Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Book Review: Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray
It's 1941 and fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas is on Stalin's extermination list.  Deported to a prison camp in Siberia, Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family.  It's a long and harrowing journey and is only their incredible strength, love, and home that pull Lina and her family through each day.  But will love be enough to keep them alive?

4/5 stars (really liked it)
This is not a happy book but it is so well written.  I love how the author told the story of what is going on as well as giving up a back story through flashbacks of Lena and her family.  I was not aware of the horrible things that Stalin did.  What a horrible time to have lived in these places.  The conditions these people were put through was just heartbreaking.  All the characters including the bad people were interesting and believable.

Book Review: Immortal - J.R. Ward

Immortal - J.R. Ward
Immortal (Fallen Angels, #6)
From J.R. Ward, the #1 New York Times bestselling author who has kept readers on the edge of their seats with her phenomenal Fallen Angels novels, comes one of the most heart-stirring and eagerly anticipated events in that acclaimed series.

This is a world where sin and salvation collide.  This is a world where a cynical fallen angel struggles with the seven deadly sins and seven chosen souls.  With the spellbinding Immortal, the riveting series that "changed the face of paranormal romance" comes to an epic close as mankind's reluctant savior struggles with his greatest challenge yet...

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I love how the world in the Fallen Angels Series is also in the same world as The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series.  I would really love to see more crossovers.  Such as maybe some of the angels getting together with Lassiter.  This book was a great end to the series.  I also love how Sissy became such a big part of the story.  I would love to see a follow up book to see where all the characters are later.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Book Review: Eternal - C.C. Hunter

Eternal (Shadow Falls: After Dark, #2)
All her life, Della's secret powers have made her feel separated from her human family.  Now,she's where she belongs, at Shadow Falls.  With the help of her best friends Kylie and Miranda, she'll try to prove herself in the paranormal world as an investigator--all the while trying to figure out her own heart.  Should she choose Chase, a powerful vampire with whom she shares a special bond?  Or Steve, the hot shapeshifter whose kisses make her weak in the knees?  When a person with dark connections to her past shows up, it'll help her decide which guy to choose--and make her question everything she knows about herself.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I absolutely love Della and I'm so glad that she has her own series.  I love her attitude and that she's actually such a softie on the inside.  Chase is a tough vampire to figure out.  It's obvious he cares about Della but he has his secrets.  There was plenty of Burnett to make me happy and I love the interaction between Della and Burnett.  The tension between the FRU and the Vampire Council is intriguing.  I can't wait to see what happens next, especially with how the book ended.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Book Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue - Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue - Maggie Stiefvater
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)
There is danger in dreaming.  But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things.  For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group of which she can belong.  The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own.  Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily the can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

2/5 stars (it was OK)
I really wanted to like this book as much as the other two but I just felt like it moved too slowly.  Characters I wish had their own series are Noah and Ronan.  The other characters I could take or leave.  Just wish things would move faster and be more exciting.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Book Review: The Blood of Olympus - Rick Riordan

The Blood of Olympus - Rick Riordan
The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5)
Nico had warned them.  Going through the House of Hades would stir the demigods' worst memories.  Their ghosts would become restless.  Nico may actually become a ghost if he has to shadow-travel with Reyna and Coach Hedge one more time.  But that might be better than the alternative:  allowing someone else to die, as Hades foretold.

Jason's ghost is his mother, who abandoned him when he was little.  He may not know how he is going to prove himself as a leader, but he does know that he will not break promises like she did.  He will complete his line of the prophecy:  To storm or fire the world must fall.

Reyna fears the ghosts of her ancestors, who radiate anger.  But she can't allow them to distract her from getting the Athena Parthenos to Camp Half-Blood before war breaks out between the Romans and the Greeks.  Will she have enough strength to succeed, especially with a deadly hunter on her trail?

Leo fears that his plan won't work, that his friends might interfere.  But there is no other way.  All of them know that one of the Seven has to die in order to defeat Gaea, the Earth Mother.

Piper must learn to give herself over to fear.  Only then will she be able to do her part at the end: utter a single word.

Heroes, gods, and monsters all have a role to play in the climatic fulfillment of the prophecy in The Blood of Olympus, the electrifying finale of the best-selling Heroes of Olympus series.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I thought overall it was a great conclusion to the series.  Throughout the book there is two stories we are following.  There is the crew members of the Argo II, and there is Nico, Reyna and Coach Hedge who are trying to bring the Athena Parthenos to Camp Half-Blood.  Both stories kept me want to read.  This book was told from several points of views.  I think my favorite character in this series has to be Nico.  He has grown so much since he was first introduced in the Percy Jackson world.  I really do think he could have his own series.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Book Review: Black Ice - Becca Fitzpatrick

Black Ice
Sometimes danger is hard to see... until it's too late.

Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn't prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her.  Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants--but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain.  As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her.  The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there... and in uncovering this, she may become the killer's next target.

But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers.  His kindness is confusing Britt.  Is he an enemy?  Or an ally?

3/5 stars (liked it)
This book was not what I expected.  Although I know I was supposed to like the character of Britt, I really didn't care for her or her best friend.  The only one I liked in the whole book was Mason.  I guess who the killer was pretty early on.  I did however like how the book ended.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Book Review: The Death Curse - James Dashner

The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3)
It's the end of the line.

WICKED has taken everything from Thomas: his life, his memories, and now his only friends--the Gladers.  But it's finally over.  The trials are complete, after one final test.

Will anyone Survive?

What WICKED doesn't know is that Thomas remembers far more than they think.  And it's enough to prove that he can't believe a word of what they say.

The truth will be terrifying.

Thomas beat the Maze.  He survived the Scorch.  He'll risk anything to save his friends.  But the truth might be what ends it all.

