23 April, 2014

Audiobook Review: The Black Echo by Michael Connolly

Author: Michael Connolly
Publication Date: December 1, 2002
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Adult Mystery/Thriller
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&N, Audible
Source: Library

For maverick LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch, the body in the drainpipe at Mulholland Dam is more than another anonymous statistic. This one is personal...because the murdered man was a fellow Vietnam "tunnel rat" who had fought side by side with him in a hellish underground war. Now Bosch is about to relive the horror of Nam. From a dangerous maze of blind alleys to a daring criminal heist beneath the city, his survival instincts will once again be tested to their limit. Pitted against enemies inside his own department and forced to make the agonizing choice between justice and vengeance, Bosch goes on the hunt for a killer whose true face will shock him.

When a body is found in a drain pipe in the Mulholland Dam, Detective Harry Bosch knows it's more than just the tragic fate of a homeless man. The victim is from someone from Harry's past and the investigation leads him down a dark and winding road that will test him in more ways than one.

I don't usually read a series out of order but that's what happened and I read Nine Dragons, book 15 in the series a couple of years ago. It had good points but I didn't love it and put off reading more in the series until now. The first book in Michael Connolly's popular Harry Bosch series is gritty, twisted and full of surprises. I listened to this audiobook in one week while commuting and it was great at helping pass the time while stuck in traffic. Bosch is a throwback to the grizzled noir detectives of the past. He's smart and unrelenting and has a hard time with authority.  He can be gruff at times but it's clear that he cares the victims in his cases. I also enjoyed that the story was set in LA (where I live) and the city was great backdrop for the unfolding mystery.

The story was well paced and full of twists that I did not expect. It was also really interesting to see how Bosch meets Eleanor Wish, a character who comes back later in the series. Dick Hill is the narrator for the audiobook and he has a great voice that embodies Bosch well. There's a grit to it and a sort of wariness in the voice that fits the character well. I wasn't as big of a fan of his female voices - Eleanor comes off as a bit high pitched and breathy - but he is a very good narrator overall.

I am glad that I returned to the beginning of this series. While I don't think I will be rushing out to get the next book but it will be on my list of books to read when I am in the mood for a well written mystery. Recommended for fans of noir and hard-boiled detective stories and mysteries.

Visit the author online at www.michaelconnelly.com/, Facebook and follow him on Twitter @Connellybooks

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22 April, 2014

LA Times Festival of Books - Day 2 Recap

Hi, guys. I am back with my recap of Day 2 of the LA Times Festival of Books. Shout out to my friends Kimberly at The Windy Pages, Nicole at The Reader's Antidote, Crystal from Books Unbound, Laura N and Aly from Kidlit Frenzy for hanging out.

My first top of the day was the Mrs. Nelons's book who was having a signing with Marissa Meyer, Robin Benway and Sarah J Maas. I brought my copy of Cress for Marissa to sign. She was a sweetheart as always and I was so glad she was at the fest.


I did not have any physical books for Sarah to sign but was getting some signed for a friend, so I was able to chat with her for a bit, too. She was lovely and I think my friend saved her by giving her some sunblock. Sarah's seat was right in the full sun.


Here is Robin Benway looking glam and beautiful.


I really wanted to go to the Somewhere in Time panel with Ann Brashares and Melissa de la Cruz but the signing line took too long so we missed it. But we were able to run over to the signing line before it got started as I had a copy of The Ring and the Crown for Melissa to sign.


Melissa isi always fun to see and she told me that she is currently working on the next book in the Ring series. While in line for Melissa, I took a few drive by photos of the other panelists. (Note that I do a lot of drive by photos when I don't have time to get in a line.)


Here is Eoin Colfer. He's a very handsome and distinguished looking man. I haven't read any of his books but I think I need to change that.


And here is Ann Brashares signing many books. I wanted to get a copy of Her Name is Memory signed but they did not have it for sale at the fest.  After the signing I stopped by the panel with Ava Dellaria and Steven Chbosky. Ava was there to talk about her new book Love Letters to the Dead. No pics of this one since it was dark and I was way in the back. Really interesting panel though. I have heard lots of good things about Love Letters and hope to read it soon.

