The Indiscriminate Readers' Advisor

Appealing books in many genres!

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon… 2017/04/08

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…the April 2017 edition!


Source: Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon

Hey! It’s that time again! I’m sure I’ve missed a few Readathons, but I’m doing the April edition again.

It’s not too late to sign up and if you want, you can host mini-challenges and volunteer to lead an hour. I’m not doing any of that this time, but I am reading and hope you’ll join me!

Click on the picture in this post for all of the details. If you’re on Goodreads, you can find the group here:  Goodreads Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathoon

Now…on to selecting the books I want to read…

Stay tuned!



The Collapsing Empire 2017/04/06


The start of a new series for popular writer John Scalzi. I love his books and have read them all! I always recommend his Old Man’s War series for those who are wary of trying science fiction.  Scalzi’s writing is approachable; his science is understandable and believable; action scenes are fast paced; the moral dilemmas are intriguing, and he writes one heck of a good character with great dialogue to boot!

Getting back to The Collapsing Empire…

Summary: Our universe is ruled by the laws of physics and faster than light space travel is impossible until the discovery of The Flow, a status that allows space vessels to move between space and time to get to other worlds in the universe. (The Flow reminds me of the East Australian Current that Crush enjoyed in Finding Nemo! It’s more complicated than that happy, sweeping current, but…). The Flow has allowed humanity to move further away from Earth until it’s but a dim memory. As a result, humans have colonized several planets and developed the Interdependency, a loose form of government which takes as its basis the belief that no one planet can survive without the others.  However, something is happening to The Flow that will alter the relationship the planets and their inhabitants have with each other.

Scalzi writes characters with strong personalities and snappy, and sometimes snarky, dialogue. I laughed out loud several times in this book and enjoyed the characters, including strong females (a reluctant empress and a businesswoman who lacks much of a conscience!) and a good-guy scientist who is being hunted by a bad-guy who wants more political power. Quirky and comforting secondary characters round out the players  in this space opera. The plot is filled with Interdependency political intrigue, great action scenes whether in space or between characters, and situations that don’t fully reveal themselves. I don’t feel this book is as strong as his Old Man’s War series, but I liked it enough to continue reading the series as they are published. Can we talk about the ending of this book!?! No; we can’t until you’ve read it. I wonder if your reaction will be similar to mine! 😉

If you’d like to try other accessible writers of science fiction, try these:

Joe Haldeman’s The Accidental Time Machine, a stand-alone novel with an intriguing premise and an engaging protagonist. 

Rachel Bach’s Fortune’s Pawn, first in a series about a kick-ass mercenary and fate of the oracle.

Harry Harrison’s The Stainless Steel Rat, first in a humorous space opera series about the adventures of a lovable intergalactic crook!

Robert J. Sawyer’s Wake, first in a series of a young woman who receives an implant that restores her eyesight, and allows her to see much more than what is in front of her.

Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow, a literary saga of First Contact gone horribly wrong. (This book is one I sneak in, like a parent sneaks veggies into a casserole, because it’s first and foremost wonderfully written fiction. You get sucked into the story before you realize it’s science fiction! A favorite book of mine, I couldn’t leave it off a list of accessible science fiction!)





All the Light We Cannot See 2016/06/06

cover of All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

UPDATE:  It’s finally out in paperback!!! If you haven’t picked it up because you were waiting for this format, now’s your chance! 4/6/2017

My first thought when I started reading this book was, “Well, it’s no WWI book…” (You know how I love my WWI stories!)

However it was a book discussion group pick at my home library and I had to read it. I’ll admit that I had been intrigued to read it–a book STILL in hardcover after 2 years–as everyone was talking about it and telling me how much they loved it! As I read it, I slowly became enamored of the characters and the unusual settings. It is historical fiction with multiple perspectives and a compelling narrative.

All the Light We Cannot See is a complex story with short chapters that move back and forth in time as well as among the characters. I enjoyed this aspect of the book as I like getting to know the characters over time and the reveal of bits of information that will be explained later in the book. These kinds of “puzzle” books keep me interested!

This is not the usual WWII story, of survival in battle or camps. Doerr tells a suspenseful story of the invasion of Paris and Saint Malo and the experiences of the main character, Marie-Laure, her father and others affected by it. At the same time, we learn about Werner Pfennig, a brilliant orphan with remarkable engineering talent with radio, who is enticed to a “school” run by the Nazi’s and the people surrounding his story.

In the end, I enjoyed this novel and do recommend it for those who like their historical fiction filled with beautifully crafted sentences and character development. Based on a true event near the end of WWII, the history is also interesting, but is superseded by the actions and reactions of the characters involved.