The time for lies is over.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
A great conclusion to this trilogy.  Even though the group lost many people and went through so much they were still able to stand up to WICKED and think for themselves.  I really like how the series ended.

Book Review: The Scorch Trials - James Dashner

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2)
Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end.

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers.  But WICKED isn't done yet.  Phase Two has just begun.  The Scorch.

There are no rules.  There is no help.  You either make it or you die.

The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch--the most burned-out section of the world.  And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Friendships will be tested.  Loyalties will be broken.  All bets are off.

There are others now.  Their survival depends on the Gladers' destruction--and they're determined to survive.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
The story continues with Thomas and his friends.  They got out of the maze in one piece and just when they thought things were over, all hell breaks loose.  They are given two weeks to walk 100 miles in a world they don't know in order to make it to a safe haven.  Along the way they find out just how harsh the world is and the affects the Flare has had on humanity.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Book Review: The Maze Runner - James Dashner

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)
"If you ain't scared, you ain't human."

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name.  He's surrounded by strangers--boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze.  It's the only way out--and no one's ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives.  The first girl ever.  And the message she delivers is terrifying.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I have had this book on my to-read list for a very long time, saw that it was going to be a movie so finally decided to read it.  The premise of the book is very intriguing.  Thomas is thrown into this new world where he has a million questions that no one will answer.  The one thing he knows is that his name is Thomas and he wants to be a runner.  He gets to know boys at the Glade and makes friends as well as enemies.  Also the girl arrives and he someone how even though he doesn't know it, knows who she is.  The ending was great and really had me wanting to read the second one.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Book Review: The Paper Magician - Charlie Holmberg

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1)
Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart.  Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal.  And once she's bonded to paper, that will be her only magic...forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined--animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes.  But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An excisioner--a practitioner of dark, flesh magic--invades the cottage and rips Thane's heart from his chest.  To save her teacher's life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane's still-beating heart--and reveal the very soul of the man.

3/5 stars (liked it)
This book was very different from other magic books I have read before.  The time period as well as people having an affinity for a certain type of magic.  I really liked the character of Thane and how weird he was.  Ceony was an interesting character as well.  I love how we really got to know Thane and the way that we got to know him.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review: Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove: A Mystery with a Blinking, Beeping, Voice-Recording Gadget Glove You Can Build Yourself - Bob Pflugfelder, Steve Hockensmith

Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove: A Mystery with a Blinking, Beeping, Voice-Recording Gadget Glove You Can Build Yourself
Bright siblings--and amateur inventors--Nick and Tesla Holt are back in this fourth installment of their whiz-bang middle-grade series.  This time, the twins are out to save science itself, as they race against the clock to figure out why a robotic assortment of history's greatest scientist and inventors keeps going haywire.  Is this sabotage, robo-geddon...or something more sinister?  To unravel the mystery, they'll have to keep adding all-new gadgets to their cyborg glove as they stay one step ahead of a hidden adversary.  Together with zany scientist Uncle Newt and their friends Silas and DeMarco, Nick and Tesla won't give up until an answer is found...but can they do it before time runs out?  In this book, readers will learn how to construct a super-cyborg gadget glove that has four incredible functions:  LED signal light, ultra-loud emergency alarm, handy sound recorder, and UV secret revealer.  Science and electronics have never been so much fun!

4/5 stars (really liked it)
When I asked my 10 year old what he thought of this book he said "There better be another book because the ending sure made me want to read more"  So after he read it, I read it and now I know what he meant.  This book takes place in the new museum and it is the night before grand re-opening but looks like someone is trying to sabotage things.  Of course all the kids use their sneaking and cool gadgets to find out who is behind it.  I think this book was more full of action than the previous books.  I also hope that in the near future we meet Nick and Tesla's parents.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review: The Revenge of Seven - Pittacus Lore

The Revenge of Seven (Lorien Legacies, #5)
The worst was supposed to be over.  We were reunited after a decade apart.  We were discovering the truth of our past.  We were training and getting stronger every day.  We were even happy...

We never imagined the Mogadorians could turn one of our own against us.  We were fools for trusting Five.  And now Eight is lost forever.  I would do anything to bring him back, but that's impossible.  Instead I will do whatever it takes to destroy every last one of them.

I've spent my entire life hiding from them, and they've stolen everything away from me.  But that stops now.  We're going to take the battle to them.  We have a new ally who knows their weaknesses.  And I finally have the power to fight back.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.

Number Two in England.

Number Three in Kenya.

And Number Eight in Florida.

They killed them all.

 I am Number Seven.

I will make them pay.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
This book was told from the point of view of Six, John Smith and Ella.  I really liked that they were all fighting the Mogadorians.  I especially like that Adam (the good Mogadorian) has become such a large part of the Loriens.  Also fighting along side them is humans like Sarah, Sam and Mark.  There were so many things going on with all the characters.  I also learned to hate Setrakus Ra even more.  Although we do learn a little background on who he really is.  And also there was a lack of BK in this book, I missed the little guy.  I can't wait to read the next book.


Thursday, September 04, 2014

Book Review: Girl in Translation - Jean Kwok

Girl in Translation
When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings.  Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition-Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

Through Kimberly's story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world that we rarely hear about.  Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and world only half understood, Girl in Translation  is an unforgettable and classic American immigrant novel-a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation.

3/5 stars (liked it)
I really enjoyed how this story begins with Kimberly as a young girl coming to America to a young woman that has adapted in America.  Her story made me think of my own story of coming to the U.S. and all the things you have to go through, especially in school to fit in.  I came to the U.S. from Central America when I was 9 years old not speaking any English.  Like Kimberly I was put in a normal classroom where I did not understand any of the students and teachers,  I didn't dress how they dressed and I just didn't fit it.  Although my financial situation was better off than hers.  But her mother's superstitions reminded me of my mom.  I really enjoyed the book, although I was not too happy about the ending.