Next we went back to Mrs. Nelson's for a signing with Amy Tintera and Emery Lord.  Here is Amy signing Kimberly's copy of Reboot. Amy was super nice and I kind of love her hair. 


Next up was Emery Lord, whose debut novel Open Road Summer is garnering a lot of buzz. After meeting her I really want to read her book.


More signings were next and we hightailed it to the Pages booth to see Rachel Hawkins and Stephanie Perkins. 



Our next mission was food but the food truck lines were insane. I really wanted a boba drink from The Boba Truck though.  So I waited in line for that and it was so worth it. :) 


Drive by photo of Ava Dellaria.

But I didn't just stalk authors all afternoon. There were some great panels at the YA Stage and I was able to catch two of them. The first was Young Adult Sci-Fi: Fantastical Tales with Leigh Bardugo, Cecil Castellucci, Sarah J. Maas, Marissa Meyer and moderated by Andrew Smith. This was a great panel with lots of interesting tidbits and funny moments.


Sorry for the awkward pic but we were way to the side of the stage and I could not get a really good angle. I also stopped by the YA Stage Told From the Heart Panel withmoderator Amy Spalding and featuring Stephanie Perkins, Emery Lord and Joanna Philbin.


It was a very fun panel as you can see above and a great way to end the day. Right before we left we swung by the Chronicle Books booth where everything was 50% off. You can met I bought some books from them. :)  This year's Festival was super fun and I had a great time. Can't wait for next year!

21 April, 2014

Manicure Monday (59): Also Known As

Hi and welcome to Manicure Monday, a weekly feature where I combine my love of nail polish and reading to show you one of my current reads as well as a matching book manicure.

Hello, again! I hope that you all had a nice Easter weekend. I don't really celebrate Easter but it was nice to have a relaxing Sunday. A lot of stores are closed on Easter so it really forced me to just chill out. This week, I am reading Also Known As by Robin Benway. I just saw Robin at Bookfest last weekend which prompted me to move this up in my pile. It's a lot of fun so far and I hope to finish it soon.

Also Known As by Robin Benway

I wasn't sure what to do with this cover at first but, after a little bit of thinking, came up with some ideas. First I painted all of my fingers except my pinkie finger with 2 coats of Zoya Holly, a vibrant metallic green. Next, using Zoya Lara (hot pink creme) and a small nail brush, I painted the letters AKA to match the title font. It was a little hard getting the pink to show up on the green but I went over it a couple of times, which helped. 

Also Known As by Robin Benway

On my pinkie finger, I used 2 coats of Zoya Raven (dark metallic black) as a base. I then used a long, skinny nail brush and Zoya Dove (light grey creme) to create the pinstripes of the cover skirt.

Also Known As by Robin Benway

For my thumb, I wanted to do something a little different and found inspiration on the back cover. The back cover is taken up mostly by a large magnifying glass which I recreated with Barry M Mint Green for the middle and Zoya Dove again for the metal parts of the magnifying glass. I added a couple of white lines to make it look reflective and that was it!

Also Known As by Robin Benway

This manicure was pretty easy to do and I liked the results. Hope you guys liked today's manicure. Have you read Also Known As yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Have a good week!

20 April, 2014

Stacked (103): WonderCon Edition

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and The Story Siren, Stacked is a weekly post where I share with you the books that I've bought, borrowed or received for the week.

Hi, everyone. Sorry for the late post but I was too pooped last night to write this before I went to bed. Yesterday I spent the day in Anaheim for WonderCon. It's like a smaller version of Comic-Con. It's very fun and is also nice because there are way less people than at SDCC, meaning I can get into many of the panels and see authors without waiting in crazy long lines.  I decided to only go on Saturday since I could not get Friday off and I didn't want to commit to a whole weekend there. Saturday also had more panels that I was interested in.

My first panel was for writer Gail Simone. She currently writes the popular Batgirl and Red Sonja series for DC. I'll probably talk about her panel at a later date but it was really good and I managed to get to her signing later that afternoon and had my copy of Batgirl Vol 1 signed.

Then it was off to a couple of signings at Mysterious Galaxy. I bought 2 copies of Marjorie Liu's book Labyrinth of Stars (one is for a blog giveaway). I love Marjorie. She's also so sweet and fun to see.