If you’ve read All the Light We Cannot See and want to read more books like it, here are some recommendations:

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave–highly anticipated new book of WWII with compelling characters and a narrative that moves back and forth in time

In the Wolf’s Mouth by Adam Foulds–similarly complex and with well-drawn characters who form intense emotional bonds

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje–war and its lingering effects

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah–resilience of the human spirit

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure–wartime morals and obligations


Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear 2016/05/06

9781616954079I’m late to the game with this wonderful historical mystery series debut published in 2003 . It’s been on my TBR for years, and Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon provided me with the perfect opportunity to read it. I’m glad I did! The fact that it was recommended by a friend as a good mystery is not, ultimately, why I decided to read it. It rose to the top of my TBR because I have a fascination with stories and poems that take place around World War I. It is this setting that led me to finally to sit with this book

Maisie is a young woman, a psychologist and investigator, in 1929. She has moved to London to open her own private investigation agency: “Maisie Dobbs: Trade and Personal Investigations”. Reluctantly sent by her father to be a maid in an aristocratic household at age 13, Maisie is discovered secretly reading the private library collection of her employer, Lady Rowan. It is at this point that Rowan discovers Maisie’s keen intellect and voracious appetite for learning and, wishing to do more to advance women than her usual suffragette work, has her tutored by her friend, Maurice Blanche, an intellect and sometime investigator. Earning her way into a prestigious college at Cambridge, she is drawn to train as a nurse and serve during WWI.  The plot moves back and forth between the present and the past as we learn about Maisie’s past and her experiences in the War–including falling in love with a surgeon also serving–and the investigation of a suspected infidelity that turns into so much more.

Here are some reasons to take a chance on this book:

  • It is character-driven. Maisie is a complex character whose personality and history we’ve just begun to discover in this first book. She is an independent female with a strong intellect as well as an intuitive sense for people and the truth. The relationships she forms and nurtures with others like M. Blanche, her tutor, Lady Rowan, who becomes her good friend and confidante, Simon, the doctor she comes to love, and Billy Beale, her handyman. Other characters are there to support and round out Maisie, but they are interesting and unique in their own rights. I look forward to meeting them again in future novels.
  • The pace is leisurely, and does not drag at all. That works for me because I really enjoyed the writing! Maisie studied philosophy and human behavior with M. Blanche and became his investigative protegé. Her style is deliberate, thorough and thoughtful. I loved this thought after she found that her infidelity investigation was likely more complicated that it first seemed and reflecting on her training by M. Blanche: “Wait awhile in the stillness, and do not rush to conclusions, no matter how uncomfortable the unknowing.” (p.32)
  • The setting is a favorite of mine, and is worth exploring if you’ve never tried it. It accurately incorporates details of the World War I time period. Maisie’s experiences during and after the War mold her character, but also inform the reader of the tragedies, especially grief and loss, that resulted from that war. We speak of PTSD more openly now, but “shell-shock” was not well understood or tolerated by those traumatized by the brutality of that war.
  • The tone is generally upbeat as we watch Maisie develop her skills and talents as well as come to terms with the effect that War has had on her and her relationships.
  • The genre is a historical mystery with some non-mushy (yes, that is a technical term) romance incorporated into the novel.

Readalikes include:

  • Phryne Fisher mystery novels set in 1920’s Australia by Kerry Greenwood
  • Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell mysteries for intelligent unconventional females
  • Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries set during the same time period
  • Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness mysteries for a lighter mystery set more in the aristocracy in the 1920’s
  • Nicola Upson’s Josephine Tey mysteries for similarly detailed settings

Hmmm…Shall We Start Again? 2016/04/22

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I’m going to be kind to myself. I started this blog almost 6 years ago… And have not written one post–yet!

Tomorrow, April 23rd, 2016, I’m participating in Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon and want to use the books I read to help jump start blogging again. Joining the readathon is easy and it’s not too late!DEWEYs

At this point, I’ll blog at least once a week–probably publishing on Saturdays. My goals remain the same as before. Write about the books I’m reading from an “appeal” point of view. What is it about the book that someone would attract a reader? I try to read a variety of books, but I’ll admit to favoring contemporary romance–whether sweet or sexy–some mystery and science fiction, poetry and whatever else strikes my fancy!

Here is a photo of some of the books I’ll choose from tomorrow! 13010737_10205050232650552_1101576799855320188_n

There are others on my Kindle and I’ll give my eyes a break listening to Light in August by William Faulkner. I’ll blog about some of them! The books I’ll likely blog about are: The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson; She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems selected by Caroline Kennedy, and Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Until then, thanks for finding me again, and I’ll do better this year!


Indiscriminate? 2010/11/15

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Updated 10/22/15

I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a readers advisory blog for a while…I’ve been continually interested in discovering what readers want when they read, and I’ve been discovering what I want in by books.  My concern was that I read in a number of genres, but not too deeply in any one genre.  Am I expert enough in any one genre to be a credible authority?

After 5 years of studying genres, it has become clear to me that advising readers is collaborative and benefits from many points of view. I’ve also become very comfortable with my propensity for reading a variety of genres–hence–“The Indiscriminate Reader’s Advisor”. I’m also happy to admit what I don’t know and to learn from others.

So, I’ll share my thoughts about what I’m reading with you and to invite you to share your thoughts and comments so that I can learn from you. Let’s see what happens, yes? Great!