Book Review: The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike, #2)
When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike.  At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days--as he has done before--and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes.  The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.  If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives--meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before...

3/5 stars (liked it)
This was good but I don't think as good as the first book.  Although we learned more about Cormoran and also Robin.  Also we learned a little bit about Cormoran's ex-fiance.  The killer at the end was not someone I even thought of.  I love how Cormoran figured out who it was and how he explained things.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Book Review: Where There is Smoke - Jodi Picoult

Where There is Smoke - Jodi Picoult
Where There's Smoke
Even as a child, Serenity Jones knew she possessed unusual psychic gifts.  Now, decades later, she's an acclaimed medium and host of her own widely viewed TV show, where she delivers messages to the living from loved ones who have passed.  Lately, though, her efforts to boost ratings and garner fame have compromised her clairvoyant instincts.  When Serenity books a young war widow to appear as a guest, the episode quickly unravels, stirring a troubling controversy.  And as she tries to undo the damage-to both her reputation and her show-Serenity finds that pride comes at a high price.

3/5 stars (liked it)
It is a short story that is introducing the character of Serenity.  I liked her from the beginning when we see her as a child, but felt she needed to be taught a lesson.  She is using her psychic gifts, not to help other people but to help herself.  She has spirit guides who have told her as much and in the end she gets taught a very important lesson.  I feel that I learned some much of the character in a such a short book.


Book Review: After the End - Amy Plum

After the End (After the End #1)
She's searching for answers to her past.  They're hunting her to save their future.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation.  A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness.  They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being  one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them.  Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war.  Cities were never destroyed.  The world is intact.  Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed.  But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her.  Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

3/5 stars (liked it)
The whole idea of this book intrigued me.  It isn't a dystopian society book but there is a twist.  This book is told from the point of view of Juneau and a boy named Miles.  While Juneau has grown up knowing how to hunt and take care of herself, Miles has always had everything he could ever need.  I loved seeing how Juneau learns how to fit in, in a world she thought did not exist, while also on the run from the people that took her clan and are looking for her.  One of the people looking for her is Miles's dad, and in turn Miles goes looking for her.  But he learns so much from Juneau.  After reading the end, I was glad to see that this was the first book in the series.  Although we are given many answers for things, there are still many answers I would like to find out.  Can't wait to read more.

Book Review: I Am Number Four: The Lost Files - Hidden Enemy - Pittacus Lore

I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Hidden Enemy (Lorien Legacies: The Lost Files, #7-9)
Five's Legacy tells the story of Five's early years on Earth when he was just a young teen on the run, discovering his abilities and making the wrong kind of friends.

Return to Paradise picks up in the aftermath of the Mog attack on Ohio and follows Mark James as he struggles between returning to a normal life and helping John Smith and the others.

Five's Betrayal is the exhilarating continuation of Five's story, in which he joins the Mogadorian ranks and must demonstrate his allegiance to them by helping destroy the other Lorien survivors.

You know the truth about the Mogadorians' invasion of Earth and the Garde who will do anything to defeat them--yet there is still so much to learn.  The stories in Hidden Enemy will help you get the answers you seek, but they will not help you stop the coming war.  Only the Garde can save our planet.

3/5 stars (liked it)
It was nice to see why Five betrayed the Lorien.  In the two short stories we see what it was like for him to grow up and what happened to him after his Cepan died.  Also we see how the Mogadorian's got to him and were able to convince him to betray the Lorien.  I also really liked to see what life in Paradise was like after what happened at the school with Four (John) and how the FBI found out that he was back in Paradise.  This is all told from the point of view of Mark James.  It was nice to see a new perspective on things.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Book Review: Silver Shadows - Richelle Mead

Silver Shadows - Richelle Mead
Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5)
In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other.  But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves.  Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him...

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

5/5 stars (loved it)
Wow, where to begin, I absolutely loved this book.  I didn't think I could love a couple as much as I loved Rose and Dmitri but I was so wrong.  Sydney and Adrian are perfect!  I even love their little "child" Hopper.  This book had Sydney at the Alchemist's rehabilitation facility.  It sure made me hate the Alchemists even more.  Also had the void that Sydney's disappearance left in Adrian's life.  His struggle to find out where Sydney was taken to.  I love his determination even when we thought he had given up.  Oh and the end just makes me want to know what is going to happen next.

Book Review: The Forever Contract - Avery Sawyer


 The Forever Contract - Avery Sawyer
The Forever Contract
In the very near future, the country is plunged into drought and unrest.  Scarce resources and constant heat are making life completely miserable.  Casey doesn't think she can stand slugging back another gel pack or working one more shift at the wells.  Fortunately, there's a solution: anyone over the age of seventeen can sign the Forever Contract and enter a utopian paradise.  While people's minds take a permanent vacation, their bodies get warehoused and hooked up to a complex array of sensors and feeding tubes.  As Casey's brother says, "You upload your consciousness to the system and you're free to live as long as you want, however you want.  No more pain, no more heat, no more awful dust, no more work.  Just pure thought.  It's what our species has always been meant for.  Suffering is for philosophers.  Not for me."

Casey's ready to sign--a permanent vacation is just what she needs.  There's only one problem: her boyfriend James doesn't trust it.

Would you sign the contract?

