Series or Standalone?

Decortie-square-book-storage-displayI’ll admit it.  I have a teeny, tiny attention span.  I lose interest quickly.  This is not a personality trait that I’m proud of, but it’s one I’ve learned to deal with. Unfortunately, there’s no support group that I know of, so I’ve had to make a go of it on my own.

This has come into play not only in every day life, but in my love of books as well.  Yes, I can tackle longer books (sometimes…I have yet to finish Outlander), but I’m not very good with a series.  After two or three books, I lose interest in the characters and move on.  The longest commitment I’ve made to a series are the Sookie Stackhouse books, and even then I had to give up after book five.

My last read and my current read were both parts of a series, although I didn’t realize it when I started reading.  It’s a unique experience coming into the middle of a series.  The character have a history that you aren’t a part of.  It makes me feel like I did when I met my in-laws for the first time.  They had family stories and traditions that I knew nothing about.

The experience has made me realize is that if a series of books is worth its salt, I’ll immediately want to go back and read the previous books.  Which in the cases of my previous read and my current read has been the case.

A Visit to the Catfe

Today, my daughters and I went to a special kind of internet cafe. The Catfe is an extension of the local pet shelter where cats and kittens visit with the public. For a small donation, you can play with the kittens, drink some coffee, and surf the web (all under the watchful eye of several volunteers.)

I had a gray tabby kitten sleeping in my lap for nearly twenty minutes.  It was hard to leave her behind!  Since I already have a cat and a dog, I’m reluctant to bring another pet into my house, but it was so much fun getting to know the kittens at the Catfe.IMG_1705

I’ve Become That Lady Who Hangs Around the Coffee Shop

There was lemon cake, too. But I ate it.
There was lemon cake, too. But I ate it.

When my kids were little and tearing up the house, I dreamed of the day that I could send them off to school and have a little peace and quiet.  Those were the days of cartoons blaring over the TV and goldfish crackers ground into the creases of the couch.  Then there were those horrific, maniacal instruments of torture known as Legos.  (Step on those things in your bare feet a few times and then tell me that they weren’t invented by cold-war communists.)

Now, all these years later, the house is (for the most part) quiet.  I even have my own office – the downstairs corner bedroom that is particularly well shaded.  Honestly, it’s the best room in the house.  As much as I love it, however, I have a problem working there.  The moment I sit down to do anything at my computer, I’m immediately on my feet again to grab some coffee or throw in a load of laundry or fetch the mail.  It’s as if writing give me the jitters.

My official office.  Notice, there is no cake.
My official office. Notice, there is no cake.

But things change when I’m at the coffee shop.  Sitting in Starbucks, I’m forced to focus.  Sure, I could cruise Instagram or Twitter, but I like the idea of appearing industrious, typing away at my laptop.  I might not be a professional, but I can surely look like one.

Anyway, going to the coffee shop has become my daily ritual.  For the past week, I’ve arrived every day on time, like it’s my job.  In fact, I’m more punctual for my evening coffee time than I ever was for my job.

Plus, there’s coffee.  And cake.

Chill the Bones – Sten Ostberg

Chill the BonesKarl Vollen, a fifty-something police officer, is watching his daughter’s nanny cam from the comfort of his office when a man in a black mask enters the nursery. Then things get really scary.

This is a fast-paced book to be sure. The action begins on the very first page and never lets up. Once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down because I had to know what happened.

The book is actually more of a short novella than a full length work, and although it contains plenty of action, it misses the mark in character development. Other than his age and job description, I know very little about Karl Vollen or his wife (both of whom are integral players in the novel.) I like novels where I become attached to the characters. I want them to leave a strong impression on me. That never happened in Chill the Bones, and because of this, the action didn’t impact me as much as it could have. If I would have cared about the characters, I would have cared more about what happened to them.

I really enjoyed the book’s fast pace, but I would have liked a trail of clues. In a mystery, the clues are woven throughout the story, coming together satisfactorily in the end. Although the author did this a little bit, the end seemed to come out of the blue. If this had been a longer book, I believe that the ending would have been much more satisfying.

On the whole, however, this was a very good read. I would recommend it to people who enjoy mysteries.

[I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.]