!!

Acquired:

From the Book Depository.  I bought all four of the books in the series at the same time and have since left all but the first languishing on the shelf.

Reason I haven’t read it yet:

It’s a short book so I’ve always had the feeling that I could rip through it any old time.  Of course, with its series brethren on the shelf there has always been the lingering sense that I’d have to read them all at the same time.  Still, this is no excuse, because I could probably get through all of them in less than two hours total.

Best Bits:

  • I had completely forgotten that these books are formatted as a series of letters, newspaper articles and illustrations (which means I’ll also be submitting it for the Epistolary Challenge – hooray!).  In fact, Olive, the ghost, ONLY communicates through letter writing (and interrupting other people’s written work).  The constantly changing fonts and heavy emphasis on illustration is a major strength of the series.
  • I had sort of forgotten what had happened in the first book, since it’s been three years since I’d read it, but it was easy enough to pick up again.  The book has a little illustrated recap at the start so any readers new to the series will be brought up to speed.  It was interesting to see Ignatius being not so grumpy this time around, but Seymour’s parents are even nastier and more conniving here, if that’s possible.
  • Once again, Olive is beguiling as the ghost of an elderly mystery writer.  I loved how the townsfolk help her out despite claiming not to believe in her existence.
  • I still think this series is an absolute winner for early middle grade readers.  The story is quick and engaging, the format is brilliantly accessible and the characters are quirky enough to keep the attention.

Less Impressive Bits:

  • This story didn’t grab me quite as much as the first book did.  The plotline of Dick Tater trying to burn books and cancel Halloween seemed a bit silly really.  Luckily, it’s such a quick read that even if the story was a bit underwhelming, the format and the brevity make up for it.

On reflection, was this worth buying?

I’m glad I’ve got the series ready to go, because I want to see if the next book is as good as the first.

Where to now for this tome?

Not sure.  I might hang on to all the books til I’ve finished the series, then put them in Suitcase Rummage as a set.  Or donate them to the mini-fleshlings’ school library.

And with that, I have reached Pike’s Peak – twelve books – and my Mount TBR Challenge goal for the year.  I haven’t officially made the decision to extend my goal yet.  I’m going to ponder it a little more.  Stay tuned!  And you can check out my progress toward this year’s reading challenges here.

Until next time,

Bruce

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Bruce Jumps on the Bandwagon…

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TTT3W

Hello again my lovelies….today, in a spirit of social interaction, I have decided to participate in The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday.  In case you haven’t heard of it, this is a weekly linky list based around a book-related top-ten list.  I won’t be participating every week, just when the topic takes my fancy.  This week’s topic is……(drumroll)…..

Top Ten New-to-Me Authors That I Read in 2012!

In no particular order…

Mark and Rowan Somerset

…are a pair from New Zealand (otherwise known as Hobbit-land), who have penned a fantastically funny and subversive pair of picture books: Baa Baa Smart Sheep and I Love Lemonade, which feature a turkey being outwitted, to his great detriment, by a sheep…..Can I interest you in some smart tablets anyone? No? What about a cookie?

Kirsty McKay…

…won me over with her feisty, feverish festival of fetid zombieflesh, Undead.  It’s pretty typical group-of-teens-running-away-from-mysterious-plague-that’s-turning-everyone-into-undead-monsters fare, but has some lovely comic moments to balance out the mandatory gory violence.  I’m looking forward to the sequel, Unfed.

Ben Aaronovitch…
…is the author of my latest “series to watch”, beginning with Rivers of London (Midnight Riot is the US title), the first of Constable Peter Grant’s magical policing adventures.  I have just loved all three of the books in this series so far (with a fourth coming next year…pre-ordering….NOW!).   Of course, since Mr Aaronovitch also writes for Doctor Who (the television show, not the Timelord), there was no question of me loving his work.

smart sheepundeadrivers of london

 Edward Gorey…

yes, I knowIt is tantamount to criminal that I have not discovered this genius of quirk and oddness earlier.

William Kuhn…

…author of Mrs Queen Takes the Train (and visitor to this very blog, no less!) has become a firm favourite due to his lovely, British, gently comic writing style.  And of course, he’s utterly polite.

AJ Jacobs…

…I have to thank The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhhhhh for putting me on to Mr Jacobs. In undertaking a number of personal experiments, including, but not limited to, following the Bible literally for an entire year and trying to finish reading the encyclopedia, he has endeared himself to the denizens of the shelf.  He also pens some extremely amusing anecdotes.

tiniesmrs queen  living biblically

 Leslie Patricelli…

…subject of one of Mad Martha’s Odes to an Author; her baby character is too cheeky for words. So I won’t go on about him.  Suffice to say, her work is well worth a look, particularly for those with mini-fleshlings in their dwelling.

Mike Shevdon…

…is another writer of a fantastic urban fantasy series: The Courts of the Feyre.  I stumbled across his work in a general browsing session and took a punt.  I’m happy to say the punt passed safely through the goal posts and I am now the proud guardian of all three books in the trilogy.  They sit neatly on my shelf…although the publishers changed the cover art between the second and third tomes, and admittedly, this makes the whole set look a little silly. Sigh.

Lee Battersby…

…along with the aforementioned Mr Shevdon, is one of Angry Robot’s stable of authors (stable? Is that the right term? Probably not. A bit too horsey really) and creator of The Corpse Rat King.  Isn’t that a cracking title? Doesn’t it make you wonder what on earth the book’s about? Well it did for me….and now I’ve pre-ordered its sequel, The Marching Dead. Only 105 days to go!

Michael Boccacino…

…yes, he of the cheese-like surname! I encountered his quite delightful, fantastical and scare-laden effort, Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling earlier this year and couldn’t put it down.  Well, I could, but I didn’t want to.  I am definitely going to keep at least one eyeball out for any further efforts from this author.

no no yes yes    sixty one nails   corpse rat   charlottemarkham

Looking over this list, it appears I developed a penchant for creepiness, oddballity and general mayhem and subversion this year.  Will the trend continue into 2013? I will no doubt keep you posted!

Until next time,

Bruce