3/5 stars (liked it)
I liked the whole concept of this book and scarily enough I could see something like this really happening.  However, I think it was just too short.  I could see this being a book trilogy rather than a Novella.  It seems like we hardly got to know the characters and everything seemed so rushed.  Overall a good book though.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review: The Goddess Hunt - Aimee Carter

The Goddess Hunt (Goddess Test, #1.5)
A vacation in Greece sounds like the perfect way for Kate Winters to spend her first sabbatical away from the Underworld...until she gets caught up in an immortal feud going back millennia.  Castor and Pollux have been on the run from Zeus and Hades' wrath for centuries, hiding from the gods who hunt them.  The last person they trust is Kate, the new Queen of the Underworld.  Nevertheless, she is determined to help their cause.  But when it comes to dealing with immortals, Kate still has a lot to learn...

3/5 stars (liked it)
It was a short story about Kate and James during her six months away from Henry.  In that time she meets Castor and Pollux as well as finds out who her husband really is.  I loved seeing the love between Henry and Kate even though they are not physically together in this story.  Also love the different points of view.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book Review: The Secret Lives of Dresses - Erin McKean

The Secret Lives of Dresses
Dora has always taken the path of least resistance.  She went to the college that offered her a scholarship, is majoring in "vagueness studies," and wears whatever shows the least dirt.  She falls into a job at the college coffee shop, and a crush on her flirty boss, Gary.

Just when she's about to test Gary's feelings, Mimi, the grandmother who raised her, suffers a stroke.  Dora rushes back home to Forsyth, NC, and finds herself running her grandmother's vintage clothing store.  The store has always been a fixture in Dora's life; though she grew up more of a jeans-and-sweatshirt kind of girl, before she even knew how to write, Mimi taught her that a vintage 1920s dress could lift a woman's spirit.

While working there, Dora befriends Mimi's adorable contractor, Conrad.  Is he after Dora, or is working from a different blueprint?  And why did Mimi start writing down--and giving away--stories of the dresses in her shop?

When Mimi dies, Dora can't get out of town fast enough and cedes control of the store to her money-hungry aunt who wants to turn it into a t-shirt shop for tourists.  But ultimately, she returns to Forsyth, willing to battle whatever may stand in the way of her staying there.  Dora can trade her boring clothes for vintage glamour, but can she trade her boring life for one she actually wants?\

3/5 stars (liked it)
I thought it was a cute story about a girl, Dora who has never known what she wants in life or who she really is.    Dora's parents died when she was very young and she was raised by her grandmother Mimi.  Her grandmother has always tried to get her to wear the vintage clothes and even goes as far as making a closet for Dora full of vintage clothes.   When Mimi gets a stroke, Dora decides to go back to Forsyth.  Leaving behind a guy she has had a great crush on, she meets a new man who she could fall for.  All the while running her grandmother's store and dealing with an annoying and pushy aunt who is trying to change Mimi's store.  I like how you saw Dora grow throughout the book and all the lovable characters in the book.



Saturday, July 26, 2014

Book Review: Four: A Divergent Story Collection - Veronica Roth

Four: A Divergent Story Collection (Divergent, #0.1 - 0.4)
Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation's faction leader did the same.  Tobias's transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again.  Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him.  Here, he will let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened "Four," he discovers during his initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless.  Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy.  His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future--and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear.  The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that.  With her, the way to righting their world might become clear.  With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I loved seeing what Four (Tobias) was like when he was in Abnegation and when he first got to Dauntless.  Also loved the stories that included Tris and how his feelings for her developed.  I would love to see what life is like for Four after the series ended.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review: Notes to Self - Avery Sawyer

Notes to Self
Two climbed up.  Two fell down.

One woke up.

Robin Saunders is a high school sophomore with an awesome best friend, a hard-working single mom, and a complicated relationship with a sweet guy named Reno.  She's coasting along, trying to get through yet another tedious year of high school, when Em suggest something daring.  They live in Florida--tourist central--and Emily wants to sneak into a theme park after midnight and see what they're made of.

When things get out of control, Robin wakes up in a hospital bed and Emily doesn't wake up at all.  Just getting dressed becomes an ordeal as Robin tries to heal and piece together the details of that terrible night.  Racing to remember everything in the hopes of saving Emily, Robin writes a series of notes to herself to discover the truth.

3/5 stars (liked it)
It is sad that it takes a bad head injury for Robin to become a better person.  With the head injury she forgets things and uses notes to remind herself how to do things, such as showering or where she needs to be.  Her mother seems like a great hard working person that wants to provide a good life for Robin despite not having her father around and a mother in school.  Also Robin has a friend, Reno who she has ignored for a while and suddenly he's the only friend she has.  Everyone at school blames her for Emily being in a coma.  So Robin resolves to try to remember what happened exactly.  I like that this book doesn't have a super happy ending, it just kind of ends as if life continues.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review: Remembrance - Michelle Madow

Remembrance (Transcend Time, #1)
Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from Regency Era, England...but she doesn't know it yet.

Then Drew Carmichael transfers into Lizzie's high school, and she feels a connection to him, almost like she knows him.  She can't stop thinking about him, but whenever she tries talking to him about the mysteries behind her feelings, he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her.  Reaching him is even more difficult because she has a boyfriend, Jeremy, who has started to become full of himself after being elected co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and he flirtatious best friend Chelsea starts dating Drew soon after his arrival.  So why can't she get him out of her mind?

Even though Lizzie knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, fighting fate isn't going to be easy.