Also got to see authors Christina Lauren again. Always love seeing them and we had a nice chat about their upcoming books. I got copies of my Beautiful Bastard series signed as well an ARC of Sublime (!). Apparently they had copies of Dirty Filthy Boy the day before but ran out. :(

That's my brief recap of WonderCon 2014. I had a blast and hope I can go for more than one day next year. Alright, below is my total book haul for the day.

As you can see, I also picked up a couple of trade paperbacks at WonderCon, including Saga Vol 3 and Sex Criminals. I have heard good things about Sex Criminals and hope it lives up to the hype.

Thanks for checking out today's haul post with me. I hope you are having a lovely Easter if you celebrate. I might go out in search of some Easter candy. :)

18 April, 2014

LA Times Festival of Books - Day 1 Recap

Hello! If you follow me on Intagram or Twitter, you may have noticed that this past weekend was the annual LA Times Festival of Books, aka Bookchella, aka Festival of Buying too many books, lugging them home and sneaking them inside. That last one is from my friend Kimberly. It's a really fun but tiring event held on campus at the University of Southern California. Sometimes I only go for one day but this year's line-up was too good and was there for the majority of both days. This year's fest was heavily YA oriented for me. I am going to try to keep this recap somewhat brief. :)


Saturday morning I met up with my friends Laura N, Kimberly and Katie bright and early. We took the metro (which I rarely take) and made it to campus right on time. After picking up our handy press badges (thanks, LA Times!) we proceeded to meet up with Nicole an take a quick walk about the grounds before our first panels.


Food trucks are all the rage and it looks like publishers are getting in on the action, too. Besides the Library Store Truck, which I've seen a lot, Penguin also had a book truck. It was really fun seeing the books like this and I ended up grabbing a copy of Attachments and The Day the Crayons Quit from the truck.


After that I headed over to Norris Hall for my first panel of the day which was Young Adult Fiction: Testing the Boundaries with E, Lockhart, Rainbow Rowell, Andrew Smith, John Corey Whaley and moderated by Aaron Hartzler.  This was a really great mix of authors. They spoke in length about the boundaries that their characters push and the boundaries that they come across as authors. 

After the panel I hurried on over to the signing area, where a formidable line had already started. A lot of people were there for Rainbow Rowell. Everyone was super nice though and I had a nice wait with them. 


Finally it was time for me to see Rainbow and I don't remember much of what I said except probably that she was awesome. She also had some fantastic Fangirl nails going on and I asked her if I could snap a pic of them. How adorable is she?


While in line for Rainbow I also snuck over to get a copy of Noggin signed by John Corey Whaley.  Corey is a great speaker and I always love seeing him on tour. His newest book sounds fantastic and I can't wait to read it.

After this signing, my friend and I quickly went to the Pages booth to see if we could catch Oliver Jeffers and Drew Daywalt, the illustrator and author of the picture book The Day the Crayons Quit. I love this book and have a bit of a crush on Oliver Jeffers so it was fun seeing them. 


After a very quick lunch at Lemonade, it was time to get ready for my last panel of the day. On our way back to the hall, we saw that the John Green line was still going strong. This was around 3:45 and I think his line started a little after 1pm. It was not short when we went by it either. I heard that John Green signed for several hours, making him a hero in my book. Here's a drive by photo of him.


My final panel on Saturday was Young Adult Fantasy: The Real & the Unreal with Soman Chainani, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Margaret Stohl, Laini Taylor and moderator John Corey Whaley.  I was really excited about this panel because I love Laini Taylor and thought that this group of authors was an interesting mix. Soman Chainini really impressed me and was really funny. Unfortunately the signing booth was out of his book The School of Good and Evil, but I managed to pick up a signed copy of it at a booth the next day.


After the panel it was off to the signing line again.  Luckily our friend had her father get in line quite early and we were near the front of the line. I was so excited to see Laini and I am pretty sure I made no sense, but she was sweet and signed my book. 


By this time it was after 6pm and my friends and I were done for. We climbed  back on the subway and made it home in order to rest up for Sunday's events.  Special shout out to the many bookish friends I saw that day, even if it was just briefly. I'll be back soon with my day 2 recap!