3/5 stars (liked it)
For a book based on a song it was actually pretty good.  Jeremy was very much a jerk and I'm surprised Lizzie put up with him for as long as she did.  Even if Drew would not have come in the picture she should have broken up with him.  I enjoyed how Lizzie uncovered her past slowly and was reluctant to accept the idea of reincarnation.  Overall a good book and I will definitely check out the other books in the series.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Review: World of Trouble - Ben H. Winters

World of Trouble (The Last Policeman, #3)
Critically acclaimed author Ben H. Winters delivers this explosive final installment in the Edgar Award winning Last Policeman series.  With the doomsday asteroid looming, Detective Hank Palace has found sanctuary in the woods of New England, secure in a well-stocked safe house with other onetime members of the Concord police force.  But with time ticking away before the asteroid makes landfall, Hank's safety is only relative, and his only relative--his sister Nico--isn't safe.  Soon, it's clear that there's more than one earth-shattering revelation on the horizon, and it's up to Hank to solve the puzzle before time runs out...for everyone.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
By far my favorite book in the series.  I think this was a great conclusion to the book series and I'm a little sad that there really won't be a possibility of more.  Although I would love to read a book about Hank Palace when he joined the police force before an asteroid was headed to earth.  I love how Hank never gave up on being a good person and finding out where his sister ended up.  I also like how we met some new characters who were interesting.  I especially love the dog and Hank's description of him.  The ending of the book was my favorite and I'm glad the author ended the book where he did.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Book Review: Reborn - C.C. Hunter

Reborn (Shadow Falls: After Dark, #1)
For Della Tsang, Shadow Falls isn't just a camp: it's home.  As a vampire who's just starting to come into her powers. it's the one place she can finally be herself.  But when a new evil threatens everyone she cares about, Della is determined to do everything she can to save them...even if it means teaming up with the one boy who can break her heart.  In Reborn, return once again to C.C. Hunter's Shadow Falls, a camp where supernatural teens learn to harness their powers and discover the magic of friendship and love.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I loved the Shadow Falls series with the chameleon Kylie and her story ended and I was so glad to hear there would be a spin-off series.  And Della has got to be one of my favorite characters at Shadow Falls, next to Burnett who I really want to learn more about.  Della is a small girl with a who is tougher than she looks and very fiesty.  There is a new vampire at camp named Chase and he seems familiar to Della.  Also Della is trying to find out more about her family even though her father never talks to her and her whole family is so disappointed in her.  This book had my interest to the end and especially the end.  Can't wait to read the next book.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review: The Birth of Venus - Sarah Dunant

The Birth of Venus - Sarah Dunant
The Birth of Venus
Alessandra Cecchi is not quite fifteen when her father, a prosperous cloth merchant, brings a young painter back from northern Europe to decorate the chapel walls in the family's Florentine palazzo.  A child of the Renaissance, with a precocious mind and a talent for drawing, Alessandra is intoxicated by the painter's abilities.
But their burgeoning relationship is interrupted when Alessandra's parents arrange her marriage to a wealthy, much older man.  Meanwhile, Florence is changing, increasingly subject to the growing suppression imposed by the fundametalist monk Savonarola, who is seizing religious and political control.  Alessandra and her native city are caught between the Medici state, with its love of luxury, learning, and dazzling art, and the hellfire preaching and increasing violence of Savonarola's reactionary followers.  Played out against this turbulent backdrop, Alessandra's married life is a misery, except for the surprising freedom it allows her to pursue her powerful attraction to the young painter and his art.  The Birth of Venus is a tour de force, the first historical novel from one of Britain's most innovative writers of literary suspense.  It brings alive the history of Florence at its most dramatic period, telling a compulsively absorbing story of love, art, religion, and power through the passionate voice of Alessandra, a heroine with the same vibrancy of spirit as her beloved city.

3/5 stars (liked it)
Reading the first few pages really drew me in.  Alessandra is old and dead at the beginning and you want to find out her life story.  And we get sent back to when she is 15 years old.  She loves art but she lives in a time where women cannot be painters or artists.  Therefore she is forced to do art in hiding.  Then comes a young painter, hired by her father, to paint.  She is quickly drawn to him and wants to learn from him.  I loved learning some of the history and I truly liked Alessandra and wish some things had worked out differently for her.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Book Review: The Weird Sisters - Eleanor Brown

The Weird Sisters - Eleanor Brown
The Weird Sisters
There is no problem a library card can't solve.

The Andreas family is one of readers.  Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women.  When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the other there.

See, we love each other.  We just don't happen to like each other very much.

But the sisters discover that everything they've been running from--one another, their small hometown, and themselves--might offer more than they ever expected.

3/5 stars (liked it)
I am not much for Shakespeare and so I was unsure if I would get used to all the references in this book.  But I actually found I liked the references.  All the characters were pretty likable in their own way.  Rose being the oldest and most responsible always stuck at home.  She is engaged and is afraid to leave home.  Bianca lived in New York City and really messed up in her job and so she packs her things up and goes home.  Cordelia is the youngest and the baby in the family.  She has lived all over the country without a care in the world until the world decides to make her responsible and she also comes home.  Throughout the book each girl as well as their parents learn more about each other and themselves.  I thought this was a cute book with a happy ending.

Book Review: The Immortal Crown - Richelle Mead

The Immortal Crown - Richelle Mead
The Immortal Crown (Age of X, #2)
Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him.  Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out.  With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation:  Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect--special humans marked by the divine--are turning against one another in bloody fashion.

Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin's old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA's dangerous neighboring country.  Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.

Meanwhile, Mae--grudgingly posing as Justin's concubine--has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago.  But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods of Arcadia, a reporter's connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission--and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.

5/5 stars (it was amazing)
I really liked Gameboard of the Gods and was expecting the same for this one but it was actually better.  This book had the point of view of Mae, Justin and Tessa.  I loved seeing all the point of views.  Also learning more about Tessa and the things she learns.  Also learning more about Lucian Darling.  The setting was also different that they went to Arcadia a place so very different than RUNA.  In Arcadia women are treated a lot differently and Cain is much more of a problem.  Although Arcadia is openly religious and that plays a major role in how their government is run.  Of course the ending, Oh my gosh, the ending.  Now I truly cannot wait to read the next one.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Review: Games Creatures Play - Charlaine Harris and others

Games Creatures Play - Charlaine Harris and others
Games Creatures Play
All-new tales of unusual athletics by Jan Burke, Dana Cameron, Adam-Troy Castro, Brendan DuBois, Charlaine Harris, Toni L.P. Kelner, Caitlin Kittredge, William Kent Krueger, Ellen Kushner, Mercedes Lackey, Joe R. Lansdale, Laura Lippman, Seanan McGuire, Brandon Sanderson, Scott Sigler.

Welcome to the wide world of paranormal pastimes, where striking out might strikes you dead.  Editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner are your annoucers for this all-new story collection of the most peculiar plays ever made...

2/5 stars (it was ok)
I mainly read this because of the Sookie Stackhouse story.  I was actually a little disappointed in it.  I actually didn't like most of the stories in this book.  My two favorite ones were Stepping Into the Dead Zone and The Devil Went Down to Boston.  I would definitely check out more stories from these two authors.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Book Review: The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner
Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashums.  Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste.  Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir's choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart.  But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed.  It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons--their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years,  The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.

3/5 (liked it)
This book is not what I expected, I really liked it.  Amir's story is so interesting and changes so much.  He grows up in a privileged world and then his world is shattered and he is left to work so hard to get what he wants.  And through it all his relationship with his father grows dramatically even after his father is gone.  In the back of his mind he never forgets his friendship with Hassan and a big event that occurs in his childhood.  By the end of the book I was glad that Amir made the decisions that he did to redeem himself.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Book Review: The Good Thief - Hannah Tinti

The Good Thief - Hannah Tinti
The Good Thief
Twelve year-old Ren is missing his left hand.  How it was lost is a mystery that Ren has been trying to solve for his entire life, as well as who his parents are, and why he was abandoned as an infant at Saint Anthony's Orphanage for boys.  He longs for a family to call his own and is terrified of the day he will be sent alone into the world.

But then a young man named Benjamin Nab appears, claiming to be Ren's long-lost brother, and his convincing tale of how Ren lost his hand and his parents persuades the monks at the orphanage to release the boy and to give Ren some hope.  But is Benjamin really who he says he is?  Journeying through a New England of whaling towns and meadowed farmlands, Ren is introduced to a vibrant world of hardscrabble adventure filled with outrageous scam artists, grave robbers, and petty thieves.  If he stays, Ren becomes one of them.  If he goes, he's lost once again.  As Ren begins to find clues to his hidden parentage he comes to suspect that Benjamin no only holds the key to his future, but to his past as well.

2/5 stars (it was ok)
I thought the first half of the book was slow, but then the last half made up for it.  Ren finds out about his past through an unexpected way.  He makes friends with an unlikely person.  By the end of the book Ren knows most of his story, although I don't consider the ending to be totally happy.  There are some odd characters that add to the story such as Dolly (an axe murderer), Mrs. Sands (a woman that shelters them), a set of twins that are supposed to be bad luck and even a dwarf that comes down the chimney.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars - John Green

The Fault In Our Stars - John Green
The Fault in Our Stars
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis.  But when a gorgeous plot twit named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
This book did not go the way I thought it was going to go.  I fell in love with all the characters including the unlikable writer Peter.  Although I think even though Peter was not very likable, he still taught Augustus and Hazel a great lesson.  Augustus and Hazel's love story was not so straight forward.  How do you let someone fall in love with you and put them through the pain of watching you die?  This book of course made me cry at the end and I love the ending.  I would definitely read another book by this author.

Book Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck-impersonating Off-Broadwasy performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence "Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I'll shut up about it?"

Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages).  If so, you've come to the right book, mostly!

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls.  Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door--not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

3/5 stars (liked it)
I loved Mindy in The Office and also in her own show The Mindy Project.  I've been wanting to read this book for a while and finally decided to read it.  It was a very funny book and I read it with her voice in my head.  I loved hearing her crazy stories about her childhood, her teenager years as well as how she became a writer for SNL and The Office.  Also her mentioning how funny Tina Fey is makes me want to run out and read her book next.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Book Review: A Storm of Swords - George R.R. Martin

A Storm of Swords - George R.R. Martin
A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3)
Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another is disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken.  Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms.  His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall.  But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun.  Robb plots against despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King's Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne.  Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world...

But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrive from the outermost line of civilization.  In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others--a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable.  As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords...

4/5 stars (really liked it)
This book started off a little slow but picked up pretty quickly.  Although I enjoy most of the characters sometimes I felt like there were too many points of view and it took a long time to get back to some of the characters.  This book contained three weddings and several deaths.  Some of the deaths I was surprised about, some I was not and some I was happy about.  Overall I like where all the characters went even if it wasn't always good.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Book Review: The Mermaid Chair - Sue Monk Kidd

The Mermaid Chair - Sue Monk Kidd
The Mermaid Chair
Inside the abbey of a Benedictine monastery on tiny Egret Island, just off the coast of South Carolina, resides a beautiful and mysterious chair ornately carved with mermaids and dedicated to a saint who, legend claims, was a mermaid before her conversion.  Jessie Sullivan's conventional life has been "molded to the smallest space possible."  So when she is called home to cope with her mother's startling and enigmatic act of violence, Jessie finds herself relieved to be apart from her husband, Hugh.  Jessie loves Hugh, but on Egret Island--amid the gorgeous marshlands and tidal creeks--she becomes drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk who is mere months from taking his final vows.  What transpires will unlock the roots of her mother's tormented past, but most of all, as Jessie grapples with the tension of desire and the struggle to deny it, she will find a freedom that feels overwhelmingly right.

3/5 stars (liked it)
This book takes place in 1988 between February and May.  This story is about Jessie and how she learns more about herself by being away from her husband and falling in love.  Her relationship with her mother and a past that she thought she knew but learns the truth in the end.  Her relationship with her college aged daughter Dee and how her marital problems affects her daughter.  Also her relationship with her husband Hugh and the "other man" Brother Thomas.  Brother Thomas deciding his future, is it with God or with this woman he is drawn to.  In the end it seems like everyone in this books learns a little bit about themselves and that things don't always go as plan or are what they seem.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Book Review: Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle - Bob Pflugfelder, Steve Hockensmith

Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle:  A Mystery with Spy Cameras, Code Wheels, and Other Gadgets You can Build Yourself - Bob Pflugfelder, Steve Hockensmith
Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle: A Mystery with Spy Cameras, Code Wheels, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself
In this third installment of the series, 11-year-old whiz-kids Nick and Tesla discover that someone in the quiet town of Half Moon Bay has placed their beloved Uncle Newt under electronic surveillance--but who is spying on him, and why?  To expose the secret agent, Nick and Tesla build all kinds of outrageous contraptions.  Throughout the book, the narrative is interrupted by blueprints and instructions so that budding young inventors can follow along.  Science and electronics have never been so much fun!

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I received this book from Quirk Books to review.  This is the third book in the series that my son and I have read.  My son is 9 years old and loves this series and he was excited when we received it.  He read the book first and he told me that it's his favorite one in the series.  He especially likes the instructions in the book for whatever gadget they are making.  After he finished the book I was able to read it.  It was a great story and I kind of suspected who the spy in the book was but the way that person was uncovered was great.  I also love that we found out more about Nick and Tesla's parents and why they are staying with their uncle Newt.  I like all the characters in the book from Nick and Tesla's friends to Uncle Newt.  I can't wait to find out more about Nick and Tesla as well as their parents.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Book Review: City of Lost Souls - Cassandra Clare

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5)
The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace freed from captivity.  But when the Shadowhunters arrive, they find only blood and broken glass: Jace, the boy Clary loves, and Sebastian, the brother Clary hates, have disappeared.
The Clave's magic cannot locate either boy, but Jace can't stay away from Clary.  When they meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that Lilith's magic has bound Jace together with Sebastian, and Jace has become a servant of evil.
The Clave is out to eradicate Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other.  Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle scheme and bargain to save Jace, but Clary is utterly alone, playing a dangerous game.  If she loses, her life--and Jace's soul--are forfeit.  She'd do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him?  Or is he truly lost?

4/5 stars (really liked it)
Poor Clary and Jace, they just can't get a break!  Seems like things will be "normal" for them and they will finally be happy again and then something else happens.  Clary's evil brother who is just as bad, if not worse than Valentine comes back from the dead.  Along is Jace, who has his life tied to Sebastian's life because of the mark that Lilith left on him.  So you can't kill Sebastian without killing Jace.  He is gone for weeks and the Clave decide to end their search.  Of course this is not good enough for his family (Alec & Isabelle) and Clary.  Of course since Jace is so important to Clary, Simon will do just about anything for her.  So even though this book is about Jace and what can be done to save him, so many other side stories occur.  Such as Maia and Jordan and having to work together and talk about what has happened.  Also Simon no longer living at home since telling his mother that he is a vampire and avoiding calls from his sister Becky.  Alec and Magnus are also a big part in this book.  Alec who is so afraid to grow old without Magnus will do just about everything he can.  I hope their relationship is in the next book as well.  Seems like so many things happened in this book.  I can't wait to read the next one!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Review: The Girl in the Green Raincoat - Laura Lippman

The Girl in the Green Raincoat (Tess Monaghan, #11)
In the third trimester of her pregnancy, Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan is under doctor's orders to remain immobile.  Bored and restless, reduced to watching the world go by outside her window, she takes small comfort in the mundane events she observes...like the young woman in a green raincoat who walks her dog at the same time every day.  Then one day the dog is running free and its owner is nowhere to be seen.  Certain that something is terribly wrong, and incapable of leaving well enough alone, Tess is determined to get to the bottom of the dog walker's abrupt disappearance, even if she must do so from her own bedroom.  But her inquisitiveness is about to fling open a dangerous Pandora's box of past crimes and troubling deaths...and she's not only putting her own life in jeopardy but also her unborn child's.

3/5 stars (liked it)
I borrowed this book from a friend and did not realize it was part of a book series until I finished it.  All the while I was reading I was thinking that this would make a good book series.  This book was pretty short and a fast read.  I wanted to see how things played out and what really happened to the Girl that is "missing".  Tess along with her friend Whitney are interesting characters, even the dog in the green coat was interesting.  I would definitely check out more books by this author.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review: The King - J.R. Ward

The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #12)
Long live the King...
After turning his back on the throne for centuries, Wrath, son of Wrath, finally assumed his father's mantle--with the help of his beloved mate.  But the crown sets heavily on his head.  As the war with the Lessening Society rages on, and the threat from the Band of Bastards truly hits home, he is forced to make choices that put everything--and everyone--at risk.
Beth Randall thought she knew what she was getting into when she mated the last pure blooded vampire on the planet: An easy ride was not it.  But when she decides she wants a child, she's unprepared for Wrath's response--or the distance it creates between them.
The question is, will true love win out...or tortured legacy take over?

3/5 stars (liked it)
Hard to believe this is the 12th Black Dagger Brotherhood I have read.  Did not think that another book was needed on Wrath but I was proven wrong.  This story is about Wrath the king and Wrath the husband.  This book also contains many other characters and possible pairing.  Such as Sola and Assail, whose story began in the previous book and continues in this one.  Also the shadow brothers Trez and iAm and the chosen Selena.  Xcor also going after Layla and her being pregnant the entire book, no mention of her at the end which I thought was strange.  Something going on with John Matthew and some seizures he's having, not fully explained.  Overall a good book but wish some things would have been resolved, I guess that will be left for another book. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: Mr. Popper's Penguins - Richard and Florence Atwater

The story of a poor painted named Mr. Popper and his family, who live in the small town of Stillwater in the 1930s.  The Poppers unexpectedly come into possession of a penguin, Captain Cook.  The Poppers then receive a female penguin from the zoo who mates with Captain Cook to have 10 baby penguins.  Before long, something must be done lest the penguins eat the Poppers, out of house and home.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I always wanted to check this book out.  I was at my son's school helping with state testing and so I had two hours sitting there in case someone had a question or needed the bathroom and this book was in the classroom library.  So glad I read it.  It's a very cute story filled with the fun and chaos these little penguins cause the Popper family.  After reading this I asked my son if he had read it and he hadn't but he promised me he would.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Book Review: Panic - Lauren Oliver

Panic - Lauren Oliver
Panic
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher.  She'd never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out.  But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic.  His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game,  he's sure of it.  But what he doesn't know is that he's not the only one with a secret.  Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them -- and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

3/5 stars (liked it)
The game Panic seems like a dangerous and intriguing game for kids to play and something very believable.  Heather and Dodge are not friends but they both decide to play Panic along with Heather's friend Natalie.  Also along for the ride is Heather's best friend Bishop who does not play the game but is there for support.  Heather has a really crappy life at home and a little sister, Lily to take care of.  Natalie wants to be an actress/model.  Dodge has a sister, Dayna that was in an accident and is paralyzed, not a great home life for him either.  Heather, Dodge and Natalie decide to form an alliance to get to the end of the game.  But so many things go wrong, and so many secrets are kept.  I wish we could have gotten to know Anna better, the only adult in the book really.  Lauren Oliver does not disappoint, so good to read another book by her.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review: Carniepunk - Various authors

Carniepunk - Various Authors
Carniepunk
The traveling carnival is a leftover of a bygone era, a curiosity lurking on the outskirts of town.  It is a place of contradictions--the bright lights mask the peeling paint; a carnie in greasy overalls slinks away from the direction of the Barker's seductive call.  It is a place of illusion--is that woman's beard real?  How can she live locked in a watery box?

And while many are tricked by sleigh of hand, there are hints of something truly magical going on.  One must remain alert and learn quickly the unwritten rules of this dark show.  To beat the carnival, one had better have either a whole lot of luck or a whole lot of guns--or maybe some magic of one's own.

Featuring stories grotesque and comical, outrageous and action-packed, Carniepunk is the first anthology to channel the energy and attitude of urban fantasy into the bizarre world of creaking machinery, twisted myths, and vivid new magic.

3/5 stars (liked it)
I mainly got this book for the Rachel Cane story.  I ended up liking most of the stories, including the Rachel Cane one.  I really like that the main theme of this anthology is the carnival.  It was interesting to see where all the authors took this theme to.  I really liked the Mermaid story at the end, I think that one was my favorite.

Book Review: The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros

The House on Mango Street
Told in a series of vignettes stunning for their eloquence, this memoir (?) is Sandra Cisneros's greatly admired story of a young girl's growing up in the Latino section of Chicago.

2/5 stars (it was Ok)
Maybe it's because it's told in vignettes, which I guess I'm not too fond of, but I did not care for this book.  I really wanted to know more about Esperanza and what her life was like but what I got was little stories about her neighbors and just a little bit about her.  I realize that her neighborhood told a lot about her but I wanted to see her home life more.  Also not quite sure how much time passes from the beginning of the book until the end.  It was a very short book and did not take me long to read.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Book Review: Wonder - R.J. Palacio

Wonder
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school--until now.  He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be.  The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face.  But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R.J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next.  With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
My 9 year old son and I read this book together.  He liked Auggie right away and was laughing along with him.  Plus I saw so many similarities in Auggie as I saw in my own son, they both love Star Wars and they are both so close in age.  I felt like R.J. Palacio really captured how the mind of a little boy works and it sounded so real.  This book also made me tear up, when kids were not very accepting and adults as well.  I think this book was great in teaching both parents and adults not to stare, or be rude just because someone looks different.  At the end of the book I asked my son what he liked about this book.  He told me he really liked Auggie and wished that he went to his school so he could be friends with him.  I also like how this book is not just told from Auggie's point of view.  You get to hear how it's been like for his sister Via, her new boyfriend Justin, Auggie's friends Summer & Jack and also an old friend of Via's Miranda.  Great book for all ages.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Book Review: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying - Carol Leifer

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying
For many years, television comedy was an exclusive all boys' club--until a brilliant comedian named Carol Leifer came along, blazing a trail for funny women everywhere.  From Late Night with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live to Seinfeld, The Ellen Show, and Modern Family, Carol has written for and/or peformed on some of the best TV comedies of all time.

This hilarious collection of essays charts her extraordinary three-decade journey through show business, illuminating her many triumphs and some missteps along the way--and offering valuable lessons for women and men in any profession.  Part memoir, part guide to life, and all incredibly funny, How to Succeed in Business without Really Crying offers tips and tricks for getting ahead, finding your way, and opening locked doors--even if you have to use a sledgehammer.

3/5 stars (liked it)
I received a copy of this book through Quirk Books.  I must admit that I did not really know who Carol Leifer was until I go the book.  But even though I didn't know who she was I enjoyed her book.  She tells her story of how she started out as a comic and all the things she did and people she met to get her to the success that she is today.  Her book was filled with many great tips that can be used in any profession.  Also she made me laugh several times.  I loved the pictures of herself with celebrities throughout her career.  Overall a fast read and enjoyable.

Book Review: Messenger - Lois Lowry

Messenger - Lois Lowry Matty has lived in Village and flourished under the guidance of Seer, a blind man known for his special sight.  ...